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Be Specific… D.C. rapper Lola Monroe on the transition from video honey to MC


D.C. native Angel Lola Luv now raps under the name Lola Monroe. (Courtesy Lola Monroe MySpace.)

By Sarah Godfrey

Those who’ve long enjoyed ogling Lola Monroe in urban skin mags or music videos from the likes of 50 Cent and Trey Songz will have to be content with archival material from now on. The D.C. native (from Garfield Terrace, to be exact) formerly known as Angel Lola Luv stopped showing off her prodigious backside some time ago, to focus on rapping, and has no plans to model again.

Monroe, who just dropped “Untouchables,” a collaborative mix tape with Louisiana rapper Lil Boosie, recently spoke to Click Track about the difficulties of moving from a career based on shaking it in the background to one of rapping in the foreground and why female rappers don’t look like Mia X anymore.

So no more photo shoots, no more videos? That’s over?

I’m not doing that anymore. I’m not doing videos, unless it’s a cameo. No magazine shoots, unless it’s promoting my music.

Has the fact that you’re known in the hip-hop community for video work and photo spreads helped you in terms of breaking into the music side of things?

I helps, kind of, but it also became an obstacle. It helped me brand my name and get my name out there, but at the same time, with the visuals, the sexy pictures, me being known as a model made it hard for people to really take me in as an artist. It’s like a gift and a curse.

(Read more and download the mix tape, after the jump)

Download the "Untouchables" mix tape, here.

So the modeling helped you brand your name, but you also decided to use a new name for your rap projects, right?

Angel Lola Luv was a persona created for me as a model, and when you transition, your image transitions.  I came up with a name that kinda described me as an artist. I came up with Lola Monroe; I got Monroe from Marilyn Monroe. It fits, I’m like a newer version of her. Our story is the same, how she started off, got into the business singing, acting—I can relate to her not only because I idolize her but because our stories are similar.

How did you connect with Boosie?

I met him at the BET Hip-Hop Awards, and his manager spoke to my manager. And, you know, they spoke on what we could work on. He came up with the project, the mix tape. Before he got locked up, I went to Baton Rouge, and we were in the studio for, like, four days, and knocked out 16 songs.

“Untouchables” is definitely street rap; your two previous mix tapes [“Boss (Expletive)’s World” and “The Lola Monroe Chronicles: The Art of Motivation," both released in 2009] were on the street rap side of things. With your modeling background, do you think it's harder to gain credibility with this kind of music, opposed to something more pop? Does having someone like Boosie lend you some credibility with street rap fans, do you think?

Definitely, because he is a real street dude and people recognize that, so a real street dude, a dude that’s from that background, he’s not just gonna mess with just anybody music-wise. When people see he recognizes real, that he really believes in that person, it makes them say, “Oh, OK, he’s saying it, so it must be real.”

It seems like, these days, all of the women rapping look like you, or like Nikki Minaj—there aren’t a lot a lot of female rappers, period, but there’s definitely no one like a Rage or a Mia X anymore. Do you think someone who doesn’t look like you could ever break through?

Image plays a major part, but at same time, it’s kinda difficult when you’re more feminine and might have strong beauty that stands out. It makes it hard because it's harder for people to take the music in, because the first thing that comes up is sexual— that’s what they think of when they see beauty. So it’s hard to see past that.

So really, no more videos ever? Is there anyone who could talk you into doing it one last time? What if, like, Jay-Z or Wayne called you on the phone personally and said they had to have you on a video shoot?

I’d be in their video if they put me on a record. That’s the only way.

By Chris Richards  |  January 7, 2010; 3:05 PM ET
Categories:  Be specific  | Tags: Lil Boosie, Lola Monroe  
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