It’s not every day a hip-hop hero handpicks you to be featured on a compilation album, denoting you as one of seven hot new artists to watch. The 1800 Seconds Vol. 2 album is more than a rap camp and co-sign rolled into one, it’s a moment as curated by Future himself.
Listening to the album, the seamless transitions and strains of pain music flooding the speakers, you realize Future has spawned a whole generation of new artists. Like a benevolent king upon his throne, Future’s decision to give back to the generation he inspired is admirable and sounds excellent.
For Philly-based and born, Lihtz, 27, the prospect of being selected by Future himself meant everything. It was his miracle. Lihtz appears all over Vol. 2, but his standout appearance on “Out The Mud” deserves special attention. Beyond cutting himself open and leaving his heart on wax, Lihtz stretches his vocals to their finest ends. It’s an intense performance by an artist who realizes this moment is his moment. He’s not going to miss his shot.
“A day or two before, I was like, ‘God, what’s going on?’” Lihtz tells me. “I don’t wanna sound cliche, but I needed a miracle. Something. It’s been rough for a while; you know what I mean?”
He continues: “Two days later, [1800 Tequila] DM’d me. I responded, got on the phone with them, and they started explaining it to me, and I’m like, ‘Oh, shit!’ I just asked for something, and two days later, a response. It was a blessing for me.”
Lihtz’s humility, more than his unique voice, may well be his brightest selling point. Our conversation, lightly edited for content and clarity, follows below.
DJBooth: When did 1800 reach out to you initially?
Lihtz: October, maybe the end of September. I was in my studio, and it was kinda weird. A day or two before, I was like, “God, what’s going on?” I don’t wanna sound cliche, but I needed a miracle. Something. It’s been rough for a while; you know what I mean? With anything, it’s a constant up and down, and you gotta stay grinding, committed, and resilient. That was one time in my life where I was like, “Alright, I’m working. I’m staying on it. I need something.” An opportunity can change your life. Two days later, [1800 Tequila] DM’d me. I responded, got on the phone with them, and they started explaining it to me, and I’m like, “Oh, shit!” I just asked for something, and two days later, a response. It was a blessing for me.
What does it mean to have been hand-picked for this record?
It’s a blessing, especially being from Philly. Philly may have the most artists in America. Everyone wants to rap. Everyone wants to sing. Everyone wants to do something. That’s part of the reason it’s so difficult because there are just so many artists. So when you get to pick one, it’s like, “Damn.” They didn’t pick people that weren’t talented. But, [based on the odds], it could easily have been somebody else. So you come, you do what you do because you were chosen for a reason.
How would you define the energy you bring to the album?
I’m bringing a unique voice. It’s funny because I always get people saying I remind them of Future. That’s just the cadence and raspiness of my voice. I would say [my energy] is a blend [of] pain and commercial. I’ve always been there. I could make a sad song still feel like anyone can listen to it. That balance between bringing emotion and feeling into a record, but I’m not preaching. I’ve got “Out The Mud,” “Losing My Mind,” and “Family.” All three records are similar style as far as cadence. Then you got “Top Down,” which is turnt up, more fun. On top of me living that pain, I brought versatility to [the album]. We all brought those things, too, in our own way.
Is emotion the best way to hook a fan in 2020?
It’s all about what you trying to capture. We living in an era right now where it’s fun. Generations before us [were] stern, serious. This generation? We trying to have fun. It’s all about making records that’s gonna pop off for now, but the records that are gonna last—for me—have emotion in it.