by Talia M.
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Words matter in conversation, online, and, of course, in hip-hop. Lady London strings together rhymes worthy of a social media caption, a street corner battle, or a festival stage. The New Jersey-born and Los Angeles-based rapper went from packing poetry shows as a teen and embarking on a pre-med path in college to rewriting her “10-year plan” and deciding to explore her artistry professionally in 2018 as a true outlier with hip-hop with an old school respect for wordplay and new school flare. After amassing millions of views and receiving the endorsement of Hot 97, Sway’s Universe, Cardi B, Diddy, Revolt, Genius, and more, she doubles down on a staunch commitment to verbal excellence on a series of 2021 singles and more to come.

“There are multiple levels to me,” she explains. “I’m not one-dimensional. I really take my craft seriously. I consider rap to be an artform—not a trend. I’ve studied cadences, timing, breath control, double and triple entendres, and syllables. It almost breaks down to an exact science. I pay attention to verbiage, semantics, and diction. I’m a connoisseur of rhythmical composition in its purest form. I’m just a boss,” she grins.

Born to a Jamaican mother and Trinidadian father, she split her childhood between East Orange, New Jersey and The Bronx, New York. Hip-hop surrounded her as a kid—quite literally. Lady London’s uncle Chino XL even held her in his hands, while he recorded I Told You So. Growing up, she was inspired by JAY-Z, Foxy Brown, Lil Kim, Lauryn Hill, Slick Rick, Whitney Houston, and Drake. Upon graduating from an all-girls Catholic high school at the top of her class, she attended Howard University where she studied Sports Medicine and Chemistry. During this time, she also participated in poetry contests and sold out shows across Washington, D.C.

In March 2018, she posted a poetry video on her Instagram. It exploded to the tune of 8 million-plus views. Looking ahead, shortly after earning her Master of Science from Keck School of Medicine at USC, she gained acceptance to the prestigious medical program at the university—which she deferred in order to pursue music.

“Everything changed,” she states. “I figured I could always go back to school. Convincing my West Indian family was very interesting. They didn’t understand why I was willing to give up everything I had been working towards. I knew I had to do music, though. You can’t run from destiny.”

She built an audience of over 685K followers on Instagram through consistently posting content and entertaining fans with the “Lady Londays” series and more. At the same time, she traveled the world, tracking ideas everywhere from Greece and China to Atlanta and Los Angeles, where she settled after graduate school. Each one of these experiences and places left its imprint on her.

“Where I’m from definitely put that hustle in me,” she muses. “It’s like a double hustle on top of being raised West Indian. DC changed my life and made me the woman I am. I went to Howard as a young girl not really sure of what I wanted to do in the world. It molded me with the tools to know how to survive. L.A. was a total culture shock. It was important, because I already had a sense of self, so I didn’t fall into the facades of the city. I’m unapologetically me. When I rap, I don’t run from the fact I’m well-versed and articulate.”

In 2021, she further defined a singular style of her own with “Money Over.” She notably reignited a Barrington Levy sample with a nod to her Caribbean roots and no shortage of fierce rapping. It quickly eclipsed 500,000-plus views on YouTube as hip-hop superstar and fellow New Yorker Cardi B went as far as to christen her “the most slept on” via social media. Not to mention, Rihanna’s FENTY recruited her as a SAVAGE ambassador. At the BET Awards, she turned heads with more knockout bars during a Genius-presented performance, this time in support of Black Lives Matter. Her shot would be heard around the world as Diddy, Revolt TV, and more feverishly co-signed her.

Building out her body of work, the single “Never” highlights the nuances of her approach. She lays into the production with clearly enunciated and clever verses punctuated by admissions such as, “I’m more David than Goliath.”

“It’s the most important song I’ve ever recorded,” she admits. “At the time, I was really upset. My hard drive had crashed, and I lost all of my work. I was battling depression and anxiety. There’s a lot of symbolism in the song. Labels tried to, figuratively, put shackles on me and bind me. I also felt small in my relationship at the time. It’s an emotional record. I was being brutally transparent about the past two years.”

Ultimately, you’ll fall in love with Lady London too.

“When you listen to me, I want you to feel comfortable in yourself and empowered more than anything,” she leaves off. “We’re all the same. We all have things we battle, daily, but everyone excels at something. Therefore, every person is a boss in his or her own way. And you control the narrative around your own life. I want to be proof of that. Music is the closest thing to religion without the systemic element. It’s a spiritual encounter. It shifts our movements; it governs our temperament. And, if nothing more, I hope to transcend a generation with what I create and leave a legacy behind.”

“Lady Like: The Boss Tape” Tracklist

  1. Viral
  2. Long Live Shamello
  3. Yikes
  4. Lemon Pepper, Wet
  5. Lady What, Lady Who?
  6. All I See
  7. Black Love
  8. Buss It/Ski
  9. Welcome To The Party
  10. You’re Still Mine ft. Makaela
  11. Reciprocity
  12. Girl Like Me
  13. Lisa’s Story ft. Dub Aura

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