Lola Brooke is officially “Back 2 Business,” and she’s not letting up in the slightest. Hailing from New York, the rising star arrives with her petite self, owning her aggressive bars with lots of range in her voice when she speaks. Beyond the music, her charisma and high energy does not go unnoticed, drawing listeners in with her bubbly personality any chance she can.
Currently a part of Team80, Lola has been grinding and putting in the work when it comes to her craft. Following her previous two singles, “Options” and “Shittin’ Me?,” her music is reminiscent of New York: gritty, with a powerful sound. Hailing from the place that birthed hip-hop, Lola is here to make a different type of impact.
Flaunt caught up with Lola via Zoom to discuss her roots in New York, biggest influences, what inspired “Back 2 Business,” the independent grind, her fashion, studio essentials, Meek Mill, and Jadakiss’ co-sign, forthcoming project Lil Big Momma, and more!
What was the household like growing up in New York?
Of course I grew up waking up to my mom playing music and cleaning the house. I used to go over to my aunt’s house in Marcy Projects, my cousins had a little studio in one of the rooms. They used to be rapping. At the time I understood it, but I didn’t know how to approach it. It was already in me with music and everybody in my family always danced. Every time we linked up, either we was recording or dancing.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
It’s a lot. The first rap song that made me fall in love with hip-hop was 50 Cent’s “Wanksta.” I used to carry around my iPod with Lil Wayne on it. I started getting into Meek Mill. I love DMX. I rock with Nicki Minaj, Eve, Missy Elliott. I loved Busta Rhymes. I had a lot going on in my playlist growing up. [laughs]
At what point did you realize you could do music for a living?
I used to write in my journal, I used to always have diaries. I was the only child. I didn’t really feel comfortable coming to my mom about certain things, so I’d always write it down in a book. When I started recording, people were saying, “oh you nice, you should take it serious.” But it was something fun, a hobby for me to express my feelings.
Is Lola Brooke your real name?
No. [laughs] My rap name came from Lola Bunny and Brooke stands for Brooklyn. That’s how I got my name.
“Back 2 Business” is out now. How are you feeling?
It’s time to get back to business! I feel good. I was trying to make a statement. Hey y’all, I’m here too.
What was the vibe recording that one?
It’s so crazy because when I did the record, me and my producer was really really creating. It was a full verse, then he told me to keep going. He stopped me and said, “That’s the hook.” I said “you sure?” He said “yeah, but say it like a hook. Change the flow a little bit, say it like you mean it!” I said, “Alright cool.”
What was the best memory from the video shoot?
I remember when we were setting up The Source magazine posters in the back. I was highly heavy on the “Biggie has to be here, Tupac has to be right here! Alright, let me make sure we get TLC.” They said “alright Lola, we’re gonna make sure that everything looks good. Everything’s gonna fall into its place.” This is my vision! They gotta feel it.
Talk about being a part of Team80, how did that happen?
There’s an artist, his name is Bleezy. He’s an artist on the team as well. He hit me up on Instagram and said, “Hey, I want to feature you on my song.” I went to the studio and ended up meeting everybody in the squad. I’m thinking it’s gonna be me, him, my friend, the engineer, his friends, get the record done. It ended up feeling like I was auditioning for something. I was so confused because at the time, music was a big thing for me but not as a career. I was having fun with it, and they made me believe in myself.
How is the independent grind?
It’s tough. It’s really tough but I wouldn’t have it any other way because it’s a learning process, and it gives me time to grow.
How much time do you spend in the studio versus not?
In the very beginning of me making music, I was in the studio for a good 12 hours almost every single day. To the point where I was leaving the studio at 9am or 10am. Now that I have a body of work and I have music, now I’m working on my image and try to make sure I know exactly what I want to show in my visuals and my music.
And what exactly do you want to show?
I want to show I’m an around-the-way girl that was raised by a single parent, dad is deceased. I have a lot of dedication in me that I want to share with the world.
How is music a coping mechanism for you?
It chose me. I feel like music chose me so I’m going with the flow.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
I love to dress down. I love sneakers. I just started wearing heels. My friends got me into doing makeup and doing my hair. Me growing up, I didn’t care for skirts. My mom used to go crazy for me to be in the salon all day. I didn’t care about getting my nails done. I’d do it because it was something to do as a female when I got bored. Me, I’m more laidback.
3 things you need in the studio?
Water. Liquor. [laughs] I used to drink Henny, but now I drink tequila. I can’t do dark liquor anymore. Now, I want to be a little more relaxed and calm. Henny makes me turn into something else.
You’ve been cosigned by Meek Mill, Jadakiss, DJ Envy. How does it feel to have that support?
It’s not a surprise because most people would say that I’m talented and I think I’m talented as well. I’m doing something that matters to me, not my mom or anybody else. Growing up listening to Meek Mill, I remember playing Dreams and Nightmares, his first one. I remember sitting there saying to myself: “If he can do this, then I can do it too.” Because a lot of people were doubting him as an artist. They knew he could rap but they’re questioning his craft and trying to make music.
I thought “damn, he really doing this. He’s doing a good job at it too. I want to do the same thing.” Now him cosigning me, you don’t even understand that he’s the reason I believed in myself. Now, you’re telling me you think I’m great! You think I’m dope. [laughs] As well as Jadakiss. Not gonna lie when I first met Jadakiss, he gave me a cool word of wisdom. My teeth were shaking, I was so nervous. My mom and my aunties, they love Jadakiss. Jadakiss is a big deal in my family. Me meeting Jadakiss, I was a little nervous. But I was excited at the same time.
What were the conversations like?
He was saying, “hey you’re doing great. Don’t let nobody tell you nothing else. Your energy’s dope, keep doing what you’re doing. I promise you, it’s gonna pay off.” I’d opened up for him at a show. I kept telling my team, “If I mess this up, it’s over for me! What am I gonna do?” They’re telling me, “girl you got this, just relax.” When I got on the stage, I blacked out. In a good way though.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Well the last job I had was a residential aide at a shelter, but I always dreamed of being an actress as well. Most likely I would’ve tried to pursue that career, if it wasn’t music.
Can we expect a project soon?
Yes, I actually have a name. It’s called Lil Big Momma, because I’m so small and my voice is so big. Most people don’t believe it, they gotta see it to believe it.
What goals do you have for yourself at this point in your career?
I always say to myself, I don’t like to put too much pressure on me. I want to stay consistent and keep pushing my pen. Whatever else comes in my direction, whether I attack it or not, I hope that it’s a good approach that could further my career.
Anything else you want to let the people know?
In 2021, Lola Brooke is coming. Okay!