This Is How Theophilus London Does L.A.
The hip-hop artist, who collaborated with Kanye West and Karl Lagerfeld on his new album, 'Vibes,' sees a film almost every night and hardly frequents his new hometown's bar scene ("Rock stars don't do happy hour," he says)
"When I went to Coachella and my phone wasn’t working out there, I wasn’t getting emails from the label or text messages from ex-girlfriends and stuff like that. So I thought it would be the perfect place to make a record," says Theophilus London, whose sophomore release Vibes (Warner Bros.) — executive produced by Kanye West — drops Tuesday. The Trinidad-born, Brooklyn-raised hip-hop artist had started writing the album in Paris, but opted to continue in Palm Springs, where he rented a midcentury modern home, built a studio, and hunkered down for a year. "I found a lot of inspiration there," says London, whose newest album cover portrait was shot by Karl Lagerfeld. "It’s super-spiritual. There’s a lot of energy, because the sun hits the desert so much."
Four months ago, London decided to continue his California adventure, settling down in Los Angeles' Beachwood Canyon. Here, the sartorially savvy singer shares his recently discovered go-to spots in his new hometown.
"My closet is better than half the stores in Los Angeles, just because I’ve been collecting clothes for eight years," says London, who also collects hats and pins, among other things. When he’s on the hunt for vintage pieces, London makes his way to Decades on Melrose Avenue, where he recently snapped up a peace sign earring and a pair of dark blue sunglasses. “I really like them because they make me look blind," he explains.
A self-professed film buff, London catches one — if not two — movies almost every night. “I really support [The Cinefamily] Silent Movie Theatre," he says, of which he is a member. Also, expect to find London scoping out the latest exhibit at LACMA, or going to a show downtown, where he most recently saw Mykki Blanco perform in a warehouse.
Every morning, London starts his day with a wheatgrass shot, a honeybee pollen shot, and an immunity shot, procured from Real Raw Live on Franklin Avenue. The rapper is also a fan of Thai Vegan in Santa Monica. "When I eat it, it makes my brain work," he says of the plant-based fare. “It gives me powers and makes me feel like the blood inside my head is moving." But don’t expect to find London, who rarely drinks these days, frequenting the city’s bar scene. "Rock stars don’t do happy hour," he says. "That’s for tourists."
Photos by Tracy Bailey