Voice of the People

A smile that lights up the room. A mind that can change the world. And a voice that makes great music. Lawrence Ivory Jr. (Larry Bull) isn't just a "Milwaukee Rapper."

"Everything I make has some type of meaning."

Lawrence's latest song "Please Stay" is based off his past relationships. He used to be that male best friend that no boyfriend liked. He did this because he always felt he was the better option. Lawrence stopped being that person because "it leaves you by yourself."

Music helped change Lawrence's view on life and how he should live it.

"It helped me manage my anger," Lawrence said. "It helped me become at peace with my life as a whole."

When he changed so did his name. Thanks to his friend Mike Regal, Lawrence decided to change his name from Bull JR to Larry Bull because the first name didn't fit him anymore.

He didn't like the idea of calling himself Larry because he was called that growing up and he never understood why.

"How do you get Larry out of Lawrence?"

Lawrence finally grew to like the name and now he'll forever be known as Larry Bull.

Growing up on 31st n Villard, Lawrence has seen a lot, but managed to attend school outside of his neighborhood.

"It gave me balance in my life," he said. "I treated that as a vacation from where I'm from."

He experienced things most kids in the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system couldn't dream of and because of this he was blinded from what reality was. After his parents divorced in 5th grade, he realized things don't last forever.

It wasn't until he reached 7th grade that he had more black classmates, which made him want to hang with them instead of his white friends. 

"I began to build my bond (with the black students) from there."

Tupac's movie Resurrection inspired Lawrence to be more than just a rapper.

"(It) taught me how to be more outspoken."

Lawrence sees himself as a voice for his community and communities around the world.

"I want to be somebody's hero like rappers were for me."

Co Co Cal is one of the first famous Milwaukee rappers and now most people don't speak of him. Lawrence wants to reach the fame of Co Co Cal, but take it to a different level. Instead of becoming forgotten, he wants to become a role model for the youth.

"There's more to it than just the rap."

Lawrence was in a band, but he was ashamed of making music so he stopped in 2011. He was heavily involved with church and he didn't want his church family to be disappointed in him. He missed out on a lot of musical opportunities because of this, but he realized he had to do what he loved, so he left the church.

"You can find comfort in discomfort," he said. "I got more in tuned with my spirit when I left the church."

After making that change, Lawrence began to understand what hard work meant. He eventually wants to be what Chance the Rapper is to Chicago to his hometown of Milwaukee.

"I'm here to be everybody's voice and not just my own."