Do It Big, But Still Feel Small: Top Charts Rapper Lute Speaks About Mental Health | DFA 90.7

This is an extra-special episode of the WFAE amplifier.

It’s special in that it was recorded at GrindHaus Studios in Charlotte, owned by former student of the Amplifier podcast Jason Jet. And it’s also special in that it’s Amplifier’s 100th episode.

For this milestone achievement, Amplifier welcomes the aspiring rapper Lute, which embodies “Charlotte’s musical dream”. Lamar.

More than praise, Lute worked through personal grief and self-doubt to bring his verses to life, never forgetting his Charlotte roots and the people who supported him along the way – from his mixtape. self-released from 2012 until her full 2021 -long debut studio album.

“When I first started I thought success meant meeting J. Cole. Now I see my success differently. I didn’t graduate from high school, so I never graduated. the Sun “(with J. Cole, DaBaby and Kendrick Lamar), I finally had something with my name on it so I could hang it on the wall.”

– Grammy-nominated rapper Charlotte Lute signed to Dreamville Records

Interview highlights:

On his first musical memories:

Charlotte’s West Side was full of culture when I was growing up. I remember when Jay Z came over to the neighborhood record store called Willie’s, and everyone was jumping in their cars and running over to Willie’s to see him.

I remember when Tupac was killed. One of my neighbors had a model large screen TV on the floor. He pushed her over to the window, and everyone was standing outside on their porch watching the news. I will never forget him.

Back then, in the 90s and early 2000s, my brothers put me on all types of music. I have a brother where genres are not a thing. He has no barriers, so he listens to everything, including country. He really showed me a lot of different music. My other brother was more into hip-hop, and he put me on Goodie Mob, OutKast, and A Tribe Called Quest. And my other brother made me play the piano. Music has played a very important role in my life. The more music I heard, the more I became interested and wanted to make my own music. I started doing nursery rhymes when I was 10 years old. It was garbage, but it was a start.

On his first mixtape “West 1996:

It was basically me trying to show the world what life was like on Charlotte’s West Side. The reason I chose a rendition of the NAS album cover art for my mixtape cover was to show everyone that this was my neighborhood ‘Illmatic’ powered by music from 1996 style.

I don’t have the most orthodox way of writing music. I know a lot of people go into the cabin and freestyle and let it go, but I’m not that type of guy. I can freestyle here and there, and I like to do it for Instagram every now and then, but writing is therapeutic for me. It helps with my anxiety. Writing songs is like a journal for me, and my verses are journal entries. Sometimes I go back to the songs to see where I was in that place and in that space.

After being signed to J. Cole Dreamville Records label:

To this day, I still don’t know how it happened. I used to work at Walmart, and J. Cole contacted a friend of ours, and this friend contacted me. I thought my friend was joking, because I’m at work, and I almost got fired the day before. So I ended up following J. Cole on Twitter, and he followed me right away and told me he was at the Fillmore in Charlotte for the CIAA tournament, and he invited me. This is how we bonded for the first time. And that blew me away at the time.

Fast forward years later with J. Cole’s compilation album “Revenge of the Dreamers II”, and he put my song “Still Slummin ‘” on the record. I went to Best Buy to buy three copies of the album. I gave one to my mom, kept one in the plastic for myself, and opened the other and listened to the other all day as I walked around town. I went downtown, looked at Charlotte’s skyline and thought to myself, “Dude, my song is here! My name is on the back of a CD! It was a turning point for me.

On the meaning of his first studio release in 2021 “Mouf d’or:

Have you ever seen “The Nutty Professor?” Gold Mouf is to me what Buddy Love is to Professor Klump. So, me facing my anxiety, Gold Mouf is my confidence. I have this joke going on on Instagram where I post pictures of myself and I call it “Big Ugly” which is my low self esteem. But Gold Mouf, it’s the opposite, when I’m at the highest level of confidence. Gold Mouf debuted in Atlanta for the Dreamville sessions. I did six songs one night, and a manager gave me the nickname Gold Mouf because I broke my social barrier and my introverted nature. We all have these masks and affirmations that we use for our sanity and our self-confidence.

On managing anxiety and depression:

It’s hard to make music. I created “Gold Mouf” while dealing with all types of mental health issues. I didn’t know how I was going to finish this album. If you ask any of my friends they will tell you that at some point I thought this would be my last album. I fell in love with music. So it was hard for me to log in and go to the studio every day when I just wanted to come home and lay down and do nothing. It was hard to get through, but I had to come to terms with myself and realize that I had to be open and vulnerable about what I was going through. And once I became more open and more vulnerable about what I was writing, it all started to fall into place.

I had been working on their album for two and a half years, and my forties ruined me. There came a time when I had to see a therapist, and she made me realize that I am not only dealing with anxiety but also depression. And the way I dealt with anxiety didn’t work with depression. This project has therefore literally been my diary for two and a half years.

On the definition of success:

When I first started I thought success meant meeting J. Cole. Now I look at my success differently. I didn’t graduate from high school or anything so I never graduated or had anything with my official name on it except bills. So when I got the platinum plate for “Under the sun” (with J. Cole, DaBaby and Kendrick Lamar) I finally had something with my name on it so I could hang it on the wall.

Being from Charlotte:

Being from here, Charlotte’s music means a lot to me. I don’t grow plants, but when you see people tending a bonsai, that’s how Charlotte grew me. It’s me. I am, and it is me. For any other Charlotte artist, where we come from is what we embody in our music. Without Charlotte, there wouldn’t be me. We watched each other grow up.

Charlotte is a melting point, and we don’t have a definitive sound. We can tell you about our side of town and so many different genres. It’s not like a private school where everyone wears the same thing. We don’t need to sound the same and hold hands; I think it’s weird. I love that we can be individuals and not look like someone else to be on a big platform. It’s about amplifying yourself by being yourself.

Music presented in this chat #WFAEAmplifier:

Lute – “Carolina Folks”
Lute – “Flossin” feat. Boogie
Lute – “This is how it goes”
Lute – “Queen City Slummin ‘”
Lute – “Always Slummin ‘”
Lute – “Myself” with DEVN
J. Cole and Lute – feat “Under the Sun”. DaBaby and Kendrick Lamar
Lute – “Eye to Eye” with Cozz
Lute – “Agree”
Lute – “Ghetto Love” feat. Blakk Soul and Ari Lennox
Lute – “Crash”

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