When Brooklyn-by-way-of-Trinidad emcee Theophilus London dropped by for our latest Tastemaker shoot, we knew he’d keep us on our toes. He’s been far from bored, staying hyperactive since dropping his debut full-length, “Timez Are Weird These Days,” out July 15 via Reprise/Warner Records.
PHOTOS: Theophilus London’s Tastemakers Session
Theophilus London performs “Why Even Try” during his Tastemakers session.
The stimulated, stimulating rapper performed “Last Name London,” “Wine & Chocolates” and “Why Even Try” for our cameras during his visit recently, giving us a spirited three-song session. The two latter tracks were previously released on his “Lovers Holiday EP”, which features female vocalists exclusively, including electronic songstress Glasser, Solange Knowles, and Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara.
Theophilus London performs “Wine & Chocolate” during his Tastemakers session.
For his debut LP, “Timez Are Weird,” London introduces vocal and production cameos from the fellas, including Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio), Dev Hines (Lightspeed Champion) and John Hill (Santigold, MIA, Shakira). Guest vocals from XL recording artist Holly Miranda round out the 12-track full length.
London consciously built some of his songs around young love, reflecting on “the nostalgia of flying away with the girl of your dreams,” he says. However, the young artist is still evolving, tweaking his sound for a finer pop experience. “This is nothing like I ever put out before,” he adds. “It’s hip hop record with a lot of pop sensibilities.”
The rapper is big on collaboration; beyond his extensive list of helpful friends featured on his album, the forever-fashionable London, recently featured in Tommy Hilfiger’s “Kids of America” ad campaign, also branched out this year with his own line of loafers and will also make a cameo on the highly-anticipated “Twilight: Breaking Dawn” soundtrack.
“Everyone I work with has to be a personal relationship,” explains London, “so when we sit down and write a song together, we can relate to one another.”
“The art of collab’ing – the only way it can work is friendship, or it won’t feel right.”