Lou The Human doesn't give a fuck.
That's what he keeps telling me, anyway. As we talk, the 21-year-old Staten Island rapper flips back and forth between serious, thoughtful answers and moments where he's obviously fucking with me. Our conversation feels a lot like his music: intelligent, rebellious, and a little twisted.
Introducing himself in early 2016 with "Brink," a bare-bones track that features Lou's deranged wordplay over a gritty self-produced beat, he's drawn comparisons to Eminem—an easy connection to make considering he directly references an early Marshall Matthers freestyle midway through the song.
At this point, we don't have a lot to go on. "Brink" is still the only song he's released, but the technical skill, aggressive mentality, and bizarre outside-the-box songwriting has us intrigued. In a time when hip-hop is dominated by rappers who make fun melodic music—but don't necessarily rap all that well—Lou is a refreshing counterbalance. He can rap with the best of them. But don't expect serious, politically-conscious bars, either. He has fun in his own punk-inspired, maniacal way.
Watch "Brink" below and continue for our conversation.
You've said that you want to approach your music like you’re "Heath Ledger playing The Joker in Batman. A sick character who mixes comedy and darkness.” Can you tell me more about that?
Yeah, that was for the first project [Humaniac EP]. It's a conceptual project of me kind of going crazy. I think a lot of crazy people are geniuses, so I guess I was trying to find that thin line between genius and crazy.
In “Brink” you reference an Eminem lyric from his “Weed Lacer” freestyle. Why did you include that line?
I included that line because I thought I could get over on people and no one would notice [laughs]. Obviously Eminem is the GOAT and one of the main reasons I started rapping when I was younger. It was to pay homage. Em's the GOAT.
A lot of people gave me shit about that, but we can't act like Jay Z didn't say like 40 Biggie lines. It's just a thing in rap to pay homage.
One of my favorite lines in “Brink” is when you say "A genius child, but I'd rather play the fool, ignorance is blissful." It’s clear from your lyrics that you’re an intelligent guy who could make “smart” songs if you wanted to, but you take things in a more twisted direction. Why do you prefer that style?
I think if I was to come out and make a super smart, conscious song, I would never have got the type of attention I got from "Brink." So, it's kind of a calculated decision. But I wanted to make sure my first project captures teenage angst and that feeling of wanting to fuck shit up. I mean, I'm smart but I hate when rappers use a bunch of big words and you end up not even understanding what they're trying to say.
"Brink" and the first EP in general was just a lot of fun to make. I just enjoy fucking with people and pushing people's buttons. I think a lot of people are just really sensitive nowadays, so the whole shock factor of the things that I'm saying really gets to people. My attitude is super punk and I just want to have fun with this shit.
Some of your lyrics get pretty dark and twisted. What draws you to that?
Honestly, I probably shouldn't even say this—but I'm not even really like that. I like to sit around and smoke and listen to jazz music. I don't watch Hannibal Lecter every day [laughs].
But when I was making this project, I was going through a lot of frustration. I was in and out of my mom's house, getting kicked out, and people were offering me shitty contracts. And I was channeling a lot of that aggression and depression into the music.
My influence is life. But musically, there are so many people to name: Big Pun, Nas, Jay Z, Redman. Man, I don't even know where to go with that, there are so many people.
You just listed a few New York rappers and obviously you were born in Brooklyn and now live in Staten Island. How do you think being from New York affects your music?
New York is very important. New York shaped me into the individual I am today. Growing up in New York and rapping, you kind of have to want to be the best. And that's the thing that's kind of lost in rap right now. But New York, it's the birthplace. It's the Mecca. I've left a bunch of times and I always find out there's nowhere else like New York. It's really important to me with my process. I'm actually in New York right now. I came back to record my second project.
Right now there are a lot of rappers making fun, melodic music who aren’t technically all that great at rapping. Then there are guys who are technically great, rapping about heavy social topics. You seem to be in the middle, rapping really well about shit that isn’t that serious. Do you think there’s a place for a rapper like you in 2017?
There's no place for me in rap in 2017. I'm just doing this to date Selena Gomez.
You produced “Brink” yourself and I read that you've also made beats for guys like Jazz Cartier and The Underachievers. Did you start making beats before rapping? How did you get into all of this?
I started rapping in 5th or 6th grade. Everyone around me was doing it and everyone in school was doing it. So I was battle rapping and freestyling and all that. Somewhere in 7th or 8th grade, it got boring. So I started making beats. I couldn't find anyone to produce my stuff, so I started making beats and I left rap alone for awhile.
A lot of my teen years were just kind of spent cookin'. I was learning FL Studio and then I moved to Logic. I was learning piano. I actually gave rap up for awhile, but I revisited it when I got out of high school. I intended on only being a producer, but due to life I guess, I ended up rapping again.
How did you get linked up with Jazz and The Underachievers?
Ok, cool, so I actually never produced for Jazz. I mean, I know Jazz and we've worked before. I've done records with Jazz and I don't know why that's floating around that I produced for Jazz, but Jazz is the homie. He reached out awhile ago and we linked up in Toronto maybe in like 2012 or 2013. And he's been the homie ever since. The Underachievers are the homies, too. I was just really hungry a couple years ago. I'm still hungry now still, too, but I was hungry a couple years ago—just sending everybody beats that I could. That definitely helped me get a foot in the door.
You included the same drawing on your cover art and in your video. Can you explain what the significance of that is?
I drew that. It's kind of a picture of Fin The Human from Adventure Time, where I got my name. I came up with the name when I guess I was 18 or 19. I was doing a lot of LSD at the time and I was watching Adventure Time. I don't know, I guess things just stuck. It's kind of symbolic. The crown kind of means knowledge in a way. I want to leave it up for interpretation, so I don't want to say too much, but to me the crown is knowledge and he's blowing his brains out, too. It's that double-edged sword of genius and crazy.
Why was "Brink" the song you chose to put out first and introduce yourself to the world with?
I've wanted to tell this story for awhile, actually. I used to be in a group and I guess due to conflict of interests, it ended up not working out. And I ended up in this situation where I was just sitting on my projects. So I had just tweeted the song out and a friend of mine called me and said, "Lets shoot a video for it." So we shot the video and it was just a snowball effect from there. I started getting calls from LA telling me not to sign [laughs] and a bunch of people started trying to manage me.
So it was like a happy accident. It ended up creating this whole world that we're doing now. We never even meant for it to mean anything and once I started talking to all these industry people, they saw meanings in it that I didn't even think of. They were saying the mask guy represented my demons or society or peer pressure. And that's when I kind of started realizing, like, art is definitely up to interpretation. But yeah, we definitely didn't mean for this shit to blow up like this.
"Brink" doesn't have any hooks or choruses or anything. It's just a beat and verses. Is that what the majority of your music is or do you make other kinds of stuff, too?
I don't know how to write hooks, but I want to be the rap game Tim McGraw.
You put out the music video for “Brink” over a year ago… but we haven’t heard from you since. What have you been up to?
Yeah, I just got out of a real long-term relationship with a dyke and now I'm trying to find myself.
Do you have anything else coming soon?
I've got a lot of music and it's been sitting in the vault for awhile. I definitely have a follow-up project to Humaniac that is very left of Humaniac. I'm making more structured songs. I've got a lot of fire. For now, we're trying to get these next videos out, create some merch, and hopefully tour.
Is there anything I missed that you'd like to add?
Oh, damn, okay, I definitely wanted to say that in female rap, the game has definitely gotten super sexualized. There need to be a lot more dykes. If any dyke is interested in fucking the rap gang up, hit me up and we can start a collective. Dyke gang.
Daily Discovery is a feature that highlights a new or recently discovered artist who we’re excited about. See the rest of our Daily Discoveries here.