Rapper Intuition and his producer Equalibrum release their new, self-titled album today. Their first since 2010's Girls Like Me, the project covers Intuition's father's battle with Alzheimers as well as less weighty subjects such as, say what happens when girls seem to stop liking you.
Since moving to L.A. at the end of the '90s, the Alaska-born Intuition has carved a unique legacy, winning over some of the city's harshest critics. Also: He can actually get women to come to his shows. This might be because he generates genuine empathy from listeners, while still maintaining an aura of unshakable cool.
We spoke to Intuition about all that's changed in the past four years, as well as how his current home in Culver City makes for a different summer experience than that of his childhood home in North Pole, Alaska.
After four years, what made now the right time for an album?
We kind of put out songs as we made them. The last record that we made, music videos as a mandatory "thing" wasn't really a thing yet. I have this theory now that a song doesn't really exist unless it's on YouTube. As we started to make this record, we were making a bunch of videos because we thought we were almost done with this album. We started putting them out two-and-a-half years ago promoting this, which is why all the descriptions say "coming soon."
But, you got it out before Detox!
Yeah, my fans have been referring to this album as "Leetox" because my name is Lee. We felt like it was finished. I felt like, if we wanted to, we could have kept adding songs until forever. I think we actually had it creatively done around November, and the rest of it has been the tedious technical process of mixing and mastering.
It's been four years since Girls Like Me, and in that time, as you mentioned on the new record, you've seen 100 rappers' buzzes "come and go." Why do you think you've been able to maintain the interest in this project and sustain that connection with your listeners?
I think we've been able to sustain a following because I stopped trying to chase press. During the promotion process of the last records, blogs seemed cutting edge still, and getting on blogs was a big deal. If you got a post from whatever important rap blog, it was "Did you see I got on that website today?" Toward the end of that record, I realized if you get on these blogs, you're only on the front page for 15 minutes and it doesn't really get you any actual fans. It gets you people who listen to the music that is popular on that particular website, and then they just think you suck and talk shit about it online. "I'll just start creating my own media" is how I felt. And I think the reason people stick around is because they really have to look for us, and when they find us, they feel they've found something for them. We might not have as big of a following, but I think we have a very loyal, familial following.
You told us when the "Imagining" video (below) came out two years ago, that that song, which deals with your father's Alzheimers took a month to write.
I'm a pretty slow writer, so a lot of stuff takes a while. I'm really OCD about patterns. I'm a real perfectionist, and it's kind of a hinderance, but it makes stuff come out better. I get creativity in little half-hour bursts. This doesn't pay our rent yet, we have jobs and we have lives. This is something we really love to do and we don't like to pressure ourselves with deadlines and shit.
With the distance of two years, are you still happy with "Imagining?"
Yeah, it's cool. That's a hard song to listen to for me. I don't enjoy listening to that song. That whole situation sucks. It's something I don't like to think about that much, but that song came out great. I'm surprised that it touched so many people, I think that's really cool.
One noticeable underlying theme of the new album is the promise of summer. Being an L.A. resident where it's perpetually warm year-round anyway, what's the significance of summer to you?
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I didn't notice that there's a theme of summer, but I'm glad that's an interpretation you have. I think being raised in [Alaska] where it's perpetually winter and we only got three months of summer, I don't think there's any coincidence or surprise that I moved to Los Angeles which is pretty summer-ish year round. The cold was not for me. Little things like being able to wear shorts outside when it's dark, is fucking crazy. When it's dark in Alaska, that means it's the winter. When it's summer there, it's sun 24-hours-a-day. I remember coming to California for the first time and feeling that it was still 60 degrees at night, there's this kind of crazy euphoria that's never really left me.
Do girls still like you?
Nah. At this point, all the girls hate me, I would imagine. All the girls that used to like me are sick of my bullshit by this point. I'm in my 30s and I'm still not married, and I'm still out here on stages. I still have fun. It's not something I feel the need to put forth as much.
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