Brimming from Richmond, Virgina, BANY emcee Henny L.O. is the face of Richmond Hip-Hop. Speaking from a place of constant trials and tribulations, Henny holds onto his steadfast faith and gathers his cascading flow and sage-filled pen aptitude to be the light for those lost in the dark. Without getting lost within the ever-growing pool of saturated artists, the Mutant Academy affiliate paves his own trail, and isn’t afraid to share his every step.
The budding vessel emerges into the scene with a dream in his vision, purpose embedded in his lines, and a giving spirit. Speaking from his higher self, the emcee connects with his pen to detail his every experience, life perspectives, and manifest his future endeavors. Read about Henny, his latest Brethren EP, and his anticipated album.
Listen to his new “Potpourri” leak, produced by Bstfrnd and Fly Anakin, down below.
For people who don’t know about how dope you are, can you give us a little background on who you are and what you represent?
If I had to keep it short yo, I’m an artist, an activist for hip hop. I represent the hybrid kids who know the best of both worlds but sit conflicted on which way to go. My goal is to shed light throughout my lessons learned and I hope somebody gets the same feeling I get to do more.
Coming from the so-called “DMV,” would you say there is a set sound for the DMV? If so, how does your music fit into that genre? If not, how would you decipher your sound?
Funny thing is I’m not from the DMV but I am glad you asked that question. The DMV is D.C, Maryland, and NORTHERN Virginia. No disrespect because I live out here and go to school here. But the culture, food, slang, music, radio station, everything is different. My music fits into the “sub-genre” that we fell into as hip-hop artist though. And I say sub-genre because everyone knows that the music I make isn’t mainstream, and that’s cool because I don’t wanna be a superstar anyway. The thing the DMV metro area is most known for is Go-Go and it is pretty fresh but I fall into the sewers of it all, you feel me? My music is potent from lyrics, good beats, and stories. You know?
Coming from Virginia, how has this shaped who you are as an individual and as an artist?
Being from VA shaped me to be a sponge really. We haven’t had a star break out yet, we got various hometown heros’ whom Ive had the pleasure to work and gain jewels from like Nickelus F, Radio B, Mad Skillz, OhBliv, Lonnie B, so forth and so on. And these cats are insane! Great individuals and very monumental artist, but the world was never warm hearted towards them. That being said all of these things shaped me to not give a fuck and just do what I want. I want people to love me and the music, don’t get me wrong, I’m not too cool for school. But yo its like, this has always been therapeutic for me, so as long as I get my point across and my team, close friends, the greater parts of the region, and my family loves it I’m cool. I think the goal for me has always been to strive for progression, not perfection. That’s all I know how to be, progressive so I work towards that. That’s perfection to me.
“A young visionary manifesting his every dream.” Would you say that statement applies to you? How involved are you in the manifestation of you every blessing?
I relate. It applies to me because that’s the type of person and artist I am. Ima visual learner, writer, thinker, shit I even walk & talk pretty animated. As far as my blessings, yo it’s real. I’m a pretty spiritual person and I have a pretty personal connection with GOD so when I think about the things I have around me and how I know nothing, I feel rich because it makes me hungry. I feel invincible knowing that I’m as alive as I can be as long as I maintain my faith and try. That’s what lifts me up to do what I do.
Being such a lover of music, what was one album that inspired you growing up? Do you have that ONE album that holds that profound memory or is it a combination of many?
Yes, Ghostface Killah: Supreme Clientel.
How does it feel now knowing that you are just like that same vessel type of individual; one that inspires, shares wisdom, and all around good vibrations?
It feels good, you just have to understand and accept the responsibility not as an artist but as a human you know. Artist and athletes so forth and so on are held to a much higher standard because they are public icons and have money. But Malcolm X was fresh out of jail and hit the streets the same way Michael Jordan can and teach us how to stay sane and love our families you dig what I’m saying. What’s the difference between me and Barack Obama once we strip away everything materialistic that gives us power as people? The streets can get the same nursing from me that they can from him yo, not because I know everything but because the potential is in all of us like the spark was in Optimus Prime. We just gotta take that and use it.
That connection that you have to music, there’s such readings about this word, “muse,” which is a creative influence or inspiration. What is/are your muse(s)?
Life yo, God, family, the experience of absorbing what it has to offer. Of course other things inspire me like being fresh or another dope song, but Life is my muse. I’m always surrounded by trees because VA is a green state so it keeps me living inside my head thinking of the fresh new shit.
When one knows themselves, one sees themselves in everything and everyone, they move with compassion. When it comes to inspiration, how important do you feel it is to be in tune with yourself and know your “self”?
Knowledge of who you are is half the battle. Once you know who you are you know your limitations, you turn those challenges to opportunities, and opportunities to strengths. It’s the cycle we tend to not think about.
Touching back on compassion, your latest “Brethren” project, the title stands for “brothers,” right?
When you speak about “brothers,” what is the connection you have with that word? Who are your brothers?
My blood brothers Langston and Great Scott. My other brothers are Anakin and Koncept Jackson of the Mutant Academy, Ray our other brother, my manager Cam of Lxcvls Xnly, and a few others outside of music whom I wouldn’t want to put on front street like that but yeah, that’s the Brethren.
Give us a little depth about this EP and how the title fits into your message(s) embedded in the project?
Without giving away too too much from my idea going into the album its pretty much a piece of the thesis statement for my album which will represent a body of work. Brethren is pretty much my way of saying thank you to the people I named and a few more for keeping me inspired and pushing me through some dark days. As I said before in my interview with BANY I had a few deaths in my family this year that hit hard and I had quite a few other things hit me in the gut and knock me down this year but I had to wake up and do something. So I went to school, wrote on the train for a week, went to work, thought about what I wrote, and went to lay it down. It seems like a simplistic formula but it was that deep for me because I was going through it you know. Feeling alone and making myself so stressed out I got sick n shit. It was pretty crazy but it had a positive outcome you know.
What was the writing process like when creating “Brethren?” How did you channel what you wanted to tell the world?
It was being on the go. I can’t sing but I wrote the project on the train on my way to school in like 2 weeks. My mindframe was pretty weird in a funny way. I wrote the shit kinda day dreaming that I was singing around a barrel fire with my people or in the snow storm out in Chicago HAHAHAAH. But that’s how therapeutic it was for me to get a lot of that shit off my chest and mind you the EP is only 10 minutes. So imagine what ima do for another 10 minutes on this next tape I got. Then think about what ima do on a full length LP. Im shaking shit up before Christmas and around my birthday top of next year. That’s my word.
As far as the sound, this debut sounds so rich and touches the soul, there’s this rhythm to it, almost sound like it moves to the rhythm of life, what was it like to bring that to the forefront?
It was as natural as it sounded. Each song had its own tune but they tied eachother together. Paces and Erykah Bells had to be on the same project together. Same way Marble and Roulette had to stay together, and lavender had to set it all. Just like my brothers and I. You kind of cant get one of us and not see the other’s spiritually.
Ultimately, everyone lets a project marinate and they take what want from it, certain words, certain meanings, what is one universal message you hope people are taking from “Brethren?”
I hope that the average rap artist just enjoys good beats and dope rhymes. I hope that people who actually enjoy deep music get something from it and go do some new shit. Not just rap but in life. Go take your girl out to a new restaurant or go a different route the next time you going home and see how it feels. Then go tell somebody “yo I just did this and that, you gotta try it” Do something positive man. It feels better and you end up looking good doing it too.
From the first day of creating the project to now seeing people live it, what are five words to describe how you feel about the progression?
I think I’m back now.
Did you learn something about yourself during the “making of?” If so, can you share with us?
Yeah definitely, even if you can’t blame anybody for your circumstances don’t spend too much time blaming yourself. If you don’t like the situation change it. You cant pray for a chicken sandwich and it fall out the sky man. Pray that you got strength to go work for it and when you can buy two of them shits and eat good.
When you have songs like “Paces,” they really make one reflect on their own path in a sense. We’re all on this journey, recognizing that somehow someway people are always going to try to swerve into our lane. Even certain obstacles almost bring us down, what’s something you hold onto when going through times like these?
My mind, that’s where it all is. My thoughts are something God gave me that not even I can take away. God gave my family the strength to pass onto me to survive on my own. As long as I have my brain I’m good because the mind is the tool you use to do everything. Knowledge is power and that starts in your mind.
How do you overcome struggles? How does your music help you through certain situations?
I overcome struggles by just seeing it all the way through. And I write the music as I go through it. I learned that from my oldest brother Langston & Tupac. Just expressing myself as it happens so it remains fresh and organic. It feels good saying it too.
What is it like to just “keep going?” Your catalogue is extensive. You’re the kind, I assume, you just almost lives in the studio. How would you describe your drive? What keeps you moving?
I don’t live in the studio surprisingly. I just always have an urge to write. So when I do get to the spot to record I have multiple pieces to lay down. Sometimes I go on a spree and drop mad joints, sometimes I hold onto it until people catch on and ask me what am I doing cause they know I got something. Then I just let it go. What keeps me going is just the idea of a song getting old to me after like 2 months because im conquering something else in life or fighting another challenge. I feel like I’ll end up being an old emcee that can still run with any one of the cats my age now. Only because life always has something dope to talk about.
Can you give us a little background on who The Mutant Academy is?
The artist are myself, Fly Anakin, and recently Koncept Jackson. Anakin and I grew up together. Kons came through with great chemistry with Anakin and I thought it would be dope to have him rock with us officially. We all have the same interest and ideas about how to progress through music so it works for me.
Talk about your connection as creatives. What is it like to have such people like these around your journey?
Just laughing & living life. Getting fresh, adapting with our vices and rhyming. Telling people the lessons we learned. It may sound cool to somebody to hear us talk about shit we talk about but its no satire or fabrication. We really do put ourselves in situations and work ourselves out of them or deeper in the belly of the shit. Same with the positive, we really do live good despite our lack of and dream about our if and when opportunities. We just push eachother a long the way to stay that way.
Ultimately, we’re here for a purpose, how does it feel knowing that yours aligned with what you love?
When did you realize that and how did you begin speaking from your higher self? I can say I know exactly what it is but I’m no fool. I know that when I’m really in my bag talking that talk, its God speaking through me. It feels good knowing that I know nothing but im hungry to be better and at times im dying of thirst in the same vein. It makes for a greater victory.
You’re always working, what can we expect from Henny L.O. next?
The next tape will be with my brother Hajino entitled “Vibereyshuns”. This is another EP which will be the closing to the thesis of my album entitled “Carrie On, All Systems Go”. Vibreyshuns is like 90 percent done and will surface before the year is out. Carrie on will come out top of next year.