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Make 2022 your best year yet and let this Moon Reading decode your destiny with precise wisdom you can’t find anywhere else!

Meet Lola Brooke, the Brooklyn rapper taking music by storm — Andscape

Get This Before It Disappears!


Get This Before It Disappears!

Make 2022 your best year yet and let this Moon Reading decode your destiny with precise wisdom you can’t find anywhere else!

Lola Brooke may be in her soft girl era, but she’s also on her grind. When I caught up with the Brooklyn, New York rapper late last year, she was eager to talk about her rise in the music industry, her single, “You,” featuring Bryson Tiller, and her new album, Dennis Daughter. Friendly and open, Brooke is coming into her own at a time when female rappers are running things.

“Women in rap dominating the industry today does not surprise me,” Brooke said. “We take risks, have creativity, and face challenges that most people could not even imagine.”

Born Shyniece Thomas, the 4-foot-9 rapper is making waves thanks to her lyrical acumen, cadence, and commitment to crafting music that shows unwavering self-determination. Her infectious personality comes through when she talks about her life before music and what inspired her to rap. Before hopping in the booth and dropping bars, Brooke worked at a men’s shelter in the Queens borough of New York City.

“I left my 9-5 to pursue my career in music because it was tiring after a while, and I couldn’t really focus on my craft as much because I was worried about being late to work,” Brooke explained. “After a while, I resigned and I had a good support system, with my mom and my team [telling me] to go forward with it.”

Brooke discovered her love of rap early on in life. Inspired by artists such as Meek Mill, Lil Wayne, and Foxy Brown, she began writing music as early as 8 years old.

“Rapping was a hobby for me,” she recalled. “It was therapeutic.” 

Growing up, Brooke spent a lot of time alone while her mother worked, and she found comfort in music. A 50 Cent video served as her gateway into hip-hop as she went on to study Meek Mill “for the hunger” and Lil Wayne “for the punchlines,” she said. At the same time, Brooke journaled daily throughout elementary school, and eventually turned her poetry into raps recorded on her cousin’s computer. She wrote and cut tracks of her own, battling loneliness and isolation. However, rap gave her confidence.

“I felt small, but I was raised to feel bigger,” she said. “It’s why I’m so loud and demanding now because I want to be heard.”

Rapper Lola Brooke performs during iHeart Powerhouse 105.1 on Oct. 28, 2023, in Newark, New Jersey.

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

When Brooke started to go public with her rhymes, people pushed her to take rapping seriously. “I was always around other people who were doing music as well, so it was always in my space,” she said. “I always say that music chose me, I didn’t choose music.”

In January 2017, Brooke dropped her first music video, a freestyle titled “2017 Flow,” and instantly started to build a buzz around New York City. After that, she continued to release songs, each displaying her abilities and starlike persona. But her breakthrough came when she dropped “Don’t Play With It” in 2021, a song that later blew up on TikTok and was eventually certified gold in 2023.

The rapper’s lead single on her latest album, “You” sees Brooke sample Foxy Brown. It has racked up more than 12 million views on YouTube since its release. “The energy was really pure,” Brooke said.

“You” sounds more like an R&B song, which allows Brooke to give fans a deeper look into who she is as a woman. “It’s just me and it shapes who I am as Lola Brooke. I’m not giving the music to the people to prove myself as an artist. I’m proving myself as a person, [showing them] who I am.”

Brooke’s album, Dennis Daughter, is a culmination of her life experiences — growth, pain, love, compassion, and success — and has helped her strengthen her self-confidence as she continues to make her mark in hip-hop.

“I feel relieved now that I have my first project out in the marketplace. It’s been a great feeling receiving all the praise from my fans, and I’m ready to get back on the road and tour,” she said. 

“I’m just telling my story,” she continued. “I feel like people [already] know the ‘Don’t Play With It’ girl. But before the ‘Don’t Play With It’ girl, it was Shyniece. I have to take them down the timeline of what it was like to get to where I’m at right now. It’s an introduction.” 

2023 was a breakthrough year for Brooke. She went on her first nationwide tour with fellow rapper A Boogie Wit da Hoodie and was nominated for two BET Awards, best new artist and best breakthrough hip-hop artist, a dream come true for the rapper. “I’ve watched the BET Awards since I was a little girl and I have always wondered if I could be on that stage and I finally did it.”

“Going into the BET Hip-Hop awards, I was honored to be a nominee and performer of the night. I first thought I did so badly in the cypher, though. (Laughs.) I was in my head about it, but now I can laugh about it. I sat next to Jim Jones at the awards, and as I watched it back with the audience, he gave me props.”

Last year, Brooke was also part of XXL’s Freshman class and was named 2023 breakthrough artist by Amazon Music. “I was terrified to do ‘Just Relax’ because everyone was telling me how big of a classic it was,” she said. “I believed in myself and it doesn’t hurt to try.”

Throughout her upward climb, Brooke has faced challenges and naysayers, but she still believes in herself. “I’ve definitely come across bumps for sure, and now I’m at the point where it doesn’t faze me and I don’t think about that anymore,” she said. “The only way to be an artist is that you have to come from somewhere within. I’m very comfortable with myself and I have a lot of confidence, so I’m past that.”

For Brooke, being a female rapper in a male-dominated industry has challenges, but she embraces them. “If you do not love it, don’t even apply, because it’s really hard work,” she said. “As a female artist, you’ve gotta make sure you have high maintenance towards yourself with glam and then you gotta work hard because it’s a male-dominated industry, so you have to work just as hard as men.”

Though she’s just starting, Brooke is thankful for how far she’s come. “Looking back gives me goose bumps,” she said. She also has a warning for those who doubt her skills and those of her fellow female artists.

“Don’t play with all the girls out here putting on for the culture!”

Ashley Oken is a freelance entertainment journalist whose work can be seen in MTV News, ELLE Magazine, the New York Times, and other outlets.


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