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Baldwin Park

Baldwin Park Rapper Lefty Gunplay is Playin’ for Keeps

With witty lyrics, Holladay experiments with storytelling of his times in prison and on the gritty streets of the San Gabriel Valley. He is one of the biggest names in the new L.A. rap scene and the conversation about being one of this generation's biggest Latino rappers. 

Photo via L.A. TACO archives.

Photo via L.A. TACO archives.

For Baldwin Park rapper Franklin Holladay, commonly known as Lefty Gunplay, city pride means a lot. Being from B.P, a small city in east San Gabriel Valley, carries weight to Holladay. He is one of the biggest names in the new L.A. rap scene and the conversation about being one of this generation's biggest Latino rappers. 

With witty lyrics, Holladay experiments with storytelling of his times in prison and on the gritty streets of the S.G.V. (San Gabriel Valley). As a true creative, the rising star has emerged, determined to conquer the rap scene and get his family out of the hood. Lefty Gunplay is the type of sound that captivates you with raw authenticity and poetic storytelling that can only stem from when you have true local roots.

What makes Lefty Gunplay so interesting to hear and to continue wanting to listen, is his character.

The way he speaks is so unique and well-crafted.

His sound mirrors the struggles and beauty of a city often overshadowed and forgotten but is the voice for those who've known the struggle of growing up in the surrounding cities of Los Angeles.

As Lefty Gunplay continues to rock the rap game, he brings with him the hopes of an entire community of people east that often get erased in the narrative of Los Angeles.

Unlike most rappers, vulnerability isn’t something he lacks. He tells you how much of a mental battle being in the penitentiary was and how hard life is being out.

As consumers of hip hop, especially in Los Angeles, we tend to forget that the hardest and most dangerous job is being a rapper. In these songs, we hear these drops either for a remembrance of deceased artists or locked-up rappers.

Influenced by the sound of The Game, 50 Cent, and more, Lefty’s music is a fusion of West Coast attitude and storytelling. 

Lefty Gunplay uses lyrics that so many can relate to either as someone who has fallen to street violence or hasn't. I think that’s the beauty of Lefty Gunplay. He speaks untold stories, both his and people from all walks of life. While he always knew he could rap, Lefty Gunplay fell into the ongoing street crime, doing nine years in Pelican Bay State Penitentiary.

Signing with OTR Records was a power move for Lefty Gunplay; it was a sign to the whole music industry that Baldwin Park's voice had arrived to shake things up.

In his debut album Rookie of the Year, songs like Lost My Best Friend, BLVD Babies, and Letter from Lefty hold so much weight from the flow, beat, and elements of true hip-hop storytelling.

In the music video for "Walk Em Down," a Baldwin Park resident comments, "I grew up in BP. Worked with you in Irwindale man you dont understand how happy I am for you and putting Baldwin Park on your shoulders lefty. Make us proud bolenero." As Lefty Gunplay continues to rock the rap game, he brings with him the hopes of an entire community of people east that often get erased in the narrative of Los Angeles.

“This rap thing changed my life,” Holladay tells L.A. TACO. “I am worth more to the rap game than I ever did in the streets”.

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