To be alive in the 2020’s is a sight to see. With the decade kicking off with a pandemic of catastrophic measures, it set the tone for a time period that is unique, free, and ever changing. In a lot of ways, it mirrors a period of time from 100 years ago that many would also say was based in freedom, growth, and a changing form of expression in the Roaring 20’s. Art is reflecting that sentiment and not many artists, if any, have been as explicit in expressing this as Baltimore, Maryland MC Lil Webb.
Lil Webb mixes a modern day mindset with classical training as a student of the fine arts. This mixture of upbringing shines in his records as he fluently switches from genres and subject matters throughout his catalog. His latest album, “The Whoracle”, shines this skill throughout a 14-track concept package. We recently got the opportunity to discuss the project and more with Lil Webb. Follow along for the full Q&A session:
To start, for those who are being introduced to you today, tell us a little about your backstory before becoming an artist.
Honestly there is no “before the artist” period. I spent the early stages of my life drawing, learning in front of an easel, and going to museums with my grandfather. I’ve always been involved with art in some way. I think that’s why I take that word so seriously. Music is just the part of it that’s dominated my life.
I would consider you to be a person who is a little more cultured in their experiences with you having attended a fine arts school. How do you feel that experience has helped shape you into the person and musician you are today?
It’s turned me into the Performing Arts version of an athlete. Yes, we technically compete with each other as artists for spotlight and media attention so that our music can be heard by more fans. I take it as I’m competing with the idea of what you know music to be. I’ve spent so much time in music classes and with those teachers honing in on the flexibility of the artform it’s like a game I play in my head. Gunna once said referring to recording Yosemite for Travis Scott “It’s like he knew what I was gonna say and how I was gonna say it”, I strive to be like that everytime I craft a record.
If you had to describe your music to someone who has never heard it before, how would you do so?
My music is a Broadway Musical in real time. My egos serve as the principal roles while my features and collaborators are the supporting cast. The producers are my orchestra and we get to perform for you guys every night with something new added. You can follow Lil Webb on his road to Rap redemption or Conrad Birdie on his quest for Pop stardom. Either way they’ll be here 8 shows a week!
Some people enjoy creating music, and some love performing it more. Others find their joy in fan reaction’s when it is released. For you personally, what is your favorite part of your creative process and why?
Making the records is the part that really does it for me. Sitting in the actual creation of a song, especially when writing from scratch for/with another artist, I couldn’t be happier. That’s like a Flow State trigger for me, the closest I get to Nirvana.
Conversely, what do you find to be the most challenging task as an artist? There are pros and cons in anything. I’m sure this is no different.
Sometimes it just feels like the people working on something with you don’t get it. I recently watched a documentary on the Irish-British painter Francis Bacon, and it was kind of a hard watch. Yet, watching that after seeing his paintings made the paintings make more sense. Paintings that were already great, became greater. That’s where I find my main problem as an artist, getting people to see the final product whilst in production.
Switching gears, I would like to talk about your new album “Whoracle” I can’t attest to your intent, but it’s safe to say this a concept album. What led you to this direction creatively?
A woman made me upset. I had been sitting on the concept for a long time and actually some of the songs were recorded in 2019. I feel like that situation was the catalyst for growth that made the bigger picture of the project visible to me. It’s my neon sign of the times. I feel like the 2020’s mirror a lot of the goings on of the 1920’s and expand on that idealist lifestyle.
What’s the funniest or most interesting story you can share that happened during Whoracle’s creation?
I gotta give a shoutout to Lor Poppa man he inspired a line on Voice Lessons. He asked me to do a verse for a Pop-Rock joint he was working on at the time. I happened to be at the studio towards the end of his session so he played it for me and left. I came back maybe two days later and recorded it for him. So I see him later on in the week at one of his homies sessions and asked him how he felt about it. He asks me “Man, why’d you kill me on my own shit?”
How has the reception been since you dropped it? Was it what you anticipated?
It’s being received well. Everyone has their different favorites, but if anyone doesn’t like it at all they’ve kept that to themselves. Ladies seem to like it, so that’s all that matters to me. I would be interested if someone didn’t like it, like why not? I’m intrigued by stuff like that, what makes people like what.
How do you feel this album steps the bar up from your previous work?
I don’t feel like the bar gets stepped up per say, I think I just show my evolution a bit better. My last album Welcome In Advance was a Pop album, so it feels weird to compare the two. I definitely feel like I have songs you can play in the club, but this was the first time I made a set of records with that being the intention. That’s what I personally felt was missing in my catalog. Just joints you can put on in the club, have fun, dance with a shorty, but still be Hip-Hop.
With Whoracle doing its rounds, what’s next on the horizon for you that people should look out for?
This is kinda breaking news, but I’ll be working on a new concept album in tandem with Maresa Miranda. She hosts an artist residency in Mexico City, so I’ll be heading down there to write, record, collaborate, and really indulge myself in the life of the “artist”. Since artists of other mediums will also be there I’ll be taking in the whole of my conversations with everyone to complete the project. The artist is the main focus, so I really hope listeners can get a new understanding and appreciation for the work we put in to keep the masses entertained. Some old friends will be joining me musically as well. Definitely something off the lifetime bucket list so lookout for the release announcement.
We’re nearly halfway through with 2023. If you did set any goals for the year, how has the progress been on them? If not, do you have one to reach by the end of the year?
I don’t really set yearly goals. Progress has definitely been made to the finish line though which I am very proud of. A new end of the year goal has been to get a Gangtsa Grillz with DJ Drama, since he is being so prolific right now. I think that would be dope and open me to writing on sonics people haven’t really heard me over.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
People don’t value the artists enough. We praise content creators as artists and that’s not a dig or slight at content creators. Content creators are a very vital part to the entertainment ecosphere. At the same time, sometimes people want more than stuff. Art is by nature meant to be thought provoking, and if the average attention span is low that means you aren’t spending much time thinking about one thing, really ever. I personally want you to sit with each individual body of work for a period of time. That’s partially why I rarely drop singles. My projects aren’t long. I would like you to listen twice or three times and think about what I’m actually saying.
Do you have any last comments or announcements before we end?
You are appreciated. I’m currently working on my project with the residency and on my next project to coincide with that. Both will be dropping towards the end of the summer or early fall. I am also working on my next Pop album hopefully dropping no later than March next year at a similar time as Whoracle. And Thank You again.