Theophilus London Sets A New Standard For Rappers
It’s always a pleasure to encounter a cultured, intelligent rapper with a unique sense of style and sound, to which Theophilus London has bragging rights. Theophilus first caught my eye when I read he’s heavily influenced by The Smiths, showing his appreciation to these British OGs in his own music.
Unlike many artists whose careers have to blow up before they have high fashion brands knocking on their door, Theophilus had Cole Haan, Gucci and Mountain Dew interested in working with him prior to any real mainstream hype. “I’ve always looked at myself as a brand,” Theophilus told me, “And other brands think I’m sexy and I’m a smart dude. I went to school for marketing, I know how to be marketed. I put out three mixtapes: Jam!, This Charming Man, and then I Want You. These mixtapes were just curated off of my favorite songs. I was on tours all around the world with these. For my second mixtape, I toured with A-Trak, who was Kanye‘s DJ. These brands saw me through the Internet and thought I worked well with their image(s).”
Theophilus London for Cole Haan
Theophilus has flown to Japan to collaborate with Gucci and worked with Nike. He even has a shoe with Cole Haan debuting this summer. “There’s more to me than just music. Music is definitely the proper outlet for me, it’s what I’m really gaining my skills in,” Theophilus says. “But I have a lot of other things to do in life.” One of these things is operating a creative company called LVRS, through which Theophilus embarks on hot collaborations with brands and creates his own exclusive t-shirts, sold at high end shops like Paris’s Collette. Although he now has the support of a publicist, he has actively been meeting people himself, building relationships and talking business with the aforementioned brands for almost five years. As he simply stated: “I know what I want.”
Theophilus’ new album, Timez Are Weird These Days, drops on July 19th. When asked what we can expect from it, Theophilus said “awesome songs around the theme of love. This record is current; it’s about capturing this moment now. This one record is called ‘Love is Real,’ which is about reincarnation, and there’s a song called ‘Girls, Girls, Money’ as well as ‘Wine and Chocolates’ and ‘Why Even Try.’ Its just a moment in time, a record coming from one guy, no rap features. An honest 10-song record.”
Check out my “fill-in-the-blank” interview with Theophilus where he talks fashion, traveling and the unlikely pop artist he’s a big fan of: