Staten Island’s own Lou The Human’s ‘Humaniac’ is retro rap at its finest
I got the chance to see Lou The Human perform live in Syracuse, NY back in 2013 and have known the dude can straight up spit since.
I was already a fan of his early work, featuring on the rap collective Tribe Gvng’s projects, The 22nd Letter, V for All, and CVTCH 22. Four short years later, Lou’s debut solo project Humaniac is out and the Staten Island rapper has most certainly been harnessing his skills and sitting on some fire.
Though Lou was considerably nice while mobbing with Tribe, he has unmistakably leveled up and now coming different since focusing on his own sound.
From the lyrical content to the bleach blonde hair, Lou is channeling 1999 era Eminem throughout the project. He constantly shifts between reality and fantasy and raps from the perspective of various voices in his head.
The outrageous depictions of violence, drug use, and mental illness consistent on the project could definitely be considered hardcore. At the same time Lou’s keen perspective and self awareness make for a very entertaining and introspective rap project.
Humaniac plays through almost like a horror film with Lou verbally directing all the metaphorical elements of gore and carnage. His rap style is on the cusp of comical freestyle-storytelling and lyrical brilliance.
Historically, rappers like Slick Rick, MF Doom, Quasimoto, and Ghostface have wielded similar styles.
Despite the Detroit rapper’s strong influence, Humaniac is most definitely a New York rap album. As evident with the avoidance of any catchy hooks or hypebeast seeking features, Lou just raps very well and gives us straight bars. On “Roseanne” he touches on some of his more common and uncommon vices spitting:
“Sometimes life is better when you light the purp or sprite and syrup might just work/I’m harder than the ground is when you bite the curb
And I like to flirt with old women at retirement homes while they was trying to get they Skype to work”
Lou The Hu spits with no shortage of confidence either. On “Fuck Rappers” he continues to freely boast about his skills on the mic while shedding light on his attitude towards his buzz and potential blow up.
“After Pac I’m the greatest and I ain’t afraid to say it/everybody show me fake love and I already fucking hate it
I’m afraid to make it already got fake friends that fuck with sketchy bitches/Best rapper alive still I’m shy and pessimistic”
The production throughout the project, also crafted by Lou himself, is similarly right at home in NY, mostly projecting sinister modern boom-bap sounds and deep head-nodding drum loops. But then we take a drastic, slower, and even darker turn on the second half of “Schizophrenia”. At 3:37 the song morphs into a 808’s and Heartbreak/Yeezus/Travis Scott inspired screeching reveal of emotion.
Lou clearly did his homework and put some time into this project, perfectly finessing his flows throughout the pockets of each of the 10 songs on the EP.
Respectively aware of his classic inspiration, he pays homage and borrows a hook from Slim Shady EP’s “Brain Damage” on track 8 titled “Born”. On the same song he later compares himself to another animated rap legend while fittingly referencing M. Night Shyamalan’s supernatural thriller classic.
“I hate the peace disturb that, Lou is the new Ludacris
Throwing bones literally, the sixth sense little league”
His videos are equally insane, if not more random than his lyrics but the young rapper is undoubtedly wildly talented, but also possibly demented. Check out the visual for the closing track below and see for yourself.
Even while partially off his rocker, in addition to the crazy Lou does cleverly raps about some real life shit. He challenges the norms of society and schooling as well as police brutality on the first half of “Schizophrenia” saying:
“Shit I’m just not complacent, with a piece of paper telling me I’m smart
I guess I’ll find out when I meet my maker”
On the same track he later questions it all while referencing his deviance and use of drank, confessing:
“What is life but a dream anyway
Always been a standup dude but I lean any way”
And on “Halal” featuring The Voices in My Head, Lou makes it clear the police are just as dangerous as he is.
“Put the phone down, ain’t nobody you can call now
The cops will probably kill you too
Shit, I would’ve thought you knew”
Humaniac is “genius ignorance” and comes together as a seamless, sick, twisted, and grimy tale, deserving the attention of any true hip-hop and rap fan.
There is real sport to this rap shit and this project serves as a wordplay showcase and lyrical clinic. “From the slums of Shaolin,” Lou The Human is out here earning his respect and is another authentic MC to watch out for.
Check out the debut EP below and NY stand up.