In retrospect, King Louie's rising demand not only reflects hip-hop's years, moving away from the age old tale of East vs. West/North vs. South, but in particular, casts light on the listeners dwindling interest in "where from?" and swelling attention towards talent, creativity and relatability. Think about it. Several years ago, could the A$AP Mob, who take a number of cues from southern legends like Pimp C and Three 6 Mafia, made it out of New York? Let's say Bay Area legends Mac Dre (may he rest in peace) and E-40 had found their calling in Atlanta; Would they have become as prolific?
With a legacy like Chicago's, Louie seems to come out of left field, but the trapper insists that he is "showing a side of Chicago that exists, but has never really been brought to surface". Notice, I said "trapper". Drugs are a pretty common thing, no matter where you're from in the U.S., and not unlike others who were blessed with that particular gift of gab, Louie is no stranger to the money it can produce. Hence, he brings his own particular brand of rap gumbo to the table. This distinctive special blend, seasoned with hustling know-how and celebratory swag was able to garner the attention of 2 Chainz and Red Cafe. The slow simmer that started in Chicago has reached a boiling point and after five mixtapes, including a best of with #ManupBandUp Pt.1, Louie plans to drop the much anticipated Dope & Shrimp. Earmilk caught up with the trapper to discuss the upcoming mixtape, his growing following, and future endeavor.
Jahn P: when did you start rapping? How old were you?
King Louie: I started rapping while I was real young, talking grammar school and all. I was probably twelve or so at that time, but what led to this becoming a career for me was a few of the circumstances I experienced. I had been kicked out of high school and was hustling at the time, I had a daughter to feed, a bunch of bills to pay and more. It was these sets of circumstances that really made me put my all into music and use my talent as much as possible. I started releasing mixtapes, soon people started picking up on the music, and it was seeing media outlets like Pitchfork, The Fader, Complex, and the Tribune post my music that made me realize the audience of my music is diverse and is expanding.
JP: It's safe to say that, in today’s rap landscape, where you're from doesn't necessarily dictate your sound. This obviously applies to you. With that said, Chicago hip-hop is particularly known for its "conscious" and lyrically dexterous rappers. With an original flow and clever trap witticisms, you're undoubtedly a lyrical artist, but how do you explain the music's southern vibe? As a born and bred Chicago native, when and where did the influence come?
KL: Well I’d say my music is a reflection of all regions not just the south, people ask me what I identify my music with most and I tell them gumbo. My music is like Chicago, got a mix of a little bit of everything. My beat selection is a little bit more down south too. I’m showing a side of Chicago that exists but has never really been brought to the surface.
JP: A person listening to you for the first time may think that you were from Atlanta. Because of this, did you find it difficult acquiring that original fan base in the Chicago area?
KL: Not at all, the sound of my music is a huge advantage in Chicago. If anything people are extremely receptive to my music in Chicago. The artists that have come out of Chicago before such as Kanye, Common, Lupe, and so forth, are in a completely different category than me, the people in Chicago that first hear my music are probably thinking, this sounds l like nothing I have heard before, this is where my sound is a huge advantage in Chicago and with the views and so forth on the net, I would say Chicago is definitely enjoying my music. I now have fans all over the city from people in my neighborhood to people at DePaul, Northwetern, University of Chicago, and more.
JP: You definitely know how to pick your beats. Where do you get your supply of such great production? Do you often outsource or are most of the producer’s right from your hometown?
KL: I get my production by up and coming Chicago producers that get in contact with me through usually twitter. I support the producers out of Chicago, that way we can have the whole city rocking with us. But because my music is now being featured on sites like Pitchfork, The Fader, XXL, the Source, and more, I have a large amount of people sending me beats from everywhere.
JP: You've already worked with the likes of 2 Chainz, Red Cafe and even fellow Chicago up and comer Rockie Fresh. In the coming year, who else would you like to collaborate with?
KL: I would like to collaborate with Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, and Bump J. Really I would like to collaborate with anyone making good music regardless of what genre they are in, I keep an open mind when it comes to talent.
JP: Where did the idea for Dope & Shrimp come from? And more importantly, what’s the hold up? It was supposed to drop this month, correct?
KL: Well, Dope & Shrimp comes from last summer; all I did was smoke dope and eat shrimp. There is no hold up on the release either, at first we were going to drop it as a mixtape, now we are dropping it as an album; we are releasing it on ITunes. So we are getting beats cleared and paper work done and so forth. Some of the tracks we will be releasing on a mixtape which will drop before the album.
King Louie - Too Cool
JP: Right now, you're on everyone's "People to Watch" list and with "Dope & Shrimp" dropping, your notoriety will most likely reach national scale. What do you want to become expected of you over the next 11 months?
KL: I just want my team and I to get more accomplished, with Dope and Shrimp I want to be successful with album sales, I would like to continue to make my music more mainstream, and 11 months now I would like to see my music on MTV, BET, and more. Also follow me on twitter @1987RudeboiKing , check the video for "Too Cool" too. For booking, interviews, or appearances, contact my publicist, Phill Roche at [email protected]