Note from DouBle B: This is a re-edit of a post that I first published back in November, when the site was in it's infancy (aka as my buddy Max says "when only me and your mom were looking at the site"). I wanted to show it to a bigger audience, which I definitely have nowadays.
I haven't listened to much new rap in the last 10 plus years, and I'm not even sure if I would call what Theophilus London sings rap, but all I know is that it's good. Damn good.
Theophilus London made his network television debut on February 14th, 2011 on The Late Show with David Letterman. He performed Why Even Try and had Sara Quin (of Tegan and Sara), who also sang on the album version, join him onstage. I love when musicians know how to perform live, and this video is evidence that he surely knows how.
You can see in the Letterman appearance that his fashion style and mannerism's channel the many artists he draws inspiration from. According to critics, his "genre-bending approach draws from a range of styles, from soul-pop and post-punk to electro and contemporary R&B," citing influences that include Michael Jackson and Prince as well as Kraftwerk and The Smiths, and according to the interview with Rolling Stone that you can see at the bottom of this post: Wesley Snipes in New Jack City. That sounds awesome even before you hear it, right?
I usually start listening to new bands through word of mouth or a constant barrage from radioland of the same fucking song that's so catchy you can't stand it (I'm looking at you MGMT), and every once in a while they actually have a full album of goodies to back up the song from the radio. I started listening to Theophilus because of a Target commercial of all things. In this Target commercial was an ad for his debut LP Times Are Weird These Days, and a snippet from Wine and Candles, a song about love in modern times. I was instantly curious, but when I heard the lyric "matching shiny shoes dressed like Thriller and watch Godzilla." I knew this could be special. If you didn't know I FUCKING LOVE GODZILLA MOVIES.
Love is Real, featuring Holly Miranda, also off of Times are Weird (in fact all of these are), is another winner. Interesting fact: both Sara Quin and Holly Miranda are caucasian, openly lesbian singers without much rap backgrounds. For some strange reason that makes him even cooler to me. Favorite lyric off this one is "We took a trip down Mexico, nearly shot myself like Plaxico", he is obviously referring to Double B's Hall of Famer Plaxico Burress, but I wonder what his story is.
All Around the World is a tale of both the pleasures and woes of touring as an up and coming artist. You can hear the post-punk influence heavily in this song.
Last up is I Stand Alone, which has a great writeup in T (The New York Times style mag) that you should read.
Heres an interview he gave with Rolling Stone in April 2011: