On his debut EP, Lovers Holiday, up-and-coming Brooklyn MC Theophilus London aggressively pushes modern hip-hop into indie rock hipsterdom, tapping TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek, Sara Quin from Tegan and Sara, Glasser, and Solange Knowles for guest spots. Hear the whole EP below!
London embraces one of hip-hop's old-school traits, mad networking, and that's had a major influence on his genre-hopping sound. He's the sort of dude that everyone in the music biz seems to know, and he's already counting Mark Ronson and Damon Albarn among his pals. Tall, lanky, and usually clad in '80s-inspired, loudly-colored jackets, he's unmistakable when out on the town, and when you see him at a gig, he's hi-fiving and shaking hands with every mover and shaker in the room.
A child of the '80s, London admires Prince, Marvin Gaye, and Michael Jackson, and that era of silken yet synthesizer-tinged pop imbues Lovers Holiday. As the title hints, the EP's sort of like Ladies' Night. "I wanted to only collab with women for Lovers Holiday," London tells SPIN. "I really wanted this record to feature some dope boy/girl sing alongs. Sara is on my label, so that was easy to put together and Solange is a good friend."
Check out the songs below, read London's comments on each track, and tell us what you think in the comments! Lovers Holiday is out Feb. 8 via iTunes.
1. "Why Even Try (feat. Sara Quin)"
Theophilus says: "This was recorded in my boy's backyard in L.A. For the inspiration, we were thinking Notorious B.I.G. meets Jackson 5 meets Rick James. We came up with this idea of making a negative love song we could dance to. 'Billie Jean' was a negative dance song and that was one of the best dance songs ever."
2. "Strange Love"
Theophilus says: "Very Prince inspired. The song has backup vocals by Glasser. This song shows the strength in my vocal ability now that I've been taking vocal lessons. It's obvious, but this song is all about how strange love can be."
3. "Girls Girls $"
Theophilus says: "This song was recorded in Stockholm, which was the most fun I've ever had recording. We were just laughing, dancing in the studio, drinking beers and having a good time. It's also about a viral star, Kat Stacks. She showed her vagina on the internet and it went all kinds of viral thanks to World Star Hip Hop."
4. "Wine & Chocolates"
Theophilus says: "The making of wine and chocolates was the most lavish studio setup of all time. We were recording in Beverly Hills with Dave Sitek from Maximum Balloon and TV on the Radio. It was my birthday and like 20 chocolate cupcakes and a case of champagne showed up at the studio from my friend in New York. The chef was busy cooking up some good food, we were taking shots of chocolate and the view, overlooking the hills, was incredible. "
5. "Flying Overseas (feat. Solange Knowles)"
Theophilus says: "This one is super obvious. It's a fantasy story about travelling with your girl. The flight, the hotel, the whole thing. Solange really helped bring this to life."