Photo: Nico Kartel

Lola Brooke

With an assertive demeanor and a voice with a raw attitude, Lola Brooke captures an essence that feels both reminiscent of the rap greats and something fresh.

While many may have come to know of the Brooklyn, New York native within the past 12 months, Brooke, born Shyniece Thomas, has been putting in the ground work for many years and is finally having her moment. Following a hefty amount of single releases, Brooke was able to rise to the forefront after her song “Don’t Play With It” went viral and became a chart success. Ever since, all eyes have been on Brooke and her career has been in the fast lane. Just like her streaming numbers, her fans, whom she refers to as The Gators, are rapidly increasing in numbers.

2023 was a year that Brooke should feel immensely proud of. She featured on a remix of Ciara’s female empowerment anthem “Da Girls,” made a cameo appearance in the CBS drama East New York, and was selected for the prestigious XXL Freshman Class. Not to mention, Brooke performed at the BET Awards, appeared on many line-ups from London’s Wireless Festival to Miami’s Rolling Loud, and dropped her long-awaited debut album, Dennis Daughter – a bold 12-track project featuring noteworthy collabs with the likes of Coi Leray, French Montana, and Bryson Tiller, to name a few. Wasting no time, Brooke entered the new year by releasing “Becky,” her latest song with the Brooklyn drill trio 41.

Photo: Nico Kartel

As she prepares to keep building her brand, EUPHORIA. sat down with the rapper to discuss her ongoing success and what she has planned for 2024.

You just released your latest song, “Becky.” How have you felt about the reception of the song?

I think it’s pretty cool to see two generations react to a song that inspired me years ago from an artist named Piles. The title was also “Becky.” I’ve realized that right now it’s the top of the year and I’m ready to come outside. I just dropped Dennis Daughter, so I’m happy that the people are excited to get outside and go to the club.

How did it feel to finally put out an album into the world? That’s something every artist’s dream of being able to do. 

It’s a big relief as an artist. It’s always good to put out music because that’s what helps inspire me and keep me creative. And then I got to bond with my fans as much as I could. I felt a sense of relief from dropping Dennis Daughter because I had to get my story out there because before Lola Brooke there was Shyniece. So I just wanted the world to know where Lola Brook came from.

Was the reception everything you hoped it would be?

I just work, honestly. I just look at what’s ahead of me and keep going. I don’t like to like be stagnant on things for too long. I’m just about growth.

In an interview you did last summer, you said that you hope that the album that you put out will allow your fans to understand the real you. Do you think you accomplished that with the album? 

Yeah, I wanted to put that out into the universe for the people to always have that to go to when they feel like they need some inspiration or they wanna feel good about themself and learn self-confidence. I’m happy with what I put out there for sure. And I know for sure that I connected with my fans as much as I could, but now it’s time to go to another chapter ’cause we are growing together.

You had been making music for many years prior. When did you get into the zone of knowing that what you were creating was for an album?

I promise you, I knew I was in the studio to work on my project, but I wasn’t thinking about getting it done. I just was making music. And then when it came to a time where I had people around me to be like, “Yo, you got it.” That’s why it’s always good to have a strong team around you because you get to be the artist and they get to manage everything around this. Sometimes they’re like, “Yo, you been putting in work, let’s listen back to the records you did” Because sometimes I forget records that I’ve done. I’m sometimes like, “Oh wow, what song is this?” They’re like, “You don’t remember this?” [laugh]. So yeah, I don’t really put a time on it. It’s just a feeling of knowing it’s good. 

Photo: Nico Kartel

A standout from the album is “You,” featuring Bryson Tiller. What was it like working with him on the song?

Bryson is so cool, calm, collective but fun and he’s great to work with. He’s very professional and I’m just grateful to be able to work with an artist that I actually look up to. So yeah, he’s a wonderful person, not just as an artist as well, you know. I’m a fan. I’m still listening to his A N N I V E R S A R Y deluxe project. I love Bryson. I’m excited talking about it because it’s a dream come true and he brings something different to the music world and I think that’s very important. He’s a pioneer.

The song samples Foxy Brown’s classic “Take Me Home.” Has Foxy reached out since the release of the song?

Foxy has always been so supportive and she actually loved the song, which makes everything a plus because you gotta always make sure the grace is okay. But yeah, I get full support from her. She inspires me to keep going and I guess it’s a Brooklyn thing.

Have there been talks to collaborate? 

You’re trying to get some tea, for real! You nosy.. don’t be in our business like that. I’m gonna tell Foxy you in our business, she ain’t gonna like that [laughs].

[laughs] I’ll take the hint! With the album, were there any songs that were a challenge to get completed?

None of my songs gave me a real scare. The only song that I could say gave me a little challenge as I was recording, not so much, but just a little hiccup was “Vacant Heart” because sometimes I had to sit with myself and be okay with what I was putting out to the world. But it felt so good that I was like, “Stop second-guessing yourself.” And I just kept going.

I mentioned “Becky” at the beginning of the chat. Is that song leading towards a deluxe or can fans expect a new album soon? 

You can expect a deluxe from me. Dennis Daughter is definitely getting a deluxe. 

Photo: Nico Kartel

What are the other songs on the deluxe sounding like?

It’s just energy. When you hear these songs, you can’t sit down and listen to them. You have to get up. There’s one song on there that I love, it is so inspiring. It’s so motivational. I hope it captured the people on the way like they had never been before. I just really wanna be aware of my fans going through the same thing that I go through as well. I hope I can connect with them, but for the most part, it’s turned up like I’m ready to come outside. We gotta start 2024 good. We gotta be excited.

I saw that you were recently in the studio with the Lobby Boyz. How was that session?

It was pretty much an “oh my god” moment. So you know, that’s Uncle Maine and Uncle Jim. I remember being in the studio, listening to the beat and we all were just vibing and I was overthinking. So I turned around, I said, “Look, listen, I know y’all my uncles, but y’all sure I could say whatever I want?” [laughs] I’m like, “Y’all sure?” Because I was over there like, “Oh my god, I don’t know what to do.” Sometimes I can get crazy. They were like, “Man, come on now, you do your thing.” From there it was like… 1, 2, 3…

My last question: You’ve established yourself successfully as a rapper. Are there any other things you’ve got your eye on? Is this the year we see you branch out into other avenues or are you happy just focusing on music?

I’m happy with music being my main thing, but my second love is to be on the big screen and I do wanna act by doing voiceovers as well. But you know, I’m taking my time and I’m going with my pace and I’m just enjoying myself and not making it seem as if it’s work.