2017 was a difficult year for Dominique Larue, to say the least. Tragedy and heartbreak led to a suicide attempt and hospitalization. Thankfully, Larue is still with us and was able to find the silver lining in such a painful experience. Dominique has a new lease on life and her renewed spirit can be heard on her new album, “Imsmilingbecauseihateeverything” produced entirely by Tha Audio Unit.
In one of the most important interviews ever brought to you by The Real Hip-Hop, Dominique Larue discusses her new album, Imsmilingbecauseihateeverything, her 2017 suicide attempt, and how she copes with anxiety and depression today.
TRHH: Three years ago we spoke and you said “Imsmilingbecauseihateeverything” was on the way. Are you still smiling because you hate everything?
Dominique Larue: Essentially. It’s a mood. It’s how you cope. I put out an EP in June called “Everything is Fine.” It’s kind of along the same thing. We can be in a burning house and be like “everything is fine!” I see the whole world going to shit and I’m smiling. It’s a mood, for sure.
TRHH: Is that equal to being numb?
Dominique Larue: Essentially. Definitely. Apathetic. Depending on the situation there is a balance to numbness. There are certain things that I should feel stuff for just to feel anything, whether good or bad. There are some things that I should be apathetic about that I should not let get to me. I’m glad you said that, because I didn’t look at it from that way. It’s definitely a numbness type of a thing. I mean, shit, look at our political state right now. I would be so stressed out and anxious, even more than I am now regularly, if I was always involved in what’s going on. Sometimes you just have to disconnect.
TRHH: When the earthquake happened in Haiti I was at work and it made me horribly sad. It was just horrible. My friend at work was like, “You can’t be letting all this stuff get to you. That’s somebody else’s problem.” It struck me as mean and heartless…
Dominique Larue: I mean, empathy motherfucker, do you speak it?
TRHH: [LAUGHS] I also get it, too. Like, what can I do about it? She was like, “You can’t be taking on other people’s stuff.”
Dominique Larue: Right. It’s levels and layers.
TRHH: I still have yet to figure that out. I don’t think I’m that kind of person. I feel stuff. I feel bad for people.
Dominique Larue: You gotta be careful being an empath because you absorb. I think being an empath for myself, I had to learn to set boundaries. Whatever the situation is, if it’s people in my family or friends, I have boundaries with everything and everyone. Sometimes you absorb too much and sometimes it is overwhelming.
TRHH: Do your family and friends understand that?
Dominique Larue: Absolutely! Because they got their own boundaries, too!
TRHH: My family ain’t got no boundaries [laughs].
Dominique Larue: Don’t get me wrong, if you’re going through some shit call me. I got you, fam. That’s not that, but there are times when I need to disconnect and be by myself for a second. And then it’s like, okay, I’ve done that enough, let me be around some people. You gotta know yourself.
TRHH: How did you hook up with Tha Audio Unit?
Dominique Larue: That’s my cousin. We’ve been working together since forever, but this is the first time we actually put out a project. We did some songs back in 2007, we lost touch for like seven years, and hooked back up in 2014. We’ve been working on the album since 2015. Even then when I started working on the album it wasn’t going to be all his production, it just worked out that way. That’s my cousin, that’s fam.
TRHH: On the song “Escape” you talk about addiction. Do you still feel the need to escape and if so, how do you escape?
Dominique Larue: It depends on which day you ask. Escape is about, “Yeah, I do need to stop fucking off and doing drugs and shit,” but how do you do that if you’re surrounded by the bullshit? I was automatically in a bad position so of course I’m going to be back on the bullshit, and I’m anxious too. Once I get to drinking more bullshit happens. It’s levels and layers. I wrote Escape at a time where I was very self-destructive. These days I don’t try to escape –I deal with it. You have to learn how to use positive coping mechanisms. For me it’s going to the gym, being around family and friends, minding my fucking business, drinking water, reading, getting off social media, being busy – moving and shaking, making music, being of service to others, and random acts of kindness – shit like that. I still drink though. I still be like, “I need a fuckin’ shot, bro!” Make no mistake I’m all for the drinking, but I don’t use it as a means to escape. Smoking weed, smoking weed and shrooms!!! Shrooms, shrooms, shrooms!! That’s my shit, bro! It helps with depression and anxiety. That shit really balances me out.
TRHH: [LAUGHS] Really?!?!?
Dominique Larue: Yeah! Look it up, bro. It’s been all kinds of studies. They’re working on legalizing it for medicinal purposes. You take a little bit, you might see some little lines with colors that look nice, but you get your shit to the table – you deal with it. I ain’t on no high shit. Shrooms really put shit into perspective for you. Even once the high is gone you can handle shit and make shit crack.
TRHH: So, it doesn’t make you hallucinate?
Dominique Larue: For sure, if you eat too many! Absolutely. You’ll sit up there and be looking at geometry and shit. You won’t see little people. I’ve done a lot of shrooms, bro. I’ve done a lot, a lot, a lot. I don’t recommend eating shrooms every day, let me say that on the motherfucking record. One time I did so many shrooms and I went to lay down and when I closed my eyes I was seeing all kinds of shit. Just weird colors and it was pretty fuckin’ tight. I love shrooms. My homegirl dropped some shrooms off to me Friday. I was eating them all day. I’m with the shit, bro. I want to be an advocate and a spokesperson for this shit. I wasn’t even rapping a year ago. I started eating shrooms and look at me now, nigga [laughs]!!
TRHH: What inspired the song ‘Fix Me’?
Dominique Larue: Going to the doctor and you tell them you’re dealing with anxiety and depression and all they do is prescribe drugs to you. That’s it. It’s a whole process with dealing with mental health. Anti-depressants is really a part of it. It shouldn’t be the whole thing. I was being a little facetious when I said “fix me” but that’s pretty much it. They write the script and the drugs numb you and shit. I remember when I got on Zoloft and I couldn’t even cry. It was actually pretty fuckin’ tough to get a tear out, and when I finally got that tear out that shit was exhausting.
Dominique Larue: I was tired. I said, “I’m ready to lay down now! This some bullshit!” I was very, very emotional. I’m a crybaby. That’s just facts. I will cry at the drop of a dime. I will say that I did need that Zoloft at that time. I was so sad and so fucked up. I was just crying uncontrollably. Obviously being suicidal and attempting suicide I definitely needed that to get out of that hole that I was in. It’s a very dark place and a place I don’t ever want to go back to – ever – facts! It was a peace I had when I decided I was going to kill myself and that’s not a good feeling to have. I’m not on anti-depressants anymore and it’s really because of the shrooms, but if I have to get back on anti-depressants I will.
TRHH: What led you to attempt suicide and how were you able to get through everything afterwards?
Dominique Larue: Basically, my boyfriend died and it broke me in half. It’s nothing that you get over. You learn to live with it.
TRHH: I’m sorry. Based on the title and all that you’ve gone through over the last few years, I thought that this would be a somber album, but it’s kind of upbeat. Is the music a reflection of how you’re feeling right now?
Dominique Larue: I know. We wrapped it up in May of 2017. That was before he passed in June of 2017. At that time the depression and things I was dealing with was way different than what it is now. It’s a period piece – that’s what I like to call it. It really captured an interesting moment in time with me dealing with my mental health. That’s just the production that I chose and I what I wanted to create. There was really no rhyme or reason. We recorded almost 20 songs and chose eight. What is interesting to me is how it’s almost prophetic in a way. On the intro I said, “I might kill myself on accident.” I also said, “You know how I get, I’m deadly when I cut,” it kind of gave me chills. It’s crazy, I can relate to my own music. I know I wrote this, but I’m talking to me! This is something that can help me cope — the stories that I’m telling and how I’m dealing with my shit. Although, I can always channel the sadness I don’t really want to. My whole feel lately has been, “I just wanna rap, bro!” Let me rap because I’ve been on this whole depressive thing for a while with my music and dealing with my issues, but I just wanna rap. I can rap, bro, facts! Let’s rap! Let’s talk about good things, good people, and good vibes. That’s where I’m at creatively.
TRHH: What do you want people to take away from listening to ‘Imsmilingbecauseihateeverything’?
Dominique Larue: I just hope that people are able to relate. I hope that it speaks to people. I’ve already had people tell me that they relate so much to the title itself. It’s morbid humor, sarcasm, being on the bullshit, getting caught up in the cycle – that’s what “Lap” is about – it’s the most popular song on the album. It’s a great song, but it’s about a cycle. I’m also a party girl so I’ve been caught up in the cycle of getting it popping, getting it in, now you done did too much, now you made a fuckin’ mistake, and now you’re right back on the bullshit again. I hope people can relate to the songs. Maybe it can help somebody through some shit.
TRHH: What advice would you give to someone that’s going through a tough time and maybe feeling like they don’t want to be here anymore?
Dominique Larue: That’s a good question because it really depends on the person. I can’t just give a general answer. There are so many different levels and layers to what people are going through. As someone that’s dealt with that sometimes we just want people to listen to us. It really depends on the person. I’m going to be extremely empathetic and hear them out. If there is a way for me to suggest something like channeling the negative energy into positive, being aware of what you’re going through, or being proactive. If you can’t be proactive, well wallow in it, deal with it, absorb it, and let it run its course. That’s what I used to do. Happiness is fleeting just like sadness. I tell people to be in the moment. Depression feeds off the past and anxiety feeds off the future, so be present. Fuck it, yeah, shits fucked up, but what can you do about it right now? It just really depends. I have friends who are suicidal that I was there for me. Most times niggas don’t wanna be hit with what we think are solutions. Sometimes motherfuckers just want you to listen to them, and I’m all the way here for that! Again, I’m here. Just know that! A lot of times advice is shit that we already know, we just have to hear it from somebody else. I’m ready to give some if I’m asked, but it’s a very sensitive thing. A lot of times you can’t tell people shit. They done made up their mind.
I will tell you what did it for me; the first two days I was in the hospital I still wanted to kill myself. It took for Nana and two of my friends to visit me for me to be like, “Oh shit! Y’all niggas do love me, huh?” It didn’t register. Being suicidal you feel like everybody is better off without you. Why would you want me around? Look at me! I’m a fuckin’ mess. But nah, that wasn’t the case at all. One of the biggest takeaways I have from the hospital is gratitude. I’m grateful as fuck for my dogs – the people that were there for me – that picked me up. I couldn’t even walk on my own two feet. Niggas was carrying me. That’s what matters to me. What is suicide? Yeah, you let go of all your problems but now that burden is on your loved ones. You can go that route, too, but even then, I’m not about to guilt you and make you feel bad. It’s a very touchy sensitive thing and it’s something that you can’t apply the same techniques to everybody. One of the things that I know I can do off top is listen, be empathetic, relate — shit like that. And goddamn, get some help, bro! Get some professional ass help. Go talk to a therapist, do something! That’s the least that you can do. If you’re just going to stay here in this situation you’re going to talk yourself into some bullshit. That’s not the move, at all. Also, don’t make them feel bad for wanting to off themselves. Like I said, empathy, do you speak it, motherfucker?
Purchase: Tha Audio Unit & Dominique Larue – Imsmilingbecauseihateeverything