I am Hip Hop Magazine’s Lana Bell catches up with East London based soulful rap artist Lemzi to talk beats, rhymes and life!
When did you get into hip hop and what attracted you to it?
From the age of 9 I was addicted to Eminem — Lose Yourself. Eminem was such a prevalent feature on music channels, radio and throughout the media, so he was my introduction into hiphop & rap music, closely followed by 50cent and anyone else associated with Aftermath/Shady. Aside from them you had rappers like Jay-Z, Nas & Ja Rule who’d all successfully broken the mainstream barrier and before I even knew their discographies and characters I was into some of their songs. Later in life I did a lot of studying and have listened to artists from MF Doom to Ghetts to Queen Latifah.The flows, the passion and/or aggression, beats and honesty (from most) was what really got me into the genre.
What do you tend to represent and communicate in your music?
Whatever I feel like. It has to be something I feel, not necessarily something that has happened to me or I’ve personally experienced. I try and uplift people and get into people’s minds with ideas of prosperity and pushing forward whenever I can, I’ve come from a good background so it’s only right that I proliferate the same vibe. When failing that I at least try and accentuate personal or society’s issues in the hope what I’m saying resonates.
In your track in ‘Fire In The Streets’ video, what was the inspiration behind the story you lyricise ?
This was completely fictitious, for me. But I KNOW there’s enough people suffering from Domestic Violence or people that at least care enough to feel something when the notion is presented to them. I created a 3 part story called Worldliness that reflected a few different issues, such as bullying, domestic abuse and autism on my mixtape, “LemziFreeBies Vol: IV — A Few Words (All For Won)” designed to present situations that’d affect people emotionally and think about topics they may not ever have to, despite them being factors in everyday life for other people. The track I performed in the ‘Fire in The Streets’ video was “No Place Like Home” which has it’s own video on my youtube channel. Aside from the beat by Blazo, I was inspired to write this by some of the things I heard in the world at the time.
What do you think about the hip hop scene in London and where it is going?
We’ve got such a heavy presence in London let alone the whole UK, some of the most talented artists do hiphop music, but we haven’t been able to establish a lane alongside other popular urban music like grime, trap even drill music here is arguably bigger! So in terms of talent, there’s no shortage, hiphop (in the sense I’m thinking of; atmospheric/mellow, conceptual, storytelling & intricate lyrics) just needs to flourish like its relative genres. I always feel there’s a void in our scene, Grime, UK Rap, Trapfrobeats, UK Drill & Conscious rap all have prominent figures and have made significant strides, the inbetween sound I typically do just needs to catch up.
In your recent EP, Autumnal Aura, how was the process of making this EP for you and what do you hope your audience will take from this EP?
It was actually pretty spontaneous. I looked at my soundcloud and wasn’t too happy because it was disorganised and I barely used it. So there was a week or two I had a lot of time to listen to music and explore soundcloud. I came across all the beats (except the bonus track prod. By Adim productions) on soundcloud and literally just vibed. Without sounding too artsy fartsy, they all spoke to me in a different way, the beat for “Word Vomit” just said RAP, I barely wrote anything for Importance, I knew Tells was a perfect fit to feature on Strivers etc.I hope people get an idea of the type of artist I am and how much I love music, particularly this style of hiphop. I touched on a variety of topics and everything about this EP was close to home (no pun intended). Police brutality is an issue — let’s talk about it. Love & relationships are real — let’s talk about it. Self awareness, personal and external perspectives affect people differently — let’s talk about it all.
Musically, what can we expect from Lemzi in the near future?
I’m just doing as much as I can, pushing my ideas and range of concepts, sonically and retrospectively. I’m collaborating with a lot of good artists, such as Inferno, Boy Nash, Kemi Sulola and more, so I recommend everyone pay close attention and just wait and see what we all produce.
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