INTERVIEW – Lil’ London: « In the music industry, people always want to put women up against each other »

Photos © Kay Mills at Captured Studio

When and why did you change your name from L.S.G (Little Shady Gigglez) to Lil’ London?

I had been releasing/performing music under the name L.S.G. from such a very young age, around 2007 I just felt like it was time for a change. Initially, Lil’ London was just going to be used as an alias when releasing music in other genres (House etc.) but it just stuck.

You released your first solo record at the age of 14. How did that happen? 

I was working with a very talented producer called Bobzee (who was a family friend) he later introduced me to a music manager who worked with a few other producers (Ebey & Curtis). I wrote the raps and the producers came up with a great sample.

I totally cringe when I hear it now though… I had a fake American accent and everything (as did most UK rappers back in the 90’s) lol.

You worked with Ski Beatz. How did you two meet and what did you learn from this collaboration?

I went to stay in New Jersey for a while in 2012. A good friend of mine D. Rilla (also a rapper) flew out to NY to visit his sister, who is a friend of Ski Beats. We all hooked up at the Dojo (Ski’s recording studio) D.Rilla and I ended up staying there, and recording a track with him. Ski is such a kool, humble and talented guy! He just plays around with sounds, scraps them and starts something new, and I’m sitting on the edge of my seat like « but that was sick! »

The track “London’s I” is very political. Would you say you make conscious hip hop?

I do have a conscious side to my music. I’m full of opinions and write what my head/heart feels at the time. I don’t particularly like labels, and I hate being put in a box! It’s great when people can relate to your music, and if you can spread a positive message or teach something with your lyrics, that’s even better, but I’m a versatile artist and tomorrow I might just wanna make something to make people jump about and dance. People have many moods and so does my music.

You’ve featured in several independent movies. What would you say are the similarities between acting and making music?  

I think it’s very similar, learning lyrics/learning lines, performing and being in front of people & cameras. Sometimes you may not want to go out on stage or smile to the camera, that can be an act in its self. I’m actually in the process of learning lines for a role in an up and coming movie « 198 Grand« .

You coproduce your music and codirect your music videos. How common is it for UK female artists to do so?

I’m just a control-freak lol! I always have ideas and I really enjoy being involved in the creative process that goes on behind the scenes. I think it’s important as an artist to know what you want or to at least have an idea of how you want to come across, look or sound like, otherwise your just someone else’s puppet! I think a lot of male & female artists leave important decisions to other people to make. I’m blessed to have one person (Rozar) I always bounce ideas of off, and he always seems to share my visions.

Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why?

Again I’m not really with the labels, but I definitely support women! I’m all up for equality, but think we need to be careful not to lose our already great God given attributes, whilst fighting for something more. I think it’s very important that women build each other up, instead of trying to knock each other down! Especially in the music industry, people always want to put women up against each other, and compare us, like there is only room for one female rapper at a time. I’m not about to burn my bra, but I love strong, independent women, and love to see other women do well! I’m always open for collaborating with other talented females, but it seems people would rather see women go up against one another, rather than work together. I don’t compete with anyone but myself! I hate when women go against all that we have already fought for, undoing the hard work that’s been done before us… That’s when I turn on beast mode and will just want to attack & assassinate lol, hence some of the tracks that I’ve got coming out. (“Hunting Season”, “Bang Girl”, “Fight Talk”)

What are you listening to these days?

I’m old school lol…Wu-Tang Forever  is currently in my car. On my laptop you may find Billie Holiday open in my tabs.

What are your upcoming projects? 

I took a little time away from the hip hop scene, and was focusing on session and writing work. I’ve recently got back in the lab with my boy (rapper/producer) John Hectic https://soundcloud.com/john-hectic , we have been collaborating on a few tracks and are in the process of putting some treatments together for some visuals. I’ve got an EP that I’ve just started working on, and will also be shooting videos to accompany those tracks too. I recorded a House banger that we were expecting to be released this summer, and I’m currently learning lines for a film… So lots of new and exciting projects coming up.

What do you think of Madame Rap? What should be changed or improved?

I luv luv what you guys are doing, and think it’s great that Madame Rap are giving females a platform… We definitely need more of that!

Find Lil’ London on SoundcloudFacebookYouTube and Twitter.

Éloïse Bouton

Lire l’interview en français ici.

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