Alien-like in intrigue and originality, but actually an anthropoid hailing from Staten Island, New York, Lou The Human is a rapper with rhymes so raw and at times twisted, it’s hard to turn away. He first appeared last year with a lone track ‘Brink’, but in recent months he’s been steadily churning out more songs and videos causing havoc in the streets.
We caught up with the hip-hop wunderkind to find out more about his past, present and future…
MusicMap: Hi Lou, how are you? The last few months seem to have popped off for you – what have you been doing?
Lou The Human: Hey man, I’m chilling, just been finessing life. Milly rocking on any block you know how shit goes.
I was first turned on to your music as it really stands out from everything else in hip-hop at the moment. Is it a conscious decision to steer clear of the more melodic rap and trap that is around right now?
Yeah, everybody’s kinda doing the same shit. I do like some of the shit out though honestly. I just had a plan and I’m seeing it through.
I have to admit, the first thing that came to mind when hearing your songs was the comparison to early Eminem. Maybe not in sound but in its boldness and shock factor. Who would you say your main influences are, past and present?
Eminem, Kanye West, Pharrell, Kid Cudi, Aaliyah, Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, MJ!
I can see the Kurt similarities too. When did you start making your own music and what was it like?
I started rapping at like 11, started producing about 12, both were on and off though. I remember having FL studio like 5 maybe, super early demo version, couldn’t even save projects I used to have 10 tabs open at a time. I remember I cried when my first computer crashed and i lost 300+ beats. Shit sucked.
I find your videos quite mesmerising. The colour palette makes them look like something out of a gritty psychological thriller. At the same time there is a real feel of D.I.Y. as if you’ve just run out into the street with a camera. How do you come up with the concepts, is it something you’re very involved in with the director?
Yeah man thanks I’m glad you appreciate that. I’ve been very involved in my videos since the first one. Isaac (the director) is a genius and we just bounce ideas off each other. All the takes are one take, no cutscenes or anything. Do you know how hard it is to get everything to happen perfect in one moment? So much stress!
From the videos you’ve released it seems as if the visual is an important aspect to you. As you’re starting to play more shows, will the live performance incorporate this?
Yes, yes and yes. I’m actually a really artsy fartsy person, I take this shit serious. You’ll never see my name attached to some wack shit or in a struggle video or some shit. I’m really in this for the art. I don’t see myself as a rapper, I produce my shit, co-direct my shit, do all my cover art and art in general, I kinda see it like a play I’m putting on, so I’m definitely gonna have fun with the live shows.
We’ve been listening to the songs so much around here. Please tell me you’re working on an album? I know you produce and make beats too. How is the process coming along?
Thank you. Well the first projects been done. I’m finishing the second now. I’ve honestly made a lot of projects, some that will never see the light of day. I’m experimenting a lot right now musically. Trying to take it a little further than just rap.
New Yorkers are famously proud people. Does being from Staten Island influence your music?
Hell yeah. I was born in Brooklyn. Brooklyn births the best rappers lol. I’ve lived in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten. My pops was from the Bronx, my mom Brooklyn so New York is in my blood. Staten is home. A lot of people don’t know but Staten is getting really bad too. One side of the island is dying from heroin overdoses and the other side people are just dying getting shot and shit. I’m from the latter. Growing up in NYC taught me how to move cautiously and be aware of my surroundings. New York reminds me of a jungle. I love it though. It’s a big ass playground too. Sorry I’m ranting!
At 21 years old most people are still finding their feet. What else fuels your creativity? Was there any other path you might have gone down other than music?
Since I was really young I always knew I was gonna do dope shit. I was always like ahead, I liked certain artists way before the world caught on and I dressed certain ways and got made fun of before it was cool. So I always kinda knew who I was. I wanted to do film in high school, wasn’t thinking about rap. I used to be a really smart kid lol I kinda feel like I sold myself short with rap I coulda been the best doctor if I learned the ABC’s of being a doctor. A lot of shit bores me though. I’m ranting again aren’t I?
No, I’d say it’s passion not ranting. There’s a line in ‘Lou’s Dead’ about doing features for ‘wack rappers’ – speaking of which have you been approached to do any collaborations or features, or is there anyone you’d want to work with on your own material?
No. I hate rappers. I need a Cardi B verse though. Can I just say this here? I love Cardi B. Like even before the hype of ‘Bodak Yellow’ I swear I was telling people she’s nasty. I love an underdog. She’s not suppose to thrive, she’s a Bronx girl, reality show star. I can relate to any underdog. So yeah shout to Cardi B I need a verse from her. I need a Pharrell beat. I love Syd too from The Internet, I would work with her. My thing is, I can be a fan of something but at the same time know that not everyone I’m a fan of I gotta work with. I need a Rebecca Black verse lol.
I noticed on Twitter that you’re a John Mayer fan, could that be a potential future collaboration?
A boy can dream.
Finally Lou, what’s your favourite album of all time?
Interview: Roxy Shah