The Bay Area is home to a ton of greats… and Lil Blood is here to become one of them. Born and raised in Oakland, the West Coast rapper prides himself in his lyricism, spitting nothing but truth with each release. Inspired directly by the environment that raised him, the rising star has been steadily building a core fanbase independently — and even started his own podcast interviewing all the legends from the Bay and beyond.
In describing himself, he states, “I’ma keep it real, I’m like the reincarnated Huey P. Newton or Fred Hampton. I’m a West Oakland advocate. I believe in peace. I preach peace, I practice peace. I definitely pray for world peace. I believe everybody should get along. I hate racism, that s### gets me sick to my stomach. And I believe that s### starts in the home first. That’s Lil Blood, I’m a cool dude.”
Lil Blood first exploded onto the scene with his viral smash “Free Boski” (feat. Lil Goofy) in 2012, which recently received a resurgence on TikTok. In 2015, Lil Blood spearheaded the West Coast supergroup One Mob alongside Mozzy, Lil AJ, Joe Blow and Philthy Rich, reminding folks exactly how impactful the Bay Area rap scene has on the industry.
Fast forward to today, Lil Blood unveils his highly-anticipated new album titled The Book of Dawa. The title itself means “medicine” in Swahili, which is exactly the type of energy he’s delivering to all those who listen. Clocking in at 14 tracks, the new project features standout features from Kamaiyah, Peezy, Haiti Babii, and more.
AllHipHop: What does Oakland mean to you?
Lil Blood: For me, it’s a different Oakland now. It’s new Oakland now and the new Oakland ain’t safe at all. Me growing up, Oakland was hella fun. Being out all night playing football and doorbell ditching. I remember we used to eat sour grass. I remember picking fruits from the fruit trees, you barely even see fruit trees now. Just the fun part of Oakland. When I got a little older, going to the sideshows. How the sideshows used to be hella fun, lit and peaceful. But now everybody’s shooting everybody, which is not cool at all.
AllHipHop: When’d you fall in love with music?
Lil Blood: Honestly, I was fresh out of YA. For those who don’t know, YA is California Youth Authority. It’s a youth prison, I was fresh out of YA. I was in the car one day with Shady Nate, this was when they first started the Livewire thing. I was rapping and Shady Nate took me to the studio. When he took me to the studio, I had made a song. He played the song for J. Stalin.
AllHipHop: Shout out J. Stalin!
Lil Blood: Yeah, shout out J. Stalin. He used to always come through telling me “Blood, come to the studio. Come to the studio.” One day, I jumped in the car with him and I went to Richmond. At this time, DJ Fresh lived in Richmond. I didn’t even know who he was. They were recording their Real World West Oakland album and I had jumped on the song. When I had jumped on the song, I had did a violation, went back to YA. When I got out, the song was big. “Lil Blood! Lil Blood!” Everybody was feeling me.
AllHipHop: How did you get the name, Lil Blood?
Lil Blood: My partna DuDirt started calling me that, one of the big bros from the hood. He started calling me Lil Blood and it just stuck. I’m not a Blood or a Crip, we don’t gangbang in West Oakland.
AllHipHop: I didn’t know Mozzy was in a group with you, One Mob?
Lil Blood: It was funny because we was just f###### with it at first. It wasn’t nothing was planned, we was f###### with it. Shout out Regime, really Regime started calling that s### One Mob first. We all used to be in LA a lot. We used to go to Slauson and put all our s### on shirts: Lash Money, 3rd World, Mozzy, FOD, Blow Money, Cookie Money. We used to put all that s### on shirts, then put One Mob. Regime was pushing it heavy, and it stuck. We started the group. It wasn’t nothing planned. We were all pushing our own s###, we were all bossing up our own s###, and that’ssomething we f##### with.
AllHipHop: How was it seeing Mozzy blow up?
Lil Blood: That was dope and I’m clapping for him. I’m still rooting for him. Free Mozzy. It was dope to see that, to be a part of that. I’ll always salute to him because no matter what, he’s always giving me my flowers. Whatever it is he can do to help, he does that. Even when it’s against the label, he don’t give a f###. He does it for me. That’s a friend, he’s a real friend.
AllHipHop: You just released The Book of Dawa, how are you feeling?
Lil Blood: Yes ma’am, that s### go crazy. I’m planning on releasing a deluxe too. I’m big on the Swahili lingo. Dawa in Swahili means medicine, but in the hood they say Dawa like it’s heroin. Dawa means the book of the mix. If you listen to The Book of Dawa, you gon’ learn all types of s###. That’s real West Oakland-ism on that whole album. It’s that sauciness, that s### that makes west Oakland West Oakland. I’m a product of West Oakland. In everything that I do, I’m always saluting West Oakland.
AllHipHop: Can you talk about the cover art?
Lil Blood: The picture I took for the cover art, we couldn’t use because they damn near was going to delete my Instagram for it. [laughs] The initial art had me at a table with a bunch of balloons and heroin, so we had to improvise.
AllHipHop: You got my girl Kamaiyah, Peezy. Talk about the dope features on the album.
Lil Blood: Shout out Kamaiyah. You know what’s crazy? A lot of people get Kamaiyah confused, but Kamaiyah’s so peaceful. She’s so much a dope beautiful soul. Marcus Peters, shout out to Juiceman. He plays football for the Ravens, but he’s from West Oakland. I ran into her at an event he threw, on a rooftop in downtown Oakland. I’m like “wassup, stop acting like a rapper. Let’s win.” She said “n*gga, I’ve been ready to work! Wassup, send me something.” So I sent her a record and she sent it right back. It was fire, definitely. Shout out to Kamaiyah.
AllHipHop: What about Peezy?
Lil Blood: Another one, sent Peezy right over the record. Me and Peezy have a good relationship, I’ve been to Detroit and f##### with Peezy. I was one of the first Bay Area cats locking in with them. I sent him the record, he sent it right back. It wasn’t no b####### or anything, just genuine.
AllHipHop: What do you want fans to take away from the project?
Lil Blood: I don’t know how to answer questions like that. I want them to listen to it and take whatever they get from it. If they’re stressing, I want it to be a stress reliever. If they’re happy, I want them to be in an even more happier mode after they listen to it. I want them to take away whatever it is they need to take away from it.
AllHipHop: How’s the independent grind?
Lil Blood: It’s a slow grind, but it’s good. I have a podcast going that’s really helping, it’s called Lil Blood TV. You work, if you want it. Whatever you want, you’ll make time for and that’s part of success. You just have to work. Some days, I don’t leave my podcast till about 3am or 4am in the morning, just working. This Sunday coming up, I have 10 interviews to do. I have my own compound. If you want that s###, you gotta work. That’s all.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio at all times?
Lil Blood: Fiji water, when it’s cold. Lil Goofy, because he motivates me. If I get stuck with something or say something, he’ll say “that’s weak. You can come way better than that.” Lil Goofy fills my soul with happiness, it’s good to have him around. We make our best music together. And good vibes.
AllHipHop: What’re you most excited for next?
Lil Blood: I’ma drop the deluxe to The Book of Dawa, shout to Olivia over at EMPIRE because she’s been helping me a lot. I salute her. She’s a very interesting young lady and she’s really about her business. She’s been keeping me on my s###, calling me at 2am or 3am making sure I get certain s### done. She goes over and beyond for me. She’s great at what she does.
AllHipHop: Anything the people need to know about you?
Lil Blood: I’m not f###### rich. Y’all stop thinking I’m rich and I got all this money. [laughs] Mannn, stop thinking I’m rich.
AllHipHop: Why do you think people think you’re rich?
Lil Blood: I don’t know, I don’t have any money. I don’t flex, I don’t do none of that. People be DMing me asking for money, I think they be trying to run scams. “My kids need school clothes, this that the third.” Okay, meet me at the mall, bring your kids, and I’ll look out for them. “Oh no, you can just send the Cashapp.” What the f###? “Can you pay my light bill, can you pay my phone bill?” What the f###?! My DMs be poppin’ bro. People be crazy.
AllHipHop: Do you respond to them? Or you just see them?
Lil Blood: I respond to the messages that’s worth a response. I’m not hella bougie. I’m definitely all the way into it, my fans and people in general. I’m a people person, I love human beings. The path that I’m on right now, I’m trying to change the narrative. If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. For a long time, I was part of the problem. Now, I’m trying to change the narrative. I’m trying to do s### differently.
Yes it’s hard, because people still expect me to be the Lil Blood I was 10 years ago. I’m not him anymore. I done had a son, my life has changed. I’m not on that. It’s hard because people expect you to be a fool all your life. What’s crazy, it’s more of the inner circle. It’s more the people you look up to or the people you have these high hopes for. It’s always them people putting blades in your back. It’s crazy but at the end of the day, I’m working through it. I’m coming out swinging, my head is held high.
AllHipHop: How old is your kid now?
Lil Blood: My son is 7.
AllHipHop: How did fatherhood change your life?
Lil Blood: S###, everything. It changed a lot. I don’t think for myself anymore, I used to stay out all night. I used to be gone. I’ll leave and be gone for 2 to 3 weeks, just on the go. Hustling. But now if I’m gone for a day or 2, I be missing the f### out my son. It’s crazy. Plus, children amaze you. Children humble you, just watching him grow up is everything. I don’t want to miss nothing.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let us know?
Lil Blood: A lot of good s### happening for me, I’m definitely moving and working. God has me in his favor lately. I’ve been going to church a lot lately. A lot of people get it confused: I’m not going for the religion, I’m going for the word. I don’t care if I walk into a Buddhist temple, if it’s a good word it’s a good word. It’s good for the soul, so I’ma take the game and run with it. I’ve been going to church lately, just get the good word. Just to put some assurance over me.