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Image via Alamo


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Steven Louis doesn’t care what the MRI shows — he wants to get Tommy John surgery, just to know what it feels like.


Heembeezy thinks about retirement sometimes. It’s not for a lack of momentum. The Hawthorne and Inland Empire artist has a joint venture deal with Alamo and just performed at Rolling Loud for the first time. It’s also not an age thing. The rapper born Jekobe Holloway just turned 20, and his spacey, croaked, off-center quotables have made him a rising West Coast star. As he tells it, this loose idea of leaving rap comes from contempt for the fakery. His talent for knowing what will pop might be preternatural, but that doesn’t mean that he enjoys what comes with success.

The music is straightforward and slight, effortlessly quotable and full of an improvised energy that belies his technical prowess. By 6-years-old, he was recording his father’s raps from behind the family computer. By age 10, he’d already gone from Pro Tools to Logic. While his peers were mostly in class or partying, Heembeezy was in “Spaceship” mode, cranking out instrumentals for other artists while recreating the beats he heard on the radio. And when the 2020 pandemic shut down life as we knew it, the teenager recorded volumes of his own raps – reaching fans desperate for the exciting next step of an ongoing California Renaissance.

With the murders of Drakeo the Ruler, Bris, and Young Slo-Be, Heembeezy found himself anointed as one of the potential heirs to the throne of the West. He capitalized with a relentless output of viral hits: “Face No Book” is smurkish and fuses exotic strains of street-level shit-talk; “Floccer” lights and refracts the proven Stockton recipe; “When You Call” pitches up Ashanti and sounds club-ready without sacrificing griminess.

His latest single, “Michael Phelps,” begins the rollout for this month’s forthcoming Beezy Baby mixtape in April. It marks a period of transition for the young artist – Heembeezy is debating a move out of LA, determined to expand his sonic palette to R&B and blues rap, and is dealing with familial difficulties. I caught up with him to discuss life changes, lessons learned and why he hates thinking about his teenage past.

​​(This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.)


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