To celebrate the release of his long-awaited debut album, we sat down with the North London bedroom rapper who isn't afraid to get weird.
First blowing up in 2018 with trippy singles like “Getting Busy”, “Drugs” and “I Can Speak Spanish” Jimothy Lacoste has marked himself out as a singular musician and personality. With his deadpan delivery, logomania personal style (he has a whole song dedicated to Burberry socks) and Spider Man-like ability for scaling the tops of buses, bus stops and trains, the young Londoner quickly (and understandably) went viral over night.
In the intervening two years, Jimothy’s skittish synths and candid lyrics (“Girl why you gotta do so many drugs many drugs?”) have attracted the likes of garage legends The Streets, who called him up for a verse on their comeback album earlier this year. Known for his off-the-wall humour — he’s even released merch quoting Transport for London’s condemnation of one of his videos — it seems, from his social media at least, that even the pandemic has failed to dampen his spirits.
Today marks the release of his long-waited debut album The Safeway, and he’s been full of energy in the weeks leading up to it, as reflected in his wacky HUNGER shoot. But, keen to get to know the real Jimothy beneath this irreverent attitude, we called him up to talk about his childhood, the influence of his London upbringing and what he thinks are the biggest issues facing young people like him today.
It would be great to get to know you a bit better — how would you describe your early life?
I grew up in London, Camden Town. I guess my earliest memory is probably being in a rented hall that my mum and friends went to and having fun and eating birthday cake at a party. When I think about the music I listened to when I was growing up, there was a lot of R&B, old school hip hop, garage. I wouldn’t even know the artists, I was so young – but all that kind of stuff.
Having been brought up in London, how does the city influence your look and sound?
If it wasn’t for London I wouldn’t have my look and sound, it’s hard for me to separate myself from growing up in London. The people who I’ve met and growing up in London gave me the mind I have now. Being out and about in London I always see people who influence my style. I can be in the randomest area of London, in the middle of nowhere and I’ve been inspired. My music comes from so many different cultures and influences but Camden gave me a healthy mind to actually create and make music.
Who or what are your main creative influences?
I’m very inspired by my family and my friends. My friends have been a massive part of my life and my creativity. Photography too, I’m a photographer and take a lot of photos. When I was recording the album as well I was very inspired by the ’70s, the art world and also the sense of freedom that young people in the ’70s felt.
I hear you can speak Spanish…tell me your favourite Spanish phrase.
Hortera (“naff”), I hope I spelt that right.
You’re known for the DIY aesthetic of a lot of your work, what does “DIY” mean to you?
It’s having the confidence to just make your own style, your own music. I had the confidence to think ‘I am by myself in this world and in this life. I’m by myself in my thoughts, with my personality and with my taste. So, I’m going to go ahead and do it by myself.’
As someone that’s known for being funny, I’m curious to know — do you ever get sad? How do you cope with negative emotions?
What does “sad” even mean?
There’s a distinctive humour that runs through a lot of your songs and videos — why was this important to showcase?
I’m just being me. If it’s funny to you – that’s great. I want my music to give you good vibes.
As an underground artist with a cult following, what are your thoughts on “selling out”?
I don’t even know what that means anymore, honestly… maybe I’ll know what it means in a few years.
What do you think are the main issues facing young people today?
I would have said Corona but thinking about it, Corona has made everyone I know my age happier – I’ve never seen them happier. It’s totally woken them up to simple things like being outside with friends, spending time with their family, discovering a new hobby.
I think kids today have so much more social and societal awareness than the generations above them but they still lack self-awareness. I don’t really like to think of problems though – I think it’s better to think about what’s really amazing about youth right now.
What are your aspirations? Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
I want to keep making music for my fans and continue doing shows, I love touring and performing gigs that’s what really gives me a bizz. I also want to work with more amazing artists who are doing what I’m doing. I also want to have a wife who understands me… Music first though, wife second.
Jimothy’s debut album, The Safeway, is out now.
24 July 2020