Lou CharLe$ is already a top name in the regional hip-hop scene, and he shows no sign of stopping. Last year, he helped curate the Fort Worth Hip-Hop Happy Hour as part of the annual SXSW music and film festival. The wordsmith regularly drops new singles when he isn’t hosting What’s the Word? on 97.5 KFTW The Pirate Radio.
Charles is a formidable force as a musician, and he’s using his musical footprint to push hip-hop into mainstream Fort Worth culture. He recently took the time to chat about life, music and his favorite local spots to unwind.
In the past, hip-hop has been locked down to one or two venues in this city,” he said. “Now, I know four or five places where I can perform. That has not always been the case. You need venues to have a scene. There has always been a stigma attached to hip-hop due to old tropes and stereotypes. To me, hip-hop is a universal language.”
WHAT’S YOUR MOST RECENT PROJECT?
"I just dropped a single, “At the Moment." I want all of my songs to be strong enough to stand alone. Some songs just need to be made. You may want to speak on a certain subject. A lot of people have [critical] opinions about me because of how I’m moving and how we’re winning. I don’t hear that because I’m always in the moment.”
WHO ARE THE "WE" YOU OFTEN REFER TO?
“The people who are in the foxhole with me: my producers, engineers and DJ.”
HOW HAVE TOURS SHAPED YOUR CAREER?
“For me, it’s cool to see people from all walks of life and different regions vibe with my music. There is something for everybody. You have to find your tribe. You have to find the people who connect with your message.”
WHERE DO YOU GO TO KICK BACK?
“I might hit the Blackhouse if they have an event there. Fort Worth breweries for sure. Magnolia, I love that area and The Boiled Owl, where I go in the middle of the day when there’s nobody there. Sons of Liberty. I love Shipping and Receiving Bar."
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC VENUES TO PERFORM AT?
WHERE DO YOU GO TO GRAB A BITE LOCALLY?
“The Bearded Lady for sure. I fell in love with the old building. It was perfect. The food is still really good. Juanito’s Taqueria on Hemphill. There’s a spot near Ridgmar Mall called Shady Oaks Barbecue. They have this sandwich that they put every type of meat on it.”
WHO WERE YOU BIGGEST MUSICAL INFLUENCES GROWING UP?
“Kanye West, A Tribe Called Quest, Lil Wayne, OutKast and Common.”
HOW ARE YOU EVOLVING AS AN ARTIST?
“I’m evolving in how I write. I used to write down everything. Now, I go off of feel by writing as I record. It’s improvising. It makes it more fun. I’m also picking different sounding beats to record over. If you kept up with Lou Charles’ career, it’s sounding a little different now.”