Lil Cobaine is a rising artist out of Dallas, Texas, who’s going through the motions of life like the rest of us. With the honesty and vulnerability in his lyrics, he’s able to inject emotion and feeling into each one of his records.
Inspired by Nirvana’s unique style, sound, and ability to tell stories, Cobaine embodies the definition of an individual who’s trying to find his way — while pursuing his dreams of being one of the greats.
Cobaine’s ability to sing and harmonize over guitar riffs offers a breath of fresh air in the music industry, creating meaningful records for his growing fanbase. His sound is very ethereal, carving his own sound as “trip disco pop.” The artist, producer, and songwriter wears a lot of hats, working with a slew of creatives who are on their way up as well.
The 23-year-old states, “I like working with artists who aren’t poppin’ yet. I’m almost an A&R damn near, that’s been my thing. Trying to find new stuff that works while incorporating it into mine.”
Most recently, he released a single called “Monday Magic,” which follows his most recent project Courtney that he released on Kurt Cobaine’s death day.
AllHipHop: You’re from Dallas, what were you seeing growing up?
Lil Cobaine: It was cool, I’m adopted so it was always a little bit of a clash between identity and trying to figure out where I belong. It was tense. I wasn’t really at the house. My parents would send me to 5150s or I was getting kicked out of school, moving and going to Florida.
AllHipHop: How did music come to play?
Lil Cobaine: I just loved it. The first thing that turned me on to music and loving it was “All Star” Smash Mouth, which was funny. A bunch of Yellowcard and Simple Plan, that’s my jam. I love that type of stuff.
AllHipHop: When did you start making music on your own?
Lil Cobaine: I was around 15 or 16. I got a mic and started doing rapping stuff, then eventually thought “hey, maybe I should start taking this more seriously.” 5 years later, I started doing songwriting.
Carrying on from that, I had a song I was doing called “That Man.” It was supposed to be a song written for somebody else. We had the video reference, we shot it. My manager at the time put it out but it wasn’t for me, it was for somebody else. The Faze Clan house hit me up like “hey we saw your song.” Sam Pepper brought me up there. I was doing the writing for Sam, then eventually met James Royo and worked with Yung Pinch out of nowhere. He liked the song I was writing.
AllHipHop: Who have you written for?
Lil Cobaine: Right now, I just got my first beat placement. Songwriting would be for 2 people I can’t say yet until it comes out, but it looks like it’s landed and recorded.
AllHipHop: What was the turning point in your career to take it serious?
Lil Cobaine: When I put out this song called “Star.” I put a “Star” and out of nowhere, every single label and their mother was hitting me up. It was weird because I didn’t take it seriously, I was just songwriting. Lil Cobaine was not a thing at that point. I don’t want to give the alias, but it was a situation that wasn’t working out.
Lil Cobaine: The Lil Cobaine s##t ended up cracking. I’m like “wait what? There’s only 100,000 plays.” At the same time, I’d already done those numbers. The rebrand was a shot in the dark, I didn’t think it was going to happen. Everyone was hitting me, I ended up having Taco from Odd Future come up to and say “aye man, I don’t know if you know who I am but I really f##k with you.” I’m sitting there like “bro I know exactly who you are.” I was with Zack Bia at Poppy.
AllHipHop: How do you know him?
Lil Cobaine: He reached out through Jody Gerson, the head woman at Universal Publishing. Her son is Julian, he ended up saying “I have this buddy Zack Bia, I want you to meet him.” I said “okay bet, let’s do it.” I didn’t know who he was or what he did, but he ended up being super cool and nice to me. It was dope. I’m not a big flexer. I don’t know how to do that extra stuff, but it’s cool to have a personal experience with someone like him.
AllHipHop: Bring us back to when you made “Star.”
Lil Cobaine: I put “Star” out, we put out a visual to it. Me and James Royo shot it ourselves. I edited the video. it was cool, we got traction. “Let it Play” came out, that’s the one that really actually put me in people’s ears. I didn’t think that’d happen ever.
AllHipHop: When did you pick up the name Lil Cobaine?
Lil Cobaine: I picked up the name right before “Star” came out, I ran with it. We put it out randomly and it did 5,000 views in one day, that’s pretty decent. Put it out with no push. OurGeneration hit me up, they’re cool. From the OurGeneration post, Rel Money hit me up and signed me as his artist under YRN and Alien Management. That’s Migos manager. Leo’s my day to day, but my real management is Danny Zook and Rel Money.
AllHipHop: What do you make of all of these opportunities landing in front of you?
Lil Cobaine: I wish I could do something with it. A lot of my momentum has been pushed back and pulled back by certain things I do daily. A lot of momentum has been paused, but I’m trying to fix it.
AllHipHop: Industry stuff or…?
Lil Cobaine: Staying sober and staying clean, moving as fluently as I can. It’s alcohol, some prescription pills, but I’ve been taking prescription pills since I was 14. Getting off of them is odd and when I’m not on those, the closest thing is alcohol.
AllHipHop: Have you gone to rehab?
Lil Cobaine: I’ve tried. As soon as I make the decision to go there, I get a little scared. I want to definitely, but it’s a financial thing along with a combination of so many other things.
AllHipHop: Does being under the influence help you record?
Lil Cobaine: Mmhmm, very much so. I don’t hear anything, I don’t think anything. There’s nothing telling me I can’t do this or I’m not good, whatever. When that’s all quiet, the drugs help that and I just go. I usually come out with some crazy stuff. It helps the writing process, it really helps with everything.
AllHipHop: You just released the “Monday Magic” visual, who or what inspired this one?
Lil Cobaine: This was my love with Paris and France in general, I have this weird fascination with that. I went and got this kid out there who shoots videos. I wrote the treatment for “Monday Magic” and had it shot in France. I sent him over the treatment: “this is what I want, it’s going to be simple. The character series is going to be more complex. Each season, we have more characters and buildup.” We shot it in France, it was cool.
AllHipHop: You didn’t go to France?
Lil Cobaine: No, I had it shot there. I had a director, videographer, and a kid model I really liked. I had him do it. It was a two-part thing too, so the model actually used it for his music video as well. It went perfect. The next one is going to be more exclusive.
AllHipHop: What’s one thing you want fans to get from your music?
Lil Cobaine: I want people to feel how they feel, see what they see when they listen to it. I’m not trying to push any sort of narrative onto people, or get them to feel or see anything that I am. I want to make the music that I’m feeling and if you like it, I hope you do at least.
AllHipHop: alk about releasing your album Courtney on Kurt Cobain’s death day.
Lil Cobaine: It was a cool day to put it out, I want this to mark my love for rock and roll. I want to have something be put out and celebrate it on that day, instead of his death day. I really like Kurt Cobain, only because of who he is as a person. The music’s amazing obviously, but I connect more with people not necessarily their music. If you’re tight as f##k and your music’s tight, that’s amazing. If you’re lame and your music’s tight, then you’re lame to me.
AllHipHop: What do you want fans to take away from Courtney?
Lil Cobaine: That I should’ve put it out a year and a half ago. It has some cool songs on there. There’s really nothing, I want to take Courtney and never ever deal with it ever again. Doing that whole project caused a huge mental breakdown for me.
Lil Cobaine: I have no clue. I couldn’t figure out the right time to put it out. I couldn’t figure out the right time to do anything with it.
AllHipHop: That was your debut project?
Lil Cobaine: The fact it didn’t do what it was supposed to do, upset me. I ended up being like “okay I’m going to do this way better on the second project, have the Heavy Hitters on there.” We have big features, big producers on there. Bigger features than Ty Dolla $ign. We’re about to make this thing go full-speed so if I could stay clean for the next couple of months, then we’re going to go crazy. If I don’t, then it’s going to be stagnant.
AllHipHop: What do you think hinders you the most when it comes to substances?
Lil Cobaine: The only thing that hinders me is the fact that I don’t remember anything, you could really get in a lot of trouble that way. That’s so difficult to answer because a lot of people do it, then people will tell them “moderation!” There’s no such thing with some people.
AllHipHop: How was working with Ty Dolla $ign?
Lil Cobaine: That’s cool, he’s my bro. He didn’t even meet me and he hopped on “Hit The Pint.” James Royo who I’m signed to with the production, played him this song and asked “what do you think of this?” Ty said “man I love this, I’ma hop on it.” It was originally going to be on Beach House but it didn’t end up being on there. It would’ve been the perfect song for it though, a great summer album. Hopefully the next one.
AllHipHop: How do you deal with mental health & your own battles with schizophrenia?
Lil Cobaine: Abilify and Risperidone. Genuinely, not even trying to be a smart ass.
AllHipHop: Does music help you in any kind of way?
Lil Cobaine: It quiets it all for sure. When I’m making music, the attention’s more on the music rather than what people say. If I could explain it, it’s a cloud. I was diagnosed with it 3 years ago. A lot of the paranoia, I was counting cars. I was counting license plates, it was bad. Talking to myself a lot, hearing a lot of things. It doesn’t ever go away but it’s easier when you have good people around you, whatever you do to help it. A lot of it is a daily struggle, but it gets easier. It’s just a cloud: thoughts and noise.
AllHipHop: Is being in the studio your happy place?
Lil Cobaine: Yes, or alone. I love being alone. I got a hotel room this week just because, to leave my place and stay in a little room.
AllHipHop: Do you have roommates?
Lil Cobaine: No, I just like hotels. I like being in a small room. There’s nothing that can get me. You can get the room service, all types of stuff.
AllHipHop: How was it getting the cosign from Quavo?
Lil Cobaine: That was cool, I didn’t expect that. OurGeneration posted, then Rel Money hit me up. He brought me to the studio one time and I met with L.A. Reid. L.A. Reid’s asking me about my music. I’m playing it, I have the cool records. We’re with DJ Durel and Quavo. I walked into the room like “yo, is this who I think it is?” Not going to lie, I didn’t even listen to Migos like that so I didn’t know which one it was at first. I didn’t even say anything. He turned around like “aye man, what you doing?” I said “s##t, just chillin’ bro.” He’s like “nice to finally meet you.” I said thank you, he goes “well we’re working here.” I’m like “easy, alright bet.”
AllHipHop: What can we expect next?
Lil Cobaine: A new project, a lot of features, cool videos, big writing placements. Couple Top 5’s hopefully.