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Theophilus London Calling

The rising Brooklyn hip-hop mogul and Spring Jam opener wants a number one single.

What: Theophilus London

Where: CoffmanUnion, Front Plaza

When: 12 p.m., Friday

Cost: Free


Delving into the list of influences that inspire Theophilus London feels dizzying. His culture-hopping retrospective of a first album embraces so many styles that it’s no surprise that he watched Gaspar Noé’s psychedelic “Enter the Void” before recording “Timez Are Weird These Days.”

His fashion ideal graced the cover of the 2011 album, homage to soul singer Leon Ware. Style remains key for the 25-year-old, an artist who signed deals with fashion giants Bushmills and Cole Haan before ever releasing a proper album. He’s not shy about capitalizing on deals with Mountain Dew or Bing either, so long as he extends the Theophilus London brand.

“I don’t want to take any credit, but I built a new way how artists can market oneself, and it’s how I got where I am now,” he said.

His “new way” might not be so revolutionary, but he sees his penchant for self-marketing as necessary in a dying industry. London cites a neurotic need for control as reason for self-promotion.

“I don’t trust anyone in this world to really hold my vision and see it through 100 percent,” he said. “Every second I have to be there if it’s my vision.”

But the Theophilus London brand feels weirdly calculated — the hype man spends more time focusing on the cultural references to gain credibility with an omnivorous audience than understanding the final product. When fellow contemporaries join him he’s at his best. London’s a sort of nostalgia-loving collaborator.

A$AP Rocky joins him on “Big Spender,” a satisfying take on the Broadway classic. Meanwhile, Sara Quin sings backup on “Why Even Try” for an infectious hook. London exudes an encyclopedic pop range that makes his music mostly void of any lasting appeal.

Lately his ability to curate the cultures around him leads to a satisfying result on his latest single “Rio.”

Inspired by his 2010 trip to Brazil, complete with conversing in Portuguese and running from gangsters, the singer commemorates his experiences on the ’80s throwback song recorded for his forthcoming “Vibezz.”

“We got to spend like two weeks in the countryside, taking in all the vibes of the city whether it’s bad or good, positive or negative,” he said. “It was great.”

Rio de Janeiro’s beaches become a sun-soaked background to the synth-heavy song, a soul-inspired track for the versatile rapper. Although London grew up in Brooklyn, he was born in Trinidad, a fact interesting to consider given his capacity as a musical sponge.

Describing himself as a “culture leader,” London sometimes lets the music take a backseat. His character, a sunglasses-wearing, fashion-loving badass, remains paramount.

Here’s his extensive list of descriptors for his ostentatious character:

“Gets all the girls, super confident, perfectionist in the way he dresses, great smile, adventurous, naughty, mischievous, charming — so many different characteristics that represent him,” he said. “And that’s the definition of me.”

If the Theophilus London brand looks better on paper, he’s succeeded. London may not live up to his astronomical aspirations, but he’s still an artist representative of his time — though he begs to differ.

“I’m living in this weird time,” he said, “but I’m not of the time.”

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