In late 2019, San Jose hip hop artist Lucy Camp barely survived a devastating car accident that left her wheelchair-bound for months. When she came out of the wreckage, Camp had fractured her right femur, pelvis and the lower left end of her spine. But neither crash nor pandemic could keep her from releasing her music into the world: the 24-year-old rapper is on a mission to do her own thing, one way or another.
“I feel like I’m at the point now where, not just musically but for myself, I know what I want,” she says.
Though still young, Camp has already been working on her music for at least a dozen years. She began writing raps at the innocent age of twelve, and started recording music with friends and family soon after. Since 2014, she’s put out a wide range of singles and EPs, as well as a 2019 mixtape, released just after her devastating, life-changing event.
The crash happened one night while her friend was driving her home and lost control of the vehicle, flipping the car four times with Camp in the back seat, seatbelt unbuckled. In a YouTube video posted on Nov. 12, 2019, Camp says that paramedics didn’t know if she was going to survive the accident.
In addition to the fractures, Camp also suffered a collapsed lung, had bruises and scrapes across her body and had to be intubated to breath while in the hospital, where she was in critical condition for nearly two days. When she woke up in the emergency room, she says she didn’t think she had a voice anymore.
During her week in the hospital, Camp was given percocet, fentanyl and morphine—all drugs which contain opioids. Once she was released, she spent two weeks in rehab therapy to get her body working again after all the reconstructive surgery on her limbs.
“I felt miserable there. How do you go from recently moving out and gaining your independence to…having to rely on people for everything?” Camp recalled in her video. “The entire year I was working out my legs. And now I couldn’t use my legs.”
Through it all, she wrote a new EP entitled “Nights,” slated for release later this month. Parts of the project were recorded while she was still in a wheelchair after the accident.
Camp describes her earlier projects as “scatterbrained,” saying she was “trying to do the most” with her various musical influences: Tupac, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Justin Timberlake and Digital Underground. On 2019 single “Eastside,” Camp celebrates all the glories and pleasures of San Jose’s lovely east side: purple syrup in white foam cups, and “very little white folk stuff.” On 2016 single “Be You,” Camp playfully muses on all the possibilities to come in her life. She says people told her she could be anything she wanted, though she didn’t always feel like she knew how to say what that was.
“I didn’t know how to word things where it made sense because I had all these ideas and I was too worried about how it sounded,” Camp says. “At this point I feel older, like I no longer connect with that side of me, the younger I guess. And now I’m starting to explore more mature things.”
Since the accident things have come into sharper focus. This July, Camp released “Believing,” a moving ode to a friend with stage 4 ovarian cancer, with all proceeds from the single going towards her treatment. In her upcoming “Nights” drop, Camp says just one song is dedicated to her experiences in the accident, a song called “Tried,” a sinister, haunting song inspired by darkwave music. The whole project, she says, shows her in a new light.
“I just like the style, the goth side. It looks nice, it looks sexy, I love it,” Camp said. “This is kind of more like, let me sing, let me do whatever.”
Now recovered from the accident, Camp is set for a new stage of life, including a new relationship with her partner and a new living situation. At the moment, she’s currently working on the visuals for her upcoming projects—enticing and sensuous videos she says will feature some spunky and powerful women.
But first will be the EP drop.
“It’s hard balancing everything, but I’m doing it because it’s my life,” she says.