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LATHEGOAT & JERMAINE DUPRI | THE DISCOVERY OF THE TAMPA-BASED ARTIST

December 3, 2021

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

LATheGOAT is the real definition of a spitter, and he’s proving day by day why he’s the GOAT. In the current state of music, it seems like everyone tries to sound like one another… but LAtheGOAT stays true to his roots and never falters from his truth. The result? Motivational records for audiences all around the world to enjoy.

Hailing from Tampa Bay, Louisiana, the rising star has the ultimate cosign from legendary rapper and mogul Jermaine Dupri, who knows a thing or two about talent. To date, JD has worked with everyone from Mariah Carey and Usher to Jay-Z and the Migos. After rapping over JD’s song with Jay Z, “Money Ain’t A Thing,” LATheGOAT had all his fans tag JD on Instagram, while putting goat emojis under his posts. One month later, JD signed him to So So Def/Def Jam.

While that may seem like a fairytale story, LATheGOAT knows the work begins now. Most recently, he released the official music video for his new single “Step Brothers,” which follows his previous release “You Wouldn’t Believe Me.” Ultimately, LATheGOAT hopes to pave a way for the new generations coming out of Tampa… and he’s well on his way.

Flaunt caught up with LATheGOAT and Jermaine Dupri via Zoom, who was on site shooting a music video for “Bounce It,” one of his singles off the EP. Read below as we discuss how LATheGOAT got JD’s attention, naming his EP 813 Day, what Tampa means to LATheGOAT, the making of “You Wouldn’t Believe Me,” synergy in the studio, and more!

LATHEGOAT:

How you been since the last time we chatted?

I’ve been good, working working. My EP’s about to drop, I’m actually at the video shoot for one of the singles off it right now too. It’s called “Bounce It” featuring Big Freedia. Man, JD hooked it up for me.

How was it working with Big Freedia? That’s dope.

We set the song over because you know, they had the hurricanes hit Louisiana. We had to send the session over, but I DM’ed him on Twitter. He’s a cool person, cool vibe. “Bounce It” is a funner song. It’s a Florida song, with a little New Orleans mixed in it.

Jermaine Dupri: Ass shaking! New Orleans mixed with Tampa.

It’s a lot of booties shaking, vibing,  having fun.

Is the video crazy? 

Oh yeah. [laughs] We’re hanging out.

Talk about changing your EP name from My Time to 813 Day.

We changed it to 813 Day because My Time is a common name. We chose 813 Day because I’m from Tampa. Tampa ain’t really ever had this type of spotlight on us before, so I’m trying to embrace it.

Tampa’s been showing you mad love out there right now, how does that feel?

It’s a vibe. You got to stay in the moment. It could be here today and gone tomorrow, so you gotta keep working.

How did it feel when you heard your song played on the radio?

It was a surreal moment, just to know it could be done. I put the work in, and I could get it finished. Surreal moment.

Bring us back to when you recorded “You Wouldn’t Believe It.”

I was thinking about my hometown and stuff that I went through, the things that I’d see. For me to be where I’m at right now, you wouldn’t believe it. That’s where the title came from, the concept. I recorded it in Atlanta with JD.

What’s it like in the studio with a legend?

We just chill, we naturally cook up. We talk about music, stuff that’s going on in the world, come up with ideas. It was a vibe, that’s what I like.

You talk about PTSD. How do you cope and how does music help?

I make music off of feelings. I smoke a lot of weed, that actually helps a lot. I just chill and vibe. I try to make sure my aura is all the way good.

“Signed a deal, but sometimes it feels like I ain’t make it.” What is “making it” to you?

Having a big mansion. A lot of money, a lot of cars, stuff like that. That’s it. That’d be making it to anybody.

You said J Cole’s album got you through a lot. Which album was it?

It was The Sideline Story, that’s his first studio album. Real life shit, you sit down and recollect what I had going on. It was the soundtrack to that era.

You can both rap and sing, talk about your versatility as well.

I’m just a music head, so that comes with liking good music. Trying to mimic and imitate it, and wanting to execute.

Who influences you now?

I listen to music just to listen to it right now. I’m the only person influencing me because I’m the only one who can turn my outcome into game. A lot of self-listening.

What is the “Blueprint”? 

That’s a little freestyle I did in the studio, we just in there talking shit. Showing you if you want to get where I’m at, you’ve got to grind.

How was it putting together 813 Day in Tampa? 

It was pretty fun because it’s already a date in the city. That stamped it, with me being signed. Seeing everybody out in support of me and me supporting them, it feels good. We always do stuff like that, but it’s on a bigger scale now.

How did it feel to have “8 Bands” go up in all the clubs, the local scene?

Again, it goes back to feeling like I ain’t made it. It gotta be bigger than that. I’ve been getting my music played in my own city, now it’s time to get it on the regular in other people’s cities.

How was it performing at the Buccaneers stadium? Were you nervous?

Nah, it was a vibe. We vibing, we chillin’. Me being where I’m from in Tampa, hell yeah [I’m a fan]. Of course. It’s regular stuff. We hang out with the Buccs players in our city. They’re both from here so it’s everyday stuff.

Anyone you’re collabing with that we should know about?

Not right now. We didn’t really do a lot of features, it’s just us working.

Any goals for yourself, other than the mansion? 

Make the money to buy the mansion.

Anything else you want to let us know?

My EP’s dropping soon, I hope everybody tunes into it because it’s definitely a masterpiece.

JERMAINE DUPRI:

You’re a legend in the rap game, so I know you’re not just signing anybody. How did you find LATheGOAT?

When we were in quarantine, everybody was locked up in the house. Instagram was our escapism. I was doing live DJ sets, people were reaching out to me saying, “Listen to this. Play this music.” He did a freestyle over the “Money Ain’t A Thang” beat, he told all his fans to tag me and put these goats on my timeline. I start looking at my timeline like, “What’s all these goats?” First thing I looked at was to see if it was possible it was one person spamming the out, but then it was multiple people. Almost 300, 400 people hit me. I said “What is this? What’s going on” The least I could do was check it out if that many people were hitting me.

I checked it out, “Oh okay, this shit jammin’.” He’s from Tampa and he’s rapping over my beat like this? I’m not familiar with rappers coming from Tampa who rapped like that. That interested me from that point. I started looking and scrolling his page, and I heard the “8 Bands” song. I’m like, “Damn, he got a record out?” Because so many people put out so much music, I’m thinking he already got a record out. I’m slow, I ain’t up on it. I was nervous, I’m not going to say nothing because I don’t want to look like I didn’t know what was going on. I finally went on to say, “Yo, what’s up with that song?” He said, “Ain’t nothing up with it, I ain’t have no deal.” “What? You need a deal right now. The song needs to come out.”

It was crazy because at that point, I wasn’t thinking about the pandemic or how we’re locked up in the house, we couldn’t move or do what we had to do. We were still moving mentally in the space of I’m going to sign this artist, we’re going to get them out. So I did that. We did that process: I got him signed, did a deal, all of that. I forgot that moving around, working artists, going to clubs, all the different elements that make rap music work, he was stripped from that.

It was a tough situation, signing an artist during that period where people weren’t working. People still aren’t at the office at Def Jam. It was an interesting period for me, and a time-changing period. You gotta figure out how to make it work in the space we’re in right now. It was a big learning experience but at the same time, it was still the same thing that I’ve always done: my hunch. My belief, then my love for good music.

I’m sure you get pitched a million artists that can rap. What was it about LATheGOAT that really resonated with you?

The fact that it’s coming from a legitimate place. That’s the whole thing about 813 Day, I wanted to make sure people understand rap always moves. At one point in time in my life, the 404 wasn’t what the 404 is today. Atlanta wasn’t what it is today. I felt a lot of the references and things he’s talking about, and his energy, it felt like mine. Somebody that wanted to put on for the city, but they didn’t have the backing. They didn’t have somebody to support it. It felt like a deja vu moment, something I really understood. At the same time, he could rap. He got so many different styles, ways, and things he did with his own beats that were pretty impressive once we got in the studio.

What is the energy in the studio? I know you were with him when he made “You Wouldn’t Believe Me.”

That song was crazy because he kicked me out of the studio, he made me leave while he was cutting his vocals. I left and when I came back to the room, i asked, “Who’s this singing on the song?” They said “That’s him.” My engineer’s said, “That’s him singing.” “What?” At first I thought somebody had come and did the part, he had called somebody to do a duet or feature. [laughs] That’s my first time hearing him like, “Damn, this dude wants to sing and rap? Okay, I really found something.” I started really paying more attention to the actual finding. My initial conversation with him and even signing him, I never heard all the stuff. I knew he had the talent to rap, but I never heard all the other things he had going on once he got in the studio.

What do you guys have in the works? 

We’re in Tampa shooting this video right now. We’re going to get the video out, then move forward on this EP. Make sure and pray the world hears and sees what I hear and see, and what everybody in Tampa sees because they love him out here.

What’s the #1 piece of advice you give him from your experience in the industry?

Just work. Make sure you pay attention to the work. Don’t focus on nothing else besides what you claim you want to do. If this is what you want to do, you have to pay attention and do it. Your destiny in this game is in your hands, depending on how much work you put in.

Anything else you want to let us know?

Look out for 813 Day! Thank you for doing the interview.

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