Lost Ones: What Happened To Lloyd?!

In 2007 Lloyd was on top of the charts. In 2012 he released his last project. By 2015 he was gone - until we found him.
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I have a very important question. Is she 5’2”, or is she “fine too”?

While we’re on the subject, what the hell happened to Lloyd?

Last week the DJBooth writing squad was talking about how R&B is a dying genre and what started as an intelligent conversation about trends and production styles turned into a walk down Memory Lane. Remember B2K? Remember when Mario was dropping hit after hit? He fell off like a one legged tight-rope walker. It’s crazy. I had never really stopped to think about that brief era (2001-2007) before, but it truly was a wave. Those catchy, glittery beats, some smooth crooning and, if we were lucky, a guest verse or two; it was an easy recipe for radio success. They may not have been the most thoughtful or complex songs but god damn if they didn't get the job done.

For me, that era is best represented by Lloyd. He was my favorite. As soon as Nathan mentioned Lloyd my face lit up. Suddenly, memories of blasting “You” in my dorm room and dancing to “Get It Shawty” in the shower came flooding back. Holy shit, when I found that remix of Wale's "You” chock full of Fresh Prince references? Pure gold. I love that record almost as much as Wale and Lloyd’s actual collaboration, “Sabotage.” Wooooo! That hook. Lloyd fit in so well he just glides over that instrumental.

Can we also talk about how he has a song with Andre 3000? Lloyd managed to nab a guest verse from Andre on "Dedication To My Ex" and is one of only a few artists with that claim to fame. Seriously, all of Andre’s guest verses fit into one short article and Lloyd is one of them, joining Jay Z, Frank Ocean, Rick Ross and T.I. There was always something intoxicating about his voice, this eternally fresh sound. When you heard those vocals you had to stop and listen. 

In retrospect Lloyd had a fleeting moment in the spotlight, but something about his work stuck with me. He wasn't just a product of the times; Lloyd had something. The French call it je ne sais quoi. 

Radio programmers and fans loved his tunes--Lloyd accumulated six Top 15 singles on the U.S. R&B Chart--but poppin' singles never translated to long term success. Lloyd only managed to earn one Gold-ceftified album, 2007’s Street Love, and his follow-up album, released only a year later, only reached number seven on the charts despite the prevalence of “Girls Around The World.” King Of Hearts, his fourth and final album, was released three years later (via Interscope) and only peaked at number ten.

Looking back now, "Dedication To My Ex" feels like a last gasp. Despite Andre 3K and a blockbuster video filled with kitties, the single never caught on (it peaked at #79 at Billboard) and Lloyd slowly faded into the shadows. Sure, “Sabotage” was released in 2012, but Lloyd hasn't released a new body of work since. With only one exception, he hasn't even released a solo record since 2013. Even his last guest spot is kind of a mystery. Lloyd appeared on Childish Gambino’s “III. Telegraph Ave. ("Oakland" by Lloyd)," but his participation isn't really part of the song. Or maybe it is? Kind of a song within a song? Who knows when that was actually recorded and if it was really meant for Gambino.

After some serious digging I did manage to find a song that was released in 2014, but maybe it should have stayed hidden. It's hardly the Lloyd that we knew. 

Lloyd crooned his way into my heart, but just like that he was gone. I had to know more. How did we get from “You” and a 3 Stacks feature to him struggle rapping over the “Move That Dope” beat? Surely social media would have documented the downfall one Twitter rant at a time, right?

Well, despite having a blue check and 426k followers, his Twitter has been taken over by what seems to be a 40-year-old soccer mom. He no longer tweets links to songs or videos, only articles like “AUSTRALIA: 600-POUND WOMAN GIVES BIRTH TO 40-POUND BABY” or “I never knew THIS is what you ladies go through... Is #7 really true? lol”.

It’s kind of funny, but it’s also strange. He just...stopped. Not only did he stop, but his Twitter was then taken over by viruses and he’s done absolutely nothing about it. It’s like he hasn’t checked his account at all. His last real tweet came in September of 2015, but the very next day it was nothing but viruses and broken Instagram links.

To recap, Lloyd tweeted something cryptic and then the very next day mostly vanished from the public sphere? Did he get kidnapped by human cloners? For real, what the hell happened to Lloyd? Surely there's a crazy story here, I mean people just don’t disappear. They don’t just walk away from music, right?

Luckily, after only a few minutes of digging, I located his Instagram account. Though he’s had the account since June of 2012, he’s only posted 158 times so there’s not much to go on except for a few bread crumbs. At one point Lloyd was working with August Alsina (linked through their shared management team at the time) and he still spends his time around music, but the real story is that there’s no story at all.

He’s still touring, and still making music (looks like he has a new record in the works) but for every music related post there’s about five more of him playing with his family.

Perhaps I’m just ascribing meaning where there is none, but until I can track him down and get the story straight from the source (for the record we attempted to contact his camp but so far have only come up with dead ends) all I have to go on are subtle references to a chapter now closed via Instagram captions. There's no official Instagram press release, but the way he speaks about life, success and music, I refuse to believe these aren’t somehow responses to a new life and a new Lloyd.

I think I've been spending too much time with Cash Money. I always expect some mysterious, chaotic, secret demise. Some sort of cinematic climax where our protagonist is faced with incredible adversity and gets brought down by the powers that be, but that doesn’t look to be the case.

For us, the fans, music writers, and probably some artists, music seems like the end-all-be-all, it’s the most important thing and we can't imagine anything else. We are trapped in a bubble and can’t see the rest of the world. We forget artists can have a life outside of music and I think sometimes artists forget that as well. It must be hard to deal with the pressure of having to please your fans knowing that once you stop, they will no longer care. Eventually your sole purpose is to create new music for people and it’s scary to think what happens if you no longer serve that purpose. Walk away from music? Never. 

Seeing Lloyd in this non-music setting is like the first time you saw a teacher at the grocery store and you can't believe this human being exists outside of school. Lloyd is still involved in music, but on a different level. He's not the same person he was when he was 22 and I don't know why I expected him to be. He’s put his family, his education and general well being before delivering me another “Bedrock” to pre-game to and there is nothing wrong with that.

What the hell happened to Lloyd? Life happened. I hope when and if he wants to return to music full-time he has nothing but success, but if he doesn’t I’m sure he’ll be alright.

Music is everything, but it’s not the only thing. Lloyd didn't fall off, he stepped back.  

By the way, in case you were wondering, it’s “She’s fine too”. Case closed.

[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is College Dropout but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth. Image via Instagram.]

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