By: Erica Stewart, Staff Reporter
Taking an interest in hip-hop as a child, Dominican baseball player Andrew La Luz writes raps daily and hopes to continue after graduation this year.
La Luz’s interest in hip-hop started with artists like LL Cool J and Coolio, but now it is influenced by none other than his own mind.
“I don’t listen to a lot of music so my writing isn’t heavily influenced by anyone, just things around me,” La Luz said.
Rapping started out as a joke for La Luz in high school; his friends would ask him to “freestyle” about random subjects in the cafeteria. Although rapping started out by chance, La Luz’s writing is what he always knew he was good at.
Senior Danielle Nicholson has known La Luz since her freshman year at Dominican and calls him “brilliant and extremely talented.”
“Free style comes naturally to him; it’s something you’ve got to see,” Nicholson said.
Freestyle, an improvised rap through a capella or with instrumental beats, and having no prior memorization or preparation, is La Luz’s specialty.
“I like freestyle better because of the response from people or suggestions from the audience as to what to rap about,” he said.
La Luz used to be exclusively freestyle, but writes a lot more now for organization and producing actual music.
Rapping isn’t the only thing that started in La Luz’s high school cafeteria; it’s also where he got his rap name, “Lone Mantis.”
“People would throw things at me at lunch when I wasn’t paying attention to test me; I would snag it with my fast reflexes,” he said. “I added the “lone” to it to for rapping to create a subliminal name, L(one man)tis, because I do all of this on my own and don’t have a crew.”
La Luz shares that his hard work is a one man team, and he’s paid for it all on his own.
Dominican has helped La Luz jump-start his early fame. Making videos in his Power Hall dorm room, La Luz keeps his fans up to date on his Lone Mantis Facebook page. He asks his fans and friends to suggest topics and he raps about them in between homework and class.
“Everyone has been really awesome and supportive; fans post me in their Facebook status’s and share my music with their friends,” La Luz said.
La Luz produced his first mix tape on Feb.14. He said although he would have liked it done sooner, he’s confident in the work he’s produced. There are 13 tracks and La Luz said they’re all his favorites. Everyone can support La Luz and download the mix tape for free at http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/lonemantis.
To produce this mix tape it cost between $1,500-$2,000 in total. Studio time is not cheap, costing La Luz around $800 for seven sessions and anywhere from $25-$50 dollars to lease the beats used for his songs. Leasing beats allows the user the right to produce a song with this particular music in the background. If a rapper wanted to have these beats exclusively, it could cost up to $1,000.
He’ll perform anywhere says La Luz. “I’ll freestyle at clubs or bars, open mics in the city, really wherever I am and someone challenges me to a freestyle.”
La Luz will be performing for Dominican’s Hip-Hop: Art and Action class with Robert Hanserd on April 7.
“This is what I want to do when I’m done with school—be a professional recording artist,” La Luz said. “I’m really confident in my abilities to make it happen.”