Back in 2020 Lex Amor announced her arrival on the UK rap scene with Government Tropicana, an immediate classic showcasing the North London rapper’s languid flow and deft code switching between English and Igbo.
Now she’s back with the stand alone single “Rocks” accompanied by a striking Tyrus directed video shot in her now trademark black and white palette.
Fresh from a sellout show at London’s Omeara, and ahead of a slot at Pitchfork Music Festival – PAM checked in with Lex to talk creativity, intention, and collaboration.
What music did you grow up around?
Growing up with my mum who was actually quite young I feel like I grew up with her kind of musical influences and what she liked at the time which was everything from TLC to Joe. Some of the greats of that time were what you’d find in my house! Artists like Ginuwine, you know, that was kind of my start. I’d like to say I was listening to Stevie Wonder. But I wasn’t.
How did you move from writing poems to rapping and finding your flow?
I’ve always been a consumer of music and I’ve been obsessed with music my whole life. I think when I started writing poetry I just felt this kind of need or this pull to express myself through words. Poetry was literally the only route that I had as I didn’t really have access to music or the means of making music. I didn’t know anyone around me that was making music or who had a studio, so poetry just seemed to be the easiest access point as you just need a pen and a pad. There were people around me that were also taking that route and spoken word nights to go to.
Music followed because I felt I had reached a bit of a wall and I wanted to elevate the message a little bit. It was about 2014 or 2015 and you know SoundCloud was popular at this time and there were beautiful things on SoundCloud, like complete bodies of work!
It was a really inspiring time for me and I thought to carry this and to express myself through melody and through instruments I should get on SoundCloud too. So I got on SoundCloud and would recite poetry over little beats and that was kind of my entry point really, just finding beats and different ways to say things over them and then progressively the poems became a bit more formatted, a bit more flowy, and with more construction and more intention. This transition definitely took a while though.
How does “Rocks” follow on from Government Tropicana?
I think it mirrors the intention, both in content and in style but it’s also different. I think that’s something I have learned and I’m trying to experiment with – to experiment with flow, with mixing and also melodic ideas and influences. and stuff like that. I think the scope of influence (going forward) will be wider than it was on GT.
And how did you input the video?
I think the messaging is important and with the editing we had seven or eight different variations as we wanted to make sure we were conveying the intention as well as we possibly could, but also leaving that door open for interpretation. Finding that balance is really important for us and it’s always going to be a collaborative process. Tyrus came with ideas for how he wanted it to look and be thematically, and together we just made sure that it made sense with the song and the context and is sending the right message. So yeah, it’s been fun and I learned a lot.
You recently performed at Omeara after this hiatus we’ve all had. How did it feel to connect again with your audience?
It was crazy man and honestly I feel like I still haven’t really ingested the multiplicity of emotions I was experiencing. Being able to perform again and exchange energy after such a long time it felt highly concentrated, and it was just so overwhelming and beautiful. I felt really safe in that space and people were just vibing and I was able to express my gratitude, but also share and exchange energy with the people that were in the space. It was very healing. and I think it gave me many things that I didn’t know I needed at the time.
Finally, what can we look forward to from Lex Amor in 2022?
We just announced four dates for next April. Also we’re working on a project which will be out next year, I don’t want to tempt fate by saying when! But definitely next year. Then more of just being out in the world again as we were saying before, more collaboration and more community, and making the circle wider.
I feel ready to perform so to speak and I’m in a space where I feel like I’ve found peace, I know my message and what it is I want to talk about and I’m ready to really lean into that.
Lex Amor will be performing across the UK on the following dates:
- 19/04/22 – Manchester, Yes
- 20/04/22 – Bristol, Rough Trade Records
- 21/04/22 – Birmingham, O2 Academy 3
- 24/04/22 – London, Village Underground