Ayo managed to catch up with a pioneer of the UK hip hop scene. Lskins started up free styling at school and soon was linking with Flyo, another pioneer in the scene.
What is the concept behind the ‘Elevator Music’ project?
This is the first project I started with the name. I like old shit, 1970s movies like the Godfather, and the whole aesthetic of what an Elevator music tape would look like visually, cover wise and of course videos. As well as that I feel like I make that music, not to blow my own trumpet, but I just feel like I elevate minds, a little bit more than other rappers. It’s a way of life for the higher minds.
What type of message are you trying to portray in your music?
I don’t feel like I am really trying to portray a message, I just write music, I write what I feel is me at the moment and how I feel shit should be. I am just trying to be as real as I can with everything that I write.
What’s on your IPod? Who did you listen to growing up?
On my IPod, you will see a lot Curren$y, Styles P and a lot of old school 90s shit, I’ve been fucking with DMX recently, DJ Quik and the Cali’ stuff, yeah I fuck with bare people. My brother gave me the So Solid Crew album, I listened to a lot of Bushkin and a lot of early rave music, as I got older my brother gave me CDs like Blueprint 2 and Illmatic, and funnily enough the first tape I ever bought was LL Cool J’s first album.
You had an interest in a basketball career, what made you start rapping?
It was all injuries I hyper-extended my knee, I didn’t really have the same step that I used to. I went to the Great Britain Institute of Basketball, used to play for Hackney, and went to the States for a little bit, bit in France and nothing really worked out. It was all a dramatic change, my last day of school I just said bye see you later I’m writing raps, there was no in between, maybe because I was pissed off that I didn’t achieve what I wanted to achieve in the sport that I loved.
“I don’t really know what Grime and Rap is anymore, I’m a bit baffed, can’t even lie.”
Your producer Flyo is prominent in terms of your production, how did you two meet?
That’s my brother, basically I went to school Fortismere and he went to Highgate Wood and them schools are right next to each other. When I stopped playing basketball, I was shotting weed and all that stuff, he played football and he kinda changed around the same time. It was just one of those friendships that was meant to be. Our friends were friends. There is like a group of seven of us, we just starting making music straight from that.
Who in the UK would you say is doing best in terms of UK Hip Hop and Grime?
I don’t really know what Grime and Rap is anymore, I’m a bit baffed can’t even lie. All the Grime tunes that they say are popping now are Rap tunes. I still think Wiley is the best, that P Money tune is better than any grime tune. I thought that was sick, I like the energy and the video, I just loved it.
Of course like Skepta is smashing it right now, and he is from North London. He used to live where I used to train for basketball and he has made it from the ends. Casisdead is the fucking guy and the music that he has is gonna fuck everyone up. I knew about him from day, he was that rapper that made me think about rapping.
Would you say the UK supports these cultures in terms of shows and events?
No and Yes, I feel you control your own success, and I say that to everyone, I think the people that moan about this shit ain’t really popping, you get supported when you deserve your support, that’s how I feel. Look at Skepta he just toured the States, Krept and Konan are doing well, Chipmunk had his thing, Wretch is having his success.
What is most memorable performance and have you got any events coming up?
Nah they don’t wanna book Skinner man. I have done two shows, the first one was with Drae da Skimask, he is an ill producer, that one was with Onoe Capone, the next one was a more of a like Hip Hop crowd, where they just watch and they might clap you off if your lucky. I feel like if I have a big crowd we are gonna rock it out.
Relaxed, just chilled, I go watch my Arsenal, a big basketball fan I go watch my playoffs, old movies, a lot of Netflix, smoking good weed and travelling the world is something that I need to do more often but I’m hoping my music does that for me.
It is pretty obvious that weed influences you and you have a song with Black The Ripper, where do you stand on legislation?
Make that shit legal bro! Come on man, hand the Queen a joint and let’s get it popping! That’s how I feel, I know so many people that are like 60-70 still smoking weed, laughing, no matter whether the shit becomes legal I am still gonna smoke the best weed, I can possibly find, right now I’m smoking OG Kush. I want it to get legal but not too expensive!
“Yeah man, independent to the tee!”
Obviously you know Black The Ripper, who got out smoked?
I say to anyone the only way you’re gonna out smoke me is if we smoke for two days straight and I fall asleep. I think Blacks is the same. I have a story we were in Barcelona, we were at Dab.A.Doo, I don’t really fuck with Dabs, and we both don’t fuck with that. I keep in the paper, he has just come off his flight we are both judging this competition, and all I am gonna say is he fell asleep!
Are you an independent artist, and if so how important is it to be so?
Yeah man, independent to the tee! I put out ‘The Brainstorming Project’ on Long Lost Brother Label.
What are the next steps for you?
‘Elevator Music’ is what is next, and after that mad projects, I am tired of keeping my shit to myself. Mostly mix tapes and hopefully an album will come.
Finally, if you could change anything about the world, what would it be?
words by Ayo Fagbemi
thanks to Lskins for the interview