L.A. VanGogh
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L.A. VanGogh

Dolton, IL | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Dolton, IL | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Hip Hop Soul

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Feb
23
L.A. VanGogh @ DuSable Museum of African American History

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Dec
21
L.A. VanGogh @ Lincoln Hall

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Oct
12
L.A. VanGogh @ Private Show

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Music

Press


"A Subjective and Objective Conversation with Chicago Rapper L.A. VanGogh"

L.A. VanGogh lives in the unexplored spaces of subjectivity and objectivity. At 25 and based in Chicago, his obsessions range from lyricism to string theory, and his music reflects as much without being a heady mess. On the contrary, for someone down to talk black holes and physical properties of the universe, L.A.—whose name comes from a hot line he spit in his formative years, “I’m a DaVinci of 16s, the VanGogh of the club”—is making approachable and enthused music.

Like most of our imprinted talents, for L.A., everything began when he was three years old. “‘Gin and Juice’ by Snoop Dogg,” VanGogh tells me when I ask what song made him fall in love with music. He loved the beat and that Snoop Dogg really rapped bars he repeats to himself to this day.

From “Gin and Juice,” L.A. VanGogh branched out to the East Coast and Southern corners of hip-hop, with his tastes being shaped by his father, grandmother, and, of course, LimeWire. Digging on the file-sharing platform, L.A. discovered a love for “a lot of Lil Wayne, Diplomats, and any JAY-Z I could get my hands on.” A solid foundation for an artist whose love of lyricism would soon help him bridge the gap between the esoteric and the serviceable.


“I didn’t really get JAY-Z until I was 19,” he admits, “but Lil Wayne, I immediately learned about witty punchlines, being clever, and being entertaining all at once. And being intelligent, while being all of those things.” L.A. VanGogh started recording and producing himself at 15, four years before Jay finally clicked. A rapper’s rapper and a writer’s writer, he filled those years with one of the best features of the Chicago creative scene: open mics.

“Chicago’s just a different beast when it comes to writers,” L.A. explains. “I learned words and storytelling from my Lil Wayne studies and Lupe Fiasco. Lupe is one of my biggest early influences. Chicago just took that to another level by going to the open mics in the city and learning how to twist words around, and how to make other objects come to life. That really changed how I started writing and viewing music.”


Bending and twisting language is how we arrive at the Everything Is Subjective series, where L.A. VanGogh twists our perceptions just as easily as he subverts conventions of language down to the last syllable. His fascination with subjectivity spawned from a high school philosophy class and took on an empowering tone thereafter. “I love the idea that you can kind of make your own reality,” he tells me. “Your perception and how you choose to live in this world and the mindset that you choose is totally yours, and then there is some odd objectivity in that there is subjectivity. I think that it is objective that everything is subjective.”


“Everybody has a different experience. So there is a reality that nobody lives the same reality. That’s what I mean when I say it’s objective that everything is subjective. It allows for a lot of possibilities for me, and I think for a lot of people. If everything is subjective, and you can change your outlook, you can change your life. You could have some type of control, and there’s even more opportunity for understanding if you first understand that they have an experience that you don’t have. There’s a learning opportunity there, and there’s room for understanding in situations where someone disagrees. Understanding someone has their own perception, it gives me room to not be offended, and also learn and teach. ” —L.A. VanGogh

Aside from subjectivity being objective, other things that are objective include quantum mechanics, string theory, and the laws of physics and mathematics. “It gets even more meta than that, because what if there’s another universe where these laws don’t even apply?” L.A. questions. “I think about a bunch of crap which makes people look at me weird [laughs], but that’s what I would say is objective.”

We both agree that you cannot be a true artist unless you have that natural inquisitiveness, though L.A. sees that curiosity as both a gift and a curse. “I think if you overthink and stay in your head too much, that can lead to, from my personal experience, insecurity,” he says of the curse. “Or the complex that you have to always be right because you’re so inquisitive. It does have its downsides to it, but it’s fun, just thinking. Sometimes, I really do want to sit and just enjoy a song.”

To combat that insecurity, L.A. VanGogh just goes for it. His view of his music is thusly twofold. For one, he gets to discuss and let go of his own demons (“The most important story that I tell on Episode 1 is the story of ‘Be Careful,’ just ‘cause it’s a really swagged-out song about going to the hospital for an anxiety attack”), and gets to give his fans that need mental health raps a bundle of tracks to get through their lows.


“It’s an interesting thing to talk about on a record, especially in a genre that’s so much about bravado and materialism,” he says of his mental health talk. “There’s still a good sense of vulnerability in both of those things, but talking about your own mental health downfalls is a different type of vulnerability… I think it’s popular, and not in a trendy way. I think a lot of people feel more open to talking about it and feel more compelled to talk about. I think Kendrick, for me, was the first person to really super open up about it on To Pimp a Butterfly. Logic, of course, played a big role in that. Then it just continued.”

The continuation, as any number of sources will tell you, is welcome. For one, it’s allowed L.A. VanGogh to venture out and truly connect with his fans. “Me going out and meeting people at events, at performances, and just speaking my truth, I’ve come across so many people that have connected to my music and it continues to grow that way,” he says.

“It was something I tried to stay away from,” VanGogh concludes, combatting his reclusive demeanor. “I often consider myself an introvert. I’m trying to unlearn that and actually go out and meet people that love my music. I was like, ‘Y’all don’t need to know me! Forget that. This is 1973, I’m a mystery!’ But that’s not the case anymore. People wanna connect, and the only way I do that honestly outside of the internet was just to go out and meet people and be more candid. A lot of that came with discovering myself and being more comfortable.”


Episode 2 of L.A. VanGogh's Everything Is Subjective series will be released on Friday, November 30. - Donna-Claire Chesman on DJ Booth


"L.A. VanGogh - Everything is Subjective: Episode 2 (Album)"

Lamont Anderson, also known on stage and streaming sites as L.A. VanGogh, is stepping up his status as an artist with his sequel Everything is Subjective: Episode 2. The album was produced by VanGogh himself and has features by local artists such as Nosidam in the third track “Cause...” and Femdot in the closing track “Get Off Me”.

The sounds and depth of the album is extraordinary. This is the kind of album where the listener should close their eyes, kick back, and let L.A. lead the listener through his journey.

The visual that pairs with the first single “CMYH Intro” is humorous and well done. Without giving too much away L.A. wrote in a ‘Black Jesus’ and it’s not cheesy. The visual effects are not overdone and pair well with the trippy sounds that accompany the album. - The Sail Club Co


"RESPECT. Interview: L.A. Vangogh Talks “CMYH” Music Video and ‘Everything Is Subjective: Episode 2’"

Dolton, IL very own L.A. VanGogh is gearing up for the release of his project Everything Is Subjective: Episode 2. Many already know things are much deeper than the music for L.A. He is a true artist that enjoys going the extra mile when it comes to creativity. We’re so excited for this release we just had to grab him for an interview. Check it out below.

RESPECT.: Hey L.A. How’s it going? I have been trying to pinpoint Influences I hear in your music.

I have two influences. My biggest influences are Frank Ocean and Lupe Fiasco. I’m influenced by a lot so if I were to tell you everything it would be a long list.

RESPECT.: Do you come from a musical family?

My cousin is a jazz singer and a lot of my family members sing around the house. I think I picked it up when I was younger. My father’s close friends played music when they were younger so I guess I picked up on that.

RESPECT.: Let’s talk Everything Is Subjective: Episode 1

Yes, it is a project I dropped in 2017 and episode 2 is dropping November 23rd. The name itself is a conversation starter. Everyone has their own view points in their life. I am really into philosophy and I always apply it to my music.

RESPECT.: I can see that in your recent music video “CMYH.” What inspired the making of it?

Me smoking weed next to my director honestly. We were kicking it outside of making videos and I was like imagine if we’re smoking and a lady comes out of my blunt and the lady evaporates. Then, in the next room I’m getting high with Jesus. Overall, I was giving a visual of my first time getting high and a lot of people don’t notice that my second verse is written from the perspective of a blunt.

RESPECT.: What can we expect on Everything Is Subjective: Episode 2

More songs that play with perspective like what my friends expect from me, and what my career expects from me. There’s are different layers to the project. The production is great and underneath it all there is a story line throughout it.

RESPECT.: What’s next for L.A.?

There is another video but it’s still in the works. Also, Everything Is Subjective: Episode 2 arrives November 23rd. - RESPECT Mag


"L.A. VanGogh Navigates Perception & Reality on 'Everything Is Subjective'"

In 2017 we’re living under the microscope. Connected, always observing. It can lead to an image of your best self that forgets the “self”, concerned more with opinions. In Everything Is Subjective, LA VanGogh works around this contemporary mindset, presenting his life as an open book. Rather than telling us who he is, he lets us decide for ourselves. Stare into the TV screen on the album art and you see yourself looking back.

L.A. Van Gogh has a smooth voice, catchy hooks, all the aesthetics of a good time. But his goal is greater than entertainment, aiming for closeness to the listener with universal stories he’s lived, no flexing or separating. “There’s a screen between you...the entertainer doesn’t always understand what the consumer is going through, and the consumer doesn’t know what that person had to do to get behind that screen." L.A is trying to minimize that gap. Expression motivated by real connection.

He’s meticulous in his craft, multitalented at vocals, production and writing. First published as a writer at age 12, as a teenage musician nobody gave him the sound he wanted so he learned production and made his own. “Other people, when they heard me rap, compared me...when they tried to produce for me they made my shit sound like some knockoff 9th Wonder, or really early Drake. I wanted my stuff to be cinematic - the people I listened to made story telling music.” Ever the student, “Youtube became a university.”

With Everything Is Subjective, “it’s about me, my stories are about me, everything I’ve been through...at the same time..this could be anybody going through this in this age. ‘Is he talking about himself or is he talking about me?’” The album is a response to L.A. VanGogh’s tough times parallel to his music career. A compulsive thinker with thoughts that ricochet, music is his outlet. Sometimes the thoughts are too much, and as his his track “Be Careful” puts it, “the mind is a dangerous thing to get lost in.”

Winter of last year, L.A. experienced a tough anxiety attack the day before his first headlining show. He was hospitalized for the night and made it to his set, released directly before hitting the stage. Post concert, there was no immediate fix for the issues that dogged him. “Ever since then it’s been a struggle with anxiety that coincides with me maintaining a music career. Those are two different weights I’m trying to balance at the same time.”

L.A. continued to carve out a spot for himself in Chicago music, but wasn’t content. Living at home, in relationship troubles, self-medicating and rarely leaving the house. Paralyzed by his thoughts, barely getting out of bed, “I had to have friends and my girlfriend come over just to like, just to be there, to touch me or something. To be like ‘you’re alive, you’re in this room, you’re not in your head or wherever you think you are.’”

“And all my n*ggas wanna do is fly /
Only wings I got came with mild /
Only wings I got came with fries /
Lemon pepper skies /”
Everything Is Subjective is therapy, tackling last year head on. As “Intro” starts a disembodied voice gives the command “BE. PRESENT.” No guilt of the past or anxiety of the future. In “Be Careful”, he discusses how life comes at you fast - “I say bigshot / always looking down at his wristwatch / bump this way of life until it flip flops / I was in tip top shape til my shit flopped / now I’m in a big hospital with my fists locked / breathing like I’m trapped inside a ziplock.”

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“The Upper Room” is L.A. tossing and turning, unable to turn his brain off for mental peace and quiet. “I heard that it ain't where you're from / but it's where your head at / Where mine? / Airtime, headlines, deadlines / Can I get it done before bed time?” He’s interrupted as his mind exclaims “SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

In “Escapism”, L.A. attempts outmaneuvering his problems with “some pussy & some weed”. Justifying, “goin’ through life and I’m stressed / couple remedies that’ll help me forget”. But these were never the answers to his problems. It’s “wake up out the coma / wipe the tweakin off my brow / so much so what on my sofa / in my search and seek for soma / traded sober for some moments.” These are not the solutions he was looking for.

The answer he was looking for revealed itself over time. What he came to realize is there isn’t one right way to be - it’s all subjective. The only wrong way is running away, never-ending disatisfaction. “The first thing I had to learn to be ok with my life and where it was going is that life isn’t objective. We often have these ideas of how our lives should be, especially if we pick a career we almost set a mold of what we have to become...you start developing ego catered to that model.”

At this point, he’s learned how to live in the present, and accept life as it comes at him. “The reality is you’re trying to live a gold lifestyle but you’ve got bronze money, bronze personality. And that’s the reality of it, and nothing is wrong with bronze. Who said you had to be gold? You can be yourself...it shouldn’t matter what anyone else is, everyone’s story is different.” He’s learned a bit about life, and wants to share that. His big takeaway? “Be yourself, whatever that means. Anytime you come across a fear...about something you want to do, be realistic about what’s going on in your head...being yourself is a lot better than you think it is.” Stop comparing. Stay present. And remember, everything is subjective. - Ray Mestad on These Days News


"L.A. VanGogh- Everything Is Subjective: Episode 1"

L.A. VanGogh has been one of our favorite artists for a while now and he just keeps getting better and better. He’s back this time with Everything Is Subjective: Episode 1, a 7 track project that features some of our favorite VanGogh songs to date including Changed My Number Pt. 2, Be Careful, and When I Get Rich. VanGogh has clearly found his sound and he’s been fine tuning it with every drop. The upbeat production and relatable topics found on Everything Is Subjective: Episode 1 make it an easy project to vibe to and we went through it multiple times to hear every catchy, engaging song. Listen to the whole tape below. - 4th Shore Hip Hop


"Listen to L.A. VanGogh’s new project ‘Everything is Subjective"

In Episode 1 of VanGogh’s awesomely titled Everything is Subjective, the rising Chicago artist drops seven brand new tracks, mixed by the wizard himself, Matt Hennessy.

For his latest, L.A. got down with the likes of Sam Trump and Blake Davis, but pretty much handles the whole project for dolo. “When I Get Rich” is the single, and these dudes went all the way in with this short and sweet new effort. Let’s get into it now.

Stream it below via your favorite streaming service. - Fake Shore Drive


"Premiere: L.A. VanGogh - 'When I Get Rich'"

PVTSTCK producer/vocalist L.A. VanGogh grew up in Chicago, a city with a rich hip-hop heritage.

New project 'Everything Is Subjective' is incoming, and it moves from external fixation to internal examination.

“I’m trying to continue the conversation around mental health in black and brown communities,” says L.A.. “I’m letting myself and the audience know that we are not alone in our vulnerability to our feelings.”

Clash is able to premiere 'When I Get Rich', and the dank production matches low-slung hip-hop beats to lush, flouro-soaked textures.

L.A. VanGogh rhymes on top, a committed vocalist who is continually looking to go that little bit deeper.

Tune in now. - CLASH Magazine


"L.A. VanGogh Delivers Sage Advice On New Single, "Be Careful""

Chicago's L.A VanGogh is gearing up for the release of his upcoming project, Everything Is Subjective, with the self-produced and deeply introspective single "Be Careful." The cut comes with an extra layer of quality assurance, as it was mixed and mastered by Papi Beatz, who produced all of Vic Mensa's There's A Lot Going On. The cut also features stunning guest vocals from Sherren Olivia. Mental health is a centralized theme throughout the forthcoming EP, and "Be Careful" does not stray from that path.

VanGogh gets vulernable, detailing his battle with anxiety and the dangers of getting lost in your mind. He describes the track as "a personal narrative about the power of thought and words, being mindful of what you tell yourself and others.” Equating using his words to using a glock, VanGogh turns the song into a meditation on his impact on others. The beat has an almost-plus and soulful flair, which gives way to a syncopated rhythm. He stays in his pocket over both iterations of the beat and plays around with his cadence. He's a pleasure to listen to rap, which hooks you in on the surface level and eases you into the necessary central message of the song. - Donna Claire on EARMILK


"THE DUALITY OF CHICAGO’S SAFENSOUND"

Located in Chicago, Ambi Lyrics and L.A. VanGogh’s Hyde Park apartment is big—the first thing you notice are the 10-foot murals that take up residency in the living room. The one behind the TV states, “Fuck the police,” a smug looking policeman arresting a protesting monkey who’s wearing jeans and a green hoodie. Catty corner is a composition of a manga-stylized girl with bright blue eyes, half naked and smoking a cigarette, her body hidden behind a veil of seafoam green smoke.

Inside Ambi’s room is a set-up that every musician dreams of: Two booming speakers, an Apple desktop computer, piano keyboard, mixer, turntables, MPC, mic, stacks of vinyls, and more. Overall, her apartment—where L.A. lives too—is a package deal. Everyone in the spot is a creative: singers, producers, rappers, photographers, engineers. You name it.

Ambi and L.A. squeeze in next to each other on a futon, situated below a lofted bed. Ambi’s ample dreads are tucked underneath a bright red St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap, L.A.’s blue cap reading his moniker, “shpeshftr.” They’re at ease with each other, joking about meeting on Tinder, how L.A. likes to date college-aged “woodles” (a term they loosely use instead of girl), how L.A. “put a ring on [her] finger”—the teasing and inside jokes going back and forth.

Together, Ambi and L.A. comprise the producer duo safeNsound, a name they believe speaks for itself. “It’s a sound that you feel safe in,” Ambi says. “You feel like you can be yourself in a sound that you, the artist, helped create.”

Today, we’re premiering their debut project, safeNsound presents: L.A. VanGogh, a 7-song EP of their production, paired with vocals by L.A.

Their meeting was something like kismet. Ambi Lyrics—née Brittany Petty—grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and moved to Chicago in 2009 to attend Columbia College. She took an interest in producing at the age of 12, when her cousin brought an MPC 2000 to her house. She started playing with it, and then watched an interview with 9th Wonder, who mentioned he uses FL Studio. That sealed the deal; she was hooked.

L.A. VanGogh, born Edgar Lamont Anderson Jr., grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago, specifically Dolton and Harvey. He was raised on a lot of Dr. Dre, so he always thought the rapper did everything, from producing to engineering and writing. His initiation into music was partially spur of the moment: He first started producing, only wandering into rapping because his classmate told him he couldn’t do it, and L.A. wanted to prove the kid wrong.

“I’ve always been an autonomous person. I don’t like relying on other people, especially if I don’t need to because I feel like I have a great capability of learning, and I truly believe that anything you put your focus to, you can pick that up and perfect it if you truly stick to it. So I applied that to rapping and producing,” he says.

One of Ambi’s first affiliations with Chicago music was Lon Renzell, a producer and member of the notable music collective THEMpeople. As she grew closer to musicians like Renzell—and other local musicians and pillars of the community, like Via Rosa—Ambi met L.A.

Their banter is seamless, just like their ability to work together. “Every time we sit down and do a remix or a beat, or a song… I get a certain feeling every time. I’ve never had a feeling like that creating with anybody except,” L.A. says. While he prides himself on being an autonomous solo artist, he’s found a different kind of freedom as part of safeNsound.

In 2013, Ambi and L. A. released their first single, either called “Stephen Curry” or “30” (they argue over the name). They subsequently released “1997” in February 2015, on Ambi’s last compilation tape, Lost Love Notes. More or less, at this point, they had subconsciously created safeNsound: Ambi eventually sent L.A. the beat for “Nine Ta Five Bluez,” what was to become the second single from their debut. They officially became safeNsound in August of last year.

safeNsound’s project is indebted to today’s musical landscape, vibrating with genre-bending and blending melodies, which vindicate the need for versatility and a wide skill set. Laden with vocal manipulation, its electronic playfulness and hip hop production resonate with each other and coalesce, making way for a number of aesthetics, from colorful synths and vocal swoops, to trappier drums and dizzyingly textured hooks. But above all safeNsound presents: L.A. VanGogh is about duality—and women.

“Like there are two sides to everything, and one of those sides is always going to be yours, so you should have empathy towards that other side. You might not always agree with it, but you have to understand that somebody else comes from a different perspective than you…That’s what the duality of life is for me. That’s why a lot of my music is so honest and it includes multiple perspectives. It’s never from one side of the story,” L.A. shares.

Besides a couple of tracks, overall, the tape gravitates towards more feel-good, uptempo harmonies that act as a slight diversion upon first listen.

L.A. continues, “I always thought you can feed anybody some shit if it looks nice. On that same token, you can feed anybody what they need if it looks nice. So I’m talkin’ about things that are very honest and relative, but you’re so caught up in the beat [and] you’re having a good time in the song, but when you actually sit and listen to it… you already subconsciously know that you’re looking into yourself now.”

That’s exactly what L.A. does on the project’s first single, “Changed My Number.” “I changed my number just to talk to you / I changed my number just to call you / I’m sure you got my whole seven blocked by now,” he sings on the hook, speaking to an ex he’s trying to get in contact with. “Do you hate me that much now?” he asks.

This song, like many on safeNsound, is a push for honesty—to be candid with yourself. The upbeat rhythms act as a mask for truthfulness and sincerity, evinced by the lyrics. As you move through the project, the whole thing becomes an emotional microcosm, acknowledging our tendency to avoid the shit we need to deal with, reminding us that that’s no way to act.

Both artists also made the tape for women—for their experiences with women. But for Ambi, it runs a little deeper. She wants to create a safe space for other women to produce and DJ.

“A lot of my music is shaped around women, like empowering women because I am one and I love being a Black woman—a gay, Black woman. I am very proud of that. And I want the next little girl who look like me or whatever, aspires to do certain things like me, to be able to say I can do it, and I want my friends to think they can do it.”

Ambi lays the foundation—the ambient sounds—and L.A. adds the bounce. And that, in itself, is also the perfect duality. - Mass Appeal


"DXclusive: L.A. Vangogh Says You Don't Get "No Service""

HipHopDX Exclusive Premiere: Earlier this year, L.A. VanGogh jumped onto the national rap scene with his impressive wordplay in Footaction’s first ever Family Cypher. A month later, the 23-year-old rapper/producer dropped his sophomore project with producer Ambi Lyrics as a production duo under the moniker safeNsound. safeNsound presents L.A. VanGogh fused Hip Hop, R&B, and deep house and touched on complex subjects like becoming an adult, racial inequality, love, and lust. With over 50,000+ plays on Soundcloud and a visual for “Numb,” L.A. VanGogh is ready to take the next step into stardom.

Today, L.A. is back with his first original track since dropping his EP. Produced by safeNsound, “No Service” finds him right where he left off as he continues to deliver some exciting raps. “Working out on beats, I’m a rap-lete. I just killed a rapper on a accidental, body bags stinking up the backseat,” L.A. spits. - HipHop DX


"Premiere: Footaction’s Family Cypher Feat. Rotimi, Taylor Bennett, Sylvan LaCue, LA VanGogh and DJ Austin Millz"

Footaction’s Family Cypher made its epic debut at SXSW 2016 in Austin, Texas. Filmed last week as the annual music festival took over the city, rising stars Rotimi, Taylor Bennett, Sylvan Lacue and LA VanGogh all touched the mic with their freestyle skills

With DJ Austin Millz manning the wheels of steel, the lyrically thirsty group took their turns scorching the bars while laced head to toe in fresh ‘fits from Footaction. - Vibe


Discography

safeNsound presents L.A. VanGogh (2016)
Friends First EP (2016)
Everything Is Subjective: Episode 1 (2017)
Everything Is Subjective: Episode 2 (2018)

Photos

Bio

Lamont Anderson a.k.a. L.A. VanGogh grew up in the Chicago suburb of Dolton, IL. Between home and the star-studded ranks of the Chicago open mic scene, he developed his vivid storytelling and candid delivery. Beneath clever uses of language, ear candy production, and fun schemes, you'll often uncover new meanings with each listen. And yes, you will listen more than once. Although mindful, what makes L.A.'s music so effective is its catchiness. "When I Get Rich," a song about money, doesn't just gloss over the indulgence of newfound wealth but considers the responsibility and vulnerability that comes along, all while riding a nasty 808 and glittery synth piano. This kind of contrast characterizes the spectrum of L.A.'s talent. "Be Careful" is an ode to choosing words carefully for the sake of one's mental well-being. Romantic soul cuts like "Cause" and "& Effect" show us a more tender VanGogh in tune with his senses. It's these unique stances and varieties of topics that make him a musical force. Over the past 2 years, L.A. has garnered notoriety between his 2017 drop "Everything Is Subjective: Episode 1," which included the viral single "Changed My Number Pt. 2", and his most recent release "Everything Is Subjective: Episode 2" whose lead single brought a stunning visual story in the music video "CMYH." With a growing brand and promising talent, L.A. VanGogh is poised to stake his claim as one of hip-hop's most versatile artists.

Band Members