Published on April 26th, 2023 | by MC Bravado0
Whoracle: Lil Webb is a Baltimore Original
Lil Webb is one of the most gifted young musicians in Baltimore. It’s the classically trained vocal range meets the ability to Rap, Rap means the ardent student of Pop, meets Baltimore American Zeitgeist sensibilities with an acute awareness of his hometown of Baltimore. Webb takes his craft and furthermore his projects seriously, a thought as prevalent as ever on “Whoracle“, his latest project which features our friend from tour Marley B. and yours truly among others (peep the full tracklist below). Recently, I had the chance to sit down and chop it up with my tour buddy, collaborator, and fellow Lineup Room enthusiast Lil Webb.
Every hero has an origin story, tell me yours:
A Hero’s Journey is meant for a chosen few, but I’m more of a reluctant hero: like Han Solo, a hero by circumstance. I started off in fine arts, but my teachers wanted me to do music instead and it’s been nonstop from there. I didn’t even start using my voice until I was a teenager. Within a few months, I went from learning to read music to learning choreography for my first musical. Once I started doing music & performing arts it just kinda made sense. If it comes easy and people want me to do it that’s a win-win. Also gave me a good cover for when I did something I wasn’t supposed to.
Tell me about your childhood in general as well as the moments/what inspired you to find music and the stage:
Childhood was nothing out of the ordinary. I was raised by a single mother all of my life while my dad was in jail. He was killed shortly after he came home and I unknowingly needed a change which ended up being music. I can’t say I was pushed in a musical direction until I got to 7th grade. It was always a part of my curriculum, but I was a Magnet fine arts student, spending time with my grandfather and going to museums. I liked music; I think we all like music, and it was just that for a long time.
I can respect you saying “out of the ordinary” but feel like that’s a lot for anyone to go through. I’m glad the arts found you early and started to give you that outlet. Regarding your taste in said outlet, specifically music, you have one of the more eclectic palettes I know (our friend DJ MooseJaw also has incredibly diverse tastes musically), how did this come about?
I think my choice in music really comes from my Mom. My Dad was a big Hip-Hop guy; she always told me the first song he played to her stomach was a Tupac song, and she likes rap but that’s not really what was in her CD collection. Mind you, I was in elementary school when Kelly Clarkson won American Idol. P!NK was on the rise; Avril had “S8ter Boi”, and Carrie Underwood had “Before He Cheats”. So I had lots of the Pop-Rock girlies in my atmosphere. Her CD rack is where I found groups like Daughtry and Green Day, which later inspired my love of groups like Three Days Grace & Papa Roach. The first CDs I bought myself were the debuts of Sean Kingston & “The First” rapper Soulja Boy. Then in school, I’m doing Broadway musicals and learning what the actual classification of “Classical” music really is, and that it’s more than just “Classical”: it’s a group of genres based on the time it was made. I could genuinely go on for hours about the music I love.
Pros and cons of the Baltimore Hip Hop scene:
A Pro would definitely be that it’s easy to find someone who does what you’re looking for. The city being so small, you more than likely know someone who knows someone or will find that person you’re looking for at a show.
Another Pro would be that you’re a lot closer to other scenes than you think you are. Even though Baltimore doesn’t really associate with the DMV, we’re not far from Philly, Jersey, New York, or Pittsburgh either. Baltimore is like that cousin that gets in trouble so ya aunty keeps them home, but when they do come out, it’s a party. I’ve always gotten love out of town, I don’t know any of my peoples to have out-of-town issues. It’s just a good time.
My main Con would be that people are afraid to be individuals. Either your whole crew occupies a similar lane or they’re taking bits and pieces of people’s styles and using what works best at the moment. That’s cool for some people, but our city has too much art to not be able to commit to that as an artist.
Elaborate on “Whoracle” conceptually:
“Whoracle” is an album based on the idea that “time is a circle”. There are a lot of parallels between The Whoring 20s and The Roaring 20s; we just have more avenues to explore these parallels. Fashion is coming to a logical extreme with unisex clothes; the US is on the verge of another depression; Russia & Ukraine are in a war that could spill over borders, and sex work is at an all-time high. It’s near impossible to have a day where one of these things is not the focus point of a broader conversation. We have not learned as much from the human experience as we believe we have.
Whoracle as a concept is the idea of seeing the future that lies in front of us regarding the sexual aspect of being in your 20s. With sex work, the original career, being where it is now we are able to fully see the effects it has on society at large. Not everybody in sex work fully understands the actual profession they are in; some get it and thrive, while others don’t care and need to pay their bills. There are a lot of “unspoken rules” when it comes to sexuality, and the expression of that, that many aren’t privileged to know. The hypersensitivity surrounding sexuality imposed by the government doesn’t help at all. It only works to weaken our understanding.
Truly one of the dopest concepts I’ve seen in a minute and was happy to rock with you on it. I wish more artists today put the effort into being an album artist that you do. Being able to do so while making the music infectious across genres is pretty magic my bro. Do not stop, ever. Tangent time: 5 Desert Albums…
If I’m stranded, “No Ceilings” is a no-brainer. Not a single miss on there. Ice Cube’s “The Predator” is another one that never lets me down. Spent two weeks out of the country only listening to that my homies thought I was buggin’. Eminem’s “Relapse: Refill”, that’s the perfect encapsulation of the Slim Shady persona in my eyes. Slim couldn’t get Shadier than “3am”, “Insane”, And “Buffalo Bill”. Mans is a monster. Kelly Clarkson’s debut “Breakaway” has to come with me. The defining pop album for me. Every song is perfect; every song is long enough to get lost in it, and every melody/bridge is needed. But this last one might be the hardest one, so I’ll have to take Wes Montgomery’s “California Dreaming”. If I’m stranded I’m bound to have a few sunny days to look forward to. Wes is the right man to help me see the brighter side.
Top 5 most desired collaborations and why:
-No lie, I’d kill to write an album with Babyface. Just lace us up with some production and let us write. I don’t even care if I perform the records. If we can put together 10 joints, it’s going Diamond.
-I can’t act like I don’t want a record with A Boogie. And I’d be lying if I said part of my style doesn’t come from him. I literally have a joint that’s in the style of A Boogie, just rapping as if I was him.
-Number three has to be Wayne. I only put him at three because it feels too obvious. I feel like if Wayne isn’t in your Top 5 you’re either older than 45, or you’re lying. He’s just too good.
-There’s a singer named Lennon Stella, man I love her voice. Doing a record with her would be really cool, I think it would be a lot of fun. I really dig her concepts, especially her hooks. They always leave me guessing.
-My last one would probably have to be the GOAT: Quincy Jones. There’s nothing that man can’t do. He can transform not just the artist but the entire feeling surrounding them. He understands the science behind creating music that defines a time period, instead of the times defining the music.
I got FIVE on it: Where is Lil Webb in 5 years?
This is probably the easiest question for me. The plan is to reshape how we perceive Pop music. If you study the most popular songs over the years, there are a lot of patterns. They vary depending on the genre but that’s what “Pop music” is, popular music. I want to change what a Pop record feels like. When I go out, I don’t really see a lot of dancing. The people that do are normally in circles with someone in the middle. I’m working on that innate human instinct, tapping into that energy we all have within us to just move passionately.
Elevator pitch for your music:
My catalogue is like joining me on the stage. You get to see all the characters in this head of mine, experience all of my emotions, and feel my energy with every project. There’s the BBB series to give more background on Conrad Birdie. The Smoking Section series brings you to the party with all of my peers. And there are countless collab projects with my favorite producers.
Thank you for joining my brother. Let’s take another road trip that happens to include playing a bunch of shows again soon. Until then, tell the people anything else you want them to know:
Your 20s will never be the same! Whoracle is like the bouncer at the club for my next album. Conrad’s coming in HOT with a Pop-Rock classic.