Hip-hop could use a few surprises. Larry June gleefully obliges on his new EP, Larry. The Bay Area maverick is just as likely to rap about Whole Foods, cruising in a “Prius,” and James Bond as he is to ruminate on life and his hometown. No matter what he’s spitting about though, there’s a good chance he’s packing his fruit of choice, an orange. “My music is meant to be electrifying,” he exclaims. “You wouldn’t expect it. I believe in the element of surprise. That’s what I’m working hard to do. Sock it to me!”
Larry found himself surrounded by music growing up. Mom sang, and dad owned an independent rap label. At the age of five, they switched coasts to Atlanta in order to, as he puts it, “Get away from the craziness around us.” Even though “there were too many trees and no beaches,” the decade in Georgia saw him shape his musical sensibility before returning west at 15.
After popping up on cuts like “Ain’t Worried” alongside high school friend OG Maco, he quietly stirred up buzz in 2015 with a prolific run of seven mixtapes culminating on #GoodJobLarry. Merging Northern California lyrical technicality and booming bombast echoing the south, he attracted attention from blogs while cumulatively notching over 5 million Soundcloud plays with tracks like “Joog One Time” and “Glock 40.” Simultaneously, he hit the road and began packing headline shows—even rewarding crowds with oranges when they “deserve it.”
The first single “007” introduces the Larry EP with a bang. The smoky soundscape complements his brazen and breezy flow as he drops clever bars before paying homage to everyone’s favorite Spy with an irresistible hook. Sean Connery would be proud. “James Bond is a player,” he smiles. “He had nice guns. He had a nice car. He had nice ladies. You could never really figure him out. Sometimes, I feel like I’m 007. It’s everything I said. I was having a good time in the situation.”
Elsewhere on the EP, “I’m Workin’,” turns up with a big chant recorded in his kitchen. “I made that song because I was actually working,” he goes on. “I was handling some business and recording, and I really wanted some pasta.” Larry hopes to incite change in the music industry with his The Freeminded collective and Larry EP by keeping listeners on their toes. “It’s about being comfortable with yourself and not worrying about anything,” he leaves off. “You’ve got to do whatever you want to. I promote a whole different lifestyle. That’s my reality.”