Before Theophilus London made appearances around hot ass sun-kissed L.A. over the weekend – performing at the Purple Lounge Friday night, stopping by Freakcity on Saturday, and hosting a pool-partaayy at the Shangri-la on Sunday – the Brooklyn-based, all around stellar rapper, singer and dancer enjoyed a slice of shade and a quick chat with URB in Silverlake. After unleashing his spunk on mixtape Jam! in ’09, mixes This Charming Mixtape and I Want You followed. Now, newly signed and sealed to Warner Bros., London will release his debut in early 2011. Follow the quick talking charmer as he confabs on friendship contracts, buying his mom Jordans, and how unbalanced people inspire him.
URB: Let’s talk new tunes. What’s in store for the future?
Theophilus London: I’ve been working on a lot of pop stuff. They’re bigger records, more thought out and nothing is sampled. It’s very new. It’s like a new ability I’ve been able to reach.
I started singing [with a coach] in January. I feel like by introducing people to rap first, they got more open to it. Plus I felt like it was starting to get too cluttered and cheesy kind of. I was singing very punk-ish. Now it’s not like in an R&B kind of way, but on most of the songs I’m talking about women.
The beat on “Flying Overseas” is so sick and it’s original right?
Yeah! That’s my next single. Solange Knowles joined us for it so she’s singing the hook now along with me.
Who else will appear on the album?
I started working on this record with Devonte Hynes (aka Lightspeed Champion) and I introduced him to Solange and now he’s producing Solange’s whole new album. I also have Dave Sitek from TV on the Radio on like five songs. And he’s putting an album out soon called Maximum Balloon and I’m on the first song. Plus I have guys like John Hill who worked with Santigold.
You’ve sampled Prince and Stevie Wonder but who’s your dream collaborator?
Those guys you just named are what I would have said, but David Byrne. I’ve been trying to get a hold of David Byrne so I think it’s going to happen soon.
Anymore Mark Ronson collabs?
He submitted some stuff but I don’t know if it’s going to work for this particular record. But me, Mark, and Sam Sparro are working on an EP for Christmas.
How did you and Mark become friends?
This Charming Mixtape got into his hands about a month after I put it out so he hit up my MySpace and was like ‘yo we want to sign you.’ I went to his house and had this breakfast and we listened to records then started hanging out. It became more of a friendship and it was like “man the record business is so shady and our friendship is more important than me signing to you. We should sign a friendship contract.” So we both agreed. I’m on his album as well.
I don’t mean to go off on a tangent, but isn’t D’Angelo on Ronson’s album too?
Yeah. I met D’Angelo. The stuff that I’ve been recording for this album, I recorded in the same studio that D’Angelo recorded in for Mark. To meet him…when I was kid he was like a superhero… now he’s kind of like a bro.
And I hear he’s sober?
I don’t know about all that but… he’s super cool.
So has Warner Bros. wined and dined you yet?
They say they haven’t been this excited since Prince and they’ve been taking me out to dinner. Steak joints. I was like whoa, this is serious.