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Lobo in the Valley

In Music
DOWN LOW: Though his career is on the rise, San Jose rapper LJame$ still likes to keep it low and slow.

DOWN LOW: Though his career is on the rise, San Jose rapper LJame$ still likes to keep it low and slow.

Lucas James Millan only has room for wolves in his crew. The east side San Jose rapper also known as LJame$ says anybody else just isn’t up to snuff; it’s leaders and lobos over all else.

“If you’re about the Lobo way, it’s all leaders, one pack,” says the 25 year old musician.

Earlier this year, LJame$ released his newest album El Lobo II via his own quickly growing Wolf Records. On both his own work and the work of other rappers released by his record label, the San Jose native is looking to make waves and practice his philosophy of being a wolfman—someone who is constantly on the hunt, looking out for the pack and staying high in the food chain.

“The wolf represents resilience and leadership qualities that I hold dear to me,” Millan says.

As LJame$, Millan likes to put on for the lowriders and the Eastsiders—as he makes known on his Santana-sampling 2020 single “Lowriders & Eastsiders.” In this ode to his upbringing, the young artist raps about seeing homies in classic cars all throughout California, from San Jose to SF, Gilroy to Sacramento and Salinas down to LA, all rollin’ low and slow.

Earlier this year, “Lowriders & Eastsiders” got LJame$ some attention from the San Jose Earthquakes, who brought him to Avaya Stadium for a performance. He says he has more cooking with the Quakes for next year too.

The San Jose rapper was born and raised on the city’s east side, off Story and McLaughlin. The east side of San Jose comprises mostly working class families, many of Latino and Hispanic descent. It’s where Millan—who is Mexican, Native American and Portuguese—still lives with his family.

“I’ve seen a lot growing up there. It was cool though,” he says, adding, “obviously things get rugged.” He notes that throughout his youth he saw many of the harder things that happen in one of the largest cities in the US: gun violence, drug abuse, home robberies and fights.

Growing up, he also remembers seeing 1960s Chevys ridin’ low through the neighborhood. Standing six-feet tall and weighing about 180 pounds, Millan has enjoyed staying fit his whole life. To keep in shape, he’d run through Alum Rock and the Eagle Rock trail. Along the way he’d see what was popping throughout the east side, where things often got “East-y,” as he puts it.

The video for single “Teal ‘64” from El Lobo II opens with LJame$ at the Berryessa Flea Market. The song is named after a car his homie owned, a 1964 Chevy Impala, one they’d often taken for cruises around the city. Years before that, Millan’s father also owned a ‘62 Impala.

Millan graduated from Silver Creek High School in 2014. Later, he received a degree in Communications from Cal-State East Bay in Hayward. Now older and wiser, Millan wants to inspire new leaders and leave behind a legacy of both hustling for his art and showing love to the community.

As he describes in the song “Victory,” LJame$ is planning a lot of wins in the near future—not just for himself, but for his friends and family from his area, such as his friend and media manager, Anthony Gutierrez, a 26-year-old Morgan Hill resident.

Gutierrez helps Millan with photography and media management, as well as with general support and companionship. He also makes cameos in LJame$’s music videos. They’ve known each other for about five years now. Gutierrez, Millan says, is an honorary eastsider, especially since he has family on that side of town.

Together, the two run Wolf Records, their own independent media company and record label. They make music with gear they can take mobile anywhere, whether on the road or in a studio. The big plan is to launch a real headquarters on the east side sometime soon. But for now, they’re keeping humble, and starting with something closer to home. 

“We’re just trying to be better people,” Gutierrez said. “We’re trying to get our money up, man. We’re not interested in followers. That doesn’t do anything for us.” 

But that doesn’t mean the two don’t have big dreams for LJame$ and all those on Wolf Records. 

“It’s bigger than music,” Millan says. “Watch me on the big screen soon.”

El Lobo II
Out Now
Wolf Records
wolfrecords408.com

 

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