In 2011, the 24-year-old independently pressed up hard copies of a single song, "Up," which described what he does to and within a few months, it debuted on the Billboard charts. When Interscope's VP of A&R Larry Jackson discovered that the track came from a fellow San Francisco native, he pushed to welcome LoveRance to the label. A stroke of genius inspired Jackson to add labelmate 50 Cent to the song and "Up" rocketed to the top of urban radio playlists effortlessly.
Reeling from the whirlwind success of the past year, the X-rated rapper is currently preparing his first full project entitled, Freak of the Industry, aiming to secure a home at the top of playlists and charts everywhere, representing the Bay the whole way.
The BoomBox had a moment to speak with LoveRance about his new Digital Underground-inspired mixtape Freak of the Industry, performing onstage with Drake, why rap needs more sex and a collaboration with an R&B crooner who just signed a lucrative deal.
The story behind "Up" is that you made CDs with just that track on there and passed them out wherever you went. Why take that approach with just that song?
The reason I started pushing "Up" heavily was because I felt like it would define my lifestyle. I was throwing parties and all that stuff so it was a feel-good song. We not killing nobody, we not talking about selling drugs or nothing of that nature, plus everybody does it [sex], so I felt it would be something everybody could relate to.
It must have felt amazing to see it chart on Billboard as an independent artist initially.
Yeah definitely! Whenever you get something like that, that ends up being a heavy hitter, and it wasn't through a label just me and my team doing it, it felt great.
Were you shocked at how fast "Up" became an indisputable smash?
I wouldn't say it was a complete shock. I always believed in the song and I'd been pushing it for a long time so the success I feel is great. But when I was putting all this work into it, taking all these damn trips and you know, shaking a lot of hands and meeting a lot of people, I knew it was gonna go somewhere but I didn't know it would go this far.
Producer IamSu! was behind the boards for the lead single. Is he doing more on the full project?
He did some other tracks with the production company he's in called the Invasion. So the Invasion did four or five other joints on the mixtape collectively.
Who else do you have producing?
This kid named J. Lory, another kid named Kay Cee, he's producing on it. I have a lot of on-the-come-up producers on there.
Is the mixtape done? Have you set a date for its release?
I don't have a date yet. We're pretty much waiting on the host to do his part and then we're gonna put out the artwork soon and all that stuff. We actually changed the name of the mixtape too [from Happy Fucking Birthday]. We changed it to Freak of the Industry.
What's the story behind the name?
Of course, just growing up in the Bay, I've always been a fan of Digital Underground and I actually got to meet Shock G in a club like two, three weeks ago and he was just congratulating me on my success. I was just vibing with him and I was like, "I wanna do a title where..." 'cause I can always go back to Happy Fucking Birthday if I want, for another mixtape or even an album title. But I wanted to kinda show my Bay Area side. [Digital Underground's] "Freaks of the Industry" was such a great song so I felt like, "Let me name my mixtape Freak of the Industry." And plus, most of my songs are about sex.
Well, that's pretty straightforward. Did you go into recording with that theme on your mind or did it come during the process?
At first when I was recording I was doing hip-hop type songs, party jams and one day a switch just went off in my head. I was like, "Nobody really talks about sex anymore like they used to." I mean Plies did it but them you know, he did more goon raps than sex raps or songs about girls and all that. Nobody's been just straight vulgar with it [laughs]. So it was kinda like, "Let me try my hand at it." It's kind of like in dealing with music you want to be an attention-grabber, so instead of me doing something that's not me or out of the ordinary. I decided to use the voice to say shit I've seen. All of the stuff I rap about, I've either seen or done. There's no fabrication like, "Oh, I saw this on the internet, let me talk about it." Most of this stuff is really in my lifestyle so fuck it, why not have fun with it?
Who are you collaborating with on the Freak of the Industry mixtape?
Right now, I'm waiting on two of the artists to finish their verses so I can't say their names until they're finished because I don't wanna look like a jackass but the two people I got done right now are Omarion and Pleasure P. They're sex songs, so you gotta keep it for the ladies!
What's been the most exciting experience so far on your celebrity climb?
As an artist, I would say when Drake brought me out onstage [on the Club Paradise Tour L.A. date]. That was kind of a whirlwind right there. That day, I was in the studio recording and my manager came in and said, "We gotta leave. We gotta go to the Drake concert." So I'm thinking we're just going to the Drake concert to just be there. And on the way to the concert he's like, "Oh yeah man, he's bringing you out." I was like, "What? The fuck you mean?" So we get there, and I meet Justin Bieber, Meek Mill, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky and just so many people.
After the performance, everybody was just like, "Man, you did a great show." It was crazy like, to get your peers -- people you ain't met yet and people who probably ain't know who I was while I was standing back there before -- to [say], as soon as I get off stage, they're like, "Damn man. You did your thing." It was very refreshing.
While recording the mixtape, which would you say was the most outstanding studio session?
I would say it was one day while I was in there with Matt Kemp from the L.A. Dodgers and Omarion. Omarion was just talking to me about where he wanted to go with the song or whatever. Just vibing with him. It was just two artists, you know... Because he's at a new beginning in his career now too, with him just getting signed to Maybach Music and I'm a new artist starting off my career. So it was just good to hear what he had to say about the record, to actually work with him. I heard about the deal before he signed it. It's cool to just be able to chop it up with somebody, and he's down to earth so it was very cool.
Who are you LoveRance, if you had to apply a label?
I'm a party artist. I bring an element to music that's very party-positive. We do smoke weed. We don't do hard drugs. We not telling you to kill nobody. We not saying, "Fuck them niggas over there." We ain't with all that. We having fun and we're ending the night with whatever you feel is fun, sexually. I don't just want to be viewed as the party starter and just... When I walk in someplace I want people to be like, "Oh, that's Rance. He's about to turn it up one time and we gon' get it in."
So you have Omarion on there. Pleasure P on there. You plan on doing a little singing too?
Unfortunately, my voice is so like, not deep, but when I sing it's very, like, weird.
So you're not singing?
I can't do it, damn. But I have a lot of songs where I harmonize very well. I'm sing-talking. I got that from my vocal coach. I'm not a great singer but I can sing-talk. A lot of the greats do it. I didn't even think I could, until I actually got trained to. It's just melodies. Kinda like how Drake does some of his verses.
What's the significance of waiting until after the project drops to allow the fans to choose the second single?
I just feel like, that's where I came from. Those 16,000 "Likes" on Facebook, 16,000 people follow me on Twitter. Three thousand people on Instagram. These are all people who've either vibed with me as a person with what I'm doing or they vibe with me musically, like, I can't worry about impressing everybody else, I have to worry about impressing the 16,000 that I have right now and hopefully that grows when people enjoy the music.
So, are you happy with all of the "Up" remixes?
At first I wasn't. I felt like as a new artist I wasn't getting the proper shine that I thought I should be getting. The original was great, but now that I have the deal and we're on MTV and all that stuff, so people can see my face, it's turned for the better. I mean, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed everybody's verses, 'cause I feel that if you're gonna rap to a song that me and the homies made, I feel like that's major but as far as my career goes I was kinda upset. Now, I'm like, "Fuck it," 'cause if it gets played, fuck it, I still get paid so, do your thing man. You can't stop that, all you can say is that it's a great song. If nobody wanted to remix it, then that's a problem. Tip, Jeezy, E-40, fucking legends, so...
That E-40 verse had to have been pretty special.
Aww man. Definitely. It's just like, being a kid from the Bay, just to have him on there was like, I couldn't believe it. Words couldn't describe how I felt.