Denver rapper Looney Ando has been making big moves in his city lately. His sit-ins with artists such as Tnertle, MIDIcinal, Homemade Spaceship, and The Party People have helped propel him into the forefront of the city’s hip-hop scene. Ando is an Illinois native that has spent time all over the midwest and parts of Florida. Balancing supporting a family with making a career out of his music, Ando’s down to Earth personality and charisma on stage makes him a fan favorite in Denver. The community has been nothing but supportive, and Ando’s gritty style has been a flawless fit into the madness that is the Colorado music scene.
After recently becoming a father to his first child, Thea Estelle Anderson, Ando sat down with Compose Yourself to talk about his introduction to rap, juggling the family life with music, and his upcoming releases.
Compose Yourself: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. So where did you live before moving out to Denver?
Looney: I lived in Florida for a couple months before moving out here, but I’m from Illinois originally. I’ve lived everywhere from country towns to Chicago. I lived in Florida for a good part of my life – probably like 4 or 5 years but separately throughout life. I got sponsored for skateboarding while I was down there, but when my mom got multiple sclerosis we had to move back to Illinois. It was a totally different lifestyle; I went from skateboarding everyday to living in an area with less people and not as much going on. I visited Colorado for the first time when I was helping out with Grassroots and Spoiled and moved out to Denver on Valentine’s Day of 2015.
What kind of work were you doing for Grassroots?
Looney: Well, I’ve always just helped them sell hats and stuff. Since moving out here, I’ve been helping them out with security and watching over the shop if no one else is around or just an extra set of hands at a festival.
Where would you mark the beginning of your rap career?
Looney: In jail. I never really thought I would really take it seriously; I just messed around to pass the time. But when I got out, I met Mike Addler and he was going to school for sound engineering and it was the first time I took it seriously enough to actually write a song instead of just doing drunk freestyles. Outside of the song, I wasn’t really branding myself or thinking about it too much. I made a couple songs here and there with him and a couple solo songs, but didn’t really market them at all.
Once I moved out here, I was living with my homie Austin, that used to go by Kinetic Groove, and he got me on stage a couple times and I hung out with Mikey Thunder, Benjamin’s Vibe and Mr. Bugatti and all of them helped me get on stage a bunch of times which helped lead to my first solo shows and other opportunities.
Tell me about your first solo show.
Looney: It’s actually on Youtube. Well, actually my first one was with Mike at this like jello wrestling party. One of our buddies in Illinois throws a big ass jello wrestling party, but this shit pops off. He’s got this land in the country and there were probably well over 1,500 people there. So that was my first time rapping in front of that many people. It was tight. The town had to get a new sound ordinance because they didn’t have one yet.
So who are some of your favorite Chicago artists?
Looney: Well growing up, I remember listening to Twista a long time ago, Do or Die, Bump J, shit…there are so many, Crucial Conflict, YP, Legendary Traxster. With the newer rappers, I like GLC, ProbCause, he’s the homie, G Herbo and Lil Bibby are dope too.
Tell me a little about Hip-Hop for Homes.
Looney: It’s done by the Impact Organization; we raise money to help support the homeless. People do live art and then raffle their work which also goes towards the cause. It’s gone well, I headlined one on Mother’s Day the turnout was decent. Amp Live headlined the last one, and it was an honor to share the stage with him.
I know you’ve been sitting in with a bunch of groups lately, who are some of your favorites to join on stage?
Looney: I love hopping up with Tnertle because I love the whole live band and I love MCing with a band because it sounds so much better than over a beat. That shit’s way more comfortable to me. That, or I love getting down with the Party People or my homie Homemade Spaceship. I’ve had a bunch of good times jumping on with Midicinal. I pretty much just like getting on the mic with whoever. My homies Pheel and Park Breezy too. Oh! And Brisco Jones and Kruza Kid. Pretty much everyone on the Mile High Sound Movement that I’ve been able to jump up with has been awesome.
What was your favorite sit-in experience?
Looney: My homie Homemade Spaceship had a show at the Bluebird and my birthday was at midnight. I hopped on stage with him and the place was packed. So that was a very memorable night. I had a really good sit-in with Tnertle one night at Cervantes when Russ Liquid was headlining.
Congratulations on recently becoming a father! How is life as a dad?
The universe has blessed me with a beautiful daughter, I’m looking forward to the journeys and adventures we are about to embark on with our family! Here’s a lil poem I wrote before she was born –
“New life, New thoughts, bright eyes, fresh love,
when I hear that first cry my universe will shift,
brings butterflies to my stomach thinking of this,
the sound of 150 heartbeats taught me a new bliss,
never woulda thought it’d happen so quick,
proud father I have become, you’ll never have to run,
safe in my arms, Daddys perfect love”
– Thea Estelle Anderson
Born August 25th 2018
So what new music have you been working on lately?
Looney: Well, my buddy Pheel hooked me up with a few beats so I’ve got a few from him that I’m working on. I’ve got an EP, it’ll probably be 6 or 7 songs, that I’m working on recording tonight. I have some collabs that I’m recording also. One is with someone staying super lowkey right now so I’m excited for that one to drop.
What upcoming shows do you have going on?
Looney: I’m doing a hip-hop showcase at the Gothic on the 31st. It’s gonna open me up to a different market, so I’m hoping to make some connections there. I perform a decent amount here but it’s in front of the same people a lot of the time, so performing in front of a new crowd will be good for exposure. I’m also playing The Hill Block Party on September 22nd.
Thanks for talking with us Looney!