Lady Lykez has already had a great year in 2015. From setting the record straight and calling the whole scene out on her now infamous ‘Nobody Can‘, to tackling previously unspoken topics in ‘Psycho‘, the North London rapper has been making a name for herself as one of the most successful [not just female!] rappers in the UK right now. This week, she faces one of her biggest challenges as she steps onto the Lord of the Mics 7 stage at a live event held of the O2 Academy Islington on Wednesday 23rd September against Birmingham MC Sox. TRAPPED sat down with the Lady herself to discuss her thoughts on battle rapping, LOTM and her current single ‘Chat 2 Your Man‘How did you get involved in Lord of the Mics 7 and why did you get involved?
It all came about when I made ‘Nobody Can‘ and I had the line “I’m Lord of the Mic, Jammer best put me on!” and he heard it and responded. He thought it would be a great idea as there has never been a girl and he really wanted to get a girl involved as it would make it more interesting as it always has been guys. He was asking like why isn’t there a female Wiley or a female Ghetts and why aren’t they up there in the same way. Jammer really understood where I was coming from with ‘Nobody Can‘ and he knew that having me on LOTM7 would hopefully get more girls involved. Battle rapping is a ‘mandem’ thing so it’s good to have me on and is groundbreaking in many ways.
I personally got involved because after ‘Nobody Can‘, I wanted to show people that I’m hard and I knew it would be good exposure for me, alongside my single and other projects. Its adding another layer to myself [as an artist] and is getting my name out there to a different audience that haven’t heard of me.Why do you think battle rapping is still so important in our modern day scene and why should people get involved?
I think that it’s entertaining. People can forget that the music industry is the entertainment industry at the same time – as well as making good music we are entertaining people. I see battle rap as a sport and think competition is always healthy, I really do think that. It keeps you on your toes and makes you want to better yourself – whether that’s making sure your flows sicker or your jokes are funnier. As long as people see it as a sport and don’t take it personally, then it’s healthy.
Do you think battle rap is a good way for young/up coming rappers to build themselves as an artist?
I think it helps to boost your confidence, it forces you to show up and do it! As long as you have the right people around you and you’re in the right frame of mind, then it’s good.You have been battling from an early age and used to battle people like Chip in your local community centre. Can you remember your first ever clash and some of your first battling bars?
When I was younger [13 years old], I was nuts. I used to walk up to people on the streets and be like “do you spit?” because back then, everyone used to spit. If they said yeah, I just wanted to clash them right there and then, with my two girls behind me. Back then, I was just so hungry and wanted to ‘go in’ on man and I think that helped in building a name for myself in the endz. Me and Chip used to have a young rivalry and would always attack each other – just to show who was the best. A lot of the older lot took notice and used to rate me because of it.You will be making history on LOTM7 as you will be the first female to ever have clashed on the series. Do you feel this adds any extra pressure to your performance?
I think that there will always be pressure from a clash, regardless of being the first female. I know that I’ve got talent so that just builds natural pressure in leading up to battling – I know that I have to come on point. On the other hand, I know that there is not a lot of girls that would be doing what I’m doing. Hopefully, through me being featured, there will be more females getting involved in battle rapping and Lord of the Mics. A lot of female rappers have been supporting and saluting -liking the posts and all that so it’s all good.Your Hype Session video for Sox currently has over 40,000 views and has had great feedback from fans and critics. How did you go about making that and did you go in with a clear intention?
I have got the most views out of all the Hype Sessions and that did surprise me to be honest. I thought Sox [whose Hype Sessioncurrently has over 34,000 views] would have more because he’s been nominated for a MOBO and has a larger following, would have more. I know that Bigzman [whose video was the first to be uploaded 4 weeks ago] had the most and I’ve even topped him so it shows that people are watching and building the hype!
The Hype Session was easy for me. I knew that I didn’t want to give too much away and treated like a teaser. So when people are like “Lykez, you went in!”, I know that it’s nothing compared to what I’ve got planned for the clash. I was just touching on the subject and showing people that I’m not someone to be taken lightly. To be honest, most of Sox’s Hype Session bars were from our clash in the dungeon or from old bars that he’s reworked for me. All I knew is that I had to come direct and I think that’s the best way.
What’s your strategy going into the live event and clash for LOTM on Wednesday 23rd September?
I’m just going to go in and have fun with it. If you don’t enjoy it, then you’re not gonna give your best performance. I wanna try and get under his skin and am prepared for what he is going to say. I know the kind of topics he would/will touch on; ‘I’m a sket’, ‘I’m fat’, ‘I’m a dyke’ so to me, it’s obvious how I will handle the clash. For me, I wanna bring some real personal stuff and make him feel it.Apart from your own clash, what clash are you looking forward to on the LOTM card?
I am looking forward to Row D’s clash [with XP] and I know how sick he is and I rate him. I’m looking forward to all of the clashes as I think they will be interesting. And Kozzie and Jaykae, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with that one as well.What is your favourite LOTM clash of all time and why?
Skepta vs. Devilman [from LOTM2] is a personal favourite because I loved Devilman‘s flow in parts and he kept getting reloads which the crowd responded to. I want to recreate that kind of atmosphere for my clash and I hope we have a good audience that get involved and responded to the battle. I want people to get gassed!Apart from LOTM, you released your latest track and video, Chat 2 Your Man, last month. The song tackles the issue of relationships and gender stereotypes and has a powerful message. Did that song come from personal experience and have you had feedback from people regarding the track?
Loads of people have got in touch saying that they can relate to it. The track came about because my friend was going through a situation where she was with a guy and getting calls and abusive messages from his baby mum and she didn’t understand and was like ‘Chat to your man’. From there, I knew I wanted to do a track about that because everyone must of been through it/know of a similar situation. The guy should be the first person you talk to because he is the one in the relationship and he is fully aware of what he is doing. The track is fun and even the video, which came about through a conversation with my manager, is fun and portrays the four women a ‘player’ can have in his life – the ex, the wife, the side chick and the baby mum.
Talking of female solidarity, what female rappers are you rating right now in the UK?
I think Mz Banks could do well if she gets pushed and over time, we have become good friends. She has a wicked vibe and she has a lot of potential. When the time’s right, It could be cool to have her on a collaboration for sure.
What’s next for Lady Lykez?
Right now, I’m contemplating whether to drop an album or mixtape but there will definitely be something out by the end of this year. I’ve got another single I’m going to drop and its going to be a lot grimier – while ‘Chat 2 Your Man‘ was more accessible, this new single will be going back to bars and going in again!