The local rap scene is an industry expanding by the day. Rapper Cash Lansky came to Tucson from Alaska in 1998 and has been heavy in the scene ever since with four albums to his name. Even with a Murs co-sign, shows at the Rialto Theatre and a sold-out album release party for new album, "The Cool Table," Cash Lansky's drive to succeed remains as strong as ever.
All of this still bears the question: Who is Cash Lansky?
“He is your average guy, a father, a husband and a stand-up guy that stands on principles,” Lansky said. “A person that believes in himself deeply and a person that shows confidence in any situation.”
Although he has not toured much of the East Coast, Lansky said he would love to make it back to his hometown of Pittsburgh in the near future.
“I have been performing in Tucson since 2008, and there is only so much people who want to see of you,” Lansky said. “That is a big goal of mine because all of my family is there, and even if I do not draw a crowd, my family in Pittsburgh is a big crowd."
Growing up, Lansky was a big basketball fan but took to hip-hop for its ability to help him get his message across. While Lansky may not play basketball anymore, he still compares himself to an old-school NBA player.
“I do not want to jinx myself, but I say Penny Hardaway because he did not do it for the fame,” Lansky said. "Whenever he stepped on the court, he played from the heart, and that is how I have always approached my music."
Lansky released his latest album, "The Cool Table," on March 17, and it is available on CD and through streaming services, such as Spotify.
“I feel like if someone does not want to go on anymore, they can play Cash Lansky to go on with their day,” Lansky said. “It is motivational music to get you through your week. I really feel like this album is me and seeing who I am.”
With so many different sounds coming out of the community, Tucson rap has something for every rap listener to enjoy.
“You have the cholo rap, the gangster rap, the backpack rap, and you can find all of that in Tucson," Lansky said. “People are not afraid to take a chance anymore with music.”
Lansky said he doesn't think Tucson is trying to build its sound at the moment, though.
"We are just trying to build our community in the most positive way," he said.
Lansky is a father of four and said this has shaped his music over the years.
“Being a father has calmed me down and made me more focused on the bigger picture,” Lansky said.
Despite rapper obligations such as touring and opening for other acts, Lansky always makes time for his kids.
“I think the longest I have been away from home is 18 days, and that is long enough,” Lansky said. “Anything longer than that causes problems because my wife is mad that my kids are not listening."
Even when Lansky is on the road, he still makes sure his children are acting right at all times.
“I will stay on Facetime to make sure everything gets done ...” Lansky said. “I am still directing traffic a thousand miles away, and that helps; if I did not have the internet, it would be a problem.”
Lansky said his oldest daughter loves trap music because of Young Jeezy's "Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101."
“Now she wants to make beats,” Lansky said. “She has apps on her phone and says ‘Dad look at this,’ so she does not want to rap but is into the beats.”
Hip-hop has even helped Lansky get through the lows of his lifetime.
“Jay Z’s 'Blueprints' helped me get through a time because my best friend died in 2007 and that is all we listened to,” Lansky said. “He was the first guy I met when I moved to Tucson, and 'Blueprints' was the only album that helped me get through his passing.”
Without his kids and music, Lansky said he might have taken a different path in life.
“Without them, I might have been having sex or dealing drugs or something besides rap, but they helped steer me to the right path,” Lansky said.
While the rap industry is very tough to succeed and maintain that success, one's desire to succeed is a source of motivation.
“There is a lot of disappointments; I can tell you that I have failed a lot more than I succeeded in rap,” Lansky said. “But it is the will to want to win and creating music that will keep you going.”
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