Abandoning his plans to become a lawyer after his degree in law and criminology, Lemzi may seem like an unlikely hip-hop talent. Yet his latest album, Leki, demonstrates that the two paths needn’t be diametrically opposed. In his upcoming album, Leki (released 7.12.2018), he draws upon his academic background to reflect upon a range of social issues and other thought-provoking topics (Brexit, knife crime, gang violence to name a few) in an attempt to galvanise today’s youth. Using the power of music, he takes aim at stereotypes attached to race, postcode and environment, as well as those associated with musical genres that have been maligned by the mainstream press—rap, trap, drill – highlighting the dangers of prejudice and bias. Lemzi’s music is ultra-slick but at the same time introspective and reflective, echoing socially-conscious rappers such as Akala and Stormzy. Leki is a rap album with a conscience.
B.O.T.S (available NOW on all platforms) is the lead single from Leki and functions as Lemzi’s plea for an end of street violence in the UK. Beginning by expressing his wish to see ‘no more blood on the streets’, he goes on to examine several causes and factors behind street violence for the duration of the song, touching on economic inequality, parental (or lack of) guidance, social media and postcode gangs with a depth that would rival any newspaper report.
His sound is generally laid back, with occasional nods to grime . Instead, Lemzi channels a slightly g-funk vibe (although gangsta-rap this is not) along with the jazz-inspired instrumentals reminiscent of Loyle Carner’s relaxed, Sunday-morning atmospherics.
Don’t let the low-key timbre lull you into a false sense of complacency, however. Leki is an album that has a very important message, and it is clear that Lemzi is exactly the person to tell it. His ability to explore through rap the intricacies of crime, inequality and other socio-economic issues in an eloquent and reasoned manner is really something to behold.
Wednesday 5th December – Underfound Residence
Friday 11th January – LEKI PERSPECTIVE, LEMZI’s HEADLINE SHOWS