When a human being celebrates a birthday, you bring a gift. But when a luxury hotel throws a big-time anniversary blowout, you bring Brooklyn rapper, singer, and all around stylish motherfucker Theophilus London.
Tonight, Mr. London will be kicking out an acapella freestyle version of "Happy B-Day, Bitches!" (and probably an entire set of faves off his new full-length album Timez Are Weird These Days) in honor of the W South Beach's two-year anniversary.
And since homie's hanging around town, Crossfade called Theo's cell to ask him about all kinds of random shit, including SoBe, salads, and whether he prefers burned-out Biscayne motels to the swag-ass suites at the W.
Crossfade: You've hit up Miami a bunch over the last year. Is it always business? Or is there plenty of pleasure too?
Theophilus London: A year ago, it was all about pleasure. Now it's all about business.
Does that mean short trips? You're known to be a travel fanatic.
Yeah. Being a travel fanatic has made me learn that short trips is the only way to go.
So what? Like 24 blitzes?
Yo, I can get attached to a city, man. I'll be walking the streets at 4 a.m. in the night, lurking. And that's not good for five days in a row.
I guess there's not a lot of sleep involved.
No. My goal's to get together with the top five people, culture-wise, in the city. And usually, they're as crazy as I am. So it's just five crazy people in one room, ready to hit the town. No sleep.
Which crazy people will you be conferencing with in Miami? Do you already have a panel set up?
I'm trying to keep it light now. You know, the album just came out. I try to eat more salad. I try to chill. I just got up from a nap. And I rarely take naps. Everyone's surprised. But nah, I'm in the room, man. I'm trying to focus now.
You mentioned salad. What's your favorite SoBe salad?
I go light. A little arugula with a hint of lemon. Put a little fennel in there and I'm all good.
When you hit the 305, do you always stay at the W? Or do you prefer to lay your head in a burned-out Biscayne Boulevard motel?
Last time, my boy said they had to sleep with the door open 'cause the motel ain't have no AC. So I'm definitely down with some W shit.
What are the perks over at the W?
Yo, it's just a really good atmosphere. You know, you walk in the room and it feels like this your crib. You know what I'm sayin'? I take advantage of it. I get the hot towel, wash my face, put my laptop down. There's already wi-fi up in this shit. You got a whole lil' bar, a living room, a cool bathroom, two TVs, and a big balcony. You can just think, yo. You can walk around in your boxers.
Besides being a rad rapper and stellar singer, you're also known for your fashion sense. What did you pack for trip to SoBe? Accessories? Essentials? Contraband?
We just chillin'. We brought Raf Simons, Christian Louboutin, fuckin' Levis, some $5 t-shirts. That's about it.
You belong to a whole class of young musicians who've broken free of certain stale rap cliches. There's a little indie, pop, house, and other stuff in the work of Mr. London. Some people call it hipster-hop ... What do you think of that tag? Is it bullshit?
Nah, I think it's kinda real. I know there are a bunch of hipsters making music for no reason. And if you wanna call it hipster-hop or hipster clap or hipster rap or hipster rock, that's cool. But I never heard of the genre before. It's not on my iTunes genre list. You can't buy music under hipster-hop. I can't find any music under hipster-hop. So I don't know if it exists.
In the past, you've shouted out icons like Morrissey, Marvin Gaye, Elvis Costello, Teddy Pendergrass. How does someone get into such a wide and random array of music?
You know, checking out old records from before my time when the music industry was all about vinyl and fucking loaded like the movie business. I've been livin' it. So I wanted to check it out. And I wanted to see what music was about, other than the world of MP3s.
You just released your debut full-length album. What do you mean when you say Timez Are Weird These Days?
It's just what's been going on in my personal life. If I wrote a diary, you could probably name it Timez Are Weird These Days too. But it's a ten-song pop record about fantasy.
You've admitted to having the title of your song "Love Is Real" tattooed on your body. Where, when, why, and how did that happen?
I was in Stockholm at midnight. There was blizzard. It was me and a girl. And there are only two tattoo parlors in all of Stockholm. They were closed. So we had to beg, buy them beers, and beg. It worked. And we both got it on our bodies.
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Theophilus London as part of W South Beach's Two-Year Anniversary, hosted by W Hotels global music director Michaelangelo L'Acqua. Thursday, July 28. W South Beach, 2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The party starts at 9:30 p.m. Call 305-938-3000 or visit starwoodhotels.com.