Long Beach Lives: Q&A With Snoop Dogg’s 19-year-old Protégé Jooba Loc
His art is all about his life, and it's all true.
Rising Long Beach rapper Jooba Loc was quiet when we met last week at an impossibly tall building for Hollywood Boulevard. Feverishly scrolling through his phone with a thick gold ring on every finger, tattoos framed a face that rarely broke to smile. He was tired, home for one day before jetting east to continue opening for Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg on the The High Road Tour. Given the 19-year-old’s recent whirlwind, from beating a murder charge to becoming a legend’s protégé by fate of a single DM, to be a bit overwhelmed is understandable.
Jooba was contacted via IG by a friend of Snoop who heard him rap, quickly resulting in a deal with the newly revived Doggystyle Records. His debut album, Only Way Out, dropped earlier this summer, featuring West Coast legends YG, Daz Dillenger, and yes, Snoop, with production work by Kendrick-approved Cardo and DJ Mustard. A strong proponent for truth in music, Jooba Loc songs recall his violent life of gang crime, growing up in Long Beach with a drug-dealing mother and her abusive boyfriend, and being rocked after witnessing the death of his father.
In a move reminiscent of Cash Money’s 2000 gem Baller Blockin or Cam’ron’s 2006 autobiographical foray Killa Season, Only Way Out is also the title of a scripted film set for release in September, depicting Jooba’s struggle through a different lens.
Raw yet laid-back, the West Coast sound Jooba perfects is a smooth delivery of outward aggression. Contrary to most of the Freshman Class blurring bounds of genre and gender, he’s not making rap weird, he’s making good rap. With the film set to drop and a mixtape in the works, Jooba can rest assured, all this whirlwind is just his beginning.
The KIND: What was it like growing up in Long Beach?
Jooba Loc: Growing up in Long Beach felt good but, you know, it was hard. There’s a lot to go through out there.
The KIND: How did your relationship with Snoop start?
Jooba Loc: I was on Instagram, and somebody hit me up and told me Snoop was trying to rap with me. I didn’t believe it the first time, until I saw pictures of them together.
The KIND: Who are some rappers you really like?
Jooba Loc: Nipsey Hussle, Snoop, Tupac, Biggie, Kendrick. That’s all I really like.
The KIND: Can you talk about the transition from your life in Long Beach to touring with Snoop and Wiz?
Jooba Loc: It was crazy, a dream come true. It was something I always wished as a kid, and then it just happened. I’m just blessed right now.
The KIND: How’s the tour been? What cities have you gone to?
Jooba Loc: Florida, Alabama, a lot of dates in the South. I’m leaving for North Carolina tomorrow.
The KIND: Have you ever traveled that extensively before?
Jooba Loc: No I have not.
The KIND: Have you ever left California?
Jooba Loc: Never. It’s been so crazy, always on the plane, my back and feet hurtin’. (laughs)
The KIND: What’s been your favorite city?
Jooba Loc: I liked Atlanta.
The KIND: Tell me about your new album, Only Way Out.
Jooba Loc: My new album Only Way Out is about my life. Everything I said on there is true. I don’t lie in my music.
The KIND: That’s good. Talk about the film component to the release.
Jooba Loc: The movie is also called Only Way Out, and it’ll come out next month, hopefully. Again, it’s about my life, and it’s all true.
The KIND: Is it a documentary or is it scripted?
Jooba Loc: It’s scripted.
The KIND: Do you star in it?
Jooba Loc: Yeah. (laughs)
The KIND: Do you smoke weed?
Jooba Loc: Yeah I smoke weed.
The KIND: Do you have any favorite strains?
Jooba Loc: I don’t really have any favorite strains like that. I just like weed, that OG good weed that’ll have you on your back.
The KIND: What’s next for you?
Jooba Loc: Right now, I’m working on a mixtape that I gotta finish recording. After that, I’ll take it to Snoop, see what he has to say about it, and then go from there.