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Latrell James has been gaining steam on the Boston music scene for several years now. Now the Dorchester native is receiving national attention through an unlikely collaboration. The 27-year-old rapper and producer is the voice behind the new ad campaign for Cheerios.
Latrell joined us to discuss how he connected with Cheerios and was gracious enough to treat listeners to a live performance of three songs.
On how he became the voice of Cheerios
"Having friends. That's the best way to put it. A big thank you to Bryan from Gratitude Sound, which is a company in Boston that focuses on licensing music for commercials and television."
On if he feels as if he's selling out
"I would never see it as selling out. Today a stream is worth less than a penny and artists need other revenue streams to make money. No artist is making money directly from their music anymore."
On speaking the truth in his music
"I'm just gonna tell you the ugly truth and you're gonna have to accept it over such a pretty beat."
On how growing up in Dorchester influenced his music
"Dorchester is so diverse. Going down towards Bowdoin Street, the Cape Verdean community's huge. And then you go down to Geneva Ave. and around Dorchester Ave., the Vietnamese community's huge. Then you can also take Dorchester Ave. straight into Mass Ave., which leads to some of the biggest universities in the world. You get to see some of the toughest streets at the same time and you could literally take a bus and get to one of the most prestigious colleges in the world. When you get that dichotomy it affects you. It affects you a lot. And that's where my music is."
On his musical influences
"My mother and father listened to a lot of oldies around the house. A lot of Parliament, a lot of Bootsy Collins, Kraftwerk. My mom's super diverse when it comes to music so she didn't let us listen to just one thing. Eventually I just wanted to pick up and learn how to do it. I started rapping at 12. My mom couldn't afford to purchase beats for me so I begged her to buy me a program, FL Studio. Me and my brother learned how to produce. We would just come home from school, do our homework, and just produce every day. Eventually we got OK at it I guess."
This segment aired on June 23, 2017.