Lola Brooke’s 2023 XXL Freshman Freestyle – Watch
Lola Brooke is four-feet, nine-and-a-half inches of pure Brooklyn hip-hop. When it comes to her nostalgic yet contemporary take on rap, they certainly "don’t make ’em" like her anymore. The 29-year-old MC says as much in her 2023 XXL Freshman Freestyle.
She puts the trials and tribulations of her Bedford-Stuyvesant upbringing on front street right off rip. Lola Brooke brings her booming and boisterous vocal tone to the 2023 XXL Freshman Class with storytelling lyrics and flows that are reminiscent of the 1990s-era Brooklyn icons who came before her like The Notorious B.I.G and Foxy Brown. "They don’t make ’em like me no more," she raps after coming through with her signature "Uh-uh, uh-uhhh" intro. "I was raised in a house, we could never lock doors/Locked jaws, talk to the feds, that was not law/Step-pop kept the glizzy in my room, top drawer/I ain't tryna say I'm any different/But if the city see me win, it's gon' feel different."
In a world in which twerk-filled TikToks and Instagram filters are just as prominent as the bars and the beats, other parts of Lola Brooke’s XXL Freshman freestyle find the proud Brooklynite taking a stand against the often-misogynistic practices of the music industry before seamlessly transitioning into her own sense of vulnerability. "I know they tired of seein' me underrated ’cause I'm gifted/But suckin' d**k to the top, I am not with it/Now I got my family talkin' ’bout me instead of helping me out/I thought rumors come from enemies and not from the house," she rhymes.
Lola later spits: "Realized my mother was poor at the age of 18/Bills stayed paid, but it wasn’t what it seemed/She gon' feel offended, Section 8 know what I mean/I just feel your lifestyle should be more like your dreams."
Growing up as an only child raised by a single mother who had to work nonstop in shelters very similar to the ones in which they lived, Lola Brooke began fostering her soon-to-be rap career from a very early age as a means to entertain herself when she was often left alone. Once she graduated from Boys and Girls High School in her Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in 2012, rapping to herself in the mirror transitioned into studio sessions when she was outside of her jobs in retail and at a men’s shelter.
After building some steam with freestyles on SoundCloud in the late 2010s, it was her 2021 track “Don’t Play Wit It” featuring Billy B that allowed Lola Brooke to become a full-fledged member of the rap game’s mainstream. After racking up streams and radio spins throughout 2022, her breakthrough anthem earned the dynamic MC her first spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this past April, immediately following the release of her “Don’t Play Wit It (Remix)” featuring Latto and Yung Miami.
In the months that followed, Lola Brooke signed with Arista Records and tapped her go-to producer, Sharif "Reefa" Slater, for critically acclaimed releases such as "So Disrespectful," which has raked in nearly 3 million YouTube views, and "Just Relax," a block-party banger that samples Black Sheep's 1991 classic, "The Choice Is Yours."
As Lola Brooke continues to make the dream she references in her freestyle a reality as a 2023 XXL Freshman, the not-so-shy-spitter from the ’Stuy always makes it a point to never forget where she came from.
"I was always an underdog," Lola tells XXL during the Freshman shoot. "So, now that I finally got my spot and I fought for it, it's only right that I get rewarded for a Freshman Class spot. I’m bringing Brooklyn vibes, New York energy. I'm from Brooklyn, son."
Watch Lola Brooke show off her New York legacy lyricism in her 2023 XXL Freshman freestyle below.
Watch Lola Brooke's 2023 XXL Freshman Freestyle
The Freshman issue of XXL magazine hits stands everywhere on July 18. See Finesse2tymes, Lola Brooke, Rob49, Fridayy, GloRilla, 2Rare, SleazyWorld Go, Central Cee, Real Boston Richey, Luh Tyler, TiaCorine and DC The Don's official Freshman pages. In addition to interviews with all 12 artists in the 2023 Class and Freshman cyphers producer Pi'erre Bourne, it includes interviews with Lil Baby, NLE Choppa, Boosie BadAzz, Toosii, DDG, Saba, producer Go Grizzly, engineer Jaycen Joshua, singer Coco Jones, SinceThe80s' President Barry "Hefner" Johnson and AEW wrestler Swerve Strickland, plus a look back at what the 2022 XXL Freshman Class is doing, hip-hop's love for golfing featuring Scarface, OMB Peezy and pro golfer Harold Varner III, conversations with 10 new artists making noise and a deep dive into A.I. hip-hop songs. You can also buy the 2023 XXL Freshman Class issue here.