LuLu Be is straight out of Chicago but discovering her is like finding a new species with her exotic blend of lyrical hiphop and afrobeats. The MC recently released her 5-track EP Lululand. And the entire tape sounds like it was recorded somewhere between palm trees cuddled up with a cheetah. Its extensive use of eclectic claps and unique drum sounds doesn't seem like much of a challenge for LuLu Be. Her lyrical grace makes up for a multitude of sins. And we see no evil here.
Today is LuLu Be's birthday. So its only right we celebrate the success of her EP. Stream Lululand in its entirety below.
Reclaiming my time, removing all triggers— Lulu Be. (@LuluBeyene) December 1, 2017
Being from Chicago, do you feel more pressure to stand-out or succeed being the city houses well-known independent talents like Trapo and SABA?
Big up to my city and our endless talent! I'm really happy that Chicago is finally getting the shine it deserves for being the creative hub that it is. But the pressure to stand out really isn't there. It's more so the pressure to keep up with outside demands of more, more, more. I regularly have to zoom out to remind myself why I truly want to do this music thing. Turning my art into a career is a choice I made because I love music, I love putting people in a place where they can feel good and let go, and the fact that I'm working for myself, on my own time, with the ability to move how I wanna move is a heavyyy vibe. It's very flattering that people have their ears ready for me and are anticipating more but this is still so new to me. I'm trying to move at my own pace to create long-lasting work that is true and unrushed.
What kind of decision goes into deciding to pursue an afrobeats sound in a space that is dominated by hiphop sounds like trap? Your music is exotic and still very lyrical.
There really wasn't a decision to pursue a specific sound. Growing up in a diverse neighborhood where most of the kids were my age and also first generation Americans like me, I listened to a wide range of different cultures' music. So this sound was already buried inside me, I just needed the help of a producer with a similar ear to help me execute it.
Finding you is like finding a new species. Who are your musical influences, now and when you were growing up?
Hahahaha! That's too funny! I'm smiling so hard, thank you so much! My musical influences were all over the place. Growing up it was Lauryn Hill, Tweet, Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, Sean Paul, Q tip, DMX, Vybz Kartel, Ms. Jade, Mr. Vegas and so many more thanks to my oldest brother David. He would let me run through his tape collection which I then graduated to running through his cd collection. The moment I learned how to burn cds it was OVA.
Right now, my influences aren't too different from when I was growing up. The only addition would really be M.I.A. Now SHE is a rare species. I love her. She's so misunderstood and she gives no fucks. Going to her concert for the first time at the Aragon in Chicago, I think back in 2007/'8, was like a spiritual awakening for me. Dead ass I felt something change inside. Kind of like everything that had been calloused or kind of dull inside me instantly bounced tf back with a vibrancy. My siblings and I recently talked about that on a drunk night. It kinda tweaked us out...in the best way. The power of beautiful music is something words can't truly express. It's the soul's medicine. That day at the concert, M.I.A. gave me my dose and that shits been fueling me since.
Lululand has just 5-tracks. Tell us the process of creating Lululand and how long it took to complete the project.
Lululand really wasn't meant to be a project. What I really wanted to do was keep dropping tracks until I felt like I was naturally ready to drop a project. All I kept hearing was that nobody wants to hear separate tracks. "It's better to drop a project", "this is the right way it's done"...shit like that. I was really frustrated throughout this process because it felt like a fight. I love making music. I want to put tracks out for people to vibe. Rude Tings was my first track that came purely from the vibe inside. I had no follow up or no direction. I just wanted to keep doing me, but the "structure" of the business is what threw me a little bit. So I gave in and the first little bunch of tracks that I finished recording became Lululand. I sat on those tracks for a while until I was just like fuck it, I'm dropping this on October 13th - and after this nobody can tell me shit about the way I drop my music.
It sounds like you found a zone somewhere between palm trees and being cuddled up with a Cheetah. Where did you record LuluLand?
Haha! Yess! That’s the exact feel and warmth that I get when I write. I start off writing and recording references of all of my songs alone at my house. I don’t really work well with other people in my space, especially at the beginning stages of a song. But once I basically get the outline of a song done, I then go record at a studio. That's basically how I did Lululand. I'd finish writing, link up with Lanre, we'd finish arranging the beat at his house, and then we would go record at Classick Studios.
What types of creative projects do you have up your sleeve for 2018? New music? New project?
Yes! There's definitely new music coming. I don't wanna speak on any projects yet but I'm really excited about the music I'm making right now. I'm in a different space that's letting me nurture certain talents that have been sleep in my system. I already love 2018 for what it is and we're not even in month 2 yet.