By Olivia Jablonski, Live Wire Web Editor

Passion is what makes us humans and not machines. It adds color to our lives and the loveliness to our personalities. You have heard people talk about something they were passionate about. Twenty-six year old Robert Lattimore, known for his stage name as “HeartbeatBrazi,” is slowly taking his steps toward his passion, attempting to make a name for himself as an up and coming independent hip-hop artist and entertainer.

Robert Lattimore, also known as HeartbeatBrazi. Photo Courtesy by Rob Lattimore.

Lattimore was born and raised in Hartford, CT on Barber Street, which is located in the north end of the city. He attended J.C. Clark Elementary School which isn’t too far from his street, and also attended Weaver High School.

For a short time, he also attended Capitol Community College majoring in music business.

Lattimore’s passion for hip-hop blossomed when he heard 50 Cent’s platinum-winning album “Get Rich or Die Tryin,’” which was released in 2003.

Lattimore realized he could recite 50’s album without trying, and immediately became confident in rapping. He at the time was 12 years of age.

Another influence he had in taking this career aspiration seriously was watching a show that annually airs on VH1 called “Hip Hop Honors.” The television special honors old school and golden age hip hop rappers and contributors, and features live performances by most of the honorees along with new school artists who have been influenced by them.

Lattimore said that in the show, the current, fairly new artists would recite artists’ from the ‘90s to ‘00s such as Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur and Ice Cube.

Lattimore was amazed by the new and current artists rapping with the same passion as the original artists have recited in their earlier works. “I want that kind of passion because it was dope,” he said.

“I want to show people that you can be yourself,” he explains when being asking about the role he would play when he exposes his music to others.

“If you were to judge me based on my appearance, and tell me that I should make a type of genre of music you prefer, I am against that,” he said. “I want to do what I want to do, how I feel. I want people to relate lyrically too.”

Lattimore’s music can be described as conscious, fun, lyrical, melodic and both hints of modern and nostalgia.

His fairly recent single titled “Ouuu (Ya Head)” is a freestyle song made by him and his childhood friend who goes by his stage name of AFeddi. The freestyle song they created originated from female rapper Young M.A.

“I would like to say that I am a modern-day Ice Cube,” Lattimore said when being asked of who he would compare himself to by another artist. “I like to tell stories in my songs,” he says, “every song has to have a beginning to it.”

This creative painting is based on a drifter who discovers a pair of sunglasses that allow him to wake up to the fact that aliens have taken over the Earth, but without the glasses everything seems normal. Photo Courtesy by Rob Lattimore.

He also says he respects artists such as Nas and Mobb Deep because of the influence of their lyrical mindset.

Most of Lattimore’s songs have a mix of personal but fun messages intertwined with his music. “There was a snippet of a song I freestyled called ‘Hood Jewels,’ and I really liked how natural and real I was keeping that song but also making it fun,” he said.

He said it was the first time where he dropped “jewels” for people to listen to that were coming up.

“In other words, I wanted them to be inspired and motivated to do what I can do, and to have them be able to relate to that,” he said.

His stage name “HeartbeatBrazi” was influenced from a game he and his older brother played called “Mafia.”

“In the game, you get to create a mobster, but I didn’t know what name I wanted to use,” he said. “I didn’t want to use my real name because I thought it would be corny, plus it doesn’t sound like a mobster’s name.”

His brother suggested the name “Luca Brasi,” which is based off of a fictional character from the first “Godfather” film. “Luca is no one to be messed with but he is always quiet,” Lattimore explains.

He realized he couldn’t use that name, so he changed it to “TookahBrazi,” but also couldn’t use the name because it was a reference for weed by a Chicago gang. “It’s called tookah because he was a dead rival gang member,” he said.

“I didn’t want to disrespect someone I didn’t know.”

Lattimore brainstormed for ideas around him, and wanted to have something infused through him and something he loves. “I changed it to HeartbeatBrazi,” he said. “Heartbeat is an alias for the city of Hartford,” he said.

“When people bring up Brazi, I don’t want them to think about Luca Brasi from ‘Godfather’ or some rapper from California who named himself Luca Brazi; I want them to go by Brazi, or HeartbeatBrazi, the heartbeat part is just a whole to my city,” he explained.

Lattimore will be headlining a show at Beso Lounge and Martini Bar in East Hartford on Thursday, March 16. The show will start at 7 p.m. and tickets at the door will be $15. Beso Lounge is located on 860 Main Street and the lounge is for 21 and over.

The set list for the show will have five songs: “Set It Off,” “Ouuu (In My Head),” and his three new singles “No Tomorrow,” “How We Do” and “Drumstix (Chasing Chicken).”

When asked about his influence on his new single, “Drumstix (Chasing Chicken),” he mentioned it was quite a funny story.

Promo Single for “Drumstix (Chasing Chicken)” Photo Courtesy by Rob Lattimore.

“I kid you not, one day I was playing Xbox with my younger cousin and he is going through some links on YouTube, just playing some beats as we’re both playing a game, and I paid no mind” he explained, “and then later that night, it was my turn to bake chicken, and the only chicken that was left in the freezer was drumsticks.”

“I told myself I wasn’t in the mood for no regular ass drumsticks!” he said. “In my head I started reciting the lyrics: ‘garlic parmesan in my drumstix,’ and then I went ‘lemon pepper powder on my drumstix’ but as I rapped the beat in the background was catching up—everything came altogether and I told my cousin I needed that beat; we created Chasing Chicken.”

The single, “Drumstix (Chasing Chicken)” will soon be available on iTunes, Google Play, SoundCloud, and Spotify, and will also be performed during the show.
Lattimore hopes to release an EP titled “The 8th of December” with all of his three new singles by the end of the year.

“I am not solely focusing on completing an album, but I am building everything in between here and then so people are familiar with my singles and with me as a developing artist,” he said.

Being an independent artist, Lattimore wants to work putting on more live performances and media coverage. “I want to work on being more involved in the business aspect of the game,” he said.

“I know what I want to do, but I want to know how to execute it,” he explained. “Who do I talk to, and how do I get into the business.”

The producer and engineer that he currently work with is an independent contractor, producer named Trapp Beatz, who also works with most artists in Hartford. “His job is to make me sound the best I can when I record my music,” Lattimore said.

For everything else, Lattimore wants to work on will either take time or he may find a mentor.

“When it’s all said and done, even if I am not famous, I want people to say, ‘you know what? Rob was Brazi, he had bars (the term ‘bars’ refers to the bars in rap/freestyle, couplets that rhyme); he could have been short, his head was shaped funny, like all of that is irrelevant if you have bars,” he said.

“There’s a rapper named Blind Theory and the dude is literally blind…but guess what? He has bars. His blindness comes second to his bars,” he said. “That’s what I want.”

A sense of familiarity, fun and excitement is what you should get out of the HeartbeatBrazi’s music.

“If I did something to my music to make people feel the way do emotionally, then I did my job right,” he said.
Check out Lattimore’s SoundCloud: to discover more music from the HeartbeatBrazi himself.

HeartbeatBrazi will put on a show at the Beso Lounge and Martini Bar Thursday, March 16 at 7 p.m. Visit the Beso Lounge’s Facebook page for more information about the show and where to buy tickets:

Check out our slideshow from Brazi’s performance at the Beso Lounge: