Sabotaj Talks Growing Up in South Central L.A., “The Legend That Never Was” Album & More [Interview]

Sabotaj Talks Growing Up in South Central L.A., “The Legend That Never Was” Album & More [Interview]

By Jack Barnes

Getmybuzzup: Tell us a little about yourself?

Sabotaj: I’m Sabotaj, Master of 3D, Wizard of Rhymes The Magical One among many names that come from the heartbeat of Sabotaj. I’m from Los Angeles, CA born and raised. Grew up in the gang and drug infested streets of South Central L.A. I lived in a single family home with my mom, grandma and younger brother. My grandmother was the back bone to our family. My father was in our lives my brother and I but we were on the every other weekend program in terms of seeing him. Life as a kid was very rough growing up but I had my fun times to. I’m a very dedicated and loyal individual I do my best to help others. Just as many artist, MC’s, rappers, producers, etc. music saved my life and the mission is far from accomplished.

 

Getmybuzzup: How long have you been in the music industry?

Sabotaj: I started rhyming in “88” yes I know it’s 2018 now. My story is a novel which one day that will come into play as well. I was serious about music the day I realized I had skill and talent and soon realized it was more than that, it was a gift. Without getting into my hard struggle to make it in this industry and the ups and downs I’ve survived through thus far I’ll just say, I was “Destin To Come”.

 

Getmybuzzup: How did you get started in the first place?

Sabotaj: In the 10th grade my homies I hung with D.J.’d house parties. House parties were huge in the west in the mid to late 80’s and throughout the 90’s. The homie AM and RT would rock the MIC at some point of the party, this was always amazing to me. One night the homie AM told me to write a verse and I can rock at the next party. I thought to myself I can’t rap how do I write this? Needless to say I wrote that verse called AM and spit it. AM said hold on called RT on a 3way home phone and said Len (my 1st name is Leonard) spit that verse again. I actually didn’t realize I did something pretty amazing at that point I didn’t know what AM was even thinking. I spit it to RT and they both were pumped and congratulated me. I said to myself wow I can do this! Never stopped writing since.

 

Getmybuzzup: How would you describe your sound?

Sabotaj: Masterful! My music is original period! It’s pure raw and uncut real Hip Hop. I have what I call a 3 Dimensional wicked flow. I’m very lyrical and my style is ancient. I am the Wizard of Rhymes! Words are powerful enough to cast spells, when I bless tracks it’s in a Magical form. Hearing the music is truly understanding. I like for the music to speak for itself. Without getting to deep throughout the years of time I’ve learned how to shallow my music down at times without jeopardizing being Sabotaj. I’ve learned to cater to a much larger audience other than those that truly want that Sabotaj sound. This has helped me maintain my fans but also bring new ones in. The actual tracks I love rhyming to are anything from soulful to jazzy to sounds of ancient wickedness! When I say wicked that can mean a shallow more ancient exotic sound of beauty to a hardcore hip hop head banger. My dimensions are very wide and can travel very deep. I’m extremely diverse in my style and the different types of songs I have mastered. I’m very conceptual as well. Many of my songs paint pictures and can be a whole movie of music. My new album of course displays a lot of these qualities.

Getmybuzzup: Who are your inspirations in the music industry?

Sabotaj: As an artist my Hip Hop influences are Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, and N.W.A. Ice Cube is of the best ever to me. The Golden era of Hip Hop helped to create Sabotaj. I was always me in life so being original as an artist was easy. KRS-One said “you got to have style and learn to be original” My Philosophy is the song 1988. That song is the perfect breakdown of the music industry and will teach how to be a real MC. Clearly KRS-One is a favorite of mines as well. I live as an artist to this day by the guidelines of that song a classic must I mention. Nas, Eminem, Redman and Jadakiss inspire me as well. They’re original and will always make me feel at some point I got to step my bars up. No matter how good I believe I am and I’m a monster if another MC makes me say damn and sends me back to the lab I salute that!

 

Getmybuzzup: How do you go about writing a song and what is your process?

Sabotaj: My writing process can happen many different ways. I can hear a track and instantly the whole song pours out period! When this happens it wasn’t a planned song it just happened and that’s sometimes the best songs. During that ultimate feeling the actual title will come later, maybe I say a key line during the writing and it simply sticks or the hook is written last and a line in the hook it’s home. Another writing process can be a strong title with a dope concept I’ve sat on for a while. Once I have the right track that perfectly fits that title and concept I sit down and write. During this process I pray, talk to God and meditate. After doing this I usually feel a spirit take over and I write what the beats says. It’s truly a one with the universe type of experience very Godly. Others times I can write out of pure emotion. An event good or bad can inspire me in different ways from happy to sad to a full steam of anger. I’m a true lyricist so it’s normal for great ideas and ill lines just hit me out of nowhere. I can write 2 to 3 dope lines without even trying and I will eventually insert them in the correct songs at the correct time. I still love writing with a pen and a pad. Even if I writing a song on my phone I typically still write it later pen and pad style because I learn the words best that way.

 

Getmybuzzup: What are you currently working on?

Sabotaj: “The Legend That Never Was” album. I’m pushing the 1st single and video titled “Powers To Be Legendary“.

 

Getmybuzzup: What is the concept behind your latest video “Powers to be Legendary”?

Sabotaj: “Powers To Be Legendary” is a fatal blow of a Hip Hop classic! The song pays homage & salutes legends before me. In a lyrical display of high powered excellence shows why Sabotaj has the “Powers To Be Legendary” The video is delivered in a hardcore type of manner with a Sabotaj style all over it. The footage is raw. The video is me. This song is a must have for your listening pleasure! Please watch the video below.

 

Getmybuzzup: Any plans on touring to promote your latest project?

Sabotaj: I would love to be on tour to promote it. So if anyone out there loves the song and video and wants to help out tour wise I’m completely open. I rep real Hip Hop in it’s purest form. The album coming will be one powerful enough to move mountains and echo Sabotaj from land to land and from sea to sea!

 

Getmybuzzup: What did you buy with your first check off music?

Sabotaj: I can’t say because I haven’t gotten the check that I’m long worthy of. The small music money I’ve ever received simply doesn’t count. I’d like to be able to tell you I bought a house or became clear of all debt.

 

Getmybuzzup: What are must haves when your in the studio working?

Sabotaj: For me peace of mind. I want the focus to be on exactly the song I’m working on. People that don’t have nothing to do with the song don’t need to be there. If you are there you must understand this is real and your energy must be positive. I like lots of water and blow a little erb here and there. I use to smoke lots of weed in the studio but at this point of my life I’ve learned I want to lay my verses, hooks, etc. in a mind state without being tampered. I’m ok with more people in the studio during the mixing because you can feel every ones vibe on the song.

 

Getmybuzzup: What is the best piece of advice in this business you actually followed?

Sabotaj: Stay true to you and your craft. Stick to what you believe and let no one change your music. Always be aware of who’s trying to come into your circle. Keep the right people around you at all times. Never get caught up in the glamour and glitz stay humble be humble. Kendrick Lamar said that best!

 

Getmybuzzup: Will you be collaborating with any other artists on this project “The Legend That Never Was” or in the future?

Sabotaj: Only my music and rhyme partner Haph Breed maybe 1 other surprise but we’ll see. For future projects I’m always open it’s just timing and you have to be as serious as me about it. If not it messing up certain plans on how you push that project or certain songs.

 

Getmybuzzup: Is the project done and if so when is the expected release date?

Sabotaj: The project is 90% done at this point upon this interview. Release date should be Halloween! Ha! October 31st now that’s a Sabotaj release date!

 

Getmybuzzup: Do you think your music is mostly enjoyed more for the beats or for the lyrical flow and content?

Sabotaj: The beauty of that is I’m giving you both. The tracks are undeniable and the flow is classic. The subject matter is very balanced and understandable. This album isn’t my deepest dimension yet it may be my best as far as how I’m delivering it. Now it’s a matter of opinion. I would love to please everybody but the reality is you can’t so hopefully a huge majority love and appreciate my blood sweat and tears. This is Hip Hop!

 

Getmybuzzup: What area do you need to improve on in regards to your career? (Example: Better production, Delivery, Stage presence, etc..)

Sabotaj: I must say we (Sabotaj & Haph Breed) are always improving but we are very sharp and high powered production wise, song wise and the way we bring it to you! Stage presence I believe we need more improvement in. That’s simply because we haven’t done many shows in awhile and we’re starting to attack that area once again. I believe until you have been rocking stadiums, arena’s and perform on big stages like BET Hip Hop awards, BET Awards, MTV’s VMA’s and Billboard type situations you will always have to get better to be ready for that platform. The mother ship as I like to call it.

 

Getmybuzzup: What’s your all-time favorite song?

Sabotaj: That’s very difficult to answer. Damn! If we talking Hip Hop it’s a few can’t answer to 1 song. Public Enemy‘s “Rebel Without A Cause” 1988, KRS One (Boogie Down Productions) “My Philosophy” 1988, N.W.A. “Straight Outta Compton” 1988, Ice Cube “The Ni**a You Love To Hate” 1990, EPMD feat. Redman “Brothers On My Jock” 1990, Wu-Tang Clan “C.R.E.A.M.” 1993, Eminem feat. Nate Dogg “Till I Collapse” 2002, I don’t just have 1 I feel guilty now because of not naming so many others. If we are talking singers or R&B there’s so many songs there also but I’ll give you 1 Teena Marie‘s “Ooh La La La”.

 

Getmybuzzup: In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today and why?

Sabotaj: Jay-Z. Jay because he’s timeless in this music thing. He can drop when he wants and he’s still relevant period. Still as they say “King of New York” One of the best ever and he’s built a true empire with several major businesses under that umbrella. Jay-Z has went back and pulled many older artist up that careers were falling off and showed them a different way with his Roc Nation Management Company. I respect that heavily. He’s successful in any area he desires to conquer. Jay’s a true beast of a business man.

 

Getmybuzzup: Who have been some of your favorite artists that you’ve been able to work with?

Sabotaj: Unfortunately none of my favorite artist at this point. Wish I could say different but it will all come in due time. God’s will. There’s many I’d like to name but I’ll let the hands of time allow the surprises to take place.

 

Getmybuzzup: How do you feel about the current state of music?

Sabotaj: I believe there’s a lot of great music out there right now. I don’t believe in some of the senseless and childish tactic’s that some chose to do to get a name. They’re putting themselves in dangerous situations and the people around them as well. Be smart you’ll have nothing if your dead. Social media’s a gift and a curse use the platforms wisely. I see the state of lyrics coming back finally. The pop song situation is always going to be there but the true hip hop artist are starting to shine again and be noticed. Hip Hop has created so many lanes I say make great music and be great in your lane and you’ll be respected.

 

Getmybuzzup: Any dream award shows you hope to one day play at?

Sabotaj: Of course, MTV, the VMA’s, BET Awards and BET Hip Hop Awards, Billboard Music Awards and Soul Train Award show. Hell, I’m good with any award show period! I’d be thankful for any opportunity. God Bless!

 

Getmybuzzup: What is your main goal as far as music? 

Sabotaj: To be successful! My music finally being heard and accepted by the world. Being able to sit among the greats and understanding I’m accepted and worthy by my peers & Hip Hop fans of that position. I’ve paid an extreme amount of dues been doing music more than 1/2 my life and stayed dedicated and perfected my craft. I’m deserving of great success! I’ve done it right and stayed true to me and those around me. Success is peace of mind and knowing I can pay my bills and comfortably enjoy the pleasure of life (great food, vacation trips, & owning a beautiful home). I want to live everyday doing something I love and being paid for it. I need to being able to have my kids set up right so they won’t have to go through what I had to go through. God bless!

 

Getmybuzzup: Who would you say your music relates to the most? 

Sabotaj: People in the world that understand great artist and great music. Real Hip Hop heads that understand the culture of Hip Hop. Someone who can appreciate a story of struggle being told because they’re in it and I can be that example they can look at and say if he did it I can to. I want to ultimately inspire.

 

Getmybuzzup: What separates you from other artists? (What’s makes you different?)

Sabotaj: Automatically I’m me. I’m a leader not a follower. I’m loyal and when I dedicate myself to something especially something I love it’s very real. My music is classic. I’m a trend setter with a very different and original sound. Nobody’s journey the path I have as far as how long it’s taken me to be discovered. I’m making the world see and feel me I’ve been here for 20 plus years. Most would have given up but God put me on a different path to paying dues and I won’t settle for nothing less than making sure I make a complete dent in the game. The album is called “The Legend That Never Was” for a reason. The music speaks for itself. My style is identical to none. I will innovate dominate & to the fakes they will meet there fate! I’m cut from the real cloth and I will die for that. I’m Sabotaj the 1 and only you will always know the difference. No one can define a name like mine and back it up like I can.

 

Getmybuzzup: When your not in the studio, What do you like to do for fun and relaxation?

Sabotaj: I enjoy spending time with my love ones. My daughters, my close friends my family. I enjoy dope lounge’s, bars etc. Somewhere I can catch a good drink and feel the vibes of a great atmosphere. I’m not too big on clubs anymore just simply grown out of that faze. I enjoy Laker games, watch a lot of Football when the season is in, Raiders on mine! I enjoy the vibe of small getaways with my beautiful woman.

 

Getmybuzzup: If you could work with any producer who would it be?

Sabotaj: Outside of the camp, me and Haph Breed I would work with Dr. Dre and DJ Premier period! After that who’s ever got that right heat that fits Sabotaj. I’m open.

 

Getmybuzzup: What’s the biggest highlight of your career thus far?

Sabotaj: In 1999 and early 2000’s I was part owner of a record label and we put out a 12″ side A was a song called “Rhymes Adventurous” for radio and side B was for my pure hip hop heads a song called “Supreme Soloist” We sold nearly 10,000 copies on our own over seas in Japan. We also created a huge street buzz and a bit of radio play in the Los Angeles market. Stations 105.9 and 100.3 the beat which as originally 92.3 the beat. This was a great push at that time. I’m also proud of myself and my music partner / rhyme partner Haph Breed for the fact that we continued recording for years and years and have a high quality of music in the vault ready to share with the world! Our time is NOW!

 

Getmybuzzup: What is your dream venue to perform at?

Sabotaj: SXSW and Coachella that would be great! All platforms I mention earlier in this interview. MTV, the VMA’s, BET Awards and BET Hip Hop Awards, Billboard Music Awards and Soultrain Award show. Not to mention winning a few awards as well!

 

Getmybuzzup: What artist music are you currently a fan of?

Sabotaj: Kendrick Lamar is currently the best in the game right now period! For the last 6 years at least! J. Cole, Drake and Wiz Khalifa they’re all extremely talented. I’m going to always love my Wu-Tang members together or solo I keep up with them. Redman still spits that fire I’m waiting for “Muddy Waters Too” and The Game never disappoints, classic to say the least!

 

Getmybuzzup: When performing live what are some of the things you do to get the crowd involved?

Sabotaj: I just rock period and they automatically get involve! If it’s a tough crowd I try to feel them read them and talk to them. Relate, that always works.

 

Getmybuzzup: When performing and the crowd is singing along how does that energy make you feel?

Sabotaj: Powerful! Appreciated, loved and understood, you know you touched them! That’s a beautiful feeling!

 

Getmybuzzup: What can we expect from you in the future?

Sabotaj: Nothing but the best! I been here and I’m not going nowhere! Time for the world to understand I’m the last of a dying breed and I exist! More Hip Hop bangers more mind blowers and more Sabotaj!

 

Getmybuzzup: Anything else you wanna add? 

Sabotaj: No matter what you see or may hear I am the original Sabotaj! My music will display that. I am the most Powerful feel the strength of my name and what it stands for if you want to test me.

 

Getmybuzzup: Where can the fans check out for your music?

Sabotaj: Please show support for TRUE Hip Hop & GREAT quality MUSIC! Sabotaj 
http://smarturl.it/powerstobelegendary1 “Powers To Be Legendary” 1st single & Video off the NEW Album “The Legend That Never Was”.

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Author: I Caught U Slippin

I have a passion for blogging about what's trending in Hip Hop, R&B, and Celebrity Entertainment. I'm a huge sports fan; my favorite teams are The NY Knicks & NY Jets. I also enjoy spending time with family, and working hard as hard work pays off.