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Rapper 88LO Talks About New Music & Making a Difference in the Community.
Self-made music producer and rapper, 88LO, loved music ever since he was a small kid. The Jamaican born artist grew up vibing to the melodies of Caribbean pioneers like Garnet Silk, Super Cat, Ninja Man, and Bobby Marley, who sung about impoverishment and the everyday struggles of living in paradise.
88LO moved to the United States when he was 15-years-old, so he gravitated to different cultures and more importantly, hip hop. His passion remained synonymous as he got older, which allowed him to open his own record label called 88 Music Group.
“I did it about a year ago. Many of these artists have the potential to do it but they don’t have the mindset. So, I’m coming in off the gate as a business owner. I own this business. I don’t own an artist, but I am an owner. That’s how it is. I’m coming into the game bossed up already."
88LO has a few artists under his roster, and he is pushing his own sounds through 88 Music Group LLC.
“I still love Jamaican music—that’s my roots,” he says. “The musical styles and melodies are still there.”
The rapper describes himself as a pragmatic person that just wants to put out good music. “I want to put it out internationally, to the masses, and to the world,” he says.
When talking about his provision, he got downright sincere. “With my legacy, I want to make a change—not only for the youth coming up and not only for our black community, I want to make a change for all communities. Forget about the color, okay? I just want to make a change for all the youth growing up in single parent households, no parent households, orphan kids, the children that felt they are left out by society. I want to show them that anything is possible. You just have to stick to it and stay on the right road. That’s the legacy I want to leave behind because I try to instill that in my kids, but I want to spread it on a bigger scale and a bigger aspect."
‘If I can do something, I’d take care of the community first and give these youths a little after-school program. Have you heard of the phrase, “It takes a community to raise a child?” Well, that’s the truth. I’d like to put the youth in facilities, in places and neighborhoods where there are none, and in all these high crime areas, I would like to put positive stuff there. It takes teamwork. We need to find these counselors and the representatives that really care, and not look at it as a dollar amount. I feel that us, as artist, we have a platform to make a change, and we’re not making the change that we’re supposed to be making. It’s disappointing. We only want to make a change when we’re into something or we get into some kind of situation where it affects us. That’s the only time we make a change, and by then it’s too late. We have a platform to change kids’ lives, kid’s households, and situations. We’re not doing that. We are definitely not doing that. I think us, artist, we need to step it up a little bit more."
88LO is a rapper, but he loves sitting at home and chilling with family. His kids are his biggest fans, so he spends the most time with them. He also cooks and does the metro sexual thing although he has a B-Boy demeanor that masks his identity. “I like taking care of home. I want everyone around me to be happy and enjoy life. Many people don’t see that side of me because they aren’t around. All they see is the business guy all the time.”
88LO learned many lessons while breaking into the industry, especially Notorious Bigs [Christopher Wallace] rule number #3 from the “10 Crack Commandments.”
“Never trust anybody,” he expresses adamantly. “I learned that off the gate. It’s not that you cannot trust everybody, but not everybody is helping you move forward. That’s exactly what I’m here to do with my label, help pull them up. I want to teach them because these record labels don’t show the artist the business end of things. They say go out and make them [the label] the money, and that’s enough. I’m trying to show my people the business at the end of the day."
Nipsey Hussle talked about owning the masters to his music. Chris brown recently acquired his masters and catalogs. Prince fought diligently to the grave so he could acquire the rights and masters to his music. Interestingly, up-and-coming artist don’t seem to be concerned about that as they receive money now… they don’t consider long term. “Right,” 88LO agreed. “These labels don’t specify that in the contracts, the advances, and stuff. That’s the reason the record labels choose the people who lived in poverty, because when you made a certain amount of money from them, they don’t care about anyone else. They just want that money and they are out of there. Meanwhile, the record labels are grabbing on to the long-term money, the protection, the investment. We need to teach our ethnic audience the business.
As mentioned, 88LO started his own label and released music—His first single from his upcoming album called Nothins Changed is a flowy number, which talks about seeking the positive aspect in life. It rides a beat of harmonious simplicity while still telling the story.
“I have a cousin that’s incarcerated right now. His name is Coach Carter. He’s my number one influence. He caught the bad end of the stick and got sentenced to jail for a long time. I look at and acknowledge that he is in a worse predicament than I am. He has a positive mindset and he is in that predicament. Through the times we talk, he inspires me. Therefore, I came up with the song, Nothins Changed. You can put someone whose physically behind bars, but their mentality is still the same so nothing has changed. You can still have a positive outlook in a negative situation. I’m working on some collaborations and features. I want to show the people that I’m versatile on that level as well. I am pushing myself and pushing the envelope to be the best that I can be every day,” he says. Every day, I’m in the studio and I press the envelope for myself. If you don’t you’re going to be stuck in the same position."
"Spray" it featuring Dave East
Nothins Changed featuring 88 Goldie
Follow 88 lO on Instagram here