Time & Lepp earned their spot in the buzzing New England rap scene and continue rising thanks to their steady hustle and insane mic technique.
“I’m from small towns of Mass,” said Time, in between verses at a cypher. The story of two friends, Adam (Lepp) and Ryan (Time), began when they were around 12 years-old, living in rural Massachusetts. Their style is largely inspired by the more conscious East Coast artists like Wu-Tang, Jedi Mind Tricks, Black Star, and Sean Price. Although the duo also looked up to New England legends like Edo G, Special Teamz, and Apathy, they point out the lack of a signature New England style, as well as having an example figure in the local scene to look up to. “New England never had its own sound. Everyone who blows up, moves to New York,” adds Time, which explains why Time & Lepp consider 90’s New York sound to be their most significant influence. That sound emphasizes the technicality of lyrics and flows, which is why the music of Time & Lepp contains sophisticated elements like internal rhymes and fast cadences.
“I was just born to do it, naturally,” says Time noting his and Lepp’s prowess on stage. However, a very important inspiration and motivation for both of them is is Eric Stafford AKA Jazzscapez – a fellow Massachusetts MC and producer, whom they met at a house session once. Jazzscapez taught Time and Lepp how to be spiritual, shared a tremendous amount of knowledge, and motivated them to stay on the grind. Unfortunately, Jazzscapez left us at a very young age of 22, which left a deep mark on Time & Lepp. The group notes that his loss was a shocking tragedy that left them without a leader and with a void in their spirit. Despite this, they continued to hustle. Jazzscapez continues to inspire them as musicians; they aim to make his voice heard via the music that they make. “Rest in peace Jazzscapez, cause of you I stay funk’d out,” – raps Time on the track “Funk’d Out” from their “Time & Lepp” EP, released on Soundcloud a year ago. Pour one for the late Jazzscapez and check out his beat tape, titled Free Your Mind, full of groovy and relaxing old-school beats:
Jazzscapez’s brother, iLLa Truth, is currently the main producer for Time & Lepp and also the founder of the MASSacre Music Group movement, which aims to craft real hip-hop out of new England. Thanks to the support of MASSacre and dedicated local fans, Time & Lepp are on the rise right now, having already opened for rappers like Dead Prez and KRS-One. Time & Lepp did not see the success immediately upon start; they had to earn their spot in the New England rap scene – for the last few years they have constantly been on the grind, bodying showcases in New England and New York and building a network of dedicated fans. Although they believe that the New England hip-hop scene is definitely moving up and there is now more room for different artists, you still have to fight for your place in the scene and for your unique sound as a hip-hop artist from a vastly underrepresented region. “[Cousin] Stizz, Michael Christmas, they have their market on lockdown, they represent Mass very well,” the two agree, although they add that “None of the artists that headline rap shows at Mass, are actually from Mass.”
Time & Lepp are not bothered, though, because they make music for the love of the art. Their debut EP, simply titled Time & Lepp, came out a year ago. It has a strong foundation of Boom Bap-inspired fresh beats from iLLa Truth and Jazzscapez, which Time and Lepp use to finesse some fast, seemingly effortless flows (think Big Pun or Tech N9ne) and spit some malicious bars, exchanging quick verses and showcasing their tight chemistry.
This summer, they are scheduled to release two projects – MISadventures (presented by the MASSacre Music Group) and collaborating with a fellow Mass rapper, Weapon ESP, on his second album Devolution. Time is also coming out with a single, titled “No Sleep,” featuring Raw B, Chi & Weapon ESP. Come see Time & Lepp open for Royce da 5’9 at the Middle East on June 8th, and check out the dope Time & Lepp EP on Soundcloud below: