Introducing Midwest Jake, a moody rapper


Courtesy of Jake Laforest

Midwest Jake (Jake Laforest) has an eight song project #HappyToBeSad releasing this month and his first music video “Sex With My Ex” is now available on YouTube.

Two weeks ago, before spring break, UWO senior Jake Laforest (Midwest Jake) was studying at a desktop computer in Polk Library dressed in black jeans and a buttoned shirt, listening to music and staring continuously with long blond hair falling out of the back of his hat.

Two weeks later, and after spring break, he has a shaved head, a new music video on YouTube titled “Sex With My Ex” and a project named #HappyToBeSad set to be released this month.

It’s part of his new mentality, Laforest said. He’s more optimistic. His entire perspective on life has changed. “I just needed a fresh start, and I’m really trying now to be more positive. I deal with depression and anxiety a lot, and it was just time to do something new. I was just telling my friend this on the phone — I feel a world of a difference.”

“Sex With My Ex” is the first music video Laforest has made, and in just two weeks it’s caught the attention of 611 viewers on YouTube and drawn comments by two listeners dubbing the song “fire.”

In early 2017 Laforest wrote a song titled “Mama’s Boy.” He said on Facebook, “This song is very special to me,” and, “For the most important woman in my life, I love you mom.”

He gave a shout-out to his dad on a song too by saying, “He gettin mad that’s yo man’s fault, me havin’ game is my dad’s fault.”

“They’re super awesome,” Laforest said, smiling from ear to ear. “I have friends who record, and their parents will be telling them to turn it down or this and that, but mine don’t. I realize I’m chasing something that isn’t very probable and kind of abstract, and as a parent you would want your kids to chase something secure, and they just continue to show me love. When it comes to my dad, he just wants me to put the pedal to the metal and go.”

During a lowdown time in Laforest’s life, he wrote a song about heartbreak titled “Desire” dedicated to “anyone who has been left with nothing but a read receipt” and about how “girls like you don’t respond to guys like me.”

“I had just broken up with my girlfriend,” Laforest said.“There are always rappers and musicians who are smooth with the ladies, and that’s not me. In general I’m not the guy to go up to a girl and start a conversation, and I’ve been there too many times where I approach a girl and get turned down. I just wanted that to be the anthem because I know other guys are going through it too.”

Laforest said his latest song “Sex With My Ex” is about the same girl he wrote about in “Desire.” He said this song is his most special project, and he has put more work in on this song than any other song he has made.

Taking his talents a step further and expanding his horizon, Laforest learned how to produce for this song, which made it even more of a triumph for him.

“This song specifically I’ve put in over 200 hours,” Laforest said. “I don’t do that with every song. It’s kind of my baby. I’ve been working on it since the middle of summer, and just the fact of being able to film a video for it has been really fun.”

By the numbers, Laforest has 583 followers, 21 tracks and 729 likes on SoundCloud with the song “Amigos” pulling in 1,087 plays and 53 likes. On Spotify, Jake sports 76 listeners monthly. The numbers don’t lie: Laforest is getting attention.

Minor steps need to be taken to finish #HappyToBeSad, Laforest said, but he promised it will be out this month. People interested can follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at Midwest Jake to be in tune with his updates.