Last Tuesday, on the release date of his debut album Apex Predator, LBC-rooted rapper Crooked I had a moment of reflection at the intersection of Palmer Court and 20th St in Long Beach, at the studio apartment of his teenage years. He sat and admired his surroundings. It was here at this apartment–where he lived with his older brother–that a 15 year-old Long Beach kid born Dominick Wickliffe decided he wanted to take up being an emcee as his life's work. Some years later, the 34 year-old rapper went from a kid idolizing hip-hip heroes to actually becoming one himself.
“I dropped Apex Predator last Tuesday and last Tuesday I just sat in front of that studio apartment where it all kind of began just to soak up and always remember where I come from,” says Crooked I.
As mentors and artistic guides, the emcees that served as “the only male voices” seemed to do a good job of aiding Crooked I in his formative years. Nowadays, Crooked I is an accomplished artist with a huge body of work to point to and a dedicated fanbase of attentive, lyric-loving fans. As a rapper, he has a reputation for being a verbally-potent “emcee's emcee,” and as a businessman is a prime example of how to properly conduct an independent grind. Aside from releasing his debut album Apex Predator–now available on iTunes–he even has his own weekly radio show on well-known hip-hop figure DJ Skee's network SkeeTV, which airs every Wednesday night.