Lil Bemo on His New Album and Life Since High School Rapper 4
Lil Bemo opens up about his musical identity, the highs and lows of his TV experience, and much more.
For those who have never heard your music before, how would you describe it to them? How would you finish the sentence, “Lil Bemo is ___” or “Lil Bemo’s music is ___”?
I'd say Lil Bemo's music is very personal. All of my songs (at least the ones on my new album) talk about my feelings, different experiences, and just things about me overall, and the different sounds I use in my songs are all sounds that I gravitate to.
For those who don’t know, could you explain what your stage name means and why you chose it?
The name has a very childish origin to it. It's a combination of the names of famous rappers I loved at the time. The “be” part of “bemo” comes from the rapper SuperBEe, and the “mo” comes from ChangMO, the rapper. To be honest, I'm seriously considering changing it, but “Lil Bemo” will suit me for now.
Please describe the main theme and messages in THE ONE ABOUT ME. What is your album all about?
My new album, THE ONE ABOUT ME, is a diary about everything that happened after High School Rapper 4. I had quite a hard time after the show ended because of many things, and I talk about why pretty thoroughly in this album. This album's just a mixtape, so it's lacking an overarching storyline or a message of any sort, but I can pretty confidently say you'll have an enjoyable time listening to the album.
What is the most ideal situation for listening to your new album? For example, is it best when listening to it at a certain time of the day, or in a certain location?
I don't think there's an ideal time, but I would appreciate it if people would listen to the album from top to bottom. I tried my best to make the songs flow nicely with each other without sounding too similar!
For each song on your album, please share some information about it: a fun fact about the making of the song, what was the inspiration for it, what the song is about, anything!
“Meltdowns & Reality Checks”: It's my favorite song on the album.
“ONE ABOUT ME”: The original version of this song sounded very different from the version that's out, and it went through like three beat changes. But I'm pretty satisfied with the end product.
“Kwame”: Many people were curious about the title of this track. The title's talking about the former basketball player Kwame Brown. Kwame Brown was a highly-touted [basketball] prospect, but when he got into the NBA, his career did not go as smoothly as many people expected. His situation seemed similar to mine, so I decided to make a song about how I don't think I'm such a good prospect and how I feel like I have either already or soon will flop.
“Tbh”: When I first made the demo for this song, I knew I had to make it sound as weird as possible. So when it came time to mix the songs, the mixing engineer and I tried to make the song as trippy as possible, and I'd say it was like a 70% success. I still think we could've gone even crazier, but I'm satisfied.
“Been Too Busy”: This song was actually directed to my friends who would half-jokingly tease me about my work ethic. It wasn't meant to be such an angry song, but I thought it sounded better with a taste of anger mixed into it. I still love my friends, though.
“Getaway (야반도주)”: On this song, Soo-Yeony Nuna went way too crazy... I even changed my verse a couple of times because her hook was too good. Shoutout to Soo-Yeony Nuna.
“Lazy afternoon”: [A] 100% true story. Not one bar in here is exaggerating.
If you had to make another song on THE ONE ABOUT ME a collaboration, who would you choose to work with, and for which song?
I think I'd like to add another person in the second verse of “Lazy afternoon.” Maybe somebody like pH-1? I don't know, though. I think it might be best to leave it as is.
Do you see THE ONE ABOUT ME as an introduction to your future albums, or is it meant to stay distinct? In other words, will future albums have a similar story or sound to THE ONE ABOUT ME, or will they be very different and unrelated?
I'd say it's closer to an introduction. But I feel like this album is only half an author's note, if we're comparing it to a book. This album is just like the tip of an iceberg to me.
What was your experience on High School Rapper 4 like? What was the most fun part of being on the show, and what was the most challenging part?
High School Rapper 4 was probably one of the greatest and most surreal times in my life. I don't think I'll ever be as happy in my music career again. Just the atmosphere there, all the great people, and the fact that I was making music and meeting these super people on an almost-daily basis was crazy, to say the least. But the hard parts also came, because the highs were too high. After the show finished and everybody went their own way, I was very lost for a while, and it took a while to get back on my feet and start walking towards my goal. So even though it was such a wonderful experience, I think it definitely had its bad sides. But I'm still very thankful I got a chance to be on a show like High School Rapper 4.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be on a show like High School Rapper 4?
Have a clear goal. It's very easy to get swept away with everything that comes with being on the show. Always stay focused.
What is next for you? What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
A short-term goal is [releasing] a mixtape or album by the end of the year, and a long-term goal is to become an artist who makes TERRIFIC music.
Lastly, is there anything else you would like to say about your music or to your fans?
I love you guys. I'll be back with many more great songs and projects!
Answers have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.