lele[SPEAKS]
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"New Artist - lele[SPEAKS] - The Guardian"

Hometown: South London.

The lineup: Lele[VOCALS].

The background: The lilting, tropical rhythm, the sunny melody, the sing-song, half-rapped, half-sung vocal, identifiably English – Cockney, even - yet clear for all to hear, the lyrics featuring colloquialisms and deliberately banal references to common brands … Hold on, has Lily Allen got a new single out? Hold on, has Lily Allen gone mad?! "Eurgh, ain't you crude/Don't you know that I'm a prude/You got me losing all my food/Just because of you, you stinking perv/You make me heave when you walk by/Smelling like that it must be a crime/I fight crime so here's your fine/Make sure you pay it or get locked inside/I can't take the slander/Gonna slam your face in my quarter-pounder …"

If this is Lily Allen, she's been reincarnated in a new, PG-rated guise. Check label: it's not Allen, it's a South London girl from round Brixton way, not via the Brit School in Croydon, by the way, called Lele[SPEAKS]. Turns out she's called that because her name's Lele and she speaks, not just in real life, but on record. Speaks a lot. About not very nice things; about real life. This sunny/sinister duality reaches its apotheosis in the video to her song Uh-Oh. It features our 19-year-old heroine covered in blood, with her neck in a noose. It skanks and skitters along at a brisk mid-tempo pace. It's like Lovers Rock from Hell.

So who is this mysterious blonde South London grime-girl being touted as the next generational icon? For a start, she moonlights as a member of the Sick Kids with her big sister JacksonKiD!, who hypes her onstage, films her videos, and designs all her artwork, and best mate Goldielocks [NBOTD No 298]. Like the latter she operates at the interface between pop, garage, dub-step, dancehall and rap. The Sick Kids is also a brand, a "banging clothing label", a way of life, like Pharrell's Star Trak, only at affordable high street prices. Big into US punk, she played guitar for a while before, aged 17, being given a beat by a gentleman called Pig Man Dan, a producer who, along with another fine upstanding member of the community called Worthless, started up an indie label, RaggoTech. She began writing songs to electronic beats, about egg baps and superheroes, and in 2006 she decided to go public with her private thoughts and obsessions, recording a mixtape called The Mentalist Daily and an EP called Can't Beat Me that she sold on her MySpace.

What else? She's a lady, she ain't no ho'. She's beautiful like Penelope Cruz, or not, or not, still, you wouldn't refuse. She's a lyrical genius (her words). If she was a cartoon, she'd be a loony. She's got a ballad called I Could Never which bears the immortal line, "I've got a cold and you're my Benilyn." She doesn't know what magazines are, but she sings about body image on a track called Magazines. Influenced by TV, music and films, everything from Big Brother to Be Your Own Pet, Sway to Avril Lavigne, Bloc Party to Peep Show, she's distilling the ideas and obsessions of a generation to become, via her music and potty mouth, an MC, a role model, a leader, a star. Suddenly, Lily Allen has a serious rival.

The buzz: "There's something Miss Kitten about her, something Lily Allen, something Amanda Blank."

The truth: If Daphne & Celeste and Eminem spawned a monster…

Most likely to: Get bleeped on Radio 1.

Least likely to: Make you heave when you walk by.

What to buy: Debut single Juice is released by Raggo Tech on September 22.

File next to: Lily Allen, Remi Nicole, GoldieLocks, JacksonKiD! - Paul Lester - For 'The Guardian'


"NME RADAR"

London's got a new emcee

continued...

Lele [Speaks] has got me.

There's something Miss Kitten about her, something Lily Allen, something Amanda Blank - but most importantly, there's no Lady Sovereign - someone with an increasing air of depression about her.

It's mostly obsessive documentation of modern life, but her beats flip from dark, grimey purges, to bouncing newschool ditties. 'Juice' is her smash, and though it's the laziest comparison I could ever make, it's as close as anyone's ever found to a new 'LDN'.

This, however is 'Uhh Ooh' and if nothing else it's likely to get The Daily Hate Mail off Emo's back. - Alex Miller


"NME RADAR - FREE MP3"

I've told you about Lele before, how she manages to keep her neck far above the film of turd floating across most UK rap.

continued...

Now listen for yourselves, because I don't know about you but until I heard it I didn't think this lass could mug me. - Alex Miller


"Don't Panic Magazine"

Lele looks like she should be in the cast of Skins, or doing bubblegum pop whilst twirling her blonde hair around her finger, or wearing a spiked bracelet on one arm and a wristband on the other strumming a hot-pink Fender Stratocaster. Instead, she has chosen to occupy an ill-trodden path between her mutual loves of Rancid and the Wu-Tang Clan. Suffice to say, it's not an easy ride.

“When I first started up the Myspace page and started to get asked to gigs, the promoters didn’t even know who I was, acting all high and mighty and rubbish. I used to get mad at them, telling them to just gimme the mic, put my beats on – I’m doing it. You haven’t paid me, I don’t have to be here, but here I am – this is me.” Such behaviour seems remarkably at odds with her waif-like frame and languid, South-London accent. Her grit perhaps finds its roots in the banal yet hyper-ambitious MTV culture she is part-immersed in: “I’m really into American music: Fifty and Slim. Strangely people always cuss me about it, but I also really like the Southern stuff – Chamillionaire and Paul Wall. Obviously Blink 182…” Lele's identification with US gangsta rap can be traced to her self-confessed aversion to the ‘white trash’ that used to populate the Rose Hill Estate in her hometown of Mitchum – a place where no nightlife exists apart from Tiger Tigers and All Bar Ones. “Bars for the nine-to-five weekend warriors - I’m more of a go out whenever person, really. Maybe Wednesdays. ”

I ask about her publicised comparisons to Lily Allen and if it annoys her – her track Juice certainly has the ska-ry bounce that made Allen’s LDN such a commercial hit. “Everyone compares me to Lily Allen. It’s the laziest comparison. It just confuses me really. I reckon the closest similarity is that we’re both female. I wrote and recorded Juice when I was 17, before Lily had even emerged.” Lele pokes fun at the current wave of condescension towards the emo community in her video Uhh-Ooh, by simulating a bathtub suicide attempt and tearing her hair out over what turns out to be a shopping list. “Everyone has a bit of emo in them. For me, it’s cool to be that open with yourself, that experimental.”


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Contents | Previous Issues | Contribute
LELE (SPEAKS)
By Karim Khan

main

Lele looks like she should be in the cast of Skins, or doing bubblegum pop whilst twirling her blonde hair around her finger, or wearing a spiked bracelet on one arm and a wristband on the other strumming a hot-pink Fender Stratocaster. Instead, she has chosen to occupy an ill-trodden path between her mutual loves of Rancid and the Wu-Tang Clan. Suffice to say, it's not an easy ride.

VERSATILE, hmmm.

“When I first started up the Myspace page and started to get asked to gigs, the promoters didn’t even know who I was, acting all high and mighty and rubbish. I used to get mad at them, telling them to just gimme the mic, put my beats on – I’m doing it. You haven’t paid me, I don’t have to be here, but here I am – this is me.” Such behaviour seems remarkably at odds with her waif-like frame and languid, South-London accent. Her grit perhaps finds its roots in the banal yet hyper-ambitious MTV culture she is part-immersed in: “I’m really into American music: Fifty and Slim. Strangely people always cuss me about it, but I also really like the Southern stuff – Chamillionaire and Paul Wall. Obviously Blink 182…” Lele's identification with US gangsta rap can be traced to her self-confessed aversion to the ‘white trash’ that used to populate the Rose Hill Estate in her hometown of Mitchum – a place where no nightlife exists apart from Tiger Tigers and All Bar Ones. “Bars for the nine-to-five weekend warriors - I’m more of a go out whenever person, really. Maybe Wednesdays. ”

DYNAMIC.
DYNAMIC.

I ask about her publicised comparisons to Lily Allen and if it annoys her – her track Juice certainly has the ska-ry bounce that made Allen’s LDN such a commercial hit. “Everyone compares me to Lily Allen. It’s the laziest comparison. It just confuses me really. I reckon the closest similarity is that we’re both female. I wrote and recorded Juice when I was 17, before Lily had even emerged.” Lele pokes fun at the current wave of condescension towards the emo community in her video Uhh-Ooh, by simulating a bathtub suicide attempt and tearing her hair out over what turns out to be a shopping list. “Everyone has a bit of emo in them. For me, it’s cool to be that open with yourself, that experimental.”

The more you talk to her, the more Lele (SPEAKS) seems an apt moniker – like she knows exactly what you might think of her, and that she knows that she’s going to do her own thing anyway. “I’m so excited about my new material: lyrically, flow-wise I’ve gotten a lot better. It’s just been so long since I’ve had new stuff out – the last time I was in the studio was a year ago. I write all the time. I’ve got stacks of lyrics – so thank god [SuperVision] came around‘cos it was getting to the stage where I couldn’t afford studio time anymore!” - Karim Khan


Discography

Not at the moment, I have only released underground mixtape stuff, so far.

Photos

Bio

My music is alot about the lyrics, so when you listen it should be easy to paint a picture in your mind. It's really hard to put me in box in fact you just can't do it because I think a lil bit of me could fit in anywhere. My main love is Hip Hop, PUNK and Pop. These all have a stronge influence on me. I love the attitude of Punk and I love the flows that come from hiphop. I'd say I have 3 mains zones, the hard and harsh lyrical side/the sweet emotional side/and well the strange side. Its better you just take a listen and make up your own mind!