S4YL Interview / MC Angel LC Collective, London
4 finger ring, gold chain on, sneakers and blue jeans, hip hop emcee MC Angel born and raised in London looks like she’s been through hell and back without loosing the cool. Shaking her hand at our meeting point, I am almost ready to know what I am going to hear, because she looks like so many of them cool emcees I have spent time with. Except that the first thing she tells me is that she has just been back from a Yoga retreat in Israel. That is where I suddenly realise that I don’t know shit about her world. I discovered Mc Angel through the girls in hip hop collective LC Collective and a video done by short film director Eats the rich. I got curious and got in touch. To carry on the unexpected, she takes me to a nice organic lunch place where we peacefully seat to talk. Soon she forget about the awkwardness of not knowing who she is talking to and get excited by her own ideas. I feel more and more back to my american gospel experiences, the girl gets louder, she puts the words at the right place with a full intention to wake you up. I want to laugh and clap my hands to the rhythm but as I told you, we are in some organic lunch place, so too much soul would scare a few souls, and I am trying really hard not to look like a fool. We end up talking about her first steps into hip hop, who she likes, and why she wakes up every morning. Here is what came out of it. Read.
How did you come to hip hop and rap ?
I feel I have been a poet as soon as I could write lyrics. As a child, as soon as I was able to speak and to construct sentences and put them together I was writing poetry. It’s a natural expression of life for me. When I got older I already wanted to be an actress and a performer, so I went and did some drama at school, and I liked it, but I quickly understood that I liked working with my own material better. So that is how I came to do my first spoken word gigs. There was this pub in Camden called the Royal Exchange. Every tuesday night you could smoke splifs everyone was jamming, it was a real place for really talented and creative people, so it was very cool and my mum would play guitar for me and I’d rap to it. That is how I first started to rap
Quickly I met this guy called The Rub . He is a political activist sort of rapper, and he is the one who started to make my first tracks and cds.Then I got hooked up with War and Peace and I did a lot of gig for them, in all the big venues and nightclub in London , but I also did a lot of spoken word, and came back to hip hop because hip hop is so powerful you know.
Do you listen to a lot of hip hop and rap ?
Yes I love Guru, he is my favorite
And what about other kind of music ?
I listen to all the artist who come down and perform at the venue. Akala is my favorite Uk hip hop artist.
You know all the poeple that speak truth and freedom, I don’t like commercial music, it bores me.
What is your feeling about the rise of female artist in hip hop such as Iggy Azalea or Angel Haze?
Angel Haze moves me actually, she even inspired me a song. She’s great with freedom. And I think Iggy Azalea is much better than Azealia Banks or Nicky Minaj. I mean Nicky Minaj, I love her flow, I think she is incredible, but I just can’t relate to what she is especially for her to be a black female rapper in such a big position, to have such bleached white skin and coloured hair, I personally find it disturbing, I mean I much rather listen to Lauryn Hill, who has been able to inspire young women in their blackness and in becoming who they really are. Me and my girls we don’t compromise you see, we do not compromise, we’d turned down so many things, because where is integrity today, where is love and connecting with people ?
If you had all the money in the world what would you do ?
I’d make sure that all the people I love are okay, but I would also do something about all those people who grow up and live with nothing to hope for and nothing to eat, I mean I was one of them. I remember being 15 on a roof top, sitting and thinking , it that all there is, feeling trapped, knowing that I will not ever experience much of the beauty of your own city. But music came and it is the best thing that I could ever ask in my entire life. It is about sharing with other, stop being commercial slaves and wake up to your true own talent.
How do you feel about politics ?
I don’t get involved because I would like to talk about the solutions more than about the problems. In hip hop, every word is a gift, every word is a blessing, it has to be used to create a peace.
Which topic agitates you at the moment ?
Too many, I see people dead in the eyes. I heard my niece asking me if I was working so I could buy more things. It made me sad, somethings got to change. People live in fear, that is what agitates me.
But when you talk about love, it is quiet an abstract concept. By what do you start ?
You sart from within, I have just been in a meditation retreat for 10 days, It was hard, I hated it , but I learned a lot. The teachers was a wizzard. I faced traumas of my childhood. I realised that I keep myself occupy all the time, so I don’t have to be with myself. So If every one was doing that everyday for 20 minutes, the world would be different.
Are you hopeful ?
Yes full of hope, I am on a mission with my girls to change this world and to walk away form all this negativity I see all the time. We are on a mission to internationality do it. Lets switch our frequencies.
So the goal of LC Collective is to express your lifestyle ?
Yes, we won’t go for mainstream commercial, we have a chance to survive as an underground band, with massive hip hop festival etc…we exist because we are a group of friends sharing the same passion, we do not exist because of some marketing strategy. Shay D , Sirena Reynolds , Emma Prior and I , we’re for real.
Could you talk about the ” Lyrically Challenged Nights” at the Passing cloud that you do once a month with the LC Collective ?
I love the fact that people can listen to spoken wolds but with hip hop you have the beats is o much power. I am in love with people. It is the voice of opressed people, for us to unite, to come together, to be beautiful to show who we are. So, every second friday of the month we have an event down in Dalston a the Passing Clouds at the and we are making this even as creative as possible by having spoken words, singers, breakdancers, poets, we’ve got everything , all the five elements and more, we have people selling hats, people selling jewelery. Because you know when I started thinking that it is a bout more than just me I realize London needs a real good hip hop community, so does the world. Because we do not want to stikc to all those rappers and their ego. We need to speak some truth, some wisdom, some love. We need people to engage themselves in as a community. The next even t is on Friday the 14 th of june at Passing Cloud which is a revolutionary venue . They hold lost of talks, they also do a people’s ktichen every sunday lnorming where people can just come and cook all together, it is such a great venue,e I am very proud to be part of it .