HEAD TO HEAD: Lady Leshurr (left) says music execs wanted to pit me against Nicki Minaj
UK RAPPING sensation Lady Leshurr has revealed that she turned down an "amazing" record deal in the US after discovering that they wanted to pit her against Grammy nominated hip-hop star Nicki Minaj.
The Birmingham vocalist's big break came when she uploaded a syllable-perfect parody video of Chris Brown and Busta Rhymes’s Look At Me Now to YouTube back in 2011. It got 100,000 views in half a day, and Atlantic Records in the US offered her a deal.
“[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.
But Leshurr did not take the bait.
“It was like: ‘She’s the biggest female MC and you need to take her down,’ and I wasn’t feeling that at all.”
Watch the Look At Me Now video here:
“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 mum 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.”
Leshurr's consistency and musical offerings have appropriately established her as a credible artist who's not afraid to go bar for bar with men twice her diminutive size.
“I feel like males and females underestimate me," she told The Voice last year. "I don't know what it is, I just think because I've been around for a while people just think, 'that's just Leshurr, that's just what she does.'”
Applauded for her witty word play, she explained: “There's a method to how I write and the reasons why things are so catchy is because I spend hours structuring how I want things to be.”
An example of Leshurr’s lyrical dexterity was best displayed in her epic Queen's Speech series, which first launched in February 2015.
The viral videos have collectively amassed more 30 million views on YouTube and earned the petite Brummie international attention.