Philadelphia has been and continues to be the birthplace of some of the best musicians in the game. With so much talent coming from that city in the music as well as the creative space, you never know who is going to be the next individual to pop. PNB Rock, who has had an amazing 2017 so far, is the most recent name that comes up in the discussion but he definitely isn’t going to be the last.
Corey Lee isn’t just putting his name on the map as a rapper but he’s maneuvering in a way that any rising talent should be. He has dominated multiple opportunities that have come his way such as taking the stage during Hot 97’s Who’s Next earlier this year and performing during an after party for the Roots Picnic festival. Not only that but he has found numerous ways to remain consistent with his sound and the quality of music that he releases for his listeners.
On March 10, Corey dropped his debut LP titled A Shot in the Dark, an 11-track offering featuring popular records like “Calton Banks,” “Greedy,” and much more. The reception from the studio effort grew so big that VIBE Magazine decided to get there hands on the album and do a write-up on it. Shortly after the release, the young Philly MC drove down to Texas for the SXSW festival where he took the stage to perform some of his early records, as well as his new songs from the debut album. Corey also happens to be one of the architects for Dinner Land Network, a production agency that has grown to be extremely popular and currently works with some pretty well-known pop culture figures such as Bizkit and Taxstone. Dinner Land Network recently created an extension called Dinner Land Sound where they crafted together some amazing musical talents along with in-house producers. Corey Lee finds himself in the middle of it all as one of the faces of Dinner Land Sound and one of the engines helping push the entire network forward.
Providing versatility in his flows as well as witty wordplay and exceptional rhyme schemes, there is no doubt that Corey Lee will be the next rising star to come out of Philly. His hunger and determination combined with his skill set is what has gotten him to where he stands currently.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Corey to discuss his debut album, being a rapper in the city of Philadelphia, Dinner Land Network and more. Read it’s entirety below. Also, check out his recent song “Why Not” and A Shot in the Dark beneath it.
What got you into rapping?
Corey: I’ve always wanted to rap. As a young kid, I was always around music. I started messing around with some childhood friends & it eventually turned into something that I wanted to do.
Explain what it means to work twice as hard as a rapper coming from Philly?
Corey: You’ve gotta work twice as hard here. It’s so hard as an artist to get seen or recognition even if you’re putting in a lot of work. I feel like everybody that raps wants to be “that” guy/girl. No real radio presence or bridge to bigger outlets in my opinion. Just a lot of hardworking artists trying to figure it out themselves by trial & error.
You’ve been buzzing in your city the last few years. Explain what’s that been like along with working with well-known talents like MadeinTYO and the hometown’s rising star PNB Rock
Corey: I got an opportunity to perform at the Roots Picnic after party last year with MadeInTYO & PNB Rock. It was a crazy experience. I was able to connect with some people that you traditionally wouldn’t be able to. It was dope to be around that energy. I also had a chance to reconnect with Sonny Digital & YesJulz, two people who had been showing me love before that event even came to be about.
You recently dropped your debut project ‘ A Shot in the Dark.’ What was the process like putting that project together?
Corey: The process was real hectic, to be honest. A lot of work in a little bit of time because I was juggling a few different things. I recorded at my homie Ben crib like a week straight before it had to be out. A whole bunch of late nights & early mornings. My boy Justin from milkboy studio put finishes touches on it as far as mix & master on the same day as the release. Those two guys saved me for real.
What inspirations did you use when you created that particular body of work?
Corey: I just used what I was around to inspire the music. Where I’ve been & where I wanna go. I wanted to paint some pictures with the music but also give the people something to move to. Tried to create the perfect balance.
If you had to pick your favorite song on the project, what would it be and why?
Corey: That’s tough, I like every song on the album. My personal favorite is “Carlton Banks.” “Greedy” & “Ballers Prayer” aren’t far behind though.
You’re also apart of the Dinner Land Network, a rising company that get’s a lot of recognition. Explain what it’s been like to be involved with such a well-respected brand.
Corey: Dinner Land was a blessing. Right before I became a part of the network it seemed like things that I believed should’ve been happening really wasn’t going the way I wanted. A lot of moving in circles & nothing really forward. I got with Dinner Land Network and things that I was already doing just got a boost. Just knowing that you’re a part of something bigger than yourself is a different kind of feeling. It’s really a big family at this point.
You as well as Dinner Land pride yourselves on having the best production when it comes to visuals. Why do you think visuals have become so important in today’s world?
Corey: Content is king in this era. Artists, creatives, promoters, etc are finding different ways to make an impact in whatever field they choose. Everybody wants to see things happen. It’s always been “see it to believe it” and with the way social media is now it makes it that much easier. One post can change your life.
Dinner Land Sound was created not too long ago which is an extension of Dinner Land but on the music side. Briefly, explain how that came about.
Corey: DLS (Dinner Land Sound) is the group of artists that Dinner Land is riding with right now. Me, Marlo Demore, Wattz & Will North was just added recently. The sound generals are Blue & Sunny. They handle all the production as far as Dinner Land Sound goes. It’s just a team of hardworking artists about to push the envelope on a lot of things.
What’s next for Corey Lee? What’s next for the Dinner Land Network?
Corey: More music, more content, more shows, more interviews. It’ll just be on a bigger scale. It’s time to elevate everything. Dinner Land Network got Season 4 coming as well as a few surprises. Stay tuned.