Hip Hop Headquarters sits down with West Los Angeles rapper Louis King.
Describe the typical Louis King fan.
I think there is no “typical” Louis King fan. My fans are diverse and often find themselves breaking stereotypes. People who identify with my music often want to better themselves or their situation. These are people who at times can be desperate for change and long for motivation, inspiration and a positive energy that gives them hope and lets them know they are not alone. These are the cool kids and the outcasts, the Harvard grads and the lifers in San Quentin, children from the streets and children in the suburbs, fosters, people with mental health issues, people who have been labeled criminals or lazy because of the soup that was given to them. Gangstas, strippers, office workers, artists, entrepreneurs, Subway sandwich makers…a little bit of everything. But most often people that have or are looking to manifest dreams to reality and transform their adversity into triumph.
What’s your favorite verse in hiphop history and why?
Difficult to commit to one verse but I’m just gonna speak from the heart. One of my fav verses as a child was Edi Mean’s Verse on “Baby Don’t Cry”. I grew up with a single mother and that verse really spoke to me. I also loved the verses from 2Pac on “Crazy”, “Me Against the World”, and “Brenda’s Got A Baby” specifically because I heard about the significance of the decision 2Pac made to put “Brenda’s Got a Baby” out as a single at that time in the music industry. It’s an example of an artist really taking control of their platform and insisting on using their voice to make an impact. Using storytelling to break new barriers by bringing real life community issues we’re facing into the conversation. A couple honorable mentions: also Big L on “Dangerous”, Eminem “If I Had”/“Forgot About Dre”, Biggie “Gimme The Loot”, Kendrick “Sing About Me”… too many A1 verses to remember.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned through your social work in prisons?
Never judge a book by its cover. Throwing people away doesn’t fix people. When you look at who is locked up in our country and for what reasons; on a macro level looking at mass incarceration; sometimes it’s not the people that need fixing but the system that got them there itself.
What is the most significant way your father influenced you musically?
Music was and still is his life…the dedication…the sacrifice…most of the time I spent with my father during my childhood we were making music together, either at a show or class or rehearsal or just in whatever spare time. His music also holds significant spiritual meaning in each of those songs and I guess that’s a part of the reason my music is very spiritual and message oriented. My life is surrounded by music and art all around me. People think I’m crazy for working like I do and releasing 156 songs on this “Beautiful Grind” but I was truly bred for this… I know my purpose and I’ve known it since I was a baby and I can thank both my father and mother for that. My mom is also an amazing musician and artist, not to mention she managed the band while raising a family.
What track of yours do you think you should go down in history for and why?
That’s a good question. I’m not sure if that song has come yet but I think “25” is a very important song right now as we come back into June (2Pac’s birthday month). It speaks truth as to what our young black and brown youth are dealing with and it proves that many of Pac’s points are still relevant. Mass incarceration is real and we’ve got to use our arts, voices and platforms to fight the war in these trenches. I won’t go down in history for a track…I will go down in history for my body of work and the impact it made.