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King Louie Talks Kanye West Shoutout on “I Don’t Like (Remix),” Upcoming Projects

One of the most talked about records of the last few weeks was the remix of 16-year-old Chicago rapper Chief Keef’s heater “I Don’t Like,” which included Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T and Jadakiss. In his verse, Yeezy tips his hat to some of the younger artists on the bubbling Chicago hip-hop landscape, from the incarcerated Bump J, to the L.E.P. Bogus Boys to Keef himself. ‘Ye closes his string of shoutouts with a mention of King Louie (who is featured in the Show & Prove section of XXL’s May Issue, on stands now), of “Too Cool” fame, who recently dropped his Motion Picture mixtape. After the record dropped, caught up with Louie (after a full day in the dentist’s chair) while he was out in Los Angeles. Despite having just undergone a root canal, the buzzing 24-year-old rapper was gracious enough to talk about his Kanye shoutout, Chicago’s emerging rap scene, and his upcoming projects. —Neil Martinez-Belkin (@Neil_MB) Did you have any idea Kanye was gonna be shouting you out on the remix or did it come as a complete surprise to you?
King Louie: One of my homies had told me beforehand. I believe John [Monopoly] had told him. I think he was so anxious and just so happy about it. He told me not to tell John that he told me but I told John anyway [Laughs]. I didn’t believe him when he told me. I was like, “Get the fuck outta here.” It still hasn’t dawned on me that some of the major artists in the game actually listen to the music, or have even heard my music, so I ain’t really believe it. And then when John told me I was like, “Awww shit, this is the real deal.” I was in the dentist when they released it and muthafuckas just started hitting me up and I was like this shit is dope. It’s the hard work paying off.

The last time we spoke I asked you what you thought was next for you, and you told me “I’m just ready for me and my team to take off.” Do you feel like this is the start of that?
Yeah. Each day it’s coming together. You know—as a city, my team, it’s all coming together. Things are looking good and I’m just ready to work. You know, get out there and have fun with the music. That’s what you’re supposed to do.

What do you make of everything that’s going on with Chief Keef and Chi-town’s hip-hop landscape right now?
Me and Keef, we been working together for like half a year but man, the Chicago thing, it’s kinda crazy. I’m just now realizing that a lot of the younger artists, Chief Keef and Lil Durk, they came up on my music. They were fans of my music before they got hot, so it makes me feel good. Like YP and Rockie [Fresh], I was already rocking with them and Chief Keef listened to us, so we all kinda groomed each other into the artists that we are now. The majority of us all know each other. I was just kicking it with Rockie and YP out here in the hills. So everything is just organic and all love.

You guys have all been at it for a while. Is it bizarre to have your music resonating on a national level all of a sudden?
It is crazy, but to me it’s kind of like how you felt before you turned 18. You had a curfew and you just wanted to stay out like your older cousins and siblings and you just couldn’t wait until you turned 18 or 21, whatever. But once you do you’re like, “Man, this shit ain’t nothing. So on the one hand it’s somewhat overwhelming but at the same time it just feels right and makes me want to work harder and get more people to my music.

Since you’ve begun to get this spotlight, are there specific artists you’d like to collaborate with?
I’d love to be able to do a lot of work with Rick Ross and the MMG guys. Man, I really wouldn’t mind doing some work with them. Those niggas are going hard. I like those guys. Overall, me and my team just wanna get out there and be successful and get seen by the world and put on for the city. We’re about unity, we’re not about no knucklehead shit. We just want to get out here and make it.

You just dropped Motion Picture and have an upcoming project called Dope & Shrimp. What can you tell us about it?
The project is already done. There’s not a concrete date for the release yet but until then we’re gonna keep the streets buzzing. Couple freestyles, and l’m looking forward to dropping another mixtape at the end of the month.

On your recent freestyle over “Mercy,” you say “Dope & Shrimp dropping, all Louie, no features.” Is that the case?
Yeah. Well there might be a few surprises. We’ll just put it that way.

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