Lady Leshurr. Melesha O’Garro (aged 28). The pint-sized female rapper, producer and songwriter who is putting Birmingham on the map (Wikipedia, 2013).
A female grime artist? Dominating the grime scene in the UK. Lady Leshurr has arguably put grime on the map, and its pinpoint location is no longer London. But Birmingham.
Very few artists reach over 28 million views on a single before they even release their album. This fast rising north star broke YouTube’s grime with Queen Speech Episode 4 in May 2016. Self-produced, freestyling about memes and correct dental hygiene; she took the grime scene by storm.
Describing her new EP as “fun” and “bringing back the old school vibe”. Mode is Lady’s first release since her pinnacle EP Queen’s Speech in 2016. Working hard in the studio to try and create a “club vibe” to try and get a track that her listeners would be able to dance to. Lady Leshurr was undoubtedly killing the freestyle game, but she wanted to evolve her bars into full songs.
‘Juice’ – my favourite.
‘F My Ex’
‘Y R U Lying?’
Don’t worry, she has still got plenty of trademark “bants” in her new EP Mode. One thing I truly admire about her as an artist is how she manages to intertwine social media trends in her songs. The title track “Mode” features a soundbite of the Dr. Phil clip, “Cash me ousside, howbow dah?” that went viral after tough-talking teen Danielle Bregoli challenged the show’s audience to a fight.
In 2016, Lady Leshurr won a MOBO award for the best Female Act (Lobenfeld, 2017). Two years prior, The Birmingham Grime scene was recognised in this year’s MOBO Awards, with UK Grime and hip hop sensations leading the way with 15 nominations and the introduction of the new category for MOBO Best Grime (Supatrax, 2014). Birmingham is the largest scene outside of London and it’s starting to receive more recognition to its contribution to grime.
However, the infamous as the home of grime, London is starting to lose that reputation. Many have commented on how some London grime artist have become commercialised. London grime artists seem to be dabbling in other genres. Dizzle Rascal was one of the first to branch out and create a track with Robbie Williams. Prime example, Tinchy Stryder made a video with the Chuckle Brothers – ‘to me’ and to probably ‘to you’ (sorry that was cheesy), this isn’t the grime music we know and love.
In order to find true grime you have to travel a few hours up the m25 to find it in the Midlands. Skepta discusses the current state of Grime across the UK, and claims the grime scene is set to be strongest in Birmingham in the near future. “Producers are overshadowing the grime artist…Hungry MC are blossoming in Birmingham.
In Birmingham grime goes back to its roots. Instead of dropping bars about ‘Becky with the big butt’ they speak truth about their desire for the game and their struggle. Birmingham isn’t exactly top of the UK’s a holiday destination list. With rising crime rates and the notorious gang violence in B6 and other areas of the city. Leshurr’s drive and ambition got where she is by refusing to compromise and retaining full creative control. Lady Leshurr is paving the way for young girls like herself in an extremely male-oriented industry. Here is to hoping that Mode’s success is parallel or even bigger than the Queen Speech Series.