Sketta Lee, otherwise known as Damien Lee Beniot, is the driving force behind the band 337 Screw. Check out their tunes lurking at our site.AF: First off, whoís who in 337 Screw?
SL: Well, in the company 337 Screw, itís really mainly me, but from time to time I sign up and help other artists with music videos, websites, CD covers and music production.
AF: How do you split up the creative process?
SL: When it comes to creativity, I feel that Iím really good at multitasking and everything from start to finish that deals with creating an album, it all comes straight from my head. When Iím working with other artists, it does come from both of us.
AF: Iíve heard artists say theyíll be inspired by a topic and just start writing, some adlib on the spot, while others use a combination. Whatís your process?
SL: My process most of the time, I will listen to a beat and I will start to think of things. Actually, at all times Iím coming up with something, even hearing othersí songs, or watching TV. Something everywhere in the air is inspiring if you know how to catch it right. This interview right here is actually inspiring me to make a song about a guy that just always wanted to be famous and tries his whole life and sees with determination, anything comes!
AF: Any tracks have special meaning for you?
SL: Special meaning, mostly the tracks you donít hear are the ones that have special meaning. The stuff that I never put out; all the freestyles me and friends have done through the years. I have about five tracks with a friend of mine (Mitchell Evans) and he was killed a year or two back, so that makes those five tracks have all the more meaning to me.
AF: A lot of groups go through a couple of incarnations before finding the perfect chemistry, genre, etc. I donít suppose you guys were every a ska band or polka act?
SL: Oh man I actually still do it all. All you see on my website is hip-hop music but actually my next album will be a mix rap and rock album. I grew up into music and my dad had a rock & roll band for the longest time. He ended up switching from the guitar to the accordion and started his own Cajun French band. That got popular enough to produce 3 albums already and he is currently working on the fourth. His site is www.leebenoit.com.
So I grew up around that, and as a kid I loved hip-hop. I started freestyling just not even knowing what it was and people loved it. So I started recording it for others to hear, and here I am now. Currently in my own home studio I have a guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, flute & harmonic, not to mention the computer setup with tons of stuff in that. So Iím gonna be sure to use every instrument I got here to make music.
AF: Hailing from Louisiana you have a very unique sound. Iím not that well versed in the genre, but it actually sounds a lot like its geographical placement. A bit more rhythmic like mid-west rappers like Nelly, but with more of a West coast drawl, mixed with more southern-based dirty south type anthems. How would you describe it?
SL: Hmm, tough one. I donít know how I would describe it but only to say that Iím a Cajun boy from Louisiana. Not too backwoods though, more city. And I grew up listening and loving the Beatles, Elvis, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Tupac, Bone, NWA, Luniz, man I donít know. I just like so many different types, I actually liked Alan Jackson when I was young. I guess you can call my music a coonass genre (meaning a mutt or mixed up).
AF: A lot of hip-hop fans are turning away from mainstream artists, as they feel theyíve sold out to more lyrical RíníB sounds to attract larger audiences. Underground artists are becoming increasingly popular with the prevalence of net-based releases, mix tapes, and underground radio. Are there any current major artists that you feel have kept closer to their roots?
SL: Hmmm kept close to roots, Iíd have to say wait, nope I cant think of anyone that really kept to their roots. Maybe Outkast has kept to their style the closest out of all. You gotta love that internet though, it gets everyone out there to hear whatís really in this world of music.
AF: Anybody, youíd trust to back you up on a track? Somebody youíd really like to work with?
SL: Man does this mean people I have worked with or want to? I think it would be really cool yet really intimidating to work with Eminem. But out of people I worked with? ROC, C Business & Nash P are the 3 funniest guys to work with. Its more about the music with them then anything.
AF: The importance and influence of female rappers in the genre has been a longstanding debate. Theyíve frequently not gotten the same props or fanfare as their male counterparts, despite having been around just as long and in some instances with even larger careers. Performers like MC Lite and Roxanne Shante paved the way for not only todayís crop of harder female artists but the genre in general. Who has impressed/influenced you? Anybody out there really making noise for the fairer sex in genre?
SL: I donít really know any female MC's that I would really sit there and bob my head to. Someone of them say some crazy stuff and make me laugh but I never listened to a single one and be totally amazed by what they just said, how it made me feel and how it rhymed.
AF: The mixtape has become the de rigueur route for underground hip-hop and rap acts to find larger audiences and recording deals. Whatís the Louisiana/Texas scene like?
SL: Oh man, besides New York, Texas/Louisiana is the biggest underground music state in the US. There is a new mixtape on every corner on everyday. Everyone and their brother is making them. Everyoneís striving to get on each otherís and everyone is giving shout outs to each other. Itís a great wait to stay connected and let everyone know who is good out there. If you got a song on most mixtapes in the south, then you know youíre good. Hopefully this next album I come out with will do just that!
AF: In todayís entertainment industry, many artists wear multiple hats. Ice Cube and DMX have both branched off into careers in front of the camera, while Jay-Z and Master P built multimedia empires encompassing both their own careers and production companies. Is that something you consider a necessity to get ahead in the game, or more of an outlet for creativity?
SL: Well actually Iíve already started that. I acted in a few skits that are actually on my site. Acting is a big thing for me. I want to be an actor, a musician & whatever else is fun. I want to do it all. And for sure 337 Screw will be in the film business. We are already working at that.
AF: What about your own production company and side projects?
SL: 337 Screw Stuidos is my own production company. And every project I do for myself is a side project!