Down in New York City, in a the basement, its like a the dungeon, deep underground. Just watched a very very dope show and this MC just tore the fuck out of Mercury Lounge tonight! A very very sick female MC coming through, Leikeli47.
What made you want to pick up the mic?
I came out with the mic in my hand, you know? I had no choice, I grew up in a very musical family, so…my family is almost historians with it – records everywhere, music everywhere, every genre but I was brought up to not see genre, I was just brought up to just face music, so it’s just embedded in me, it’s in my blood. And that might sounds a little generic, but it’s truth!
What kind of music was you weaned on?
Woo, I love jazz!
Lyrically, which MCs inspired you, because you got a pretty intense flow, there’s the whole double-time thing, which is really not easy to do. I was never gonna be a rapper, I was always gonna be a DJ, but to be able to but the rhymes and the metaphors together and speak sense on stage and then dance and hype up the crowd – where do you get the inspiration for that?
Well I think music as a whole has just been my inspiration, but if we gotta narrow it down to one his name’s Christopher Wallace the one and only, so yeah, I’ve always looked up to BIG and he was my biggest musical inspiration, just his style, his flow, and just how he approached everything with ease, you know? And being from where I’m from of course I wanted to do that. I’ve never wanted to do anything else, I never was that kid who wanted to be a lawyer or a doctor – nothing against that, but I just knew that this was what I was supposed to be doing, so from day one I attacked that dream, I ran for it.
What’s the most important BIG track of all time?
See, that’s tough! Narrowing that down to one right now? If I say one I’ll keep going!
You gotta pick one.
Don’t do this to me! I don’t know, this is tough!
For me it’s ‘Juicy’.
I was gonna say that! That’s the one! ‘Juicy’ is it!
I mean, it’s the ultimate rags-to-riches joint, it was all a dream, I think everyone can relate to that no matter what you’re doing no matter where you’re from, whether you’re rich or poor.
Absolutely! And that’s exactly why BIG is the one, because of what you just said. That line doesn’t just resonate with musicians, that line resonates with everybody, anybody who’s going after something that they still believe in, chasing any type of dream, that line is for all of us! Doctors, lawyers, dentists, paediatricians, dog-walkers, whatever you do, that line is very important – ‘Juicy’ is definitely the one.
Who’s the better lyricist, BIG or Jay-Z?
Oh shit! … See here’s the thing right, those two guys, BIG is it, top dog number one, I’m sorry – well I’m not sorry, I don’t apologise for that, I think somebody like Jay in his private room he will agree to that. Of course to the public he is what he is to them, but I think to me personally, coming from the same place that I come from, they both hold a high standard, especially as musical influences in my life. So of course I would have to go with BIG as my favourite, but Jay is up there too…I don’t know how to answer that! But BIG is it man! It is what it is, legend, but so is Jay.
Are you aware of any of the ladies that are holding it down overseas, specifically the UK?
No, I might be a litte uneducated in that, but I would love to learn about some!
You should check out Little Simz…she’s dope! There’s also an MC by the name of Miss Banks – beast!
Oh, you know who else? I’m feeling Junglepussy! It’s so many girls out here just shuttin’ it down! And they gettin’ they just due, I just wish that people would just give us all a chance – there’s so much dope talent out here! But thank you for that, I love that!
We got things to talk about when you come to the UK! So the image – how did that come about? The balaclava?
Honestly the message is about keeping it focused on the music. It’s not about my complexion, it’s not about my gender, it’s not about my race, it’s not about none of that, it’s all about the music. It’s crazy to say, that with this mask I’m kinda stripped down, ’cause it’s like all you gotta do is press play and I’ll tell you everything! I’ll tell you about my style, Miss America, I dress like a boy – I talk like a girl, but I dress like a boy. I’ll tell you where I’m from, I’ll tell you who I love, I’ll tell you all that like t’s in the music, so it’s just about the music.
There’s only a couple of people who’ve been able to pull off the balaclava thing or the mask thing – Ghostface Killah when he first came out he was doing it.
Yeah Ghostface, you go Doom, yeah!
Dead Prez was doing it, the hip hop when they first came out…Kanye kind of flirted with it for a minute on the ‘Black Skinhead’ video.
Yeah yeah yeah! It is what it is – I feel like this is a strong and powerful message, when you put something like this on it, kinda just say “Fuck everything!” Fuck gender, fuck race, fuck all that other stuff! Let’s just strip down and be about the music, nuthin’ else! Let’s be about the fun, that’s what we’re about, the music, the fun, the message, the togetherness, the cameraderie, that’s what we represent.
It must be hot though!
I’ll tell you this – if I could brag about anything, my skin is immaculate! ’cause it’s like a spa under here. I get a little hot under here, but I’m used to it, so I forget I have it on. But it’s fun! Ima get you one!
Why are you not on Twitter?
Imma say this – me personally I just don’t know how to operate Twitter well. If I’m on Twitter, I’m posting Pusha T lyrics, Biggie lyrics, I’m not talking about anything. I’ll be so boring that people might just be like “Enough with quoting Pusha!” That’s all I would be doing! I don’t know how to work Twitter – it’s nothing against Twitter, but I’m just not a child of Twitter, I don’t live on the internet – that’s not to say I’m anti-internet, ’cause I appreciate all the love I get on the internet, it’s just me personally, I’m not a Tweeter. What do I say?
I’m Missy’s child, but I’m dope on my damned self! Declare, I’m ill too!
The only reason I’m saying that, I’m not trying to b corny or anything like that, but your fans wanna know what’s going on, basically.
Yeah I get it, I get used to it, I warm up to it, we do have an account, but it’s ran by the label, but it is what it is, I’m real, I gotta be real. I’ll definitely be on there myself and talking when there’s something, but you just gave me my first tweet, and I’m tweeting that, so just send me the handle!
So how far do you want to take this, because you got an amazing skill, like you can spit harder than most MCs. You make it look easy, what you did on stage tonight, you got bangers…what’s the plan?
I’m going wherever God takes me. Wherever he say go I go, and I’m not gonna apologise for being deep right now, but that’s why I’m here. I didn’t get here on my own merit, I definitely got here on hard work, but it was my faith that kept me going. The bible says that faith without works is dead, so I had to – even when the times got rough – I just had to keep fighting and I just had to hold on to my faith. There was times where I had nothing, but I held on and God got me here, so whatever it is that he wants me to keep going, imma keep going. Whatever far is, I’m with it! Even if far is farther than far, if you feel me?
Out of the music that you’ve made, what is the most important track to you?
I don’t know, they’re all important to me. But that one one, I know what you’re talking about, I don’t know if I’m just there yet, I’m a very vulnerable artists, like I said I sell out to the moment, but right now I’m working on my LP. SO you know I gave you a little bit of myself on the EP, I told you about my style and my friends and I did all of that, but this LP that’s coming, that’s when we get deep, that’s when we really touch on a lot of stuff, so I feel like it’s coming, it’s there, but I do have one track that, it’s called ‘The Route’, and I’m actually singing on that one. But that one’s important, because it’s the truth, it’s a real-life story about how I grew up. SO you pres play, you listen to ‘The Route’, you come back and ask me some questions, I answer every question that you wanna know about that. Hands down, whatever you need, you got it!
Why are all your videos so dope?
It’s because we don’t think about it. Some of those is just on a whim, some of those ideas just came that day, or that week. The video process for me is a very tedious one, but people around me call me a weirdo, whatever! …The process…it’s never really thought, you know? When you’re doing a video you really gotta think these things out, these treatments, and casting, and people, but whatever. But I made a conscious decision to never do that, I made a conscious decision to use the real people around me, so the girls that you see with me in those videos are the girls that you see with me every day. Those are the same girls that eat with me, those are the same girls that sleep with me, those are the same girls that are on the road with me every day, those are the same girls that’s on stage with me, those are the same girls that’s trying to get me to go out when I don’t want to go out! But you know what I mean, we’re family or whatever. I’m just grateful that the ideas really come to life in a good way and people enjoy them.
How important is Missy Elliot to the game?
Important? What’s a better word than important? Like, she’s a walking legend…Missy is…I’m stuttering! She’s that dope! She’s that ill! She’s the reason why I’m here, I’m one of Missy’s kids, and I’m not scared to say that, you can take it how you want to take it. I’m confident in me, I know I’m dope, but I also know that I’m here because of women like her, and I’m grateful . She’s beyond important, she’s more than important, she’s necessary, she’s needed, and I thank her.
So you was onstage earlier, and then I see you go into a classic, ‘My Boo’, and that’s worldwide! You gonna flip that?
I’m just saying, as a DJ…
I might, we might already have it done, and it might have been a little secret introduction! You might be the first one with it, I’ll say that!