Exclusive Interview: Lee Mazin

Do you need some new music to add to your playlist? If so, Lee Mazin is someone you need to be looking out for. Mazin has been named by Meek Mill as the First Lady of his Dreamchasers label, and it’s easy to see why. To me, Mazin’s raps and songs are very much a part of the new age of rap and hip hop, a lane occupied by Sharaya J., Jidenna, and Tink.

I was excited to be able to speak to Mazin in advance of her performance for the Power 99 Powerhouse in Philadelphia, her hometown. Read below to see who her inspirations are, how she gives back to the community, and where she sees rap going in the future. 

What led you to music?

…I grew up on hip hop heavily. It’s been in my life since I was born. I was always good with words and that led me to start with rap and singing and writing.

What inspires your raps?

A little bit of everything. Stuff that I’ve been through in life, stuff that I plan to go through, things that we go through as women and as people, partying, having fun, just about everything.

I was listening to some of your music today, and I was thinking about how relatable it is. It actually reminded me of some of the things Mary J. Blige would talk about in her songs. I hope rap and hip hop get back to that a lot more. 

Yeah, definitely. I definitely agree with that.

You’ve worked with some big names in the rap and R&B world like Remy Ma and Rick Ross and Talib Kweli and many others. What’s it like to say you’ve collaborated with them?

It’s a good feeling. I’m young, so I grew up watching a lot of these artist. I never imagined I’d be in the same room with them, let alone working with them…It’s a really dope feeling.

I read you’re from Philadelphia, and you’re about to rep your hometown at the Power 99 Powerhouse concert. How excited are you to come back and do the big stage in Philadelphia?

I’m very excited. You know, home is always going to be home. It’s a pleasure to…perform in your home city.

You’ve repped Philadelphia before with your PhiLEE Weekend event last year. What inspired you to create that event?

I wanted to bring something back to my community and bring something that everyone could come out to as a family. We have a lot of local talent, including myself, that’s really trying to…showcase our skills and…I decided to come up with this weekend that consists  of just fun and…no drama. Just peace and positivity.

There’s a celebrity basketball game [and]I do a youth-positive [sic] tour, where I actually visit detention centers and institutions and group homes to help kids who have been through a lot and to help motivate them and give them some encouragement and tell them there’s more to life than the situation they’re currently stuck in. There’s a cookout-slash-concert, where I bring all the acts out and food and a bunch of stuff for the kids to do. We want to do it again this year, since it was such a success last year.

Great! I’m sure Philadelphia will love to have that back. What or who are some of your inspirations in the music world?

Definitely Missy [Elliot]. Missy’s one of my favorite artists. I really like Sam Smith now. As far as influences, I’d say Drake, Missy, Adele. I have a lot, but I like people who are consistent and talented. Missy brought the fun in hip hop. There really haven’t been the same since her and Busta Rhymes and [others]…It was so much more fun when those artists were out.

I’m a huge Missy fan, and when she performed at the Super Bowl, there were so many people wanting her to come back. I hope she comes back and that her contemporaries like Busta Rhymes comes back too. 

Yeah, definitely.

When talking about the rap industry and your inspirations, where do you see rap and hip hop going in the future? Where would you want it to go?

I think it’s going…to keep growing. It’s gaining a lot of diversity with different races, [sic] and ages. It’s growing and it’s one of the most talked-about genre of music but it’s still so underrated. It’s still like a movement and it’s like it’s own force. I can only see it growing more.

As far as where you’re going to go, who do you hope to collaborate with in the future?

I’d like to work with Missy. I’d like to work with Pharrell, Drake, Adele, Sam Smith. I’m really open to work with anybody. I listen to a lot of different genres of music, I don’t just listen to hip hop, so I’d like to merge into different lanes and network and work with different people.

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