By Dylan Deprey
If 2020 was a marathon, LL Coogi pushed through the leg cramps, skipped the water break and passed the finished line miles ago.
As battle rap events were put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, staying stagnant was out of the question. After releasing 10 projects over the course of 2020, the 93OG Label boss has extended his extra-strength work ethic into 2021.
“When the world started opening back up, I had to get back into my battle bag,” he said.
After locking into album-mode on a battle rap hiatus, he made several career accolades early out the gate in 2021.
He made his debut on Canada’s premiere battle league, King of the DOT (KOTD). Along with several local and Midwest battles, he had the opportunity to fly out to New York and premiere on the East coast heavy weight league, iBattleTV.
While out in New York he to linked up with DOT Mob members, Murda Mook and T-Rex. The battle rap vets introduced him to WuTang Clan’s, Rza and “New Jack City” actor and director, Mario Van Peebles.
“It’s crazy coming from 23rd and Keefe in Milwaukee, like those situations don’t happen for people,” he said. “It was really overwhelming that they acknowledged all the work I’ve been putting in over the past two years. I got to jam with them and get some game from them.”
Though LL Coogi was finally back to lyrically assaulting his opponents in the battle rap arena, he remained laser focused on creating music. Between studio sessions and video shoots, he stayed busy.
He released his “King Coogi 5” project in April, and still kept at it.
He lives by the motto, “Before you try and get people or sponsors to invest in you, they needed to see you invest in yourself first.”
LL Coogi’s upcoming “Cold March 5” is him flexing his lyrical dexterity and status as an independent artist. The project will be hosted by mixtape legend, DJ Drama and Gangsta Grillz.
He is the first Milwaukee artist to get the co-sign from one of hip-hop’s prominent DJ’s.
“When you think of Gangsta Grillz, they’re iconic mixtapes and I know ‘Cold March 5’ is my iconic mixtape,” he said. “I hit him up and asked what the bag was, and then I put it up to make it happen.”
“It just brings you back to ’06-’07 when you’re listening to those old Lil Wayne tapes and Jeezy and Gucci s***, so it just brings that nostalgia for the 90’s babies that grew up in that era.”
He considers his music as “Emotional Hood Rap,” and he dives into his life on this project.
He said it’s not about glorifying or sensationalizing his past choices, but rather reflecting and moving forward.
“I’m going to tell you about my life, my daughter, my struggles, but I’m also going to talk about the violence,” he said.
With DJ Drama’s name attached to the tape, he’s excited for outside exposure and even getting noticed by local listeners that haven’t tapped into his music yet.
“I’ll rap circles around your favorite rapper in Milwaukee, and I’m doing it on this project. With DJ Drama talking his s***, this is definitely going to be epic,” he said.
As for taking a break, LL Coogi doesn’t plan on holding anything back in the future.
“Music and battle wise, I’m not letting up on the gas any time soon,” he said. “Be on the lookout because I’m shooting for that XXL Freshman cover.”
“Cold March 5” will be released on Friday, May 28, 2021.