The Lobby is a creative collective hailing from Detroit, Michigan. Consisting of six members (Demigod, Freebxll Rome, Freebxll Will, Joseph Cook, Kerwin Clemens, & Milf Melly), the group was formed in 2017 when the members met through school and the local performance scene, meeting in Joseph Cook's basement which they called 'The Lobby' because of how the couches were sat up, making it resemble a waiting room.
We connected with the collective for an exclusive interview to discuss several topics, including their new music video “Flavors”, how their music stands out among other Detroit based artists and groups, comparisons to other collectives like Brockhampton, and much more.
After reading our Q&A with The Lobby, be sure to connect with them on social media, play the “Flavors” retro 8-bit game, and check out more of their music on Spotify.
How would you say that The Lobby's music is different than what the average rap fan might expect to hear from Detroit based rap artists or groups?
A lot of music around us is really safe. It follows a formula, you know. There’s certain subject matter that just isn’t okay to say, and unspoken rules on production you gotta follow and shit. I feel like we don’t follow any pattern. We take inspiration from everything. We’ll make a beat that Yung Nudy could hop on, add a break down that sounds like James Blake stopped by, and layer that up with some chords we heard on an Ohio Players song.
When we all together making something we all feel, nobody in that room is worried about where they from, or sounding like they really from where they from, or none of that. We just worry about making that end result something that someone can carry with them.
What's the hardest part about being in a six member creative collective?
Nothing, really. It’s a lot of voices to consider when making a decision. Sometimes it’s hard for everyone to get their full ideas out when someone’s more in love with an idea than you are, but we were all friends before we were a group and at this point we’re like family.
Most of the time it’s just us hanging out and someone will come up an idea and we’ll make it happen together. The hardest part about being in a six member collective is probably trying to take one car to a show.
Do you guys ever get compared to other collectives like Brockhampton and the now broken up Odd Future? If so, are those comparisons a good thing or bad thing in your eyes?
We used to get it a lot more than we do now; it can be kind’ve frustrating but we definitely see it as a good thing. Like, these are people who have done what we’re trying to do; it’s kind’ve like proof that we’re not crazy and that we’re actually onto something.
Odd Future was big when most of us were still in middle school, and seeing how they affected the kids around us was crazy. They were those people that made their fans feel like they were apart of the group, like they weren’t alone. That’s what we wanna be. Well, that’s what we’re gonna be.
Salute to you guys on the release of your new music video "Flavors"; the track itself and the visual are very dope. Tell us about how the treatment for the clip came about and was there a lot of footage that you didn't use?
Thank you, man. We’ve been really excited about it, it’s been sitting for a while. We knew we was boutta use an ice cream shop for the video mad early on. When you know, you know, you know? The idea for the skit came much later, we knew we wanted something in the beginning but didn’t really know what.
One day, we was at Kerwin’s house just letting shit play off YouTube, and somehow we ended up watching clips from old MTV award shows. There was this one sketch from the 1999 Movie Awards that has *NSYNC in it that was about the world ending called ‘ArmageddoN’sync’, and there’s this one part where a bunch of old white dudes in suits are just losing their minds in this office that we thought was funny.
Freebxll Will made this joke saying that’s how people were gonna act when “Flavors” dropped, and we all just knew he had it. Like, on some fluke shit. He said the right thing at the right time, and we all linked up and wrote a script for it like a day before we met with PK (Director & Editor).
For "Flavors", and your music overall, how do you decide which members will appear on the respective song? Also, how do you all go about selecting beats to write to?
We be getting asked that a lot, but we don’t really have an answer for it. Everything’s real fluid when it comes to music.
Kerwin or Melly usually kick it off, they’ll start laying down something and everyone will start fooling, singing about the Popeye’s sandwich or some shit until one of us stumble on that one line that makes everyone else wanna write and it becomes a free-for-all. If someone wants to mess with the beat they go ahead and do it, if someone wants to harmonize with someone else they’ll hop in and do it. Things can come together really fast that way.
With The Wu-Tang Clan series newly released on Hulu, it seems kind of appropriate to consider what you want The Lobby's legacy to be in the future. What are some of your big picture goals for The Lobby as a music brand?
None of us really make the same kind of music, for real, but the one thing we all had in company was we felt like music was all that was really there for us. We ain’t really had people to believe in what we were doing, it’s just been us, so we just wanna be that person for someone else.
We got a lot more life left, a lot more to say, a lot more fun to have, you know. We wanna bring everyone with us, let people become a part of what we got going on, and just make people feel like somebody there for ‘em, in some sense.