INTERVIEW: Leddie MC | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Ben Hoy-Taylor

If someone speaks of hip-hop and Teesside in the same breath, it’s likely that sentence will also mention Leddie MC. Battling pre-conceptions on two fronts – being a female MC and hailing from Middlesbrough – would seem to put any aspiring rhymer at an immediate disadvantage, but after a career so far that has included collaborations with long-time friend and partner-in-crime Smoggy, she’s seeing in the new year with the release of A Piece Of Cake on 24th January; an unexpected full length album – a record that was only initially supposed to be a four-track EP: “I decided it would keep me busy while I was off work for a couple of weeks after surgery. Two weeks later I had about nine tracks and discussed the release with people I know, and fans of my music who loved the idea of an album.”

While the construction of a full album might appear to have been a quick process, Leddie’s journey to this point hasn’t been flash in the pan. She first started writing lyrics and rhymes in her early teens. “I used to play football a lot and I think as I grew older I was bored mentally, so writing a few lyrics now and again kind of helped to relieve that.”

no matter how good you are or what you achieve, some will never admit you’re skilled at what you do, or praise your techniques or achievements

Both football and hip-hop are still incredibly male dominated and there’s a parallel between the two that Leddie recognises: “It’s very male orientated, which I feel kind of hinders my progress at times. I once had it likened to being a female footballer on a field full of men, and no matter how good you are or what you achieve, some will never admit you’re skilled at what you do, or praise your techniques or achievements.”

But being something different can be a good thing, helping to spur her on towards individuality and carving out her own niche. As the North-East hip-hop scene seems to have blown up in the last year or so, it can still be problematic, as Leddie recognises: “Now, anyone can have a track played or get on the local circuit, and there’s less quality control. Years ago, they had to believe you had the skills before you were even passed the mic, and you had to work your way up. I’m caught in-between trying to achieve something within it, but also distancing myself and creating my own furrow.”

The production of the album is incredibly lush, and has a very individual sound. Listening to the title track, that unmistakable Middlesbrough accent sits at odds with the laid-back beats and the hazy, organic and summery musical samples, yet manages to remain comfortable in its own skin. Speaking to Leddie, it seems almost inevitable that this would be the case. “I used to procrastinate over what I was writing so much that I’d struggle to get it out because I was so caught up within the lyrical side and needing to be the best there is. Now, although I still want to be the best, I write as it falls out of my head.”


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