Everything you need to know about the ‘Queen’s Speech’ rapper
“I’ll be Beyoncé to these girls,” rapped Lady Leshurr on the third of her five breakout ‘Queen’s Speech’ freestyles in 2015, and sure enough she’s gearing up to become the Queen Bey of the grime/UK rap revival. Having released copious mixtapes and landed feature spots with everyone from Kano and Labrinth to Orbital, she’s now the toast of the US hip-hop community, working with the likes of Timbaland on her debut album after almost ten years on the rise. But how did she get here? Here’s everything you need to know about the lady they call ‘Lesh’.
Lady Leshurr: background, real name and early mixtapes
Born Melesha O'Garro in Solihull, Birmingham, Lady Leshurr was an early starter in the rap game. “I grew up around music,” she told The Independent. “My mum used to play a lot of reggae like Sister Nancy and Bob Marley around the house so basically, when I was around six, I was messing about and doing my own little raps and songs. My family are all rappers and singers anyway so I was always involved in it from a young age.”
Inspired by Eminem, Lil Wayne, Missy Elliott and later Nicki Minaj, Lesh recorded her first two mixtapes, ‘Unleshurr’ and ‘The Last Second’, in a youth club opposite her house and posted them online in 2009 aged 14, then didn’t stop hammering out music until the world sat up. Bagging a role in 2009 Brit crime flick 1 Day brought her to the attention of London grime lynchpins Wiley, Kano and Ghetts, so she packed a bag and left her strict, restrictive home for London, to become a major player on the resurgent UK rap scene. She released her first EP ‘Every Little Counts’ in 2010 and lent her smart Brummie flow to a vast array of records including Orbital’s ‘Wonky’, Kano’s ‘WAVY’, Sway’s ‘Level Up’ and Labrinth’s ‘Let The Dogs Run Wild’. By 2013 she was even talking about launching her own clothing label named after her 2011 mixtape ‘Friggin L’. A full-on Leshurr empire was building.
How did Lady Leshurr's 'Queen's Speech' freestyles come about?
With dozens of guest spots, mixtapes and singles under her belt, it was – ironically - a word-for-word parody video of Chris Brown and Busta Rhymes’ ‘Look At Me Now’ that got her noticed by the majors. Atlantic flew her to the US and offered her an “amazing” amount of money to let them set her up as a rival to Nicki Minaj. “It was like: ‘She’s the biggest female MC and you need to take her down,’ and I wasn’t feeling that at all,” Leshurr told The Guardian. “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. So I turned it down.”
Back home a so-called ‘friend’ sabotaged all of her social networks, so she took a year out of music and reinvented herself as a more trap-leaning rapper with a humorous bent. It worked a charm. Her series of six freestyles called ‘Queen’s Speech’ blew up online, garnering millions of streams each – ‘Queen’s Speech 4’ hit 42 million views on YouTube. Their endless streams of witty burns against love rivals and frank personal hygiene advice – keep your cheesy feet in your shoes in the club, she insisted, change your pants at least once a month and clean your damn teeth - made Lady Leshurr an online sensation across all demographics. “I’ve seen videos of 60-year-old women and men in America saying ‘Brush your teeth’ and stuff,” she told The Guardian, “videos of a little baby watching it and laughing, do you know what I mean? I get parents saying to me: ‘Wow, you’re the only artist I let my kids listen to,’ because I don’t swear in my lyrics. I just don’t think it’s necessary. My mum brought me up really well, I don’t swear unless I’m really, really angry.”
How did she end up working with Timbaland?
In the wake of the ‘Queen’s Speech’ freestyles, Leshurr’s phone didn’t stop ringing. Akon, Busta Rhymes and Young Money Records all reached out, and as she signed up with RCA, the big-name US producers got on board too. Cue a whirlwind rise in the US, playing sold-out shows in New York and recording for her debut album with producers like Deputy (Rihanna), Bangladesh (Beyoncé, Lil’ Wayne) and Timbaland (everyone). In the meantime, she dropped her latest EP ‘Mode’ and its dancehall-inflected lead track ‘Juice’ in 2017. Leshurr’s coming up, best keep your pants clean.
What's Lady Leshurr's net worth?
According to the-net-worth.com, Leshurr is sitting on a small fortune of around $450,000. Which will buy you a hell of a lot of toothbrushes.
Want to see more lists? Check out our Everybody Loves a List! page.