FIRST PLACE: Best Local Hip-Hop Artist

Although he won the category for best hip-hop artist, Larry Barron — otherwise known by his stage name LB the Poet — considers himself a spoken word artist first.

“I’m a poet to the core and that’s where a lot of my recognition has come from,” he says in an interview.

Barron has been active in the Winston-Salem community for years, working to infuse poetry and spoken word into the public school system and has been putting on story slams via Zoom during the pandemic. In November 2019, Barron dropped his first full-length studio album, Transitions, which bridges the gap between his love of writing and performance. But unlike many hip-hop albums and artists, Barron says he wanted to keep his album “clean” and made sure not to use profanity and flipped the idea of a “parental advisory”, instead calling it a “positive affirmation”.

“I want you to be able to turn on my music in the morning and feel good,” he says.

Before the pandemic hit, Barron had planned a small tour for Transitions but says he had to postpone that until next year. He’s also got another project that he says is set to drop next summer.

“It’s been amazing to witness my growth from the other side of the mirror,” he says. “Honestly, you grow more and more everyday and as an artist, we’re ever evolving.”

And to be picked his city’s favorite hip-hop artist means a lot because he was born and raised in Winston-Salem, Barron says.

“I really want to extend my sincere gratitude because I’m a poet first,” he says. “But it’s pretty clear that my supporters and my tribe have moved genres with me. I know I’ve gained some new followers and that’s cool, I enjoy every bit of it. But to know that my core fan base, my core supporters haven’t gone anywhere, that’s awesome, and it’s only gonna grow.” (lbthepoet.com)

— SM

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