A NIGHT IN THE STUDIO WITH LOLA MONROE

By Shirley Ju
July XX, 2018

  PHOTO CREDIT:  JORDAN VAN DER WEYDEN  / DESIGN CREDIT:  VANESSA ACOSTA  

PHOTO CREDIT: JORDAN VAN DER WEYDEN / DESIGN CREDIT: VANESSA ACOSTA 

LoLa Monroe is back and better than ever. Hailing from Ethiopia, real name Fershgenet Melaku is an American rapper, actress, model — overall badass female powerhouse. After dipping her toes in the music industry, Melaku took on the moniker LoLa Monroe in 2007 in honor of the beloved Marilyn Monroe.

Most people may not know this, but LoLa was actually the first female to sign to Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang, which lead to the release of her Lipstick & Pistols mixtape in 2013. It was then she decided to make the move from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles to do this rap thing once and for all.

  LOLA MONROE HAS A MELODIC FLOW WHEN SHE HOPS ON THE MIC / PHOTO CREDIT:  JORDAN VAN DER WEYDEN  / DESIGN CREDIT:  VANESSA ACOSTA  

LOLA MONROE HAS A MELODIC FLOW WHEN SHE HOPS ON THE MIC / PHOTO CREDIT: JORDAN VAN DER WEYDEN / DESIGN CREDIT: VANESSA ACOSTA 

Hanging around the big dogs in the studio all the time, LoLa quickly caught on to what it truly meant to record, which is exactly where we decided to meet on a beautiful Monday evening in June. Pulling up to the spot in NoHo where most studios reside, a beautiful-as-ever LoLa met me with a warm smile. There’s something about her that just screams “artist,” but also screams, “I could fuck up a mic."

Ironically enough, I had met LoLa once before at an exclusive album listening in the Hollywood Hills, but it was her L.A. Leakers freestyle that had everyone turning heads. This chick can spit! Speaking on her creative process, she remembers how she first started out recording from home, away from the pressures of other ears. Next thing you know, she’s submerged in the studio.

“Because everybody would be in the studio,” she stated. “Wiz would be like, ‘Okay, pull up a record, and everybody do your verses.’ So I would get excited because to me, I was about to get on a track with all these dudes. So it was like competitive. I enjoyed that part of it. They’re the homies... but I gotta go.”

This lead to months of booking out her own space for “12 hour blocks every single day.” Finally, LoLa could hone in on her skills and really create. What I admire most about her is her connection between the mind, body, and soul. When it comes to setting a vibe in the studio, she’s a minimalist. The only ingredients are dim lighting (specifically red) and tequila.

“I just vibe out to the beat. I let the beat take me there more than anything. Sometimes producers will play a beat, and it just won’t be in it. it just won’t be there. So I have to actually feel it.”
  PHOTO CREDIT:  JORDAN VAN DER WEYDEN  / DESIGN CREDIT:  VANESSA ACOSTA  

PHOTO CREDIT: JORDAN VAN DER WEYDEN / DESIGN CREDIT: VANESSA ACOSTA 

Speaking of tequila, this is the only alcohol that LoLa is allowed to have with her very restricting alkaline holistic vegan diet. Making the lifestyle change with her partner King Los, LoLa has reaped the benefits in more ways than one.

“It helps it a lot because the diet in what you eat affects your mind, body, soul, and spirit. Being vegan changed my perspective and just the way I function and I move and my perspective on things a lot. It trickles down into my work. It trickles down into the way I write, the way I focus, my clarity.”

It was shocking for me to hear LoLa’s cheat foods were sweet potatoes and black beans, while I sit over here confessing my addiction to candy. As soon as I muttered the words, “I cant,” LoLa checked me real quick.

“It’s all mental and you can’t say that. Our mind is so powerful, and what we speak when we say words are so powerful. If you say you can’t, you’re going to not be able to. You have to trick your subconscious mind into believing that you can. Never say you can’t. Never say that shit.”

On that note, it was time for LoLa to play me some new music, which literally had me floored. She had played me different maybe five songs, and I was geeked by how much they slapped. It was the combination of her strong female vocals, a smooth flow, pretty girl swag, King Los’ ad libs, and bars that had you wanting a playback.

During the session, I sparked up a joint but she insisted on rolling up a Tangy strain - a sativa that smelled and tasted like summer oranges. #VeganLife. She explained how the new project was initially called All Hail the Queen, but she decided to switch it up. Still figuring out a name, she guarantees it will be “saucy.”

This will be LoLa’s first release since motherhood, which she calls her “biggest accomplishment.” if there’s one thing you can count it, it’s nothing but pure flames from Queen Roe.