Leikeli47

Leikeli47

The Wrapped-Up Rapper Releases Her Third Mixtape, LK-47 Part III, and Announces a Tour this Month with Tokimonsta. Listen to the Tracks After the Feature Below

The Wrapped-Up Rapper Releases Her Third Mixtape, LK-47 Part III, and Announces a Tour this Month with Tokimonsta. Listen to the Tracks After the Feature Below

Text: Aria Darcella

Leikeli47 arrives on-set in a black knit ski mask, fully committed to the item that gives her anonymity while simultaneously acting as her trademark. “I go everywhere with it. Normally my response is, ‘What mask?’” she explains. “Everyone loves it. After sitting down with me you forget that there’s even a mask on.” She’s not wrong. Despite how the mask allows her to avoid fully identifying with an age, race, or gender, her personality cannot be contained.Normally this is the point in an artist’s profile where their true identity—an origin story—would be revealed. But to focus on personal details, even if I had them, would be missing the point. Leikeli47’s goal, of course, is that the audience focuses on the music and the music alone. This is perhaps most apparent when attempting to research her. People are clearly curious about the rapper, especially after her banger “Fuck the Summer Up” soundtracked Alexander Wang’s S/S ’16 runway show. But since no personal information about her is easily googleable, the resulting discussions instead detail her lyrics and beats. “I grew up listening to music in a household where I didn’t know genres existed because we had so many playing,” she says. “So you had Bowie, but you also had the Clark Sisters. To me, it’s all beautiful sounds; it’s all music. I guess that helped out with the focus: strictly on the sound of the music, not the aesthetic, not anything else. Just the music.”

The emphasis Leikeli47 puts on having fun is apparent in tracks like “Heard Em Say Pt. II” and “Two Times a Charm,” while “My Ex Is a Ho” is an anthem. “It’s not about me,” she says, explaining that energy is reciprocal between a musician and fans. “I’ve been doing music since I could walk, and I’ve always been taught that it’s never about you, it’s about the people.”

Leikeli47, who has released three mix tapes and a self-titled EP, has appeared at music festivals like Osheaga and Electric Forest to fans who don ski masks in anonymous solidarity. Skrillex and Diplo even wore face coverings while onstage with her. “It was so cool looking at Diplo pull down the mask in prep for me to get on the stage,” she says of a Jack Ü concert at Madison Square Garden, during which she was invited to appear with the two DJs. “The crowd was massive. We’re talking thousands and thousands of people. No one knew my name, let’s just be real, but because of those guys, now some people do.”

People may know the name and the work, but few actually know the woman. However, for all the mystery of the ski mask, Leikeli47 is transparent about her goals. One doesn’t need to see her face to enjoy her songs or her performances, so why should she reveal herself? In the age of social media, where it’s the norm to showcase a mediated identity, we don’t really know each other, either. The mask insists on a sort of reverse censorship, questioning that idea of the true self—the reveal. In so many ways, it seems to say, we’re all just as anonymous as she is.

Credits: Makeup Zenia Jaeger (The Wall Group/BEL)  Hair Kayla MiChele (Streeters)  Manicure Kelly B. using Dior Vernis (De Facto)  Digital technician Chelsie Craig  Photo assistants Eduardo Silva and Akilah Richardson  Stylist assistant Marie Arai  Hair assistant Katharine Cali  Retouching Color One NYC  Equipment and location Root Drive-In  Catering Monterone

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