Brooklyn’s very own Lola Brooke is handling the spotlight well. Standing at 4’9” with a sweet and sincere demeanor, her signature booming, gritty delivery catches most people off guard, but is often the enticing factor that ultimately wins everyone over.
Throughout her rise to popularity, the proud Bedford-Stuyvesant native has constantly credited her New York City roots for her creativity, hunger, and tough skin. As a child, she spent many afternoons journaling about her life, and eventually her daily recaps turned into rhymes. Fast forward decades later, her bars spread throughout the city like wildfire in 2022 thanks to her most recent smash hit, “Don’t Play With It.”
With all eyes on her, Brooke responded to her viral moment with “Here I Come,” a braggadocious new single released on Nov. 18. Equipped with a Midwest-influenced beat by Reefa Music, the self-proclaimed “718 Princess” is ready to show the world she has officially arrived.
REVOLT sat down with Brooke to discuss her new “Here I Come” release, childhood memories, and more. Check out the exclusive conversation below.
After the success of “Don’t Play With It,” everyone was waiting for your next move. Why was “Here I Come” the right choice in that moment?
I felt like I’m coming, I’m here. It was like, “Don’t play with it” and now it’s like, “Here I come.” Reefa Music produced it, and we were doing a record called “Back To Business” one time, and that was a Detroit-sounding beat as well. I remember him playing me beats and I was like, “Wait, what’s that?” This beat sounded like a Sada Baby beat. He said to try it and I did. I think we just knew after that the Midwest thing was my vibe.
You previously said freestyling is easy for you because you have a lot to talk about and it’s just storytelling. What’s a topic you haven’t rapped about yet and why?
I spoke about my dad passing, but I don’t think I spoke about that relationship. I want to get to that point, but that’s not something I’m going to force. I’m [not] like, “Oh, I have to get to that point.” Whenever it happens, it happens. I would like to talk more about inside the household and how I felt growing up as a young girl.
I haven’t spoken on those things yet because I haven’t heard that beat yet, and it hasn’t been that right moment yet. I would love to tap into those things more, like [how I] became Lola Brooke?
Is it scary to be that vulnerable or is it just not the right time?
It’s just not the right time. I know because I’m not scared to be vulnerable about it, but it’s just not the right time. My hunger that I have right now is just the people hearing my voice. That’s the hunger I have and you know, as artists, we go through different stages of which hunger you have. Let’s say I’m the biggest artist in the world right now. I would have to find that next hunger.
You represent your New York City roots through and through. What are some of your favorite memories of going to school there?
Taking the bus or train to school, riding on the back of that bus, and running after the bus. That’s the epitome of being a city kid. Them city buses and the subway? Those got the craziest stories. Some of them are terrible stories and I cringe when I think about them.
I got one story that’s PG, though. Sometimes, the school wouldn’t give me a bus pass because my house was too close to the school. So, when I got on the bus, I would always have to ask if [I could] get on the bus because my school wouldn’t give me a pass. The bus drivers would act crazy and tell me no. I remember I got out of school late one time, and it was 7 p.m., and I was trying to get on the bus.
I was like, “Hey, I don’t have a bus pass. Do you mind if I ride the bus?” And she told me the bus is not going to move until I get off. I was 15 at the time, and I was alone, and I asked nicely. I had my backpack on and everything. If I had strength, I would have knocked that bus over!
Speaking of your childhood, you’ve mentioned spending a lot of time with your grandmothers.
I love both of my grandmas dearly. The grandmother I have on my dad’s side, that was my best friend. We had late convos, I stayed up and watched TV with her, and [ate] snacks all day. My grandmother on my mom’s side, I would go to her job with her. She cleaned houses. I used to go with her and be inspired because she would be up everyday to clean somebody else’s house, and she just came home from cleaning hers!
In a tweet, you spoke about how the same people who doubted you now show you love. Does that bother you or do you brush it off?
It don’t bother me at all and it actually motivates me. It reminds me that I wasn’t wrong for pursuing what I wanted to pursue, and they can’t stop anything that God blessed me with. It be like an “aha!” moment, but secretly “aha.”
Whatever energy you bring out to the universe, it comes right back to you, so I just keep it cute and know that I’m blessed… I’m good. I shouldn’t have no complaints because that one person out of five didn’t like me.
What are some of the best reactions you’ve gotten from people who judged you before finding out how talented you are in the booth?
If I go to somebody’s session that’s not mine, I go there and chill out and there’s people in there. They look at me and think that I’m a friend that’s here supporting — or that I sing. When it’s time for me to go in the booth, it’ll be like, “Oh, you’re an artist? You must sing.” And I go in and when I come back out, they always be like, “Whoa.” And I be like, “Yo, what you thought it was about to be?”
“Don’t Play With It” has been everywhere on social media. How does it feel to see your song all over the internet?
It feels like… (sigh of relief). It feels like that. Just… (sigh). It feels like, “Man, it’s happening.” It feels good. A lot of my fans comment like, “We been rocking with you! And now all of a sudden, everyone is listening to it!” And I’m like, “It’s OK, y’all. It’s happening. Better late than never, right? Don’t be so mean!”
How does it feel to see how much your career has changed in just a year?
I remember when I dropped “Don’t Play With It” and it was getting a little motion. I was just happy to be an artist that had some type of freedom, who could drop music and bond with my fans. At that time, I was just having fun and trying to figure out what’s the next step.
Last year, I was thinking, “Damn, I wish I had more things to do. I wish I was doing this and that.” And now, I finally got it. There are some days that I do get tired, but I always get tired, and I know how to work through that. It’s also important to get rest as well. I can’t complain about something that I’ve been wanting for years — nearly two decades. I should get up, and do what I have to do because I have a great team that works hard for me.
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