414 to His Core, up and coming artist, Lingo King, has his foot to the pedal, clouds billowing behind as he cruises down the road toward his future
If it’s the early bird that catches the worm, and the tortoise that wins the race, Lingo King’s mentality is the early bird and tortoise fused into one. His journey through the highs and lows of life kicked off when he hopped off the porch at the age of 11, running from the pain that life’s unforgiving scythe had inflicted when he was young. The thing is, there is no running from life. Through all the ups and downs, cuts and bruises, Lingo knew his time would come if he kept his feet moving forward. Nineteen years later, that static energy is beginning to spark in ways that Lingo used to dream about during those long days in solitary.
Let’s take it all the way back, before the kids, before the tattoos, even before Lingo King rolled up his first blunt. It was the middle of another freezing cold Milwaukee winter when JhaQuion Gee (Lingo) was born, adding another tally to the count of Aquarius’s born 1992. When Lingo was four years old, the same cold that surrounded the hospital when he was born took his mother away from him when she froze to death. This loss left a scar of callousness that took him years to fully understand the effect of. In need of a place to live, Lingo and his brother moved in with their grandparents to their house at 63rd and Kaul on the Northside of Milwaukee. It was here that Lingo first really began to take in the world around him, watching pimps and drug dealers ply their trade on the streets outside of his grandparents’ house. The home was one filled with love, but the realities of life in a broken home were also constant pressure. To change the pace, Lingo would sometimes go stay with his dad who also lived on Milwaukee’s Northside, but in an area without the same immediate viewable influences from the hustlers. “When I would go by my dad, it was regular jobs and switched lives,”, Lingo explained, the environmental switch giving the young man the chance to gain alternative perspectives on how one can live their life. Still, this wasn’t a full-time situation, and as he got older, the sirens call of the streets became irresistible for an intelligent kid who saw what seemed to be a direct route to reach his goals. At the age of 11, Lingo hopped up off his grandparent’s porch and walked straight ahead, his conviction growing with each step. This conviction didn’t waver, even when he was 13 and his grandma found out what he had been up to, “She told me, If you gonna hustle, you gonna hustle for this house”, Lingo recollected. That statement stuck with him as he continued diving deeper into the streets, almost a grounding point for his decision-making process. If it didn’t help the family, it wasn’t worth it.
Lingo’s high school years can only be described as turbulent. He made his way through more than a handful of public schools, military academies, and eventually got his diploma from a transitional high school. Throughout that time, Lingo kept his foot to the pedal in the streets. Getting the diploma and finishing high school was more of a license to focus on getting to the money than a push to continue going with his education. It wasn’t long though until life caught up with Lingo. Shortly after he had graduated, Lingo found himself locked up for real for the first time, the better of the two options he felt were left to him, the other being death. The time-out put the kibosh on the tentative steps Lingo had been taking towards making music. A producer homie of his, a guy called Oskee, had heard Lingo messing around and heard something that told him he needed to get Lingo in the studio working. Together they put together three or four songs, heavily focused around the events that had been going on in Lingo’s life leading up to him getting arrested. While no longer available on SoundCloud, Lingo keeps the old tracks around, occasionally going back and listening to them, seeing how far he has come from those long-ago days. It wasn’t until Lingo was five years into the seven-year sentence he had received that his mind was back in a writing mode. The first two years, Lingo found himself stuck in a deep depression, the ten-ton mental weight of being locked up being slammed down with seemingly twice the force after his first-born was born ten days before he went inside. Initially, he was able to buoy himself through his daughter and baby momma’s regular visits. As time passed however, the frequency of the visits began tapering off. That slow severing drove the distance between himself and home even further, and Lingo began finding himself wiling out for no reason. He was putting himself in situations that were only going to work to further sever that connection, but at that point the understandable mental pressures brought on by the trials and tribulations of not only prison, Lingo couldn’t snap himself out of it.
Wisconsin incarcerates Black residents at the highest rate in the nation, resulting in 42% of the prison population being Black while representing just 6% of the state’s overall population. What that fucked-up statistic results in, especially in a place that everyone seems only two steps removed from another at most, is there being an inordinate number of Black artists locked up together. Ironically, it was that same behavior that helped Lingo connect with dudes who helped push him back into a making music mind-state. While he was in the hole, he met an artist named D4, a fellow Milwaukee native. The two would go back and forth freestyling, and Lingo being the type of stand-up individual he is, saw the talent and felt the energy, and gave it straight back to D4. Once that momentum got his synapses firing again, Lingo decided to throw himself whole-heartedly into music. Over the course of those twelve years, he built connections with lots of other Milwaukee artists who were doing their thing (or soon to be); Spidey Mayweather, Big German, Larry Byrd, Money, FTH Cash and of course, D4, just to name a few. Another person that has always been around, pushing Lingo to keep it moving musically was Prynce Picasso. Prynce and Lingo go way back, one of the guys that Lingo looked to as he was trying to figure out his own path. Hearing the type of talent, he was surrounded by, Lingo knew it was time to throw his all into making legitimate, legal moves, especially the music. The last time Lingo came out was August 21st, 2021, and he has absolutely zero intention of stepping foot into a prison again. He moved down to Atlanta to separate himself from the familiarity of Milwaukee living, knowing that separation from the negative while keeping the positive close was the first step in keeping himself moving towards the future he wanted for himself. His long-time homies, Drumz&Rosez and Khing Ceaze were already down there, pushing him to get to the music, making the transition seem like an even better choice. In addition to attaining a culinary arts degree while incarcerated, Lingo immediately got down to business and got his HVAC Technician certification when he moved down to Atlanta. Surrounded by his girl, now three children, 10, 9, and soon to be 3 respectively, and the men he considers brothers, the scene was set for Lingo to finally pour himself into the music entirely and let the results speak for themselves.
Lingo’s music is reflective of a life spent chasing the almighty dollar, the pain of growing up in a broken home, and the highs and lows that come with being out there in the streets. While that description might be too simplistic to encompass the true depth of emotionality within his music, Lingo is the type to speak on what he knows before jumping out there and speaking from a place of judgement or ignorance. That doesn’t stop him from experimenting sonically, something that allows him to speak on the numerous spheres of influence that helped to mold his mind. For the most part, Lingo doesn’t fully write anything before he records it, preferring to feel the energy of the beat and allowing it to shape the lyrics. When the energy is on point, Lingo easily cranks out four to five songs in a night. He has been channeling his creative drive into the push for his first official album release, to be entitled T.R.U.T.H. an acronym meaning “To Really Understand The Hustle”. With only two planned features on the project, Lingo’s desire is to tell his story through his own words, showcasing his versatility and lyrical ability. Working on this project has opened Lingo up to himself, helping him understand the depression he has dealt with and re-affirming his commitment to never putting himself back in a place where he could lose any time to that depression or anything else.
These days, Lingo’s life is fuller than he could have imagined during those long nights lying on a paper-thin pad covering the metal bunk. Although, that isn’t quite fair to say, as the visions of his life being where it is now kept his scope focused on the future. If he’s not working his job as a maintenance supervisor managing an apartment complex, or spending time with the family, one can find Lingo puffing through purple packs (recently a lot of Black and White Cherry Gelato) and working on his music, either alone or with one of the numerous artists he’s come to get close to living in Atlanta. In fact, Lingo is planning on partnering up with Khing Ceaze to drop a tape entitled Birds Of A Feather, cementing their bond over wax. Hopefully there will be plenty of collaboration from not only Drumz&Rosez but a variety of other Milwaukee artists to complement the chemistry Ceaze and Lingo already share. Now that Lingo is back in grind mode, focused on the music, he had one message he continued to stress, “Everyone I’ve said that I fuck with, from RCI to Winnebago, Waupun, and Oshkosh, plus wherever else, if it’s real and you’re trying to make some noise, hit my line (414) 722-7924. I just really want to work with Milwaukee artists and keep on putting the energy and love back into the scene. Loonie, Lakeyah, Gwapo, Chicken, Solowke tap in!”. If “real” is a metric you use to gauge your interest in music, you would be doing yourself a disservice to not tap in with Lingo, so go give him a follow on Instagram and YouTube and be on the lookout for his very-soon-to-be released album, T.R.U.T.H.
Lingo’s Social Media:
Youtube: @Lingo King
Apple Music: @Lingo King