Lou The Human
Staten Island’s Lou The Human can rap his ass off. There’s barely a hook to be found in the 21 year old’s self released debut, Humaniac; each song is bar after bar of dense, Eminem-sounding raps, bucking the auto-tuned, mumble rap trend of the past year or so. Indeed the Eminem influence is strong, and Lou must know it, lifting a bunch of bars off of Em’s Weedlacer freestyle in early single Brink. Production-wise the beats are dark and gloomy, reminding of those other Staten Island rappers, Wu-Tang.
Humaniac has horrorcore vibes throughout, and lyrically it touches those themes, but moreso, it seems to speak on mental health. Lou says he’s crazy/insane multiple times throughout the album. And then there’s the second rapper, The Voice In My Head (TVIMH) ie a Quasimoto sounding version of Lou, mostly acting as a hypeman, but who does have his own song, Halal. TVIMH raps about the voice in his own head and claims he’s young Lou. It’s hard to decipher who this extra voice on the album is, but all seems to be addressed in final song Who Knows, where Lou and TVIMH discuss whether the voices in Lou’s head are real or not.
Staten Island is repped early; first track Lou’s Dead has Lou rapping over a chopped and screwed Bring Da Ruckus. In second track Roseanne he’s rapping over DJ Shadow’s Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt. The obvious lifting seems to stop there. But those two tracks are a good reference for the sounds Lou likes to rap over. And rap he does. Bars cascade constantly, jumping from one theme to the next, making it hard to catch all the references and wordplay. Repeat listens are necessary.
This is a problem with the album, it is so busy with lyrics it gets hard to stay focussed. Lou’s voice is a constant barrage, becoming monotonous. I found myself zoning out multiple times. That’s not to say the album is bad. In fact it’s really quite good, it’s just that there is not enough variety within the tracks to keep the listener attentive. A second problem is Lou’s use of a gay slur that I’d hoped would have been abandoned by hip hop in 2017 – especially by the kids!
Regardless, Lou The Human is hugely talented. A rapper’s rapper, with potentially a large future ahead of him, plugs from Danny Brown this past week will probably help that. Lou claims that the music he’s working on now is nothing like that on Humaniac. I look forward to his growth as an artist, and just hope he keeps spitting bars and representing real rap.