A European superstar is gearing up to take America by storm. Lady Leshurr, a 27-year-old rapper from Birmingham, England is working with top hip-hop producers on her debut album. But her career in the States began when a record label wanted her to become the next Nicki Minaj.
Leshurr did not take the bait.
“[Atlantic Records] flew me out and we had a conversation, but their idea was that they were going to pit me against Nicki Minaj,” she told The Guardian. “It was like: ‘She’s the biggest female MC and you need to take her down,’ and I wasn’t feeling that at all.”
The opportunity came from a remix video she released of Chris Brown and Busta Rhymes’ “Look At Me Now.” She changed the words to fit her but kept up with Busta’s super-speedy flow.
“That whole stereotype of female rappers and their supporters having to compete with each other – it seems to be a crime to be a fan of two female rappers that are successful,” Leshurr – born Melesha O’Garro – said. “So I turned it down.”
But turning it down wasn’t easy. She added Atlantic offered an “amazing” amount of money. It would have given her the chance to use music to provide for her mother.
“I’m not going to lie, I cried on the plane home,” she explained. “Because I thought I’d made a mistake and my mom needed the money. It might have been my only chance. But I know by now I would probably have been dropped and my career would have been ruined.”
Today, her label is RCA. Producers like Timbaland and Bangladesh – the man behind Beyoncé’s “Diva” – are crafting her new album.
And an image solely dedicated to the music goes with the LP. It’s a persona that sets her apart from other female entertainers.
“You’ll never see me with my breasts hanging out or showing so much flesh that you can’t show it to your kids or things like that,” she shared. “Because, one, I respect myself as a person; two, I want to make people understand that you don’t have to go that route to be successful. If you’ve got the talent, let the talent talk.” [Kiersten Willis]