As an adolescent, Le Thach’s imagination ran wild. Living stagnantly is not something the budding artist has ever allowed himself to do - he sees the bigger picture in everything he pursues. Exhibit A: Thach is on a car ride with his father. In the middle of a light-hearted freestyle, his father turns to him and exclaims, “get a mic.” This isn’t a joke. Shortly thereafter, Thach purchases his first piece of recording equipment. In that moment, Lil Shock is born.
Lil Shock, a 19-year-old native of Roxboro, North Carolina, was unsure of his sound to start. Initially, Shock envisioned a career in hardcore rap. Upon being introduced to guitar-laden beats, however, Shock fell in love with the music of Juice WRLD and XXXTentacion. When Juice WRLD responded to one of Shock's friends who sent Juice his music, Juice responded - telling him to “never give up” - Shock took his inspiration’s advice to heart.
His big moment came on Twitch, when world-famous Fortnite streamer Hamlinz jumped around his room to “Rockstar” in front of thousands of viewers. The NC native’s popularity suddenly skyrocketed. “Rockstar” reached 5 million streams, a number most new artists can only dream of touching. Just a few days ago, the single’s music video eclipsed 1 million views. From this point forward, Shock’s musical ambitions became far more clear.
Since joining Stray Dogs Music Group this past year, Lil Shock has further cemented himself as an exciting new MC, gaining heavy traction amongst fans in the social media and gaming worlds. His use of strings in his production has led to his pursuit of learning to play the guitar - just one of many steps Shock has taken to perfect his craft. At just nineteen years of age, it feels as though the sky isn’t high enough a limit for Thach.
Today, we sit down with Lil Shock to discuss his music, the importance of social media, his dream car and plans for the future as part of a 6-part series covering and speaking with one of music’s most exciting new assemblies - Stray Dogs Music Group.
Hunter McNeeley: Where did you grow up?
Lil Shock: I was born in Durham, but I lived in Roxboro. Growing up in NC, it was mostly chill. There’s a lot of space; a lot of room to do whatever. It’s just been a quiet place for my whole life. Roxboro is a really small town. It has around 8,000 people, or under. When I was a kid all the way up until now, I’ve always seen the bigger picture. My imagination was out of this world. I wanted to do this, do that; I just didn’t want to stay in one place and just live my life there. I wanted to do something great and I have a crazy imagination. I look towards the future and when I was younger, I just wanted to pull up in a foreign car; I want to have a big house, live in LA, do all of that. Now that I have a chance, I’m glad to have an imagination because people in my city don’t see the bigger picture. Everyone has asked me, “you’re not supposed to be from here, are you?” or, “you’re not meant to be here.” I know that’s the case.
How did you decide on the name Lil Shock?
I was going through a lot of names, and I just stumbled upon that. I want something that means something to me. I got Lil Shock because I wanted to shock the world and prove everyone wrong. I stuck with it from there.
How did you actually get into music?
No one really does it out here...but how I got into music - I was freestyling in the car one day and then my dad was like, “get a mic.” I was like, “yeah, whatever bro,” but he was serious and so I got one. Then I just started recording music.
Did you know what you wanted to sound like from the jump?
Not at first. I knew I wanted to be a little different from everyone, but I didn’t actually know what I wanted to sound like until I got some other inspirations. When I first started rapping, I used to want to just do hardcore rap and then I changed it up and wanted to do melodic stuff, because I saw Juice and X doing melodic-type music. I fell in love with guitar beats after I heard them, so I was like, “oh yeah, I gotta try it.”
We noticed that you’ve included guitars in multiple music videos. Do you actually play, or is it just something you really like?
It’s just something I really like. I can play just the bare minimum, but that’s something I really want to learn so it’s not just for show.
Your single “Rockstar” has over 5 million plays. When you were making that track, did you have a feeling it was a hit?
I knew it was a hit because when I made it, I was running around my room screaming like, “yo, this is crazy!” Then, there’s some songs where I’m like, “Yeah, this isn’t that good,” but then I drop it and it does fairly well and I’m like, “wow, that’s crazy.”
How does it feel like being able to look at that like, “Damn, I really hit 5 million plays”?
It’s a blessing, bro. That’s something I prayed about every day, so to see that it happened just makes me want to keep on going. I don’t take that for granted, because not everyone can have this. I look at it every day; I don’t even realize that it’s me. Like wait, I did that for real.
We noticed that Fortnite and Twitch streamers play a big part in your music. How do you feel about that?
They started using my songs, especially “Rockstar”. I was like, “yo, this is crazy.” I’m friends with Mongraal and Mythic Fish and all those big Fortnite players; they all like my music. I never thought that would be able to happen to me.
Did you get noticed when you were on vacation?
Yeah, it was Hamlinz. I was at the beach and then my buddy hit my phone and said, “Hamlinz just listened to your song on a stream,” and I was like, “yeah, right, whatever.” So, I look, and I was like, “yo, he’s literally going crazy in his room listening to my song.” That day was a really good day; it was crazy. That was like the first big person that actually listened to my song.
When Hamlinz listened to it, do you think that’s what really pushed it?
I think that’s what really pushed it, because I feel like if someone big listens to it, it’s just going to grow. All the other people that look up to him are going to be like, “yeah, maybe this is fire, let me listen to it.
I know it was probably pretty short, but how was your first year at college going?
It was weird. It was cool, but it was weird. Walking in and people staring at me randomly, so I just kept my head low. I didn’t really speak unless my friends were there. I just went home and made music, but other than that, I just kept up with my work. I wanted to get out so damn bad and now I am.
Tell us about you and basketball:
I’m a diehard basketball player. When I grew up, that’s all I wanted to be and I was pretty decent at it. Not trying to brag or anything, but I was the star player of every team. When I hit high school, I didn’t really like the coaches. I just didn’t want to play, so I quit and then I needed to pick up a new hobby, and that’s how I got into music. It’s crazy how it all played out.
Give me your NBA player comp. If you were to play, who would they compare you to?
I would say Kyrie, because I like to dribble and my handles are what I like the most. I like being crafty.
Do you think you could mess up anyone else in the group? You think you could take some ankles?
I'ma put it like this. Not trying to be cocky or anything like that, but I promise you nine times out of ten - if any rap dude wants to play basketball, I will beat them. I’ll put a thousand dollars on it.
How did the Overtime Gaming photoshoot go?
That was wild. One of the workers hit me up on Twitter. I texted back and he said, “I work for Overtime. We want to sponsor you with Overtime merch that we’re dropping and we want you to model for us.”
We just linked up and took some photos. He told me, “no one has seen these before and you’re the first one that gets them.”
When they posted it, I was like, “this life is getting crazy.”
I feel like you have embraced the gaming community, something that many artists fail to accomplish. What’s the importance of that relationship?
That community has helped me a lot, so I feel like I’m just trying to find a way to appreciate them; to make it seem like I’m not just trying to use them, but I’m trying to work with them. I text them back and shout out their videos.
Have you ever thought about doing your own Twitch channel?
I’m thinking about it, especially while in this quarantine. I could maybe do some music cook-ups, listen to people’s music, and even play Fortnite with the fans.
Tell us the story about the Juice WRLD DM:
I did a Juice WRLD remix and my friend talked to him; they were friends at that time. She reached out to me and said, “hey, guess what?” and I responded, “what happened?” She told me, “Juice WRLD said he likes your song and said to never give up.”
I was about to tell her to tell him that I did a remix and she did before I even said it. Then I did another one, and I told her to send it to him and he said, “that’s actually pretty nice, tell him to keep at it.”
Are you big into cars?
I really like cars. I have a Cadillac that I like to drive; it has nice ass rims on it. When I come up, I already know what cars I’m going to get.
What’s your top three cars that you want to get?
The first one I’m going to get is a BMW i8; it’s going to be wrapped. I was thinking about getting a McLaren 720; it has to be purple with my name on the side of the door. Finally, I’m thinking about just getting a Lambo and getting it wrapped as well.
What can we expect from you the rest of 2020?
Just more songs and expect me to keep getting bigger. I feel like there’s some big moves coming and expect my music to get way better. Just to keep going and dropping more consistently.
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