Remember the first time you heard that Will Smith’s 9-year-old daughter was launching a music career? Now remember when you actually got round to hearing ‘Whip My Hair’and realised that it was probably the best single you’d heard all year?
Well get ready for a all those feelings rolled into one and then washed up to distill their purest ingredients as you come face-to-face with Lyrikkal, another 9-year-old sensation, but with a capital G to her swaG.
Under the watch of her pop, the Houston tween has been delivering her answers to some of the year’s biggest gangsta smashes. Youtube viewing of anything else over the past couple of weeks has been something of a write-off since we discovered her. So we tracked her down for her first ever interview -which follows below- but until then, here are a few of our favourite of her tracks and their originals:
Rick Ross’ colossal thug anthem ‘BMF’
I didn’t think I could possibly love this song anymore until I heard Lyrikkal’s ‘Michelle Obama’
Waka Flocka Flame’s ‘O Let’s Do It’
Lyrikkal’s version, with decidedly less crack and killing
Soulja Boy’s massive ‘Pretty Boy Swag’
Lyrikkal’s fittingly funsized ‘Supergirl Swag’
We highly recommend checking out her Bad Akktor label’s Youtube channel, but before then, have a read of her first ever interview which was conducted by NME’s own lovely Laura Snapes over email a few days ago. It’s pretty amazing:
Is Lyric your actual name?!
Yes, my real name is Lyric Michell Ragston
How long have you been rapping? Did you teach yourself?
I’ve been rapping seriously for about 3 years now. I wrote my first verse when I was 6 or 7 and had my first show when I was in the third grade. I kinda taught myself to rap, but my dad and my uncle have helped me out and taught me alot too. I’ve been to about a million studio sessions with them and got to hear a lot of different rappers. I would always practice writing to the beats and freestyling while everybody else was working, and I still do that today.
Do you write all your own rhymes?
Yes.. with a little help here and there. Sometimes I get stuck on a line or can’t think of a good word to rhyme and I’ll ask my dad what he thinks. He can usually come up with something pretty quick to get me back on track.
Where do you record?
We have a studio in my house now, so right down the hall. I’ve done a few songs at TMG studios and at my Uncle’s house also.. I think we’re about to record my real songs at a bigger studio though..
Do you choose the songs you rap over? Are you a fan of Waka Flocka and Soulja Boy? Their lyrics are pretty hardcore…
Yes. If I like a song I’ll ask my dad to find the track for me so that I can write to it. I am a huge fan of Soulja Boy and Waka Flocka has some tight beats. I don’t get to listen to anything with bad words though, so I only know about their radio songs which don’t seem to be as hard-core as some other rappers out there.
Who makes your videos for you?
I made the first one (Young Jeezy “Lose My Mind” remix) myself on my webcam. My friends took turns holding my laptop while I was rapping. After it got like 200,000 hits, my dad started filming them for me. His friend has shot a couple for me too.
Can you drive?! You’re in the front seat in quite a few of the videos!
I wish! But no, not yet.. I can’t even ride my bike around the corner by myself!
Can you tell me a bit more about Bad Akktors – is that a label?
That’s my daddy and my Uncle’s group. They started Bad Akktor Records the year that I was born, and it’s my label right now.. Until I get picked up by Young Money or Disney or somebody like that I think.
Who are your biggest inspirations? You rep Nicki Minaj in one song and there’s loads of photos of her on your wall – I’m guessing you love her?
I do love Nicki Minaj. I am probably her biggest fan. I also love Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Lil Wayne, Drake, Justin Bieber, and lots of other artists.
If you could work with anyone in the world – other rappers, producers – who would it be?
I would really love to work with Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Cymphonique, Willow, Lil Wayne, Drake, Ludacris, T.I., Rihanna, Chris Brown, Bun B, Kanye West, Justin Bieber and whoever makes their beats and does their videos.
Have you had a lot of people sending fanmail? What kind of thing do they say?
OMG yes!! I am getting a lot of emails and messages on facebook and Twitter. Most people say that they love the songs and the videos and that I should keep going and not listen to the haters out there. Some people want to send me songs and tracks to write to and I am getting a lot of people asking me to fly out and do interviews or songs with them. It’s really crazy, but I love it..
What do the other kids at school think of what you do? What do your family think?
The kids at school think it’s pretty cool. They all want to be in the videos and they sing my songs when I walk down the hall. My family is all excited and they are happy to see me doing what I love to do. I told them I was going to be a famous rapper and now they are starting to believe me.
What’s an average day in the life of Young Lyric like?
During the week it’s waking up at 6:45 in the morning to get ready for school, going to school, playing outside for about an hour or 2, doing my homework and chores, cheerleading practice (tuesday & thursday) or dance class (monday, wed, friday), and then dinner with the fam.. After dinner I will usually get on the computer, study, listen to the radio, talk or text on the phone, write a rap, or record a new verse or freestyle in the studio. On the weekends, I have a lot more time to just play and relax, except for voice lessons on Sunday or if I’m shooting a new video. I will usually have friends over or spend the night with one of my bff’s if my mom says it’s ok, and she usually does.
I seriously love the lyric “You don’t wanna get me started, I been on the honour roll since kindergarten” – is that true?! Good work! Is it important to you to get your education before you embark on a career? What’s your favourite class at school? What grade are you in?
Oh yeah, no doubt.. I got the certificates to prove it!! And school definitely comes before music. My parents have always told me that getting an education is the key to success in life, and they won’t let me keep rapping if my grades slip. Right now I’m in the 5th grade and my favorite classes are Music and Science.
So I’ve got to ask you what you think of Willow Smith… Is ‘Whatever I Want’ a challenge to her? Do you think she’s the real deal, a good role model for other kids? Does it annoy you that people get the chance to listen to her music just because of who her dad is? Would you want to work with her?
I actually like Willow Smith a lot and I have listened to her song and watched her video on YouTube a million times. I really am a fan and my song wasn’t a diss or anything like that. I even said “Go Willow and Welcome Back Weezy” at the end to let everybody know that I support her and got her back 100%. She sings and I rap so we don’t need to compete. I would love to get with her and make the biggest hit ever!! I do know that I will probably have to work a lot harder than Willow to be seen and get my music heard, but I think people can see that I’m on the grind and trying to come up from the bottom and that makes them like me even more because they know what that’s like.
Last question: Hillary or Michelle Obama?
Both!! I’m global like Hillary and the new First Lady like Michelle!! Seriously though, they are 2 of my top role models because they are smart, strong, beautiful women who prove that girls can be leaders of the world and do anything boys can do (only better).