Meet [L]ife (Pronounced 'Life' or 'Ife in Life'), a new addition to the UK Rap scene. Ife carries his own unique feel within his music where he raps about perceptions, concepts and deeper meanings. I spent the day with him finding out about where his passion came from, soundcloud plays, deep voices and his plans for the future...
How is life treating you Ife?
"I’m very well, I can’t complain. A lot of people are showing love towards my music even though I've only recently started rapping and I just find that amazing, it’s almost quite surreal. Outside of music, well - A Levels. I’m in my final year (Year 13) so it’s taking a lot out of the time I could be using to focus on my music, but hopefully in the Summer I will have more time to make cool stuff."
When did you decide you wanted to start rapping?
"Ever since I heard ‘Lupe Fiasco - I Gotcha’ back in 2006, that was the song which really got me into rap as a genre and it became something I was really interested in. From around early last year I began to freestyle to myself like every single day - nothing serious, but for my own development. I’d literally go on YouTube, pick out a random old-school hip hop instrumental and just rhyme to myself. That quickly developed into me actually wanting to make music for others to listen to, which lead onto me releasing my first single ‘[+1 ATK]’ in January. I think it reached 1000 listens in its first day? Something like that, but it really did motivated me to want to continue to make music as my style is quite different to the majority of UK rap and I was quite unsure as to how people would react to it. Before that, I've never stepped near anything close to a studio so it’s still a really new experience to me!"
Most people that have heard you are shocked by your naturally deep voice! what kind of responses have you received?
"A mixture! Some people really like my voice saying it’s ‘unique’, while others constantly ask if its real or if i’m putting it on. It’s always funny when people say I sound scary because that’s such a strong contrast to my personality."
Where do you get inspiration for your lyrics from?
"My daily life really. Most of my songs are just thoughts which have been lurking around my head for a while and need some sort of expression, and I think that writing them down is the perfect way to materialise them! Sometimes I like to sit down, whether it’s on a bus, train, wherever with my headphones in and ‘J Dilla - Vibeout’ on repeat and just write, regardless of what the first idea is and whether its ‘good’ or not, i just write it down. I literally have hundreds of notes on my phone with things ranging from single words which I like the sound of to whole verses which I can then go back to and build on them!"
So you're working on your EP at the moment, what is it about?
"Yeah! Well i’m working on a mixtape titled ‘Ife in Life’. I can only describe it as an extract of my mind. The main concept of the tape is the journey from ‘The Summit’ (the highest point) to ‘The Abyss’ (the lowest point) in my mind with a neutral midpoint and other stages along the way."
What kinds of moods and vibes can we expect it to bring?
"Due to the concept, there's going to be a range of moods and vibes; some songs you’d want to chill to, others will make you want to go into deep reflection, some will get you gassed (hopefully) while others would have a very dark and trippy vibe to them!"
As well as being a musician you're also very academically smart! How does it feel to be going to Cambridge and what will you be studying there?
"Haha, I wish my place was guaranteed, I have an conditional offer which means I need to achieve at least A*AA for my A2 exams so I’m going to be quite tense until results day! I’ll be studying Architecture there, hopefully."
What else do you do when you're not making music?
"Eat sour skittles and drink ribena. Those are the two main things. As well as those, I’m really into art and I love drawing/sketching. I also do Athletics (sprinting). In a way i’m a massive nerd, I love playing MMORPGS (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) although I haven’t had the time to play many in a while… I also watch a LOT of anime! My favourites are probably ‘Cowboy Bebop’, ‘Yu Yu Hakusho’ and ‘Accel World’."
Can we expect any collaborations on any upcoming releases?
"Yeah! At the moment Yungest and I are working on a track for my mixtape. I’m also working with Josh Arce, he’s producing a dope beat to feature on my mix tape."
Who would you love to work with in the future?
"Hmm… I’d love to work with Kilo Kish - she’s so cool, chilled and laidback and I think the contrasts of our voices would sound so dope on a track! I’d also love to work with Earl Sweatshirt and Flying Lotus!