Enimal is here to make an impact on the world, doing his part in becoming one of the greats. Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, the musician prides himself in his melting pot of talents: rapping, producing, engineering, acting, and being an “all-around entertainer and fly guy straight out of LA.”
The city of Angels is everything to Enimeezy, who does a lot for the city. He states, “LA gave me my swag, my sense of identity, my purpose. I want to put on for the city, be known for being from the city. I want to make new waves and showcase what I can do, how I fit into the landscape. We’re doing our thing right now, I want to be known for my own pocket in that resurgence. ”
Of course, being Issa Rae’s brother comes with its own perks (featured in seasons 1 through 3 of her hit show on HBO, Insecure) — but Enimal asks for no handouts. With an unwavering dedication and hunger for perfecting his craft, he returns with his newest single and visual titled “Zig Zag,” which sees him flexing his drip and rapping with confidence.
Enimal’s music has been picked up for placements within the NBA, the NFL, and Call of Duty, even acting in an anti-tobacco ad that was played on television during the NBA playoffs. Still, his down-to-earth personality and humility is much appreciated, reminding the masses that they too can follow their dreams by simply working hard and staying passionate.
Flaunt caught up with Enimal in downtown Los Angeles to discuss his roots in LA, shooting “Zig Zag” on the iPhone, love for fashion, Kobe Bryant’s impact, and more!
Enimal is your first name Lamine, spelled backwards. When did you decide to flip it?
I must’ve been 7 years old. I was watching Muppet Babies, there’s an episode where an animal was the great Lamina. It was ‘animal’ backwards, I thought “that sounds like my name.” I asked my mom “what’s my name backwards?” She said “well it’s Enimal. If you were a girl, I would’ve named you Lamina.” After that day, that’s when I knew.
What made you change your name to Enimeezy?
It was time for an evolution, time for change. I’d been feeling it for a while, then everywhere I went, everybody always said “Enimeezy!” They loved calling me that, it was for the people. It feels cool to say. Wayne had Weezy, Drake had Drizzy, Kanye had Yeezy, so Enimeezy is my next development as an artist and human being.
You taught DJ Mustard how to use Reason, that’s still crazy to me.
That’s tight. [laughs] I’m always so proud of Mustard for everything he’s doing. It makes it more accessible to me, it’s more possible. Seeing him come from thinking about making beats where he’s like “yo, how could I…? One day, I’ma do this.” I said “bro, get this [Reason]. Shit, I’ll teach you all the basics.” He’d call me up: “yo, how do I make a sound? How do I record this? How do I make this?” I’d tell him the very simple, very basics of production. Next thing I know, he’s popping up with YG who he’s DJing for at the time, then Nipsey. That “Rack City” took him up outta here! I’m proud of LA, proud of my boy Mustard. Shit, even his weight loss journey now. He’s looking slim and trim, go ahead boy! Get it together.
Was there a turning point in your music career where you realized you could do this?
After I got on Power 106 the first time with my rap group, The Fly Guyz. We had a song called “Penny, Nickel, Dime” going crazy in the underground jerk scene. Once we got on the radio, I was 20. I dropped out of college but that would’ve been my senior year, I felt like “oh shit!’ It got to that point, it’s almost matched up. I graduated in the music game at the same time I would’ve graduated from college. I thought I could do it, I got the sonic sound that translates to radio and then something bigger.
Fondest memories from those jerkin’ days?
Whew, definitely getting on the radio. Making our YouTube series off that whole jerkin’ movement. Of course linking with Mustard, starting his whole production shit up. The ridiculous clothes we used to wear, it was a time. It really put the spotlight back on LA in a way that was fun and not stretched thin. Almost anybody from LA could be a rapper now without having to talk about all these guns you have and all this gangster shit.
Did you drop out of college for the music? Or were you over it?
Yeah, I did. It was a mixture of a misunderstanding with the enrollment office, that I took an opportunity to be like “you know what, I don’t even want to be here!” I was at Morehouse in Atlanta. At the same time, I had somebody in our rap group’s ear — straight cap though. He was straight cappin’. All my boys said “if you come back now, we talking about a tour. We can go crazy in these streets!’ So I’m eating this up, why the fuck am I out here?
How long were you out there for?
I did a semester and a half. [laughs] I didn’t get to experience Atlanta too much, but I hated the school I was at. I didn’t vibe with it, they’re too strict. I thought college was going to be like Van Wilder, hella fun, but they had more rules than high school. It wasn’t what I envisioned. All the homies are still in LA at Northridge, why couldn’t I have gone to a basic school with all my homies?
You left your city!
I did. I was homesick like a motherfucker.
What happened to Fly Guyz?
We naturally dissolved after a while. It was 3 of us, we had a whole movement then decided to do solo projects. We started up a label with different acts, it split at that point. Some people started making more conscious music, me on the other side making turn up shit and still having my fun. One of the members moved to the Bay Area. There’s no animosity which is a blessing, a lot of groups don’t have that happy ending. We all still boys, we still chop it up.
You just dropped “Zig Zag,” who or what inspired this record?
That’s on my project Locked in, where I was in quarantine fucking bored of playing video games and all the other bullshit. Alright, let me go be productive right quick. I sat down for 7 days in a row and made 7 different songs on each day. “Zig Zag” was the third song I made. I was making emo music the first 2 days. [laughs]
Because of quarantine?
Yeah, I was in my feelings. Contemplating life. Finally, I started having fun and made that “Zig Zag” track. My bro Evan Washington hit me to shoot a video, this was the second video he’s ever directed. I trust him because he’s always had a vision, he’s always played a role in my career. We got together with my bro Adam Hamer who graduated from USC in the film department.
They actually shot and did everything on the iPhone. They said “this is the wave.” Doesn’t look like it’s on the iPhone, it looks like some 4k shit. They got the whole gimbals. This is what Kanye’s doing too. Kanye had a big shoot and said “I don’t want no cameras. I want everything done on the iPhone.” Somebody came with a camera and he said “what the fuck is this? I told ya’ll I don’t want no goddamn cameras!” I guess the iPhone is the new sauce for these videos.
You’re rapping about your drip, talk about your love for fashion.
That’s been my only therapy so far in the quarantine and this whole COVID shit. I’ve been going crazy with the online shopping, oh my god. I got different boxes coming in everyday.
Where are you shopping?
Shit, where am I not shopping? What’s been working on me lately is Instagram ads. Everything, how do they know me so well!?
What’s the last thing you ordered?
These shoes. All I get is shoe ads on Instagram, clothes. Neiman Marcus. I don’t have anywhere to go to wear it though. [laughs] Whenever we do get back out here, whew. Motherfuckers in trouble.
Really, I’ve been on my jersey shit lately. I’ve been rocking NBA shit every single day. Mitchell & Ness, Hardwood Classics, all that. Other than that, I’ve been fucking with Cartier.
What can we expect next music-wise?
We shot another one last week for an unreleased track, “Manifested.” It’s going to be on Locked In Vol. 2, coming next month.
What can we expect from that project?
7 more bangers! Keeping the week alive, giving you a different song for every day to vibe to. It’s a little more West Coast on this one, little more celebratory. I’m out of the gloom of the original quarantine, so more happy vibes.
I see you got your jersey on, you got some crazy placements in the NBA!
Shout out to the NBA, they been rocking with Enimeezy. One of my friends hooked me up with one of his friends, who’s steady getting placements. He said “yo my boy’s nice on the production, on the beats, on the rapping.” Finally after a couple months, he gave me 3 beats like “let me see what you do with ‘em.” Knocked those out the park, we started getting placements.
It was off a beat?
He gave me a beat, I rapped on it. Me vocally on the track, he produced it. He started shopping it around. Next thing I know, I’m getting notifications from the Houston Rockets. NFL as well, Carolina Panthers. 4 or 5 different teams have used my shit already.
Your music was placed in Call of Duty too, do you play?
Not in the last couple years because I’ve been so into my NBA2K bullshit. The new shit just came out. Dude, I’m into it already. My character’s already a 95, I’m going crazy on this motherfucker. I play the MyCareer mode where it’s me and my creative player, up against everybody else’s creative player. I’m about to make it to the 2K league this year, mark that down! [laughs] I did an audition for 2K too, they’re looking for real basketball players and people who look like real basketball players. I fit that mode fasho, hopefully we hear some good news.
Who you got in the playoffs?
Lakers all day! Lakers till I die. It’s going to be banner #17 this year. Lebron gon’ get another ship, AD gon’ get his first one. I don’t care if it’s a parade or not, I’m going! I’m marching down Figueroa this year for sure, it’s been too long.
Everyone’s going for the Lakers.
It’s the Kobe factor. It’s only right, go Lakers!
How did Kobe Bryant’s death affect you, being from LA?
I was devastated. One of those things you’ll always remember exactly where you were, what you were doing. This energy was sucked out of my body. I was in disbelief for the first hour, I broke down crying. He was for real my hero since I was a kid. 8 years old, I remember him coming to the Staples Center as a rookie. Shaq coming a year or 2 later. I have so many growing up points with Kobe: he did this on this birthday. I lost a friend, that’s my boy. His daughter in it too, it’s the biggest gut punch like what’re you doing God? What’s the meaning of this? Ever since then, everything’s been downhill. The world went to shit after that, who knew Kobe was the glue holding the world together?
How was doing the anti-tobacco ad?
Oh man, I shot that about 2 years ago and it started re-airing during the NBA Playoffs. I’ve been getting all kinds of texts: “did you do an anti-tobacco commercial?” I sure did. I actually haven’t caught it myself on TV. It’s a PSA for anti-tobacco. It’s funny because when I did that audition, a week before that I did an audition for a tobacco commercial. [laughs] Same company, same casting people.
Goals for yourself at this point in your career?
Honestly, I’m looking at the Billboard charts. That’s always been a goal of mine to get something charted. I’d love to be on Billboard Hot 100 somewhere, even if it’s #99 I don’t give a damn. Getting on there is my next career goal I’m really gunning for.
What’s it going to take to get there?
Some marketing dollars. [laughs] That’s really what it is, nothing in this shit is organic.
Nothing is as it seems. The more money you got behind it, the farther you’ll go. That’s the only distinguishing factor in who’s poppin’ and who’s not. It’s a money business.