King Los

Fresh off the release of his new mixtape, Zero Gravity II, I sat down to chop it up with King Los at 25 Degrees in Hollywood…….and had quite possibly the best milkshake of my life. Los and I, along with his longtime girlfriend Lola Monroe, had just left the Revolt studios across the street, catching YG’s show and bicken back bein’ bool with him and his 400 crew before hunger…and business…prevailed. I wanted to catch up with the Baltimore wordsmith to discuss his new project, and get the word straight from the horse’s mouth on his Bad Boy departure and all the rumors surrounding the recipient of Diddy’s epic rant sampled on Rick Ross’ Mastermind cut, “Nobody.”

In the last month alone, Los celebrated his son’s first birthday, his own birthday, released a thorough project that trended on Twitter for days, and embarked on a cross-country journey with longtime friend and collaborator, Kid Ink, for the “My Own Lane” tour…and that’s all surface stuff. An hour, 2 turkey burgers and that amazing milkshake later…I learned there’s so much more going on in this King’s court than most realize, and the future is looking royally good. Find out what he and Wale are plotting, what Weezy is inquiring and what Drake told him during a recent run-in below!

Interview by: Marisa Mendez

So Zero Gravity 2 has had a little time to circulate now. It dropped at an interesting time, having announced your Bad Boy departure almost simultaneously. Has that diverted attention away from the music, or is it being received like you’d hoped?
It’s gotten a GREAT response. People like it. A lot. I think it was a bit more than what people expected. They thought I was just going to put out a bunch of freestyles and it was actual records.

It trended in the U.S. for days upon its release and has been downloaded over 200k times on DatPiff alone in 2 weeks, so I’d say you’re doing something right.
I think so!

When Rick Ross stopped by Hot 97 to promote Mastermind last month, his track “Nobody” was a topic of conversation, because of the audio it features on the record of Diddy spazzing on an unknown person. When you were asked about it at MTV, you were pretty elusive, but almost hinted that it could have been you…but that there was way more to the story.
The only reason I haven’t really got in depth about it… They gave it so much life, that I didn’t want to be the person to say something opposing to what they had eluded to it being.

“You wanted to f#ckin’ walk around these roaches. These n*ggas is roaches. These n*ggas is mere motherf#ckin’ mortals. I’m tryna push you to supreme being. You don’t wanna motherf#ckin’… You don’t wanna embrace your destiny, you wanna get by. You don’t wanna go into the motherf#ckin’ dark where it’s lonely. You can’t handle the motherf#ckin’, the pain of the motherf#ckin’ not knowing when the sh*t is gonna stop.

You f#ckin’ wanna walk around these n*ggas? What the f#ck is their culture? Where the f#ck is their souls at? What defines you? These n*ggas with these f#ckin’ silly looks on their faces. You wanna walk around with them or you wanna walk with God, n*gga? Make up your goddamn mind.

F#ckin’ wanna talk about f#ckin’ jewelries and Bentley’s and Hublot’s and f#ckin’ art that n*ggas ain’t got on their f#ckin’ walls and f#ckin’ mansions n*ggas ain’t got. N*ggas can’t even pay the IRS, let alone their f#ckin’ staff, n*gga. You gotta tell the truth, man. The truth’ll set you free, son, the truth will set you free.”

They never put it on you, though.
No, they didn’t, but people did. Somebody did, because that’s how it was said to me. That’s how it was mentioned to me. Like, the fact that it was even brought up to me means someone put it to me. I had the original recording.

Of that conversation?
Yeah, and it was just a recording. It wasn’t really a conversation.

So, it wasn’t real. More of like, a hypothetical conversation?
It was real, but it wasn’t like, actual. It was real in the sense that the sh*t he was saying was real sh*t, but it wasn’t like a situation that was going on.

It wasn’t directed toward anyone.
Right. He was saying all this different sh*t about how he felt, and we were having a conversation where he was saying this sh*t, and he was like, “Yo, record this! Record this!” So it was like that.

Got you. So Puff wasn’t coming at anyone.
Nah! We had been listening to all these inspirational quotes and motivational speakers and you know, he’s one. So you know, when he’s in his mode, it’s like – press play! Press record, and you can use it! Even if you want to just listen to it, or if you want to put it on a song, use it as an interlude…it was that type of thing. All I’m going to say is that everyone knows when Puff speaks, you press record, because he’s going to say something that’s worth using.

You referred to Puff as your mentor in a recent interview. Despite parting ways with the label, do you still have that same relationship?
Yeah, I just talked to him this morning. Like, he gave me the option to do what I did.

I mean, you’d already left once prior and the door was open for you to come back, so there’s obviously a great dynamic and understanding between you two.
Right, it’s not a personal thing.

I think I read somewhere that you felt Interscope wasn’t backing you like they should have been?
It wasn’t even that. That’s not even what it was, you know what I’m saying? That’s peoples’ perspective on it! That’s what they think, but it’s really none of that. It’s really the fact that everybody was sort of parting ways.

Well what’s up with Bad Boy? Has it completely dissolved and Interscope absorbed everyone?
Nah, Bad Boy is always Bad Boy. People just get misinformation and just run with it! It’s so unhealthy, and that’s why a lot of the time I just don’t say speak on it. I don’t want to drop the bomb, but it’s basically the whole Bad Boy/Interscope thing and Puff becoming his own brand now. With me being signed to Interscope, he basically gave me the option to do whatever I wanted to do, whether I wanted to stay on Interscope or explore other options – with him being there regardless to help me do whatever I need to do. He gave me that option, and we made that decision together. It wasn’t like, “leaving Bad Boy.” It’s just, he’s so big, that people just wanna attach everything to him.

Well, being independent actually seems like the way to go now anyway. If you look at the success stories of a Nipsey Hussle or a Macklemore without the backing of a major label, it’s amazing and it’s a game-changer. Are you even worried about a label push anymore, or do you feel like doing the indie thing might actually benefit you more?
I’m looking for something bigger. Maybe I’ll start my own label and just get distribution, like Ross did with Maybach. You know, it’s never too early. The earlier the better, actually.

When I asked Twitter what they wanted me to ask you, one follower wanted to know because of your close relationship with Royce Da 5’9, would Shady Records ever be considered as a potential home?
Again, it would depend on the situation, the way it was structured, but I would definitely do business with them just because of the previous success and the way they understand the structure. Especially with like a Dre, Em…even somebody like 50! I think outside of himself, he understands branding and marketing, and that’s something that people don’t get. But I would just need my own situation.

Would you sign to a crew again, like a Taylor Gang or a TDE type of thing?
I would probably be more independent than actually just trying to be someone’s artist. So unless I had a proper situation, it’d be like going backwards.

Hip-hop is in such an amazing phase right now. Cali has a huge resurgence, New York is back on the map, ATL is still doing its thing… Do you feel like now is the time to go about doing something to get the DMV in that conversation?
It’s about outlets. It’s funny, I just talked to Wale like two days ago. He’s like, “Yo, I wanna talk some business with you! You know, it’s funny… Some of the younger entrepreneurs have approached me about doing sh*t with them, like Wale, Tyga – they was like, “Yo, what’s up?” I even heard that Wayne inquired some sh*t! I had a conversation with Mack Maine and Mack was just like, “Yo, what’s up? What’s going on?” Of course I’m cool with Cortez, so it’s a lot of different speculating going on and people want to know what’s up. My whole thing is, like I said, it would have to be the perfect situation. If I did something where I was an artist of a person, it would have to be someone who totally is all in, and who could take it to the next level – like Wayne did with Drake and with Nicki. You know what I mean? Like the personal extra mile like Ross did with Meek and Wale, it has to be that extra.

“You know, it’s funny… Some of the younger entrepreneurs have approached me about doing sh*t with them, like Wale, Tyga – they was like, “Yo, what’s up?” I even heard that Wayne inquired some sh*t!”

But even then sometimes, there’s no guarantee.
You have to guarantee yourself! That’s where the difference comes in at. It’s not up to the label head, it’s up to you. They’re just the extra boost! My thing is, if I’m going to make it on my own anyway, I might as well just do it my own way. If I’m going to do this with you, it has to be structured in our agreement that this is what’s going to happen, and they have to take that extra initiative of like, family value, like, “Yo, I care about you despite music, and I see how hard you work, and I’ll match that.” And that’s dope! And if not, do your own thing, create that with your own people! You know? I had a really good talk with J. Prince Sr. That’s kind of the first real conversation I had on like, a boss level – like, being where you need to be and setting up the things that come behind you. I mean, you got to think of it…people don’t think past ‘go.’ All they ever told us was get a record deal.

That’s when the real work starts.
Right! So that was always the main goal, the end-all, be-all! You know, just get signed, get a deal! That’s not even what it’s about! It’s like shooting pool or playing chess. It’s about your next move, it’s not about that move. Set yourself up for the next move. So after people get a deal, they don’t have a next move. You might get a deal and be on the shelf, or never come out or…

Hell yeah! I mean, look at someone like YG for example! He got that Def Jam deal in early 2010 off “Toot It & Boot It,” and he finally get them to listen and pay attention in mid-2013! It took years, but he finally got My Krazy Life out. It really is a lot more work after you get signed than to get signed.
I mean, to be honest with you, if you have a machine that wants you to win, it’s not as much work because you have a building working for you. If you get in somewhere and you feel it’s weird, 9 times of of 10 – it’s weird. You have to do extra things and still feel like you’re not signed. A title doesn’t change anything, you know. Like if I said boyfriend and girlfriend, that doesn’t change the relationship just because we changed the title. You just have to put that actual work in, and unless you have somebody that wants to set you up for those moves… They got to want to set you up for that, and people that have that power don’t always necessarily do that for people. So first and foremost, you have to do it for yourself and if you do it for yourself, it’s nice to have somebody to meet you halfway and just give you that extra push. Em did it to 50, 50 did it for The Game, to a certain degree. I don’t know wherever they fell out at, but to some degree, Fif did that. Dre did it with the Kendrick’s, the Eminem’s, the 50’s… Just to have that extra, “You know what? You’re ready. To the moon! Let’s go! All you have to do is keep going and I got you!” It’s that sorta of thing, man. Who wants you to win?

It’s about relationships. When you and Wale talked, what did you two discuss? What is he thinking?
First and foremost, he wants to brand The DMV.

That makes sense, and now is the time to do it. 
He wants to do more work together and he wants to create something. I don’t think he knows exactly what it is just yet, but whatever it is, it is has good intentions. He just wants to create something, so it’s just a matter of trying to figure out what. A lot of times, you have to have certain pieces in place, or just mention certain things while you go back and try to structure it. It’s kind of like when you hook two people up in class that didn’t even know they liked each other…

Like planting the seeds..
Yeah! You start planting and before you know it, they like each other. It’s kind of like you have to speak things into fruition sometimes, and I think that’s what Wale was doing. Then he went back and he started getting a situation going. I think he has a situation now and he’s in power to do certain things with artists, so I think that’s his next move.

Is there any artist that you or that he mentioned that you’re checking for from that area?
If I’m not mistaken, he helped Trel. He’s from D.C. He got with MMG, and they immediately got behind him.

MMG really pushes every single artist from jump.
I love that!

Switching gears a little… Since Lola is here with us, I’d love to know what the home dynamic’s like? Do you guys kind of check the rap sh*t at the door, or are you sitting at home working on music too?
We’re super regular at home. Like really homey, hanging with our son, making dinner. My mom’s a chef, and she lives with us and cooks every day.

Is it tough leaving that to hit the road?
No, I always have a few dates in the area so I get to go home. At the end of the day, somebody has to go bring home the bacon!

What do you put on your tour rider? 
I’m not fancy. I look out for other people more, like my boys like to smoke, I’m really simple. I just need water and fruit.

No socks? I know a lot of artists like to ask for socks. They’re the first to get lost on the road.
I might ask for socks! You put me up on game. I love socks. What’s your favorite kind of socks?

The kind that don’t slip when I’m wearing sneakers, like slipping under my heel.
So you’re rocking with ankle cut socks.

Yeah, but not flimsy ones.
See I wear high socks.

Yeah but I can’t because I wear short pants, and then you’ll see my socks.
You know, with some styles that’s cool. Do you wear Vans or no?

No, I literally just bought my first pair of Chucks so I’m just getting into this sneaker thing. I’ll get there. It’s a slow progression.
First pair? Step your game up! Chucks are the best. They’re universal. You know when they look the best? When they get a little scuffed up!

Yes, that’s what Machine Gun Kelly told me! I was kind of apprehensive because I’m a neat freak, but I’m trying.
No, it’s really okay. Dirty Chucks are the sh*t…but it has to be naturally dirty.

Yeah, not like I just went and kicked rocks for an hour…

So what’s next for you? I know you have the tour, but what are you going to do after that?
After the tour, I’m gonna figure out whatever that situation is…like how I’m about to bring this movement, like how I’m about to be structured. It’ll be about that time, about a month or so from now, tour will be wrapped. I usually do my own tour top, so it’s gonna be weird. I got figure out how that’s gonna go.

Who else do you wanna work with that you haven’t yet?
I need to work with Yeezy, Weezy, Nas…

I mean, the Wayne thing should be easy now since you’re on his radar.
Man, that would be dope! I actually LOVE Lil Wayne right now!

Like the stuff he’s putting out currently?
The current status of just, Wayne-isms right now. I went a long time when people would say like, “Who’s your favorite rapper?” and for a long time I wasn’t f#cking with nobody, just because influentially it was just like nobody was making me feel any kind of way. But it’s Andre 3000, and then it’s Wayne. I’m just like, you can’t not like Lil Wayne! And then of course Drake…I actually saw Drake a few weeks ago. He was in L.A., and he was like, “Man, you got bars!”

Drake knows, man! He is really up on music for real. He was talking about French Montana in like 2008/2009, he was up on Lil Bibby and put him on Instagram…Drake knows what’s up.
Drake is a fan of music!

Right, and the people he’s co-signed or been a fan of, they’ve obviously gone on to see some real success, so for him to come to you says a lot.
His ear is in tune! I’m still tuning my ear, I’m still building my ear, for when I hear beats or someone else’s music and hear the genius in it, and be able to duplicate that myself. Drake has been doing that for a while, even with songs like “Every Girl” or even “Best I Ever Had.” If you listen to that song melodically, he’s taken his music to a whole new level now. That was really flat, and he grew. It just showed how his ear grew. He’s amazing. French Montana melodically too, he’s nuts. Like I said, I’m still building my ear, but I definitely aim to get there.

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