Laylizzy has had one pretty impressive journey since joining forces with Geobek Records. In December 2015, the rising superstar from Mozambique featured in our Newcomer’s Delight segment, and in less than a year has built up enough hype around him to secure a spot in our first Freshman edition. Not only is this impressive, but it’s testament to how determination and a good support system can literally take you anywhere. Having scored over 11k votes, Laylizzy is definitely one artist you can’t possibly ignore or overlook. This is his story. This is his takeover.
Thinking about the impact you’ve managed to create over a short period of time I would say really confirms the belief that some victories are just predestined for certain individuals. You were a winner of our Newcomer’s Delight feature in December 2015, and today you’re basically on such a different level it’s a little bit scary. Before we even dive into the journey, I just want to find out how you’re feeling.
I feel really good, but my label/team and I are still unhappy. We just want to keep on working and keep on grinding. We’re not even like dwelling on like small wins, although people should. You should take the small wins, grab them, hold them for a minute and then be like okay let’s move forward. We’re just like we need to grow and get to the next stage, because I don’t feel like we’re there yet. There’s still a lot more to give. I’m like two singles in, I just dropped a new single [‘On The Road’] and we still have a lot. So there’s still a lot of work and no time to be happy [laughs].
We came across one interview you did where we think you said something so interesting, when you described how ‘Tha Crew’, the joint, was basically the genesis of your mainstream career. Let’s be real, anybody can start something, but the work really depends on the individual’s will to move and the support around him or her. You have Geobek Records and you have your producer Ellputo on your side. How important of a role have these relationships played in your life?
Everything, man. I sometimes tell Ellputo that “me, you and George are Laylizzy”, “me, you and George are Ellputo” and “me, you and George are Geobek”. As a team that’s how we’re going to move forward, and when you work as a team you grow faster, as you can see. From December 2015 to November 2016 it wasn’t even a year yet but a lot has happened. So for some people it takes longer, and in my mind I even imagine what if I had time with Geobek Records like five years ago, where would we be today, you know? Because we’ve always had this work ethic and this mindset that we need to get this and we need to work. We were never the lazy guys who go to studio and just vibe. We move as a team.
I imagine when you first spat on a mic the mentality was totally different from what it’s become right now. I imagine when you recorded your first ever song, the reason was mainly for the thrill of it, and now it’s slowly become bigger than even your personal desires. To summarise, there’s a bigger purpose now, known or unknown to you. Has that reality hit you yet? And if so, how has your approach to music developed so far?
It does affect you artistically, because when you’re just playing around then you’re just playing around. I could drop a mixtape but I’m not really saying anything, but now you have to think about what you’re doing, think about what you say, think about how you approach things and think about how far a move will take you. We’re not only about Mozambique, but we’re like a pan-African movement and we want to do everything. We’ve worked with people from Kenya already, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa and the whole thing. It’s not like we’re stuck on Moz [Mozambique] and South Africa, so we kind of have a job to do that involves everybody in Africa.
And being in the forefront like that doesn’t scare you?
I think I’ve been ready for a long time, so I’m not really scared of anything at this point. We can’t be losing opportunities and we can’t be playing around. Obviously we strategise a lot, so as we do that we tap into different markets, and the same influence we have in Mozambique I want to have everywhere else.
The co-signs are there and whether people want to admit it or not, you are about to dominate the scene. AKA trusts you, Africa is beginning to trust you, we trust you. The influence and power is clearly growing. How do those co-signs make you feel and at what point will Laylizzy say “you know what, I’ve made it”?
Makes me feel good and I always say this in interviews, just one year previous to that I was in my room watching these guys on TV. When it’s hard for people to really mess with you, you feel like it’s genuine and you feel like you’re actually doing a good job. AKA brought me out here to his show, I brought him down to Mozambique for my show. Both shows were crazy and the relationship started building. And that’s all through Geobek Records as well, because this is something that we learnt at Geobek Records. I’m a rapper, you know what I mean? You know rappers have egos and all those things, so I could’ve just come and said I’m going to do my own thing, I’ve got my squad with me and I don’t need anybody, but that’s not what we did. George kind of taught us that relationships are actually the most important thing in the game. You can’t be that guy everybody hates, and you need to build and pick them with caution, because you can’t just be friends with everybody too.
Artists tend to influx music. Where does your constant flow of inspiration come from?
Everyday life and everyday struggles. Obviously my career has like grown a lot, but we still have our struggles, we still live life and we’re still people at the end of the day. And since I’m a person who records every day, I pretty much record what happened yesterday, and there are a lot of things that’ve happened that I embed into the song to make music. When we recorded ‘On The Road’ we just came back from two shows. We flew here, flew there, did two shows and recorded this because the girls were complaining that there’s no attention [laughs].
Let’s talk about the evident hardships that the journey tends to bring. What sort of frustrations (perhaps) or obstacles came your way? And how have the challenges or those defining moments you’ve face contributed to the artist you’ve become right now?
I think it was mostly coming to Mozambique from Europe and all the homies were frustrated. I just came with that energy; I was hungry because I was away for like three or four years. I was grinding when I was over there, I was working and doing all sorts of things to make money. When I came back most of the homies were stuck in a routine. Ellputo was never stuck in a routine, because we were always working together even when I was away, so that itself was not for me and not what I wanted to do. Our move actually motivated a lot of Mozambican artists to start doing what we’re doing, even though they might not come to us and admit it. I think that was it, frustration. Frustration always brings the best out of you when you are strong enough to get out of it.
Word. What overall impact does Laylizzy want to have in hip hop and how far do you plan on pushing the music? Why are you in this?
I’m not going to be acting like I’m doing this for free. I obviously want to make a lot of money while doing it, but I really want to be that guy people look at and say, “I want to be that guy.” The same thing I did when I was looking at my idols and that kind of sums it up. That’s my goal. I want people to look at me and find themselves.