It’s been a big year for rapper, DJ and producer Lex Amor. Her 2020 debut album, Government Tropicana, helped establish the North Londoner as one of the city’s most introspective and intelligent lyricists. Filled with levity, mellow, sometimes somber beats and home truths about working class life, she describes working on the project as a purge of sorts.
“It was like I’d given context to my lived experience and could reflect on who I am and what I do now – my struggles, vulnerabilities, relationships, all that kind of stuff,” she says. “Government Tropicana was a bit of a concept for me. I was almost trying to justify my birth to the ages of 15 to 20-years-old, the nostalgia of that, all the things about the city and my experiences that make me, me.”
On Thursday, Amor released her low-key new single, Rocks. Written off the back of Tropicana, and following the deeply moving, poetic sound Amor has established so far, the track is a soulful meditation on how to dream big, even when you’re constrained by the monotonous routine of daily life.
“After the shit that was 2020, I felt like there was a really urgent need for us, myself in particular and the people around me, to find values and freedom outside of our current circumstances, to navigate life in a different way,” Amor continues. “This song was an attempt at reconciling that – renegotiating our personal safeties in ways we haven’t been challenged to before, when human beings sometimes unwillingly submit to rules without thinking about our dreams.”
In the accompanying music video, directed by Tyrus Hill, Amor sits in a confessional as she delivers sharp lyrics over an emotive instrumental: “Don’t put me in your list, it’s cool/I was never the littest in school, I just/I just knew I had a thing for them 110’s/I had them crep before a ting to prove”, she raps in her characteristically soothing tone.
While Rocks is a separate release from Amor’s upcoming album, rest assured that a fresh body of work is on its way. With hopes for an early 2022 release, she explains it’ll be a continuation of the musical and emotional themes explored so far: “The basic premise of it is for me to articulate the human experience that binds us all together, and to create some meaning in the music.”
In the meantime, hit replay on Rocks and get your 100% fill on Lex Amor below, from her knack for making pancakes to that one time a fan tried to gift her their cat – true story.
10% Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?
I was born, raised and I’m currently based in North East London. That’s me, that’s my story. I’m a North London babe through and through.
20% What kind of emotions and experiences influence your work?
I feel like there are particular emotions that are at the core of every reaction, every behavioural change: love, rage, confusion. I try to explore all of these basic presets and find context as to why they come up when they do. My experience of being from London, first generation [British-Nigerian], working class, navigating the city with dreams and ideas, exploring what makes you want things. All this stuff I’m taking in both consciously and subconsciously, the people around me and the various paths we’ve all taken and why. I’m always trying to understand why I do what I do and unpick how I move now, as an adult, how I have conversations. I want to read into humanity. The more you live, the more perspective you have.
30% If you’re cooking food to impress someone, what will you make?
I’m making pancakes. I make a sick pancake – it’s a safe bet and I feel like my pancakes are impressive enough. As for toppings, to add to the impression I want to make, I’ll ask what they want. I’m quite flexible in terms of what I put on these pancakes. The topping will be the showstopper.
40% What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?
You should never sacrifice the good for the great. Not everything comes out exactly how you want it to be, but that doesn’t mean that it’s shit. It’s just a stepping stone to what you need to do.
50% Name something you love, something you like, and something you hate.
I love pancakes. I like tea. I absolutely hate bananas. They’ve got too much of an intense flavour! If there was a way for bananas to have half the flavour, that’d be great. If you put a banana in a smoothie, the smoothie’s just gone. It’s an inconsiderate fruit. They take up too much space.
60% Break down your typical day at work…
I wake up, and on a good day I’ll meditate, make myself feel and look wholesome. Maybe I’ll check my phone, see what’s going on, and have a call with a friend. Go to the gym, shower, go to the studio, make some music. The studio’s nice, it’s not a very high intensity space – there’s loads of couches and tea. It’s a chill spot to get away from everything. Then I’ll get some food, come home, sleep, repeat.
70% You rule the world for a day. What went down?
I would cancel all student loan debt, bring down house prices and make them cost about £5,000, every single house, maybe for a couple days. I’d make all food in the shops free, bring back the Night Tube and outlaw all forms of politics. Anarchy gets a bad rap – it’s not just lawlessness, it’s about devolving power and ensuring that communities have a way of determining how money is spent. It would be great to create micro-structures where community leaders are able to distribute funds more effectively, like a decentralised power structure.
80% Which five people, dead or alive, are you doing an ASDA food shop with?
Erykah Badu, Bob Marley and Nina Simone, just for the conversation – I don’t feel like she’d be picking any food out but she’d be a nice person to walk around with. Then Lauryn Hill, even though she might be late to the shop. That’s OK though, because there’d already be enough of us there not to make it awkward. The last person would probably be my best friend.
90% What’s the strangest DM you’ve received?
Somebody offered to give me their cat as a token of appreciation for my work. That was intense. They were like, “I really, really love your last project,” then they sent me a picture of the cat and said, “This is something I really love, but I want this to be an exchange of love, so I’d like for you to have it.” It was quite a beautiful thought.
100% Did you take the cat?
I did not take the cat. But I did express gratitude, and I thought it was really sweet. It really made me think about the idea of taking something that you love and giving it to somebody else as a means of expressing appreciation. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like that before.