I Got A Story To Tell takes a look at emerging hip-hop artists, told through the words of guest contributor Louis Fagelson
Born in the Bronx, rapper Loopy Lou, adopted an interest in rap at an early age. “I made a studio in my basement when I was 8,” Lou says, “I’ve always felt like I had something to prove. I just want to show people I can really do it.”
Even early on, Lou, whose legal name is Louis-Seth Kouakou, remembers making tracks in the studio every day with his brothers and neighborhood friends. At 11, Lou moved from NYC to Bridgeport, Conn. He spent his high school years shuttling between the two cities.
In 2013, Lou began taking his music more seriously. Realizing that that rap was his calling, he developed a rigorous work ethic and intense focus. Lou forged a style formed from his obsession with authenticity and quality. He teamed up with Cash Dagoon and formed the group Loopy Gang. While some of the other early Loopy Gang members found other paths, Lou and Dagoon carried the name forward and started to find success on the East Coast later that year with his single “Cuffin.” The track’s music video has more than 15,000 views and grasped the attention of YK Music Management. The UK-based management organization signed him in 2015 and has since provided him with opportunities to further his career in music. Through YK’s marketing strategy and his self-described “soulful story telling, Lou has conquered more than 20 shows in the Northeast over the past two years, including a three-state tour through Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. The release of his first full-length project Struggle and Grind has helped propel him into the northeast’s rap scene. Struggle and Grind is well named; it took Lou two years to complete the project.
“I went through a few phases putting together the mixtape,” he says, “At the start of the project, I was in community college just to get my mom off my back. I was still trapping and had to pay for everything in my life myself. Most of the rappers and producers I was working with were inconsistent and didn’t take my time seriously. Once I started working with DittyBroker things got real. His style of beats fit my sound and we connected. Once I dropped “Cuffin” with Sarubeats things really started taking off.”
The project dropped in May of 2016 and encompasses the struggle he faced while trapping through high school and after graduation just to have money to spend. Struggle and Grind combines elements of trap music with eerie instrumentals to hip listeners to life in Bridgeport and the tragedies that have taken place in his city. In his song “Meghan Story,” he addresses abuse and it’s effect on a young girl from his area. Lou is a storyteller at heart; throughout the project he raps about terrible things he has witnessed in the hood. With Dagoon’s camera and video editing skills, Loopy Gang’s Youtube channel has drawn over 100,000 views on his music videos from on Struggle and Grind.
Calling his crew the Loopy Gang is, in part, a tribute to Lou’s favorite rapper, Max B. Lou mentioned, “He’s in jail right now but everyone in NY knows his story. Pretty much everyone here uses it in their daily vocabulary. Loopy Gang’s the brand. It’s more than just the merch, it’s a lifestyle. You can describe anything as loopy. You can say “man, that shirt is loopy, that blunt was loopy, that club was loopy” it just means something quirky and different but also dope.” He went on to explain that he wants the term to catch on. “Anything can be loopy. It’s just gotta stand out.”
Throughout the Struggle and Grind, Lou speaks about the effect of the political system on his hometown. “When I speak, I only speak about things I know about. Things I saw first hand. In my song “Cold Place” I talk about black-on-black crime and how the system is set up to allow it. Things won’t change until people aren’t profiting off of our struggles. My music reflects what’s going on in my life and the struggle I saw growing up. A lot of the time the struggle started from the government and their treatment of my people.” Throughout the song he talks about the structural flaws in our justice system and contains stories of police brutality and unequal treatment from government figures.
2017 looks like it could be a breakout year for Lou. With more than 30,000 views on his recent video release of “Started From” off his new mixtape, he is prepping for shows throughout the Northeast. You can also catch him at SXSW this week.
King Louie reps East Tennakey with Super Saiyan swag. Dope instrumentals are great but I’m looking for lyrics that will tell a story. Wordplay and delivery are key. Hit me up on twitter @lfagelson.