Courtesy of Tracy Bailey
Rapper and songwriter Theophilus London broke into the music scene in style, and has recently garnered titles such as being named one of Complex Magazine‘s “25 Best Rappers 25 and Under” and one of the “Most Stylish New Yorkers” by Time Out New York.
London is scheduled to perform Thursday at Newport Music Hall with Santigold as part of his Tour De Roses World Tour. Doors open at 7 p.m.
The tour is bringing London to Columbus for his first time as a performer and includes 11 shows with Santigold as well as an appearance in London with Rihanna.
London, 25, was born in Trinidad and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He currently resides in New York City where he said he now feels at home.
London also said something important to him as a musician is staying true to himself, rather than becoming commercial.
“My earliest memory (in the music business) is just making some cool music with some cool people, and not doing s— for commercial reasons,” he said.
One way London said he stays true to himself is by writing his own songs, and drawing inspiration from to his favorites music performers such as Marvin Gaye and Barry White.
London released his first mixtape in 2008. He has since released three more mixtapes and an EP as well as his first album “Timez Are Weird These Days,” which released in July under Warner Bros. Records. The album featured guest vocalists Sara Quin of the band Tegan & Sara, and singer-songwriter Holly Miranda.
Fashion has long been a staple of London’s image, and might be one of the things he is best known for. While London has been featured by magazines such as Spin for his musical talent, his style has brought him attention from GQ, Elle, Vogue and Esquire magazines, as well as the New York Times, among others.
In an interview with fashion website Stylelikeu in April, London said of his style, “A lot of people find it fascinating that I don’t have a stylist. They’re like, ‘Who is coming up with these ideas?’ But I just have good taste.”
Another taste London has acquired is a taste for whiskey.
“(Before performing) I take two shots of whiskey,” he said.
Onstage, London said some of his favorite songs to perform are “Lighthouse,” “Wine and Chocolates,” “She Said OK” and “Big Spender,” which features fellow New York rapper A$AP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers.
Alex Casola, a second-year in communication, who was wearing a Drake shirt, said she listens to rap often and has heard of Santigold, but not London.
Having grown up dancing, Casola said Santigold’s songs were frequently used in dance routines. “I’ve heard of her songs through dance, but I don’t listen to her because her voice freaks me out,” she said, laughing.
Casola said she isn’t planning on attending the concert Thursday because she’s not familiar with London’s music. “I usually like going to concerts when I know lyrics because then I’m not just standing there,” she said.
Andrew Zhang, a fourth-year in marketing, didn’t write off the possibility of going to the show even though he’s unfamiliar with London and Santigold
“I’ll probably have to go on YouTube first before I decide (to go to the concert),” Zhang said.
London said he’s looking forward to performing in Columbus for his first time.
“I can’t wait to be there,” he said.
Sarah Pfledderer contributed to this story.