Everybody has an opinion on hip-hop these days – and you know what they say about opinions. But cutting through the din of the now-deafening echo chamber of what constitutes hip-hop’s essence is one truth that transcends sentiment: That its sound and spirit have been expanded by a multiplicity of expressive modes. In Singapore, Louie Indigo, who recently released his third single “Switch Lanes”, is mining that polysemic vein for that life-elevating sense of liberation and fulfilment that comes with having a good time. Below, he breaks news of his upcoming projects and details his flex-heavy ethos.
What drew you to rap?
I started out by listening to rap. I picked up DJing when I was seven. My cousins were DJs so you could say I grew up around DJs. There was always LL Cool J, Michael Jackson and Tupac playing. Along the way, I got into metal: Metallica, Iron Maiden etc. But my musical foundation is hip-hop.
“I know it’s braggadocious – but I like it.”
Hip-hop has undergone many facelifts since then. Where do you think it’s at now?
Right now, I think it’s moving towards hardcore and metal. Those types of heavier sounds are getting infused into hip-hop in a big way. Go check out Rap Caviar on Spotify and you’ll see. I think the Migos-inspired trap sound will die out and something harder and heavier will take its place.
Why do you think that is?
Can you listen to Migos on a long drive? Or can you listen to Metallica? Laughs. I mean, it’s dope when you hear in the club but you can’t hear it all the time.
Post Malone is someone who sits at that sort of musical sweet spot but hip-hop purists write him off as a joke.
What I like about him is that he’s willing to go out there and experiment. Like on “Rockstar”, he sings in a Carnatic style, which is something that Freddie Mercury did as well. I don’t think people should write him off just because he’s white. As long as the music is good, every artist should be taken seriously.
You’ve got three singles out. How would you judge your musicality over the course of the three drops?
Production-wise, I’ve developed a better ear for my own music – I know my own sound. When I was younger, I used to get easily influenced by trends. Back then, I wanted to sound like Lil Wayne and Akon. But now I’m comfortable in my own style; I know what I’m saying. I know it’s braggadocious – but I like it. But on my EP, I’ll have some variety.
Tell us more about the EP.
There’ll be five songs. I haven’t nailed down the fundamentals of it all but I’ve laid out a draft on how I want it to sound and where it’ll go, musically. I’m working with producers overseas whom I’ve been following for a while. The working title is Legacy. But it might change. I don’t want it to be too serious. I know where I stand. I plan on dropping it on October 14, which is my birthday. We’ll see.
Flexing is a part of your music and you’ve addressed why it’s crucial to what you do. Is there anything more you’d like to say about it?
I’d like to say that if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. I’m just having fun. I know that I’m not Tupac – and I’m not trying to be Tupac. I like going to house parties and I used to rap at some of them. When I started rapping, I brought that style into my music. I’m not doing anything serious. I’ve got other serious things to worry about.
I’m not concerned about keeping it ‘real’. Firstly, what’s ‘real’ to one individual may not be that way for somebody else. Secondly, if I were to rap about ‘real’ things, what would I say? That I live in an HBD flat and have a first-world education? Those things are more of a flex than whatever I say in my songs. I don’t want to be that guy, but if you look at the golden era of hip-hop, you’ll see that not every song is heartfelt or socially conscious. “California Love”, is a good example of that. Within hip-hop, that’s whole different art form.