Meet Lyrically Challenged, hip hop innovators (UK)
Meet Lyrically Challenged, a group of artists with a twist, who are on a particular mission.
Founded as an all-female Hip Hop collective and hailing from London, they are not your average group of rappers. At a time when what is heard on the radio may not always reflect the vibrant scene that exists, Lyrically Challenged are on a mission to bring things back to their foundation.
They meet once a month at Passing Clouds in Dalston, where familiar faces and new ones alike share music and spoken word poetry in a setting which is itself as inspiring and original as what you are likely to hear. The vibes are positive, and lyricists are on point and punchy.
MCs Shay D and Angel, who are also the co-founders of Lyrically Challenged, are themselves respected for their powerful and no frills lyricism. They deal with many different subjects ranging from female empowerment to hard-hitting observations about the world around them and what makes it turn. They make it all fun too.
According to Shay, “The vision of Lyrically Challenged is to bring Hip-Hop back to its roots, providing a platform for conscious artists to be heard and recognised. Words and art hold power, and have the potential to make an audience feel informed, passionate, unified, inspired, empowered, loved and most of all happy. We aim to use hip hop to achieve this.” I think they have.
To turn up and listen on any given day you’re just as likely to hear lyricists and rappers offering poetical potent thought-provoking and introspective reflections of the self as you are to hear hard-hitting critiques of society and culture. Of course, it all sounds great and offers much food for thought – especially if you write or are any kind of artist yourself. For any Hip Hop heads, it’s ear candy just to listen to – but there’s a real emphasis on words and an appreciation for language, feeling and lyricism. And it all sounds good.
What Lyrically Challenged has managed to do is blur the traditional protocol at these kinds of events by blending the audience and performers into one. Many spectators often perform, and the performers interact with the audience, making this a unique kind of setting that you won’t see too often elsewhere.
It’s worth going to see them if you love Hip Hop. Last week they hosted the infamous Caxton Press, and have also been supported by artists like Akala and many others.
Look out for big things from Lyrically Challenged this year, and if you get the chance: go and see them in person.