2023 is the year of Lola Brooke. Since the success of her breakout hit “Don’t Play With It,” the rapper has taken over the hip-hop scene, spreading her Brooklyn flair everywhere she goes. Lola stands at 4’9″ tall, but don’t underestimate her petite frame; when she opens her mouth, a powerful voice full of true grit comes out. Since the rise of her hit single, Lola’s career has skyrocketed, landing her a record deal with Arista Records. From receiving cosigns from Rap legends like Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott, and Foxy Brown to performing in MEFeater’s Galentine’s NYFW show powered by Mielle Organics, it is clear that she is the moment. When I first saw Lola perform on the Galentine’s stage, I was captivated by how enigmatic she was and how she fascinated everyone in the crowd. Her star power was evident, and she effortlessly rapped every word with confidence and bravado. To Lola, Brooklyn is more than a place where she grew up; it is who she is, and her main focus is bringing home a win for her city every time she crosses the bridge. It’s a love story that stands the test of time: a girl and her city, ready to take on the world.
How did you discover your love for rap?
One of my memories of discovering my love for rap was seeing 50 Cent’s video for “Wanksta.” He showed us something that I could relate to. It was so New York, so raw. You can still watch that video today and feel the energy.
What was it like growing up in New York?
You have to be from New York to really get it, but one thing I can say is that I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if I wasn’t from New York. You gain a certain level of tough skin from living in New York and a certain kind of discretion from walking on those pavements. Yeah, there was a lot of violence—I was exposed to seeing some things I would have liked to stay away from, but I can’t change any of that at the end of the day. I wouldn’t want to because I am who I am because of my upbringing.
A Brooklyn Love Story
When did you know Brooklyn loved you?
I feel the love from Brooklyn every day, and I cherish that. It’s a connection I’ll always hold close to me and will never play about. I’ve been putting in the work this long for my city. Whenever I cross that bridge, I want to make sure I bring home a win. It’s not a win only for me; it’s a win for Brooklyn every day—all day. We all will win.
What would it say if you had to write a love letter to Brooklyn? Tell us about your love for Brooklyn.
The love that I feel for Brooklyn is between Brooklyn and myself [laughs]. For now, it’ll have to speak for itself, and…who knows… that love letter probably already exists.
Bag | Gedebe | @Gedebe
Top | Stylist Owned
Shoe | Jessica Rich | @Jessicarichofficial
Bangles | Alexis Bittar | @Alexisbittar
Earrings | Sister Love MJB | @Sisterlovemjb
Sunglasses | Stylist Owned
Her Drive to Keep Rapping and Her Musical Influences
You’ve been rapping for ten years. What made you never give up and keep pushing?
I’m committed, and I see the vision. Things don’t happen overnight, and those years don’t go in vain. It’s one of the most important aspects of the process. That’s the time when you discover who you are, what you stand for, and what you want to say once you get to that moment or have the following: Those years I spent building up to a breakthrough— which I’m still working towards. There’s more work to do. I also have to give thanks to my team, Team 80. When things got tough, or I had doubts, they’ve always been there to help me. It’s bigger than the music with my family.
Who are your musical influences, and who would you want to collaborate with in the future?
There are so many to name. You have DMX, Jay -Z, Foxy, Lil Wayne, Missy, Kim, Eve, and Busta Rhymes. Meek Mill is one of my biggest inspirations, and we might already have something in the tuck. Tell Meek we need to tap back in, actually [laughs].
How does it feel to get cosigns from legends like Lil Kim and Foxy Brown?
Both of them I look up to. They walked the same streets I did, literally. There’s no denying their impact; having them both rooting for me means the most to me.
Success of ‘Don’t Play With It’ and Tour with A Boogie with the Hoodie
How did your hit song “Don’t Play With It” come to be?
It was a call to action, don’t play with me [laughs].
Were you shocked when it blew up?
I believe things happen when and as they should, and it sometimes happens when you least expect it. The song had traction from the initial release, but to see the constant growth, I can’t tell you that I envisioned it would get like this. Forever grateful.
How did the tour with A Boogie come about? How has the experience been thus far?
Boogie brought me out to one of his Connecticut shows last year. From there, we locked in, and that’s when I got invited to join him on the road. It’s my first tour, and the experience has been great so far.
Style Icon and Fave Fashion Brands
Who is your style icon?
I’d say Teyana Taylor. I love how she owns her tomboy swag because that’s my vibe too. She shows her range, and each of those sides you can tell comes naturally to her.
Which fashion brands make you feel like THAT GIRL, and why?
None that I can recall as of now. I am the brand [laughs].
Ventures Outside of Music
Outside of music, what other avenues would you like to explore or dabble in?
Acting for sure. Very excited to explore that lane more. I want my own show eventually!
Her Greatest Piece of Advice and What’s Next for Lola
What’s a piece of advice you have received so far that has stuck with you?
That’s an easy one—stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready.
What’s next for Lola Brooke, and what are some of your goals?
My goal is to stay healthy so I can get wealthy for my family. Whether you’re in entertainment or not, self-care is the most important thing in life. And of course, best believe new music is on the way [muah].
Lola Brooke is already cementing herself as a force. 10 years in the game has built her up and prepared her for the breakthrough that she is now experiencing. From what I’ve seen, Lola is only getting started. She has been passed the torch and is ready to carry her city on her back. This Brooklyn love story does not stop here.
Vale | Private Policy | @privatepolicy
Earrings | Sister Love MJB | @sisterlovemjb
Dress | Cult Naked | @cultnaked
Rings | Chris Habana | @chrishabana