Meet The Artist Monday – Ben Lemmen

One of our favorites!
Ben Lemmen, a favorite and very highly featured on the this blog. Ben’s last two songs reached close to 100 views in less than 24 hours! Check out our interview with him! Stay tuned for his mixtape coming out May 20th!
I’ll Get It: Listen & Download
Self Portrait (6′ 7″ Cover): Listen & Download

So Fresh So Clean (Freestyle): Listen & Download
Ben Lemmen Interview (05/09/2011)
First off thank you for taking your time to do an interview with us. Tell everyone a little bit about yourself (whatever you want)
What’s up COM?
I’m a pretty average 19 year old Michigander who just finished my freshman year at Hope College. In high school, I hated every English class that had anything to do with poetry. I thought it was all useless and a waste of time. My senior year, I started to make a few raps just for fun and to get a few laughs. I think one of the first ones was for my buddy to listen to before his golf matches (lame I know). Before I graduated high school, I made a song for my senior class and people actually really liked it. I remember hearing it getting played in people’s cars and in our school’s auditorium, which was pretty sweet. Anyway, to make a long story short I’ve quickly become more serious about the music that I make. I’ve never been one to talk about what I’m thinking/feeling in my daily conversations, but the music I am creating contains the most raw, honesty version of who I am.
A lot of your raps tell a story and have substance. What generates the ideas and lyrics?
What I try to achieve in my lyrics is the ability to take something large (an idea, thought, opinion), and express that through a metaphor or event. The songs that have stuck in my head the most throughout the years have been songs that tell a meaningful story. Songs that are just a conglomeration of witty punchlines and rhyme schemes are cool, but they never really make me think. I like music that makes me think.
What about yourself separates you from other rappers?
I stopped listening to the radio about a year, I know a lot friends who have done the same thing too. There are so many amazingly talented artists who are selling out –  rapping about stuff that just doesn’t do justice to their potential. I don’t want to fall into that. I believe that someone’s voice is way to powerful of a tool to waste on talking about Money, Hoes, and drugs. None of those things are progressive and positive. I try to create music that inspires people to be great and make a difference. Too much of the main stream music industry is just settling for what I call “empty music”. I respect the creativity, but not the lack of a message or substance. The best compliments I receive are from people who start out saying, “I was listening to your lyrics…” When people notice what I’m trying to say in my songs, it makes me want to create that much more.
If you could pick one artist to collab with who would it be and why?
Lupe Fiasco, hands down.
Lupe is a visionary. He has the money, the fame, and yet he STILL raps his true feelings and beliefs. He presents his faith in a way that is apparent and relevant, but not oppressive and overused in his songs, which I respect greatly. Plus, he has some DOPE flow. If you haven’t bought “Lasers” yet, get on that.
What experience have you had thus far with music that has been your favorite?
Like I said earlier, I’m pretty new to seriously creating music, so the ball is just started rolling. But at this point, the greatest experiences I can think of are personal conversations with people who ask about song meanings or my writing process. It’s humbling and exciting to have people that I don’t really know come up to me and go, “Oh aren’t you that guy who raps?” The little personal interactions I have with different people definitely gives me more confidence in what i’m doing, which is a blessing.
What inspired you to start rapping and get into the music industry? Or who?
I have a good friend by the name of D-Tropp, who is a successful Christian/gospel rap artist (Check him out on facebook). We lived in the same dorm this past year, and he really encouraged me to make a mixtape, and also helped out with mixing/mastering a ton. Other people who inspired me to do what I do are just all the artists out there who are staying true and fresh in what they do: Lupe, Eminem, Macklemore, the list goes on…
How do you like The COM (College of Music)?
COM knows what’s up! Whenever I visit the site there is always 4 or 5 new tracks available, which is huge! COM is definitely a go-to site for me when it comes to getting new music and finding new artists.
What are you looking to most improve on?
The biggest thing that I am looking to improve on is simply being able to express meaningful thoughts in a creative way. I’m also continually trying to organize and make my writing habits more efficient so that I can bust out more and more tracks.
You upcoming mixtape “Wide Awake” is set to be released on May 20th, what are you hoping to achieve from it?
This is my first mixtape. I’m just testing the waters in this whole rap thing, hoping to be able to dive in headfirst in the future. It was not easy to write this while dealing with classes, schoolwork, and countless other pressures. “Wide Awake” is a result of late nights, times that I’ve felt on top of the world, and times that I felt the world was crushing me. I don’t have a specific ‘goal’ or number of downloads that I’m looking for. I’m just hoping that people can relate and take something away from these songs.
What else would you like the let The College of Music and it’s readers know?
Thanks a ton to COM for letting me do this interview! “Wide Awake” will be on this blog, so look for it on May 20! Feel free to add me as a friend on facebook or follow me on twitter. Thanks again, God bless.
Robert Kelly

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