Sometimes you wait for stuff, and you don’t even know that you’re waiting. In the last year I have seen Beautiful Lou go from being someone makin dope beats workin with great artists, to being one of the most sought after producers in this renaissance of rap. His sound has already begun to define the terms by which we measure the quality of music, and it will certainly only have an increasingly-profound affect on our ideas about music. Lou is perhaps what you might call an accidental musician. He has incredibly good taste, but he didn’t come from any kind of environment that provided him with a foundation in music. Like many of us marked by this technological age, Lou found his most notable skill set one day just fuckin with a computer, not even using a program traditionally noted for its merit as a compositional tool (he started out makin beats using Nero, you know the ancient CD burning application?).
And so, as everyone has begun to grow familiar with Lou’s sound you have all also been waiting. Without realizing it. Waiting because Lou is not just another producer making hot beats. Lou i a very talented artist, with a conception of music that goes far beyond the realms in which most have come to know him. Basically, Lou is a very smart guy who doesn’t say a lot. Until you ask. And so, it is with great pleasure that we present you with 2 in depth conversation with the man behind the beats for some of the most talked about rappers to talk about. The first half of the conversation took place over chat, and mainly focuses on how Lou works. The second half took place over the phone and focuses on what Lou has been up to lately. So, as we enter the final stages preparing for the release of the MNS record take some time and get to know the young Mexican-American dude in San Antonio who is changing the way we all hear rap.
Zachg: How’s it goin?
Beautiful Lou: good. Lets talk deep moody shit
No doubt straight to it then what do you use to make music with?
Lou: A gateway computer with that little cow symbol on it. My moms
from 96 thats it.
What programs though?
How did you start usin nero? Like somebody told you bout it, or you just found it?
Lou: I bought it off a friend so I could burn CDs. I didnt even know U could edit wav files with it. I figured out that this is prolly how ppl sample. idk shit about equipment. PUT THAT IN BOLD I DONT KNOW SHIT ABOUT EQUIPMENT
Haha, will do.
Lou: dont wanna learn either. then Ill jus b like everbody else. i just think its funny meeting all these other producers and they wanna talk technical shit and I hav no idea wut they talking bout. Jus pass the blunt already
Iono, I doubt it. I think most folks learn in the same ways cause they hear in the same ways. If you learned more bout gear you’d be more of you. I def feel you though. And yeah talkin bout makin beats is not anywhere near as fun as smokin weed.
Lou: I love talkin about influences and sounds and all that. The technical aspect jus loses me not gonna front
Right, all the history and richness is in the sounds. The gear is just an afterthought. To me at least. But do you remember the stuff you sampled early on?
Lou: Tejano music ranchera music 80s synth pop. Wutever my dad had around. Alot of Selena. Synths really catch my ear I dont know why. Tejano music like Selena and Emilo had these lush heavy synth intros and interludes that came outta no where and then went straight into accordions and shit it was weird to me but i loved it.
And what were you tryin to do to the sounds? Were you hearing stuff already and then focusing on that? Or just messin around to see what catches your ear? Or something else?
Lou: Before I even tried to make a beat I was breaking down samples in my head. Jus from listening and guessing how other producers did it I always pictured wut my stuff would sound like. Once I finally got the tools it felt like it came pretty easy.
Word ok, cause I can hear that in your music. I think it really comes through that you have this bigger idea about the sounds, and how they should be to create the experience
Lou: yeah the texture I guess? is just as important to me as the melody or wutever. The more I started working with other producers the more I saw that they didnt see it. They would come up with a melody and jus use a stock dry piano sound and Im like that sounds ugly wut about this digital raindrop that sounds like its dying or sumthin. I blame video games. everything sounds so beautiful in old videogames
Yeah you’re right. And I think it was kinda the same environment that produced hip hop. You couldn’t put a CD quality recording in a videogame back then. So the stuff they came up with couldn’t just be “good music”. They were really buildin worlds with sound
Lou: Yep, building worlds . Basically I figure RZA, Madlib, Pimp C were jus reapproriating wut they grew up on. Old soul, old school hip hop,cartoons etc. so im jus using wut I grew up on Synth pop/tejano, swisha house CDs and video games.
Exactly and so much of that is about listening. It has nothin to do with gear.
How did you link up with A$AP?
Lou: I was jus a fan of ASAP YAMS blog RNT and saw he was pushing this artist that had a strong Texas influence. I figured it was a good fit and I knew Yams liked my shit so I jus hit him up.
So before Trilla who had you worked with?
Lou: Well lil B def broke me on the internet if thats wut U mean? I had to go to the net I had no choice. I had lost everything in Dallas and decided to try and see wut was active back home in San Antonio but I was soo far removed from the scene that I felt like I didnt know anybody which I didnt. So I decided to hit the net heavy and see if anybody online wanted to collaborate. I read. about hip hop! A LOT
Soo I came across cocaine blunts.com and it was rite at the time Lil Bs madness was becoming understood. Soo I decided to send him sum stuff. He sends back Cocaine and I bug out. I get addicted and now I wanted all these like minded rappers on my beats. Thats how I came across Squadda B, Western Tink, Shady Blaze and all that.
Just asking around on the internet about these ppl. Different blogs and all that. PPl think Im joking when I saw that im new to the internet but I literally NEVER knew there where all these sites and personl blogs sooo dedicated to all this new music and shit. Its addicting. especially when all U think about is hip hop.
When did you first link up with GO and tink?
Lou: Them Space Age hustle dudes hooked me up wit GO after they liked one of my old videos and asked who id like to collab wit. Tink jus shot me a random email and I liked his slang soo I checked out his music. I used to really listen to everybody’s music that got sent my way because of Tink. I thought damn if a guy this good is still beggin ppl to listen to his shit theres gotta be more legends out there. I still encorage ppl to send my there music soo GLAZEEED (my photograper/manager) can go through it. I dont really hav time anymore but discovering new talent early and having a vision for it is still I think my biggest strength
Hahah ok. and why do you choose to work with the rappers you work with? Do they complete an idea for you, or do they give you new ideas? Cause i think a lot of people who might know that you did Trilla, and Kissin Pink, they might be surprised to know you also did Okay Cupid.
Lou: Vision. Jus being able to tell wuts gonna pop and not being afraid. Thats why I dont fucc with alot of other producers cuz they got no vision. They jus make a beat. Send it out to random rappers and hope for the best. ASAP was there making music ~ Kitty Pryde had music out but nobody was fuckin with them. I knew they were gonna pop. I told Kitty exactly wut was gonna happen. Now every mutherfucker wanna throw a beat at her or get on that next ASAP album and it jus makes me sick. THERE R A THOUSAND GOOD RAPPERS OUT THERE GO MAKE GOOD MUSIC WITH THEM AND STOP RIDIN WAVES!
For sure, but you know how it goes though, most of these folks wouldnt be makin beats if it weren’t for how easy it is, and how cool it’s become. Rap is weird, because it’s about music, but it’s just as much about social relationships, bein cool and shit and a lot of times that social part overpowers the music. i think most folks fail to see the music they just focus on the social the “cool”
Lou: Naw I love being cool. Being cool is the shit. Its jus the greatest feeling in the world to discover and help new talent but I hate when U do all the work of breaking it and then sumone else swoops in and bites the whole shit. thats all
Word, i was just talkin bout how most people gonna miss all those other rappers out there, cause those unkown legends aren’t cool.
Lou: I feel u.
But yeah hahah of course we all wanna be cool in some way or another. or else we wouldn’t be doin this music. do people in your daily life know about your tunes?
Lou: Yea its def crossed over. Esp since the ASAP shit. Even more wit the Kitty Pryde shit. San Antonio isnt very big so I get recognized. Esp since my face is more out there than most producers. Im a star baby I gotta shine! but yeah it does suck tho. ppl jus want me to put them on like I kno magic or sumthin. Cant really sell weed anymore either
Prolly the better trade though. i guess those two paths though, man they’re so intertwinved. it’s funny. so you got an EP comin with Kitty, is it all your beats?
Lou: That was the original plan but too many ppl got involved. Wish her all the best tho
No doubt. it’s interesting/admirable that you would do it like that. I think you know you had opportunities that a lot of people drool over, but you’re stayin on track for what you wanna do as opposed to doin what’s gonna blow up
Lou: well I’m jus lazy and petty. I do turn down a lot of opportunites tho. After Trilla broke on the radio Atlantic and Sony and all them were like Yeah send beats for Wiz and Lupe and all that but I dont listen to them so why would I want to collab. Im very picky just like with artist i listen to. very picky about who i work wit. I figure being hard headed and petty have worked soo far so why quit
Lol that’s one way to put it, i mean i’d say you’re sticking to your guns. with this shit it’s so hard to keep your stuff. even just listening to other people’s music
Lou: Cool I just dont want too much credit when really Im just a little hard headed emo shit
Well the credit is neither here nor there. It’s more about just the thoughts you have
and the way you approach sound, and what does that all mean to people
Cause it’s about protecting the art. the art is sacred
Lou: I guess. Fuck art too mayne. See there I go again
Lol nah nah. i mean art just a word. it’s whatever it is that you’re doin whatever in the universe said “hey lou, you hear that?” whatever drove you to make music, that’s the sacred thing. and the relationship you built with that drive is sacred.
Lou: I can feel that. i like that
But you know, i think a lot of folks betray that by ridin with some bigger artist.
so it’s admirable that you would stick by whatever it is that drives you instead of just jumpin on with kitty and doin somethin to ride that wave
Lou: But its my wave hah
Exactly. you stay ridin your wave. they rode your wave to some other wave
and you stayed on yours kept ridin. haha
Lou: Too many waves bottom line is im stubborn and dumb
Stubborn maybe. dumb is a joke though. so with tink then is it a different relationship than kitty or rocky?
Lou: Tink is the only other person in this game I feel comfortable callin family. Thats my ace. He believes in me like i believe in him. Just traveling with him and gettin to know him I feel like thats only gonna lead to my best music. cuz its OUR journey. Mobbin NO Sobbin
I feel that. that’s real he’s a one-of-a-kind in this. And obviously you are too, or else you woulda been sent beats to lupe or wiz. so do you think this Mobbin NO Sobbin album is gonna be a good definition of your music?
Lou: it will def represent this time in our lives
Lou: Me and Riff Raff are doin more stuff. I really respect what he’s doin right now. He’s a new generation of legends. He just feels like a character somebody you can see as icon. That’s how I feel it is in every generation that comes up. That fool is like a cornertone that will be remembered by these other fools.
Hit the jump for the rest!
So you think you try to focus on people that are really good exmples of the character they are?
Lou: Yeah just basically that really stand out. Like you’re gonna remember them, you know what I’m sayin?
For folks who don’t know, give a list of the people you’ve worked with.
Lou: Western Tink, Lil B, Kitty Pryde, A$AP Rocky, and Main Attrakionz but I haven’t worked with them recently. But I have been fuckin with Shady Blaze.
Yeah, those folks cover a pretty broad range. I can see what you mean. Those folks are all pretty memorably characters. Good examples of themselves.
Lou: And I guess honestly, I see what Riff Raff’s doin, and I see it’s more independent, and that’s who things should be goin, and I know he gets people’s attention the wrong way in order to get them to pay attention. And you know , that’s what you gotta do do in order to get people to pay attention. I really respect that he’s doin it independent. I’m tryin to stay 100% independent too. People don’t understand you gotta do some stuff that’s gonna cause a little controversy cause that’s gonna get you the attention to do the stuff you wanna do. I learned that from Lil B. You know, Lil B puts the cooking shit out or something you know, it’s just crazy and then he can do whatever he wants underneath that cause he’s got your attention.
Exactly. We’re in such a huge mess of music right now. Even if you’re not paying attention to music you’re inundated with music. And then when you do start paying attention, of course someone like Riff Raff or Lil B is gonna stand out cause they’re such extreme characters.
Do you have homies that you hang out with who make music too?
Lou: Not really. Around me there aren’t a lot of people makin music. I didn’t know that many people so that’s why I got on the internet a lot. And through that I was able to meet people like Main attrkaionz and Tink, and whoever connecting with people like that. Even though it’s a long distance thing you can travel and meet people like that. I guess if none of that would happened none of this would have happened. That kinda trips me out sometimes. Honestly there’s nobody around me that I hang out with that does music. I don’t hang out with a lot of people like that.
So you’re just out in San Antonio, and you chill with your family and Glazed, and you go to work?
Lou: Hahah, yeah pretty much. Just me and Glazed hanging out and doin fun.
Word, you’re buyildin your little empire out there right?
Lou: Yeah, I mean that’s what we spend the most of our time doin. Somethin I can concentrate on.
So she’s like your manager right now?
Lou: Nah, I wouldn’t say manager. She has a good eye also and it’s good to have her opinion there cause it’s a girl’s perspective. And to see what she likes, cause she’s not just into rap, I only listen to jut rap but she listens to everything. So it’s good to bounce my songs off of somebody like that, and just to know what might pop with that audience. I know it’s gonna be real hard, but I’m tryin to get to that demographic, of girl’s or people who wouldn’t normally fuck with this music, but they fuck with us. I’m tryin to throw in elements there that appeal to them.
But it’s real interesting what girl’s like, cause sometimes they’re just into real weird shit. Glazed has real good taste. A lot of the artists who Mishka fucks with, she puts me up on them. She’s the one that put me onto Antwon, and Shadowrunners and all those other fools. I heard em through her.
So, she’s not a manager, but she’s involved in the decision-making process with you, she’s there.
Lou: Yeah, yeah, and she’s the photographer everywhere we go she’s takin pictures, she’s pretty much doin all the dirty work for me. Hahaha, but shot out Glazed though make sure she gets a shoutout.
Oh of course all day.
Lou: And shoutout to Western Tink, we just been finishin this Mobbin No Sobbin.
So what’s up with that, you and Tink makin music, who do you think is the audience for that?
Lou: The way Tink raps, he raps about his past and stuff, but he also has a sweet spot for girls and relationships, and I think he can naturall convey that without making a girl’s song. You know what I’m sayin, without making a stereotypical girl’s song. If he just does his thing I think they’ll get it. We’re trying to get a new path to what a real song can be. And it’s been goin that way with Drake and all them.
I’m not saying our music is the same as their’s, it’s hard to describe, but it’s about romance and relationships but without being soft. Tink’s real about it, he’s not playing a pussy when it comes to this. He’s making stuff that dudes can relate to, but also girls. I’m fascinated on that, and that’s what I’m trying to push.
The middleground between men and women?
Lou: Oh just being all romantic and moody.
Right, like catering to an audience. A lot of people just make thug shit, or rowdy shit, or party shit, or super sexual shit.
Lou: Yeah, that lane isn’t really explored yet. When you talk about deep songs usually a rapper is talkin about political shit, or the times a rapper grew up on. But relationship songs haven’t really been developed like that in hip hop. And that’s the kinda people I’m lookin for.
That’s why I fuck with Kitty Pryde so hard. Kitty was just rapping about her relationships. Growing up in the teenage life, it’s not like she’s gonna be rappin about anything else. Sh’s a good rapper, and she’s conveying it. That’s what I think hip hop can be used for. You can put so many details and stuff into rap cause you can use so many words, not like a regular song. I don’t know, there’s just certain things that haven’t been talked about in rap.
That’s why I’ve always fucked with Tink. There’s a kind of wisdom and sensibility to his words and the way he says things. He’s not just making a rap song, He’s a dude who has a very interesting way of looking at things. And he’s sharing that insight and it’s not limited to just what you might expect which would be his past and things he’s done which are bad or good.
Ya know, it’s about everything, and a lot of it of course is about relationships cause that’s our lives as humans. So much of our lives as humans is relationships. That makes sense, and I think that’s almost even where rap is going right now is a more social place. It’s sucha big part of the social media experience. People want this kind of rap music that opens up to the whole spectrum of life. So that’s cool that you guys are approaching it like that.
Lou: That’s a good way of lookin at it hahaha.
That’s what’s cool about everyone that’s part f this whole little scene, or big scene. It’s just a whole bunch of folks who have a way with words or sounds, and they’re sharing their ways of being aliv in this country right now. Like Left, he’s the same talking about relationships a lot. You been fuckin with him for a while too, right?
Lou: Yeah I think we done like 4 or 5 songs. He’s a pretty real dude. That’s another perspective too. He has a very unique perspective, he’s the Poor Little Dude you know what I’m sayin. I like people who encompass everything about themselves, and that’s what they rap about. When you share details of yourself I respect that. That’s the kind of people I try to find to work with. Instead of givin you a generic song it’s a very detailed song. It could only be them, you know what I’m sayin? I like people who make songs that could only come from them.
Ok cool, any closing comments or anything?
Lou: Shoutout everyone I been workin with. Kitty Pryde, Western Tink. Mobbin No Sobbin comin soon.- Zachg