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Austin native uses hip-hop to heal and to take on gentrification

Staff Writer
Austin 360
Lench Martinez has been cutting hair since he was 13, but for years he didn’t get his license, worried that barber schools would reject him because of his hand. Kelly West/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

On the door of Austin’s Most Wanted, a no-frills barbershop in an industrial strip off Burleson Road in Southeast Austin, a muscular character with an impeccable fade smirks through prison bars he bends like rubber bands. Inside, Lawrence “Lench” Martinez efficiently wields his clippers to help his clients achieve similar swag.

Working with his left hand, the only hand he has, he shears away unruly shag, sculpting clean hairlines, sharp sideburns and goatees. The 32-year-old native Austinite started cutting hair when he was 13 years old, but he’s had his license only since 2016. He finished barber school and landed this steady gig shortly after he caught regional heat as a rapper, stunning the city with his incisive take on gentrification: “What Happened to Austin? (My Beautiful City).”

Read more about Martinez and his take on a changing Austin in a story on our premium website, Mystatesman.com.