Lavida Loca

Selected by: James Keith

Name: Lavida Loca

Where She’s From: South London

When She Started: 2019

Genre: UK Drill

File Next To: Shaybo, Ms Banks, Loski, Sneakbo, Giggs

Sounds Like: “Gritty, real and boss-bitch at the same time.”

First Music That Inspired Her: “‘Game Over (Female Takeover)’ by Ruff Diamondz, Amplify Dot, Envy, Cherri V, BabyBlue, RoxXxan, Lioness, Mz Bratt and Lady Leshurr. I was about 12. I heard the male version first and then I heard the female one. It was the first time I’d ever heard female UK rap; I was so amazed! I literally put on the instrumental and wrote my very first bars.”

South London rapper Lavida Loca may have only made her entrance into the music game last year with the “King Is Back” freestyle, but she sure hit the ground running. Her signature tune, “No ID”, and a well-aimed collaboration with Peckham rhymer CS on “I Been”, arrived shortly after her incendiary debut freestyle. Everything we’ve seen so far has taken the rough, brutal template of drill and put a new, albeit subtle, spin on the UK sound. “I Been”, for example, was produced by long-time Giggs producer Bayoz Muzik who built the track around a simple Latin piano riff, giving the track the kind of warmth that’s often overlooked.

That Latin injection was no accident, as you might have guessed from her alias. During a brief stint in prison, Lavida Loca became close friends with some Mexican and Colombian girls who taught her bits and pieces of Spanish, and she continues to pepper in lines, like Bésa mi culo putas (Kiss my ass), to this day. Her and Bayoz’s decision to include that Latin edge in the beat itself, she says, came from hearing people like Giggs and Sneakbo switching up the beats to include stuff like Vybz Kartel instrumentals. “I thought, rah, they can choose whatever kind of beats they like,” she says, “a bashment, dancehall beat and turn it into rap. I can do that as well.”

There’s a humour and larger-than-life charm about Loca’s music that she manages to keep from softening her sound; no doubt a product of her love for the likes of Lady Leshurr, Lioness and Mz. Bratt. Equally, across the pond, she cites hip-hop greats like Lil’ Kim and Remy Ma as big influences and while her sound is irrefutably British, the influence of those two can be heard in the fearlessness that makes itself heard in every last syllable.

Taking things right back to the beginning, Loca’s influences can be traced back to her father. She was born in Malawi before moving to Nottingham aged two and then London aged 10, so she wasn’t able to plant roots for too long. Instead, she found deep, long-lasting relationships with music. Her father, an avid reggae obsessive, educated her on the masters. “I grew up listening to reggae,” she tells us. “My dad has always loved music so there would be reggae playing in my house everyday growing up. He used to play a lot of Don Carlos, King Yellowman and Buju Banton, who is still, up to now, my favourite reggae artist.”

More recently, Lavida Loca was approached by hit-making titan Fraser T. Smith (who’s crafted chart-invaders for the likes of Stormzy and Dave) to produce an album. She’s also been working tirelessly with producers like Diztortion, GA, The FaNaTiX‏ and Gotcha. Even though the debut album is probably a little way off (and we’re happy to wait if that’s what’s needed), we suspect we won’t have to wait for too long.

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Posted on March 17, 2020