Loco City is in limbo. Between certainty and uncertainty, between being an emerging artist and catapulting his way into the limelight. Despite all this, there’s one thing he knows for sure: he wants to do music. Though he’s currently working on his first formal project, Save Yourself, his first few singles, “Do Sum”, “CP24”, “Middle Man”, and “Krazy” have already amassed over two million streams collectively. But for Loco, this is just the foundation for everything else to come.
The 19-year-old from the west side of the downtown core reps his neighbourhood, Bleecker St., unapologetically. “I feel like our neighbourhood is left out in Toronto,” he tells me. “I know everybody knows hoods like Regent Park, P.O., Rexdale, Jane and Finch. Other communities, they get the attention they need because they will go through a lot of shit... programs and people that help them, reach out to them. But Bleecker, we got none of that. We're just there, under the shadow of everybody.”
Loco wants to tell the stories of his chaotic neighbourhood and life in his music, which acts a place to make sense of everything going on around him. He describes his first time in the studio as natural. “The first time I started recording, I didn't really think about it. I just put facts on [paper], regular, ole’ shit, but with melody. Everybody in the hood liked my melodies,” he says. His very first record is still up on SoundCloud; a freestyle remix of Bryson Tiller’s “Don’t” that was the foundation for records to come.
For Loco, having the ability to make music acts as a safe haven, but he’s hyper-aware of the caveat of bringing one’s story to life through beats and rhythms. He shares, “Music is good. The studios are a good release. Everything is a blessing, you're in your zone and when you make a good song, too, you feel happy. But once people know your business and people hear the songs you made, it's like, it's pressure now [to deliver the music].”
It’s easy for people to say that there’s a distinct Toronto sound and it’s true to an extent. The recognisable hollow, minimal, almost ghostly production has set the precedent for what to expect from our city’s artists, but that’s just one piece of our sonic landscape, says Loco. “I feel like the sound I'm coming with is really not Toronto at all. If you see a music video [of mine, and] you don't see a CN Tower or anything like that, you wouldn't think I'm from Toronto.”
“Job Done”, his latest record and visual, is Loco’s newest chapter. The record, from the artist’s debut project, Save Yourself, gets a visual treatment from Sonny Visual showing the rapper surrounded by luxurious cars, expensive bottles and a lot of money. The artist himself employs a loose and light cadence but the music is carefree only in the shallowest of readings. In reality, Loco puts down a firm mission of intent as to what he’s achieved while also detailing the long road to where he needs to be.
Nevertheless, Loco’s in no rush to create a full-body of work, instead he wants to use singles as pieces of the larger story he intends to share about himself. Fortunately he has a collection of records that’ll come together for his debut project, Save Yourself, which is set to drop on Jan. 31. “I feel like each song I drop, has a different meaning,” he shares. “I don’t want to give all my music at one time. There has to be space cause literally each track on that tape, it was a different time of what I was going through.”
This article originally appeared on Noisey CA.