I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I had a crazy childhood. I was rebellious and ran away from home at age 15. I met some of the wildest crews like Decepts while attending Brooklyn Tech High School. One of the other crews was the Lo Life fam. I met a guy named Boostin’ Billy (RIP) who brought me along to roll with them. They wore some of the illest Ralph Lauren. Exclusive pieces like 1920’s swimsuits over the jogging suits. Epic style….timeless even. I was there to live things that are seen in the documentaries. As an adult, I see the organization has expanded its brand and chapters to worldwide visibility! The mission has elevated beyond the streets of Brooklyn and has become a staple in hip hop culture. I’m proud to be able to interview Thirstin Howl III the founder of the Lo Life – now known as Love and Loyalty.
Who were the founding members of Lo Life?
There were many that built the unity. Dudes from St. John’s and Utica. It’s a long list of people as far as the foundation coming together. Claiborn, Disco, Deck Fats Capone, AJ… too many to name. There were even dudes from the Bronx and dudes from Van Dyke project and Brownsville responsible for initial foundation coming together.
What does Love and Loyalty mean to you on a grand scale? Who created the logo?
Love and Loyalty was a transition from Lo Life to something different. The name became a staple. Everyone been friends a long time.The logo was created by myself and Handz Lo. There are many many versions of the logos now.
What did wearing Polo symbolize?
We wanted to wear the newest freshest shit. Lo Life didn’t start with Polo. We were rocking Adidas and Puma. We were rockin’ Hilfiger Benneton in the early 80s. Polo just became that shit because they had more product. They were more in demand.
Over the years Lo Life has expanded. How did this crew maintain longevity for three decades?
I try to be well rounded in everything I’m doing . Most of the things I create is to push the brand. We just keep branding ourselves with promotional items. Everything from the little accessories and things like that. We push the brand from every perspective multimedia wise.
You have received great accolades as a rap artist.How did it feel to be recognized by amazing platforms like The Source and MTV Lyricist Lounge?
It was good to know that I’ve added on to the culture. I bought my own things to the table. There’s lots more to come . I’m just trying to continue on that path. The experience I gained throughout the time gave me longevity. Just manifesting the experience I keep gaining through the whole journey. I Incorporated my Lo Life lifestyle in my music. My album covers everything A lot of people were shocked to learn these stories were true.
How did the organization go worldwide from it’s humble start in Brooklyn? How did Lo Life brand become a major staple in hip hop culture?
People love Lo Life because of the fashion the culture what it stands for. They wanted to be a part of it, and we allowed it. It grew and became worldwide. Polo is damn near the uniform for hip hop
Tell us about your book Bury Me With Lo On. What inspired you to write it?
I was approached by Tom Gould . He’s a photographer. The book is a collaborative effort between us. It’s an introduction of the Lo Life culture to the world and where it’s at today . I been working on the book for years and years . There is more to come. There will definitely be other books to expand on the story.
Buy ‘Bury Me With Lo On‘ Here
Tell the people about Love & Loyalty weekend. What can we expect this year?
We do it every year. It’s a party we started at the crib…. at my grandma’s house and it expanded to one of the biggest events of Art Basel. As far as hip hop , probably one of the only culturally hip hop events that exist. The Miami Lo Family work together… me and Box Lo had Super Nat , Hakim Green, Earl Luco come out . It’s a free event… free food, free liquor. People come out to have a good time. We bring out all the artists who live this culture whether you breakdance …do graffiti. However you live this. Of course, it’s always about the fashion. We have meet and greets it’s great networking and good energy. We premiered a documentary about my grandparents and the Wynwood area. It showed how the community was. It also showed how we started throwing these Love and Loyalty events.
Are you working on any new music?
I don’t understand how people work on albums. I never work on an album. I’m always making music. Whenever I feel like dropping something, I just go to my files to see what fits the concept . When a beat presents itself and captures me, I knock it out. I don’t sit on it. Even when I travel , I have a portable studio. Everything fits right on the laptop. People come visit… we get songs off. I’ll come to your house to record. I set up in ya crib.
I have massive music I’m letting out this year. I can’t keep holding onto everything . I have a project with Sadat X called The God and The General dropping. I have Spanish project droppin crazy salsa a mixture of hip hop. Shit dropping end of the year and 2020. I’m gonna release massive music videos through out the year.
Are there any films or documentaries we need to share with the fans?
We have our Lo Life documentary. We also have our Kung Fu film General Lo and the Legend of the Lo Palm. We premiered it at Love and Loyalty weekend. We got busy on that joint. Me and Master Fu are super Kung Fu fiends. I can watch one Kung Fu movie on repeat all weekend. I study them. There’s messages in a lot of those films if you really peep it.
Are you pleased with the evolution of Lo Life? Are the youth embracing this rich legacy?
Some youth embrace it as far as ones who know the history. Others may just be influenced by what they see in their community or through hip hop. They are following regardless. It’s worldwide influence now. There is no more denying what Polo and Ralph Lauren mean to America, to the world to hip hop and all of that. We walk hand in hand with the story. We helped make Ralph Lauren a religious item. We worship it religiously. A million brands wish they had that shit. Polo never went out of style. We made sure of that. It withstood the test of time
Do you have a message for all the Love and Loyalty family?
If we keep it righteous, it can live beyond all our existences. That’s all I would love to see as far as the culture. Right now as far as Lo Life we carry it through hip hop culture. I just want to see what we brought to the table always exist. It’ll be there forever. It’s a part of the elements now. As long as everyone lives righteously and it’s really about Love and Loyalty, it will last a long time.
and the list goes on…