Steve Lobel may not be a name your familiar with, but you're definitely familiar with the rappers he's helped over the past twenty years or more. While there are some industry execs the public has come to know by name, often times those doing the grunt work to promote their rappers aren't in the public spotlight. Queens, New York native Lobel is a well-respected artist manager who wears many hats including executive producer and production manager. He's worked with legends in the game from Big Pun to Eazy-E to Bone Thugs N' Harmony, and he hasn't thrown in the towel just yet.

Lobel continues to pave the way for upcoming artists in any way he can, and his most recent endeavor is a "Battle For Beats." The on-going event will feature different producers each month, who give away a free beat to the best emcee. This first edition featured none other than producer of the moment, DJ Mustard. Not only is this a rap battle, but each event includes live sets from various artists, in this case, Mustard himself curated the soundtrack for the night. 

We got to speak to Lobel during the very first event, and he explained his hip-hop roots and what the showcase is all about, while offering advice to rising rappers.

"I'm from New York. Never forget where I come from. My mentor is Russell Simmons, everybody should have a mentor," Lobel tells us during the interview. "I come in the game through the late great Jam Master Jay, rest in peace. I work with Bone Thugs N' Harmony [for] twenty years, Fat Joe, Big Pun, Eazy-E, Common Sense, 8Ball & MJG, Three 6 Mafia, Nipsey Hussle..." Lobel continued to lists current-day artists like YG, Mustard, Sean Kingston and more.

Lobel explained, "We're doing a showcase, we're looking for some new artists. At the end of the day, Mustard's looking for new artists, and he's gonna give out a free beat. So it's a battle for a beat, but we're having artists perform."

"It's a lot of kids with talent out here but they have no means to know who's who to help them in the industry," Lobel said. "Hard work definitely pays off," he said as he continued to explain what he looks for in an artist, "Besides an artist performing on stage, I wanna know if they got loyalty, integrity, work ethic, personality, charisma, style and so on. It's deeper than a style or a beat."

Check out the interview below, and a flyer for the DJ Mustard showcase in the gallery above. Rising rappers should take note of our on-going Heatseeker competition, submissions will open tomorrow at Noon.