‘Recycle and redistribute, best believe we’re fuckin’ equals / we all know about them familiar shapes and polyhedrals…’
What happens when you take a biochemistry course from a premier London University, a pinch of Portugese culture + the genre of UK Hip Hop, and chuck them in a pot together to simmer. Well… seek the picture above for the answer.
Meet South London’s Elethal, who, in a genre + industry which daily seems to become more bogged down by a lack of diversity and creativity, is a refreshing and encouraging profile that stands out in the ocean of faceless young artists screaming for attention.
I can’t remember how/when I came across her music (I think it was by chance on Twitter), but I remember being instantly intrigued by her bio, which reads:
‘Biochemistry – UCL’ x ‘Mixtape in progress’ . I remember being a simpleton and thinking…’what the actual fuck’.
Now, I’m not knocking them, but in my experiences, UCL (University College London) students do NOT put out mixtapes. As my day job, I work in a bar very near the UCL campus, and in my dealings with them so far I had this notion that all UCL students do is drink real ale and talk about communism. So, I was shocked to find that Elethal fully broke my narrow minded stereotype, and showed me that there indeed is someone in UCL that produces some fire.
The 19 year old artist pairs bars consisted of existential philosophy and political theory with sleekly produced instrumentals of a distinctly eerie nature to form her very own brand of UK Hip Hop which, with a little more time and work, has in our opinion the potential to rival (and dare we say possibly even better) your Little Simz’ and NoLay’s who are currently doing bits for female representation in the UK urban genres. Elethal’s lyrics are peppered with intermittent gems of intelligence, with the majority of the production so far coming from the highly underrated Fourz Ell and Ripley, whose delicious jazz + soul inspired, slightly spaced out beats aren’t too far from something we can imagine established poetic UK artists such as Coops or Loyle Carner going in over.
We did a Q + A sesh with Elethal to get to know her a bit better. Here’s what went down:
What ends are you from? Where did you grow up/ where are you based now?
I was born in Portugal, but soon after moved to London. I grew up in South London and it’s currently where I am based.
Are there any crews/ collectives you’ve worked with in the past and/or work with now?
Yes, I’ve worked with a few up and coming producers. Fourz Ell is a brilliant independent artist, he sends me his beats exclusively to work with and has released numerous albums of beats. He is also producing a documentary called Beauty In The Beats that essential focuses on the ‘behind the scenes’ of music which I will be featuring in. Ripley comes from electronic music label Her Records and has featured on Rinse FM. He works a lot with mastering the beats and will be working with me to produce a CD.
Give us a basic outline of your journey through music so far.
I started at a young age doing shows at local events and with the school choir which fueled my interest for music. During my teenage years I explored poetry and spoken word attending various events where I felt free to speak my mind. It was during my summer trip to Portugal at 16 that I was inspired by how influential the rap culture was and it was where I started free styling and battle rapping. This led to the formation of “Elethal”, and since then I have been producing songs, battling and preparing material for an album release.
What are your plans for the next year and further? Are there any upcoming projects you want us to shoutout?
I am hoping for my first album release next year which will be heavily focused on its lyrical content and will be a compilation of at least ten songs of mine. I really hope to break through into the scene with the release of at least my first video by the end of the Summer and am looking forward to embracing the opportunities that come. I’m also looking to compete against other rappers and to be involved projects like Don’t Flop and Lord of the Mics.
How you do feel about the current female representation in the grime scene? What artists have inspired you both today and in the past?
I feel there is a lack of good female representation in the music scene as a whole, but especially in the grime scene, however I also see big changes coming. I’m inspired by many different artists namely Immortal Technique and Lowkey, and in the grime scene particularly people such as Trim, JME, CAS, Roll Deep and Dizzee Rascal.
Will you be doing shows?
Hopefully I will get an opportunity to grace the stage with my presence soon.
How are you finding being a student and an aspiring artist? Tell us what it’s like to be a UCL student and a grime mc!
I have a passion for both my projects, Biochemistry lets me see the world from a more defined and scientific perspective and music allows me to channel my memories, views and ideas. Sometimes it can be challenging, but it was always important to me to have a creative outlet as well as an academic one and to be able to find that balance. It’s interesting as a lot of people at UCL are international students so have not been introduced to the UK grime scene yet and I feel honored to be the one bringing it to them.
Elethal is definitely one to be watching out for, and is hopefully on track to dropping that mixtape sometime in the next year! Catch her here on:
We’ve included some of our favourite of her tracks below for you to spin:
Compiled by @CareerEnderSam