London's Latest: Lava La Rue

THE STATE OF MUSIC is in a super cool spot right now. I swear, everywhere you look, there’s some new artist who’s pushing the limits of genres to new places, blurring boundaries in a million different directions. We talked about this briefly with Julian Mendoza a few weeks back, but I find it extremely exciting to watch this genre bending play out. West London’s Lava La Rue is a dope ass artist doing this, one who I think can and will lead the mixing-movement.

For most artists I come across, I can usually think of at least one other artist they remind me of. With Lava though, that’s not really the case. Yea, I guess I could see an 070 Shake comp, but for the most part, she’s just in her own lane. To describe her sound bluntly, it’s some serious indie rap verging on pop, R&B, and even sometimes alternative. The production on many songs is highly creative, feeding into a psychedelic-type sound, drawing from a ton of inspirations, but never doing too much. Just take Widdit for example. In some areas, it pulls in aspects of 90s rap, utilizing the drums and record scratches that dominated the genre. Then at the same time, throwing in a smooth keyboard mellows out the beat, adding a vibe to the song that kinda feels LoFi-esque and kinda feels like chilled R&B. Add in a slick delivery, verging on spoken word, featuring tight rhymes, all you’re left with is a real unique track. Easiest way to explain it: wavy.

While she’s got the beats and the bars, who Lava La Rue is might just be more important. Growing up in and around foster care, La Rue is open about her past, being an image of hope for many in the same situation. That aspect of her background has played a huge role in who she is as a musician, but possibly more influential is being part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Yea, there’s some well known artists from the LGBTQIA+ community (Frank Ocean and Lil Nas X being the most obvious examples), but for the most part, it’s still an extremely underrepresented group in the music industry. An artist like Lava has the opportunity to connect with millions and millions of listeners worldwide. And for listeners who can’t connect on either level, don’t worry, La Rue’s still relevant. Listen to Angel… don’t matter your orientation, that shit is relatable to anyone who’s got a lover.

Photo: Benjamin Askinas

I could understand people being turned off from her messages. Partially because of her background and partially because of her sexuality, her music is bound to be political. But then again, what generational talents haven’t been? Songs like Desktop won’t be the ones heard on the radio, but they’re the ones that make you stop and think. It’s the substance in some of her work that may just make you reconsider your position on certain topics. In this instance, Lava forces listeners to challenge social conformities.

Combining what she stands for, with her unique ass sound, she’s only got a potentially massive audience waiting for her. Some artists I cover, I think they’re cool, but know they fit into a niche. With Lava La Rue, I genuinely think (and hope!) she could be huge. Content material and relatability, which she 100% has down, is incredibly important, but having a sound that is completely unique may be what can take her to that next level. And when I say next level, I mean superstar. To me, she just made for that stage. Her messages transcend geographic borders, and her sound should appeal to anyone. Just do yourself a favor… hop on the wave now before it’s too late.

PERSONAL FAVORITES: Widdit, TLSL (Stitches), Angel (ft. Deb Never), G.O.Y.D, Goofy Hearts Club

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