By Dylan Deprey
As 2020 winds down, some artists have thrown in the towel on this asterisk of a year—not LL Coogi.
When large stage battle rap events were put on hold due to travel and capacity restrictions, the local battle rapper decided it was time to focus on music, collaborations and building his own label.
The 93OG Music Group label boss used his “Wolves Dance in the Night 1 and 2” projects as an outlet to grieve, when his closest friends were taken from him in March. Unfortunately, Berg was killed, and Ruffin went to prison—both were his daughter’s uncles.
Between the loss and lockdown, it fueled a blaze that was inextinguishable. Since March, he has dropped a project every month.
“Cold March 1-3” and “King Coogi 4” were a chance to flex his lyrical dexterity and storytelling. He shared intimate stories about his past, close-calls and relationships.
“Play with Something Safe 1-2” allowed him to explore his sound and collaborate with different producers and lyricists, locally and nationally.
Amongst the many features, he tapped in with his Hoodlum Gang brothers, Jay Lopez, Hoodlum Neva Told and Larry Bull. He also worked with Ultimate Rap League’s (URL) Geechi Gotti, and well-respected lyricist and 2009 XXL Freshman, Mickey Factz.
He even hopped on a track with Philadelphia legend, Cassidy, and Milwaukee’s most-animated battler, Bankhead. The single, “Holy Water” was produced by Milwaukee’s finger drumming extraordinaire, Meccah Maloh.
From smooth R&B cuts for the ladies, to street anthems and boom-bap for the Hip-Hop heads, LL Coogi totes technical abilities on tracks and conforms like a chameleon.
“I took the time to really express my lyrical ability through all the music, no matter what type of beats were selected,” he said. “My music doesn’t sound anything like my battles, and I’m not here for that ‘Battle rappers can’t make good music.’ It’s just real s**t on top of the bars. There’s the relationship issues, the hardships, basically every side of me.”
LL Coogi released “Cold March 4” on Dec. 15, 2020.
He said he wanted to keep the features light on his final release of the year. The seven-track project features Melly X, August Bleu, Larry Bull, Fedarro and Valious.
The intro track, “Keefe Street Flow” is Coogi opening his life to the fans, while testing his lyrical abilities over a Milwaukee flavored beat.
On songs like “On Top” and “Demons,” he experiments on more melodic tracks.
On “Jermaine Story, Pt. 1,” he goes into his storytelling bag, and lays out a warning for those looking to get into fast money with poor planning and preparation.
“A lot of people will tell you how many drugs they’re selling, how much money they had or how many times they didn’t snitch, but they’re not going to tell you about how much time they lost or what they had to sacrifice,” he said. “I’m giving my perspective straight from the hood, having a daughter, being an artist trying to chase their dreams, while losing a lot of homies.”
While a project, a month can seem like a daunting task, LL Coogi takes it to the next level. He said the recording process only takes just a few hours at a time.
“All my music is premeditated,” he said. “I sit on it for a few weeks to a month. Then, I get the features together, which can take a little longer with the top artists. As far as that, I knock all my music out within three to four hours.”
Along with his impressive project run, LL Coogi has secured a spot on the Canadian powerhouse battle league, King of the Dot (KTOD). LL Coogi will be battling Ratchet during the “The Riot” event in Compton, CA on Dec. 20.
He also got the chance to go bar for bar against one of the URL’s heavy punchline artists, Rum Nitty, in a hometown battle hosted on the Underground Battle League in August.
“Milwaukee battle rappers haven’t been getting the exposure they deserve since like, the last two years. It’s like leagues are finally waking up because there is real talent here,” he said. “It’s a blessing to get on big streaming platforms coming from Keefe St. to all the way what we’re doing now. You can’t make your environment define you because you’ve got to keep grinding.”
As for 2021, with almost an entire discography under his belt, LL Coogi said the only thing he could do is keep the momentum going.
“Everything that’s coming out from me is 93OG. It’s coming out of LL Coogi’s pocket, I’m the one making the music, and I am the machine behind the product. I’m always going to stay working, and we’re going to keep it moving. I plan on working with bigger features and doing a lot more,” he said.
LL Coogi would like to thank all of his supporters especially Hoodlum Gang, DotMobb, Undray Tillman, Sadie and Pimpin Cube.
Visit https://www.llcoogi.net/ for more information.