Pin It

How iLoveMakonnen is bringing Atlanta rap to the best coast

True Panther Sounds' Dean Bein introduces the eccentric DIY rapper bringing together the best of Atlanta and LA - and tells us where his infamous doll's head comes from

As part of our new summer US project States of Independence we've invited our favourite 30 American curators, magazines, creatives and institutions to takeover Dazed for a day. 

The Warm Up at MoMA PS1 takes place in the gallery’s courtyard every Saturday – but for one day only, the live outdoor music series is bringing the party to Dazed. The curators have selected their favourite music artists to come out of the US right now, and resident DJ Maria Chavez has made us an exclusive mix to bring a little MoMA magic to your speakers.

Last but not least on today's series of Warm Up curator selections is the Atlanta-hailing, Los Angeles-dwelling rapper who carries a doll's head everywhere he goes. Intrigued? You're not the only one – Drake has laid down some vocals on ilovemakonnen's latest (below).


"iLoveMakonnen is a kid from LA that moved to Atlanta a few years ago...but ultimately the city he's from seems irrelevant – he's doing it with the American spirit – putting out very free/based/independent music at an incredible pace. Some of his songs are funny, some are deadly serious but there's something really genuine and wonderful about his voice. He's working on radio hits with mikewillmadeit while at the same time playing shows at DIY venues in Bushwick on a $50 keyboard. He carries around a painted doll head everywhere he goes that came from his time in Cosmetology school. He is a true American eccentric and seems like a beautiful soul. I'm grateful for him and his music."

Tell us about where you grew up – what was it like, and how did it influence you going forward?

iLoveMakonnen: I grew up Los Angeles California, it was fun, but dangerous. I love the culture and diversity, that has influenced me to have an open mind and diversify myself to connect with all peoples of all walks of life.

Describe your sound in 3 words.

iLoveMakonnen: Real emotional life.

Moma PS1’ s live shows take place every Saturday all summer long. How do you warm up for the weekend?

iLoveMakonnen: I drink vodka on the weekend, warm up by hanging out with friends, getting some good energy around. We laugh, dance, smoke weed etc.

How’s your summer looking? What do you have planned?

iLoveMakonnen: Summer is looking hot and busy, plan is more shows more clothes more money more hoes! Kidding! But serious, I wanna travel more this summer and spend more time with friends! And make more music of course.

When you make music, what other artists do you look to for inspiration?

iLoveMakonnen: I look for other artists in difference genres of art for inspiration. I like painters and fashion designers, and just creative builders, musically I like the oldies and I try to give that oldies feeling – of real and true emotions – and bring it into this day and age where it's not so common, lol.

What’s your perspective on the American underground music scene right now, as you inhabit it? Where do we go from here?

iLoveMakonnen: The American underground scene needs to step their fucking shit up! We need more documentations of what's going on, what happens is so many of us put in so much hard work, so much real creativity and most of us don't get our just due, most times we are swagger jacked from the so-called mainstream or not so underground. As I inhabit it, I am here to break us all from this underground into above ground! It's a war for your creative talents! And the underground needs to keep staying inspired and keep creating more! I'm proud to be here though! Much love!

Rap game not your thing? Click through to start again with intelligent punk quartet, Priests.