LYRIC L / “Lyric L Mixtape”
I’ve been waiting on Lyric L’s album for over a year now. She says it’s done and ready to drop but no news yet… I don’t know what’s holding up the release but having grown weary of waiting, I went on and put together a little mini album made up of singles, and demos, and a rip from her Myspace page (wouldn’t you know it, the version of “Ooo U & I” I use in the mixtape is no longer on the page so you can’t get it like I got it). While these tracks are not exclusive, they are elusive, i.e. not easy to get in one place. So there are no links provided, just the music, just the music, just t…
“I was born in London, yet my origins and family (cousins, grandparents etc) are all in Nigeria.”
She is focused on the music—and basketball:
Ball is everything, whether I have an injury on my Achilles or not--I'm always up for it! I used to play ball at school during lunch or after school. Again, I was the only girl at so you can see a pattern emerging from my life. I then played for Ealing Borough. I had no real coaching, but I was tall, so that helped. I played street ball and battled "de-man'dem" on court and off with a freestyle. Later, I began to better myself with what I call "religious basketball"--correct coaching, fundamentals etc. I'm not as heavy as Marsha from Floetry who played for England's national team, but I loved to scrimmage and represent without a doubt. My best friend got a scholarship at Morgan State. Other friends of mine have encouraged me to keep playing ball, which I had to think about as a plan 'B' after music. I played the highest level in UK which is National League Division 1. Now I just wait 'til summer (which is mad short in London, maybe 12 weeks only) to play. I watch some NBA games live at 3am! I never really had a favourite team, but I love Phil Jackson's Zen coaching methods.
It has not been easy. Check her recollections of breaking into the male chauvinist dominated world of emceeing.
Emmerald: Aside from the success that you've enjoyed as an MC, winning competitions and battles, what have been some other reactions that you've gotten from male MCs? Have they been open to you as a female MC? Have they accepted you as equal?
Lyric L: Initially some did and others didn't. A few would resort to verbal violence saying some pretty obscene things to me and about me in their lyrics. I was really offended personally, spiritually and as a woman, but I would look over it and come back with lyrics like, "U disrespect-- telling me go down south. Do u kiss ur mother with that same bad mouth? If ur gunnin' me just for the crowd to please, than u diss ur aunt, grandmother, sister & niece!" You know, I just had to think on my feet and not go out like some chump. That was in the days of dark caps, deep raps and verbal slaps. But I've grown and never really speak about it. Now and again when I see peeps from back in the day, they mention it.
I have had a very difficult time in creating all that I am/have and know. I have finally come through as the victor and dedicate all my efforts to my inspirational father who moved on, and kept his spirit alive thru me and music: 'Nke chi-da-LyricL '(Chi meaning God) that was the gift given. Life - given to me via my parent. Music - via me to you.
What I dig about what she does is not her flow, which I think is incredible, nor her witty wordplay, which is also top drawer. What I dig most about what she does is the spirit and energy she brings. Sista brings the noize! Big Time. There is a freedom about her. Her jams ooze joy and energy on the order of atomic fusion. Notice, too, that her energy is not random. It is focused. No matter how furious the pace, she never looses sight of the goal.
Once, I gave a third and fourth listen I also noticed that most of her work is electronic. Often times she’s the only breathing instrument on the recording. Truly 21st century music: computers and a vocalist let’s do this. I’m not a big fan of electronic music even though I dig classic Stevie and a bunch of Sun Ra.
Emmerald: "Loose Lips" is an undisputed classic. How did that tune come together?
Lyric L: Seiji I met thru Mark DC Lowe. He had a few beats on cassette—cassette, in this day and digital age huh? The beats were bangers. I wrote to one heavy-weight track that never got finished using a braggadocio's old chorus with quick-fire Ebonics from a hip-hop track I wrote. Then I went with him to Velvet Room (the former Co-op location) and MCed. I asked him to play any of the beats and I would do my thang. He played that beat for "Loose Lips" and I did what God has blessed me with, fed off the crowd and caught a vibe. That was incorporated with my chorus, "If loose lips sink ships, my ill scripts rips and flips like gymnastic and that's it)." We decided to record it at Bugz' Bitasweet Studios. I had worked with Daz-I-Kue before and loved his energy so didn't mind him mixing it down. I just added vocal and re-created the vibe without the Co-op super peeps and made magic. I was honored and to this day love the response from hearing it, including the Q-tip mix. That was heavy!! I didn't see or speak to Seiji again for months till he wanted me to MC with him and Bugz in Europe. The rest is exactly that.
Lyric L’s energy is bringing the element of surprise and unpredictability to music that is often made up of loops and samples, not much variation generally except for the Londoners who are advancing using the computer as an instrument and not just as a tool to chop up and replicate pre-existing beats.
So, here I dub her first Lady of soulful electronic music. Tell me you don’t feel it. I know you do. I know she grabs you, or at least one or two of these songs grab you.
Anyway, give it a go. Listen to the whole mixtape and see if you like what it does for you. “Loose Lips” was her first bona fide classic but and was where I first got turned on to her. Since then, I especially like “Ooo U & I” (“back together again”) and “Ever After.”
This is just a pause to refresh while waiting for delivery of the real deal. Soon come. Meanwhile, watch out: cat to cat…
—Kalamu ya Salaam
Lyric L Mixtape Playlist
01 “Loose Lips” from FabricLive: 12 – Seiji/Bugz In The Attic
02 “Swell Sessions” [demo]
03 “Take Flight” from Cut to The Chase - MJ Cole
04 “Sunshine” from A Symbol & A Sound - Unity Gain Theory
05 “You Know This” from Instant Volume 2 - Compiled by Radio Cafe (MA013)
06 “Doot Dude” from Doot Dude single - Nathan Haines
07 “He Wants To Know” from Ooh U & I single - Lyric L
08 “Mesmerized” from Mesmerized single - Mark de Clive-Lowe
09 “Ooo U & I (Back2Gether Again)”
10 “Ever (After)” - Ever (After) single - Lyric L
This entry was posted on Monday, April 13th, 2009 at 2:33 am and is filed under Contemporary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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