I want to welcome Lanice London to the blog today. Watch for her name, it is fast growing in the hip-hop music scene and, from what I’ve seen (and heard) she’s not taking any prisoners.
I know, most of you are looking at this on my blog and say Whaaat? I don’t listen to that! Grow up, please. Music is a cultural revolution more than any other form of art and the one last bastions of homophobia in music is hip-hop. (Though this is rapidly changing.) The simple fact is that LGBTQ kids aren’t listening to Evita anymore people; they’re looking for music that represents how they feel right now, in this time period, and reflects what they are going through on a day-to-day basis. Hip-hop does that, poetically, sometimes harshly; but always with an understanding that the artist has lived the rhymes and can express a shared reality in their beats. That is why it is such a popular music genre.
B: Lanice, you’re from Philly, that’s a hard city. How has that influenced your music, particularly as a lesbian woman?
L: Yes, Philly is a very talented but competitive city when it comes to the hip hop music scene. Being a lesbian kind of gave me the mind set to not only demolish the female competition but the male competition as well. There has been a lot of great artists to come out of Philly, hopefully I will have my chance to leave my footprint on the city.
B: There’s a lot of talk going around now about how hip-hop is changing its outlook on homosexuality since Frank Ocean came out. Snoop Dogg, (one of my favorites) spoke up just recently about it as well. What are your thoughts?
L: There have been major strides recently with “introducing” hip hop to homosexuality. Frank Ocean made what I’m sure was one of the hardest decision of his life – to come out as a hip hop artist. I really do believe that he has opened the door for a lot of LGBTQ artist. I have had my dealings with labels, A&R’s, etc. where I was turned down because of my image and my unwillingness to change.
B: Music has been an integral part of my life (and my writing process) since I was a child. I listen to just about every form of music out there simply because it is such an extreme expression of the culture, the time, and the beauty of the artist that puts it out. There is always music going in my home. Always. What do you listen to?
L: I listen to different genres of music but mostly hip hop. I do like Maroon 5, Gym Class Heros, The Script, Rita Ora, Adelle and a few others.
B: I have to admit, so far my favorite track is Chuck Taylor, but you have a verse in Holding that says “To pay for production when you have no food is just a simple sacrifice but that’s what we do.” I sometimes wonder if people really understand how much artists sacrifice for their art form, especially LGBT hip-hop artists. Where did this verse come from and what are your thoughts about that?
L: I literally have put my life on hold to chase my dream to become a hip hop artist. Now some people may argue that I am a hip hop artist but when I say hip hop artist I mean Grammy winning, multi-platinum selling, touring, international hip hop artist. I have sacrificed so much when it comes to my music and there has been days where I chose something music related over food, or simple necessities to live. This is my passion and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else but music. Every time I think about having to work a 9-5 for the next 30 to 40 years it only makes me work harder as an artist.
B: You’ve got Murphy’s Law out now. (Download it free here.) What do you see in your future and where to you want to take your career?
L: I want to take my career as far as I can. With Murphy’s Law, I am hoping that someone takes the chance on a LGBT artist, can see my passion and says ok we are going to sign you.
B: What’s your message for those young LGBT hip-hop artists coming up behind you?
L: My message to other LGBT artist would be, never let anyone tell you that you can’t be or do whatever you want. In this industry you have to invest in yourself, and never give up.
If you are a LGBTQ author, artist or filmmaker and would like to chat, please feel free to contact me.