October 24, 2016

louis king

Paley Martin would scream YOLO if it wasn’t associated with Drake.

For Louis King, ‘do it while I’m young’ is a loaded mantra. On his album of the same name, the LA rapper breaks down his past and the value it placed on his present. Sweet as the message sounds, the story behind is anything but. For King, youth was less about living than figuring out how to stay alive. And, as far as he’s concerned, staying alive is a thing to be both conscious of and celebrated in every moment. Do It While I’m Young bridges this gap and breaks down why it exists in the first place. Injustice, King proposes, breeds awareness. And awareness is what King defines as he plays teacher, leader, friend and foe in this complex narrative.

Instead of separating these sides of his character or differentiating who he was from who he’s become, King shows how each informs and feeds off of the other. Although he’s moved on from old habits and thought constructs, he recognizes their influence on his new ones. And while he’s transcended former beliefs about masculinity, he knows why it’s important to expound on them to future generations.

Sonically, the project is as vast as the identities that King inhabits. The opener, “Do It While I’m Young,” melds innocent, playful instrumentals with pragmatic lessons (“If you work, you gotta play, ‘cause any day in these streets could be your last day”) and a chorus that brings the LP’s message back home. Other tracks like the standout “Told ‘Em” unleash a boisterous energy that attest to King’s thoughtful flow—intentionally slurred, but knowingly measured.

“Adios” is just as fun and experimental as “Told Em,” but lifts, a little more blatantly, a middle finger to the sky as he repeats, “I be adios.” The track is a big, fat “fuck it” to everything he’s supposed to be, a want to indulge in women and the ways that are most familiar. And, naturally, one you’d want to blare with the window down and the night breeze blowing. “Playground Thoughts,” on the other hand, is a spoken word public service announcement addressed to “my little brothers” that deconstructs manhood.

Do It While I’m Young is an album that springs from necessity. King wants you to learn what he’s learned, where he comes from, and how he reflects the hardships he’s been through. He wants you to step into his shoes and walk the streets that he has walked. And, when it’s all said and done, he wants you to kick back and party, because, well, life’s too short.

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