When it comes to spitting bars Lou The Human is a lyrical dynamo. The Staten Island, N.Y. rapper is out to prove that he’s a bona fide lyricist with the impressive freestyle skills he showcases for XXL's What I Do series.

"It Hugh Rackman, two backhands till they blue-black, man/For your crew's backhanded comments,” he raps in the freestyle. “That man'll vomit on an empty stomach/And still win the race/You gotta guess we run it/I don't think they want it.”

Although Lou has been in the rap game for several years now, he's finally come into his own with his second album, Painkiller Paradise, which he describes as the "soundtrack of my life." The project follows his 2017 effort, Humaniac. “I had Painkiller done since 2017..., [but] it took so long to clear the samples,” Lou explains to XXL about the long delay between each album.

As for the LP’s title, Lou draws inspiration from a news report he saw on television about the drug problem in his hometown borough of Staten Island. “I saw the news call Staten Island 'Painkiller Paradise' and 'Heroin Island' because we have the highest OD rate in the country, and I thought it was ill and it stayed with me,” he says.

Lou also wanted to show a different side of Staten Island outside of the familiar Wu-Tang Clan folklore. “I just wanted to tell the Staten Island story because nobody knows it beyond Wu-Tang, like, 20 years ago, and there’s so [many] other things going on there now,” Lou shares. “Humaniac was cool because it got me attention and I said a bunch of shock-worthy things and that shit [was] cute. But then I was like, Wow, if I really have all of these people listening to me...I would rather say something worth saying rather than saying I’m breaking into your grandma’s house and stealing shit. I just wanted to tell the Staten Island story.”

Even in his freestyle, Lou reps his stomping grounds. "I'ma put this city on in a second/Reborn, reinvented, bitch, I'm gone, come and get ’em, yeah," he spits. "A lot of people talk shit and show love too, and never mean it/It's the reason that I'm stuck rude/With this middle finger up sayin', fuck you!"

For Lou, Staten Island is a tale of two cities. "It's funny, Staten Island is split up. There's a North Shore and a South Shore, and on the South Shore, they got money and yacht shit. But at the same time, those kids are OD-ing on heroin and taking pills," he reveals. "And on the side I live on, which is where Wu-Tang Clan is from, police are everywhere. So, I kinda grew up in this chaotic place. I have seen kids that I grew up with in high school overdose and died."

This is why Lou is focused on his career and getting out the mud. He's stayed true to the game despite the trials and tribulations that come his way. "Swear I thought about quittin', but I can't give it up/The homies keep tellin' me that the game need me/I got the weight of the world and it ain't easy," he raps in his freestyle, adding, "If you don't feel Hu, then you don't know pain/How you gonna know sunshine but don't know rain?/It's OK, though, I'm not even complainin', I'm too complex, it's not easy explainin'."

In addition to his new, 15-track album, Lou is excited about working on another project with a Staten Island hip-hop icon. "I'm doing an album with the RZA," he beams. "That's going to be dope."

The 23-year-old rhymer credits his manager, Michael Caruso, who also manages Ghostface Killah, for connecting him with the Wu-Tang member. Lou is deeply honored that RZA respects his music and his grind.

"I think everything about the Wu is ill," Lou says. "The fact that they want to work with me is fire."

Check out Lou The Human's new freestyle below.

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