L.A. series

L.A. Series: Bay Area Based Rapper P-Lo

Wednesday 09 May 2018
Photography Jack Bridgland

Rapper P-Lo is from the Bay Area, and he never lets you forget it. Not only does his biggest track, Put me on Somethin, open with the line, ‘California on my license plate,’ but he also can almost always be found wearing a jersey for a Bay area sport team. For the 27-year-old rapper, however, it’s about more than just the Golden Gate Bridge.

‘There’s a certain sound that the bay area is known for, but I feel like it’s really the uniqueness about the bay area which influences me,’ he says. ‘When you hear some bay area music, you know it’s from there.’

P-Lo began making music after he and a friend began to form HBK Gang, a collective of his other musically inclined friends in 2006. He worked as a producer and creator but eventually stepped into the limelight as well; it was a slow and organic process.

‘I was just always an observer, so I knew I wanted to do things and move a certain way,’ he says. ‘So it kind of took time.’

Now, P-Lo is completely self-sufficient. He produces, writes and records almost everything by himself. Using this method, P-Lo has catapulted himself into an up-and-coming career. He’s worked with the likes of Kehlani and Sage the Gemini; plus, Buzzfeed once called him ‘the Swaggy Filipino that rap has been waiting for.’ Not to mention, he’s about to take part in a massive summer tour with fellow rapper and friend G-Eazy.

‘[G-Eazy] always shows love to artists coming out the Bay Area,’ P-Lo says.  ‘We collaborate a lot, bounce ideas off each other, and he’s taught me a lot not only about music but just how to move and approach things.’

This way of approaching things has proven to be successful, especially considering his collaboration with rap legend E-40. On Put Me on Something the two sport color-coordinated outfits as they cruise in a sports car — P-Lo drives.  

‘E-40 has been in the rap game for like 20+ years, and he’s been consistent throughout those years,’ P-Lo says. ‘His longevity in this game is crazy, and he’s still relevant.’

P-Lo is seemingly on his way to that lengthy path of relevance. With two successful albums and and an all-star hip-hop tour this summer, it’s only up from here.

‘I’m constantly creating,’ he says. ‘I’m really excited for people to hear the new music I’ve been cooking up. I’m constantly trying to top myself and do it better than I did before.’