Cloak of Anonymity
Wash & Set
Since her first single, “Miss America,” back in 2012, Leikeli47 has enveloped herself in a cloak of anonymity. While her LK-47 mixtapes garnered the Brooklyn rapper a unique fan base, including the likes of Diplo and Jay-Z, her debut LP, Wash & Set, is going to hold it. At 14 tracks, the record explores the quirky dynamics of who Leikeli47 is: creative, mysterious, dynamic, loud and unmistakably feminine, despite being masked by a balaclava. She subverts typical notions of beauty both through her appearance and her music, as on bouncy title track “Wash & Set” and the eccentric “Money,” where Leikeli speaks to financial freedom. Similarly, the grungy “Braids tuh’ da flo(w)” offers a carefree anthem for women — especially black women — to feel good about themselves, while the soulful “Miss Me” could easily pass as a breakup song or world takeover heater. Whether Leikeli47 is exploring the realms of house music on the energetic “Attitude” or showing her West Indian roots on “Bubblegum,” which pays homage to Elephant Man’s “Pon De River,” Wash & Set serves up
newfound synth-pop flourishes. Striking a balance between sinister and comforting, it’s a compelling sign that Cold Specks remains an artist to watch. (Arts & Crafts, arts-crafts.ca) a hot platter of uptempo beats from various genres, all bolstered by Leikeli’s contagious hooks. (Hardcover/RCA)
With the world in disarray, how do you keep positive enough to make the music that you do?
It may sound a little deep, but you often just have to die within yourself. I just have to kill certain things — certain energies, feelings and emotions as they go. It’s tough, but it’s a method that I’ve practiced over the years. One thing I don’t let myself do is sit and sulk in any kind of negativity that will hinder me flourishing or climbing. I’m glad that I’m at a place where I can brush a lot off, and am able to put that in the music.
You’ve been wearing a balaclava your entire career. Do you think it’ll ever come off?
I don’t know. I just want to say with that, only time can tell. I don’t know where I’m gonna go with it, I really, really don’t. But if there is a day when it physically comes down, hey, it is what it is — we’re just gonna continue to party. The party won’t stop.