Fierce, fun and full of fire, I can only be talking about rapper, actress and songwriter Lady Lykez! The rising star has already made waves internationally, receiving support from hip-hop heavyweights Redman and Method Man, who asked Lykez to join them on stage. Having already performed at Glastonbury and Leeds Festival, 2016 looks set to be the year of Lady Lykez. With a new single What Are Those! and a headline gig at The Old Blue Last, I got to speak to the super talented star where we discussed everything and anything. Dig in…
First of all, thank you for featuring on Sam Maffia Online! How is Lady Lykez today?
Lady Lykez is good! Lady Lykez is good! Just making some music man, I’m just here vibing at home!
What Are Those! is currently blowing up!! Tell me a bit more about the song, how did you come up with the concept?
Obviously everyone knows about the online vine and if you don’t you’re a bit late. So there was a vine that was out which went viral, it was a guy going up to someone and just pointing down to their shoes and saying “What are those?” Literally like a piss take, obviously that went viral and then I was basically the first girl to clash a guy on Lord Of The Mics in the dungeon at the end of last year…
Yeah, so when we did our live clash cause obviously Sox has a very ‘out there’ dress sense, he’s always dressing in colourful clothes and I knew he was gonna wear something funky, so when I went there he was wearing some really weird trainers and I thought this is the perfect time to drop this, because that is a time when you say “What Are Those!” I dropped it there and everyone found it hilarious, the clash was a lot of fun and after that I just thought to myself “you know what, I need to put this in a tune!” Nobody had actually put it in a tune the way I’ve done it. So yeah, a lot of my songs are like that anyways, they’ve all come from somewhere.
In the video for What Are Those!, you were literally terrorising the fashion industry. We’ve seen the infamous I Love My Butt snapbacks, can we expect a Lady Lykez clothing line anytime soon?
Yeah definitely! Why not? I’m gonna have my hands in all different pies man, like all different areas. Obviously I’m doing my music and putting out as much of my music as possible, but yeah you can definitely expect a clothing line at some point.
Awesome, but what sort of things would you do. You’ve got the snapbacks and that’s kind of you signature look but could we see you going into full on tracksuits etc…
Do you know what, maybe. I haven’t actually thought that deeply into it. Obviously the snap backs is a no brainer do you know what I mean but maybe like bomber jackets. Bomber jackets is something I’d love to do. It’s something different.
Were the people you were terrorising in the video, extra’s or were they just general people on the street?
They were general people on the street, they were so baffled, they were like “what the hell?”. I dunno if you could see their faces, but watching the video you can actually see them there like “What???” (Laughs). It was actually quite scary because there was one lady who was old and she was wearing some really dodgy footwear, I was gonna do it to her and as I was gonna do it to her, I stopped in my track and I was like “nah, she’s an elderly lady,” I feel like she thought she was gonna get mugged so I was like “Oh my God, no no no, I can’t do it to her!” So I had to pick and choose ver carefully who I approached.
But you had fun though?
Yeah it was jokes, hilarious. But obviously it was quite startling (laughs) just going up to someone shouting “What are those!?” But yeah man it was a lot of fun!
So, going back to the new music, can we speak on a debut album? When roughly will it be coming?
Yeah! So basically I’m working on my project at the moment, I’m trying to work out whether it’s gonna be an E.P. or an album but I’m aiming for an album at the moment. I’d love to drop it the end of this year. I need to put my all into this, I’m a big perfectionist. So yeah man, that’s what I’m currently working on. I wanna make it sick for you lot!
Awesome! So what can we expect in terms of sound and features?
Features? Do you know what, at the moment I’m not really focusing on features you know. Like that’s not really my main focus. I’m the type of artist that I feel like if your gonna do a feature it has to be right. A lot of artists, they just feature for the sake of featuring so I haven’t actually thought about it. I’ve kind of been working by myself but you never know it might have some secret little features towards the end. At the moment, I’ve just been focusing on doing it myself. I’m producing a lot of the songs on there as well, producing and co-producing. Most of my track’s I’ve co-produced anyway, I like to come up with something a little bit different.
As far as I know, you are currently independent in terms of a record label, would you ever consider signing to a major label and what would be your terms and conditions for them to sign you?
Yeah! Do you know what, I feel like there’s benefits. There’s pro’s and con’s. Being signed to a major label, there’s a lot of pro’s because they have the money. A lot of this stuff is about the funds, more promotion. Whereas being independent, you’ve gotta plan it out for yourself. In that aspect, being signed it would really benefit me, having a big budget behind videos. At the moment, obviously when we’re working out videos and stuff, we kind of have to plan out how much we spend because it’s all got to come out of my pocket. You kind of have to think “what can we afford, we got this idea but how can we make this work…” whereas if you’re signed to a major, it’s a lot easier because you have a big budget behind you. I think if I was signed to a major, I’d like to still be able to do my kind of style. I wouldn’t want them to creatively control what I’m doing.
So basically you wouldn’t wanna be watered down?
Yeah exactly, I feel like they’d have to understand my vision. But there’s definitely deals out there though. Me and Lethal Bizzle have the same management and he’s got a really good deal, he’s still doing what he want’s to do and the label back’s him. Obviously they discuss what records they’re gonna go with or what they feel is going to work but he’s not having to water down what he want’s to do or anything like that.
So far this year, the females are giving the scene a run for its money, there’s you, there’s Lady Leshurr and Stefflon Don. There’s loads. Why do you think it’s taken this long for the music industry to finally take females seriously?
Do you know what, I don’t know. I feel like girls that rap is quite like a powerful thing. It’s quite a strong thing. I mean like last year, there wasn’t really any females apart from me and Leshurr that were like properly out. This year and the end of last year, there’s been so much more which is really really good. So like going back to when I did Nobody Can, at that point there wasn’t really anyone.
And what are you going to do to ensure that the scene continues to be female dominated?
I’m just gonna keep doing me. I think it’s really good that there’s a lot of females doing their thing, everyone’s working hard, everyone’s doing different things and I like the fact that there’s different styles as well. What I’ve realised and what I like about a lot of old school grime and old school rap, is that everyone had their own style. I think it got to a point where everyone was kind of doing the same thing. No one sounded different. Whereas now, it’s getting to that point again where people sound different. People have their own little flavour especially the girls, they have their own little twinge. People always try and compare you but you still have your own flavour and that’s what I really like.
So you went head to head with the whole UK grime scene in Nobody Can (which I loved by the way) and you’ve mentioned continuously that the women should stick together . However recently, Nadia Rose released a diss track aimed at Paigey Cakey titled Puddy Cat. What are your thoughts on the whole thing?
Do you know what, I don’t really have much of a thought on it to be honest. I dunno man. I think Nadia Rose is hungry, she seem’s very hungry for success, do you know what I mean? Just the way she’s gone about it and she’s got herself out there kind of from it. I dunno, I don’t really think that much on it, I didn’t even hear the Puddy Cat song, I didn’t get a chance to listen to it but yeah. You know what it’s like, I don’t really have much of a thought on it, I feel like I can see that she’s hungry and I feel like when people are hungry, they go about it in different ways.
Do you think it’s healthy for the UK scene? In America it’s slightly different, you got Nicki vs Iggy and it creates a big buzz. Do you think that’s missing from the UK scene?
I always think competition is good. When I did Nobody Can, it’s the same thing, it’s healthy competition. I always think it’s good. At the end of the day this is hip-hop man, it’s not pop. I think it’s always good. As long as it stay’s lyrical, stay’s fun then I think it’s cool. If it starts getting to a point where it’s getting a bit personal or physical that’s when I’d be like “leave it!” That’s when it takes the fun out of it. But yeah man, competition is always healthy, it makes people step up their game and makes people wanna do more and wanna do better.
Talking females, it’s rumoured Lil’ Kim and Azealia Banks have both been signed up for Celebrity Big Brother this summer. How do you think that’s gonna turn out?
That’s hilarious, Lil’ Kim and Azealia. I’d actually watch it for that. I don’t even watch Big Brother, but I think I’d actually watch it. That sound’s very entertaining because they’re both very big characters.
And would you ever do reality television?
I don’t know whether I’d do Big Brother, it’s something about me being in the house and the camera’s always being on me. I like my own space. So yeah I dunno whether I’d do Big Brother, but I’ve done reality TV before, I was on BBC3’s South Side Story. That was a couple years back and it was like a reality TV/musical where they tried to do something different. I did that and that was a good little exposure for me, I don’t think it was a bad thing. It didn’t do bad for me at all. It was music based. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reality tv. It depends what route that you’re trying to take.
Awesome so you’re headlining at The Old Blue Last on 21st July, first of all how do you select the setlist?
It depends where it is and what kind of show it is. For example, the other day I did Glastonbury and I know that Glastonbury is a festival, it’s hype, it’s outside so I know people are more on a ‘jump up, jump up’ kind of vibe, they wanna get lively. Also not so long ago, I did the Lethal Bizzle tour and his fans are very very lively, they wanna mosh pit, they wanna jump up and down, so there’s certain tunes that I purposely do in a certain order, like they’re very lively tracks that I pick. If it’s more of an intimate show, I might have more of the calmer tracks, songs where people wanna hear the lyrics. It does genuinely depend on what kind of show it is and you just tailor it to that.
Secondly can supporters expect any surprises on the night at all?
On the night you can expect a mad show, make sure you come down on the 21st July. It’s gonna be crazy, got some special guests coming down there, I’m not gonna tell you, you gotta show up. It’s gonna be a really good one and I’m headlining. It’s gonna be sick!
Okay so for the rest of the interview I’m gonna ask you some quick fire questions, are you ready?
How much money would you have to be paid to release your own line of crocs?
Oh my god! (Laughs) Oh my days! Everyone know’s I hate crocs man. I hate them shoes! Who wear’s those? When I see people wearing those I’m just like ergh! Boy I dunno if I could do it. You’d have to give me a couple hundred thousand man. Do you know what it is, I’d have to swag up the crocs so good that you wouldn’t know they were crocs.
Can you swag crocs up though? Then again, you’ve said £200,000 so if that happens Lykez, you’re gonna have to do it!
Nah man, I want as much money as you can give me because you’re right, how can you swag them up? Really and truly how can you swag them up? I need a mill! That’s what I need, I need a mill.
The title of your autobiography would be called…?
You Lykez Me (laughs)
Favourite Britney Spears song?
Britney Spears was a don you know! Don’t get it twisted she’s got some bangers, let me think. It has to be I’m A Slave. That was a tune you know! (Lady Lykez starts singing I’m A Slave 4 U). Don’t mess with Britney you know! Britney was cold man!
Favourite Lil Kim song?
Oooh…I’m trying to think of something that’s not too explicit (laughs). How Many Licks, that was a tune!
Shout out your favourite Twitter account?
Do you know who I really like, her name is Khadi Don (@KhadiDon). She’s a comedian, she’s hilarious. You need to check her out on Instagram as well, she posts videos and stuff and it’s hilarious.
Describe the typical Lady Lykez fan?
Oh wow! I don’t know you know. I’ve got all different types of fans, they’re all from different types of backgrounds, different races. They are different animals, they’re just randoms. But yeah they all like banging music.
Most embarrassing moment on stage?
I think I did a tune and I almost forgot one of the lyrics but I freestyled and no one clocked (laughs). It was one of those moments when you know deep down what you did… (laughs again).
If you could do a remake of a Ms Dynamite track, which one would you choose?
Do you know what tune I really love and I still really love it, is her track It Takes More. I love that song. It is such a good record. It’s a big tune, I love the beat as well.
Snog, Marry, Avoid: Stormzy, Lethal Bizzle and Romeo from So Solid.
Oooh. Alright. I would marry Romeo. (Pauses…) This is deep man, they’re gonna get offended. You’re making me say something bad man. I would snog Bizzle and I would avoid Stormzy. (Laughs) I’m sorry Stormzy, you know we cool right!
Complete the sentence: By the end of 2016 Lady Lykez will have accomplished…
Her projects! The projects will be banging and it’s gonna have to drop by the end of this year. That would be a big accomplishment for me. That’s my aim you know, to put together a sick project. Banging tunes!
Lady Lykez latest single ‘What Are Those!’ is available now on iTunes and Spotify. Lykes will also headline at The Old Blue Last on 21st July.