Growing up, some kids have a more natural inclination towards subjects like math, while some kids may fall right in with English or science. Lamine Diop wasn’t like those children. Instead of grinding out solutions for the night’s math problems, he was looking forward to grinding out beats. You see, Lamine Diop, better known as EnimaL, was never fond of school, but he was always fond of music. While all of his peers and siblings were busy with the thought of securing college degrees, he was busy plotting on how he’d secure his first billboard hit. “I realized it was a passion of mine when I was about 15 or 16 years old,” says EnimaL. “I would spend hours and hours just putting together beats and rapping over them. That’s when I realized it was something I wanted to pursue a little further.” Music was something that was introduced to him at a young age by his mother. She had signed him up for piano lessons—unaware that those same lessons would serve as a musical blueprint to his life. What he felt when he would sit and make music can be summed up as nothing short of a revelation. But, it was a revelation that his mother feared would ruin the family tree—something he jokes about now.
However, despite her worries, EnimaL has been steadily proving that he doesn’t need degrees to contribute strongly to his family tree of budding college graduates. As it turns out, he’s able to prevail as a musician and actor. Back in his earlier days, he and a couple of his friends formed an LA hip-hop group called The Fly Guys. This was one of the first indications that he didn’t need a college plan. He recalls his experience in the group as something that, “got me ready to experience what it’s like being thrown out into the real world. I learned a lot of lessons on work ethic, and making connections so that I can make it in the game.” It was during this time with the group that he developed and honed the skills that make him an unrelenting solo artist today. His talents have even been picked up by his older sister Issa Rae, who he says took notice of him first. “Back when I was in The Fly Guys, she shot one of my first music videos. We started a web series together that went for many seasons,” he happily talked about. Now many years later, the two still find themselves continuing to grow their success together.
As many already know, Rae is the creator of the hit television series Insecure, which is just about to debut season three. But it’s during the show’s first season, that viewers see a charismatic rapper, played by EnimaL, entertaining the crowd…and Rae. He performs on stage a song with original lyrics that he wrote and produced called “Committed.” Since then, EnimaL has secured a spot as a recurring face in the widely accepted HBO series Insecure. He’s even had appearances in Starbuck’s commercials, and as a love interest in a Jazmine Sullivan video. When asked about his experience on the set of Insecure, he says, “it was dope!” Having the opportunity at such a big platform means a huge deal to him and his career. In between laughing he also jokes about how having his own trailer and access to all the finer snacks made him feel like the man.
It’s that feeling of being the man that keeps him hustling hard to keep the show going. As a new artist, he prides himself on being built differently. “I have limitless creativity and the means to get it out. I don’t need a whole team of people behind me, because I can get it done myself,” he says. “Just lock me in a room with pro tools, a keyboard and I’ll make some magic for you.” Those are some strong words said by the artist, but it’s because of all the faith and support he has for himself, and that he gets from others that make those words believable.
As a result of his limitless creativity, faith, and hard-work, he’s kept his promise and made some magic for his fans. As we sent this feature to the editorial team, EnimaL released his new album entitled Comma Club: Bottle Music. When asked about what fans could expect from his newest project, EnimaL’s voice quickly changed to reflect the promise of what his new album would deliver. “We taking it to the club, we having some fun, and we poppin bottles. The music is high energy and good times,” the artist said. With a big emphasis on enjoying life, he hopes that everyone who listens can find joy in whatever they do. He also reveals that riddled throughout his album is an even bigger emphasis on the achievement of goals. For this west coast rapper, it’s all about finding that healthy balance. “That’s really what I talk about. And that’s how I live right now. I’m working, going out when I can, but mostly dialing in and focusing on my career path. I want people to do the same thing when they listen to my music.” Making time for the glitz and glam of life is great, but without a set of priorities, it doesn’t make much sense. That’s why he practices what he preaches in and out of his personal life, so that way no one can say he doesn’t lead by example.
Along the way, he’s quick to offer up any advice he can to aspiring entertainers too. “Just believe in yourself at all times,” he says. “Even during hard times. Keep supreme faith in yourself. Work hard at every opportunity, and strengthen relationships with people. You have to be prepared.” EnimaL didn’t get to where he is today by falling short on his own advice. He stayed consistent, even when faced with the reality that his siblings may surpass him in life. Now with a budding career almost as fruitful as that family tree of his, one of the only things he has to worry about is being at the forefront of a what is hopefully an illustrious career.