by: Todd Davis
I imagine it must be rather difficult being the offspring of an infamous gangster. Along with all of the perks, I can only assume that there would be an equal amount of pitfalls. Let’s ask. Rap Industry Dot Com recently caught up with his namesake, Frank Lucas, Jr., the, now grown, son of the American Gangster himself, to discuss life — Past, present, and future…
What was it like growing up the son of, literally, the American Gangster, your father, Frank Lucas?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: Different. Because you seen a lot, (and) never knew where it came from. Daddy wasn’t there, but money was. So, different is the best way to describe it.
What are some of your craziest memories of those early days?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: Duffle bags of money in the attic of my grand-parents house. I thought everybody’s house was like that, and that everybody had money.
There is film coming out November 2nd directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Denzel Washington playing the role of your father — Have you seen it yet? If so, what are you feelings about it?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: Yes, I’ve seen the movie. My sense is that people will appreciate the lesson most needed through American Gangster, and that is that gangsters will always pay the price just like anybody else in life.
When you first heard about it were you happy that they were doing a film based on his life? How did he actually feel about it?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: Well, he felt like indifferent about it because he is not really about the spotlight and having people in his face (and stuff like that) that comes with being a celebrity. His ego wanted it. I was ecstatic about it. For him to have an opportunity to have a movie come out on his life while he is still living, that’s big.
Are you and your dad still pretty close? How supportive is he of your career choice? And, do you feel you have some pretty big shoes to fill, so to speak, as far as rapping under your birth name versus that of a stage name?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: Yes, of course, we are family. Well, my father doesn’t really understand today’s popular music, but he supports me because I’m his son, period. His concern with me is always making certain I am successful as it relates to wealth, and he knows the music business is tough so he just wants to see me succeed since I have chosen this as my career.
At what age did music first become of interest to you?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: My inception into music was at the age of three when my mother used to play records like Earth Wind & Fire, The Bee Gees, Donna Summer, The Jackson Five, and Teddy Pendergrass in the house. I knew all the songs, and I used to perform with the broom like I was singing on stage. It was a family thing that I enjoyed. As far as the artist thing, that came from the mid ’80’s influence of KRS-One, EPMD, MC Shan, Just Ice, Slick Rick, King Sun, Rakim, Kool G Rap , LL Cool J and the list plays on. It began for me with a show at PS212, and the rest is history. However, I got a real taste of the business when I did business with artists on Uptown Records.
You are a native of Harlem, NY, correct? So, of those artists mentioned, I hear that Michael Jackson has been a huge influence on you…
Frank Lucas, Jr.: Yes, I was born in Harlem, yet raised in every borough of N.Y. that is why I say I’m so New York. I think my strongest was The Jackson 5. Matter of fact, I know Michael is working on a project. We should collaborate — That would be gangster!
At what point did you start taking your craft more seriously?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: At 14 years old. I was a battle emcee, and by then I knew what I could do. I was hood approved. Going to every project to battle in Queens, and then throughout the city. I won most of the time, and that’s when I knew I was onto something — My destiny.
Are you currently signed at this particular time?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: I am an entrepreneur. I have my own corporation right now. We are planning to do more than music. We have a label, but also we are developing deal offers for a clothing label, a video game and my own movie. It’s about building an empire to continue the Lucas legacy, which is the name of our corporation, Lucas Legacy Group.
Describe for me your sound…
Frank Lucas, Jr.: In two words, ‘Street Versatility’ — We got something for everyone. Those on the block, those in the clubs, those in the schools, those chillin’ at home, those with the bumpin’ systems, etcetera. Like I said, we have something for everyone. The most important thing I think is that we are bringing FUN back to the game. I love this and my squad is crazy, so we’re ready and we going in.
Has the album been titled yet?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: Actually, we have four albums. We have the street tape that is dropping in two weeks. Everyone has done their American Gangster mix-tape, ours is called, Birthright! The next project is the American Gangster Commission album. That is my squad, and they are official. I searched throughout the U.S. for 50 of the illest emcees. These are the top 5. The next project will be the Frank Lucas Soundtrack. I know Universal has theirs, but they never asked the family for stories or the truth, so this soundtrack will portray that in music because music is our drug of choice. The last album is my solo album.
In terms of production, who are you working with?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: From the first metronome click to the final mix, that is my involvement. As for my producers, they are numerous. I don’t go after names. I choose my producer by his talent. So I got Paperboy, Cue Trax, AI, Scotty Blanco…
The list is so long it’s a problem.
Any highlights that you’d like to point out…?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: Well, right now we are doing our own record called ‘Blue Magic,’ featuring the group Blue Magic.
What are your plans for longevity in this business of music?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: Real talent, and the ability to adapt — From era to era.
Is there anything else that you’d like to branch out and do, maybe even completely away from music?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: Yes, I want to own my masters, my own properties, etcetera. Think about it…Ownership — That’s gangster.
Would it be fair to say that you are happy with the current state of Hip-Hop music?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: No, that is why we’re here — WE GO IN!
Who is Frank Lucas, Jr.?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: The only thing I want you to know about me is that I’m fair. As long as you’re fair, I’m good with you.
What do you do for fun?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: I like chillin’ — Listen to A.G.C. records and you will know…
What do your future goals and plans entail?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: Being accomplished.
What’s next for you?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: ‘Blue Magic’ is hitting the streets next week. The street tape is to follow, and history will be rewritten again.
Also, any plans to take the Frank Lucas, Jr. show out on the road anytime soon?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: That is being set up right now.
For someone who hasn’t experienced you live, what would you tell them can be expected?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: Electricity, and a good time! I’m bringing fun back to Hip-Hop.
Any parting words?
Frank Lucas, Jr.: Shallydo!!!!
Thanks for taking your time out with me today, man. Good luck with everything, and continued success to you.
Frank Lucas, Jr.: Thanks for having us, and giving us the opportunity to speak with you.