Lil Shakz grew up in a musical household in South London where his father and his uncle were part of a British hip-hop group from Brixton named “57th Dynasty” which heavily inspired him, and you could say initiated his music career. It was at the young age of only 13 that with the support of his dad, Lil Shakz pursued his passion for music and released his first single and music video “Got The Money” which gained over 4k views on Youtube.
From then onwards, Lil Shakz has a number of freestyles and debut singles under his belt like “Belong To The Streets”, and “Dead it (remix)” that were premiered on GRM Daily, Link Up TV, SBTV and more UK music platforms – all in which that has successfully carried and driven his music career up to date. It was only March this year that he released his first ever mixtape “Tunnel Vision” (now available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and Youtube).
Q: Who are the main inspirations behind your work and if you could pick any artist to be as big as, who would you choose?
“My main inspirations would have to be Dave, J Hus and Stormzy. If we’re basing it on lyricism, personality, achievements, accolades Phenomenal artists really. I don’t really want to compare myself to anyone. I kind of want to build my own lane and be known as the first version of myself. But if I had to, it would have to be the likes of Dave, Stormzy and J Hus just because of what they’ve done for the UK rap culture.”
Q: So you kind of want to do it like they have and pave your own way… So you’re only 18, talk to me a little bit about your school life. How were you like in school?
“School, I had my phases. Secondary School, I was going for the little class clown ting. A lot of people would refer to me as a funny guy in school, I had my naughty phases. But overall, I would always get the work done. When you grow up with a dad like mine you know, he was kinda strict. He made sure I got the work done and that my head was in the right place. But yeah, I wasn’t the naughtiest of children and the main thing was education getting finished. And then, COVID came along when I was finishing my GCSEs and I got my grades without even having to take the exam. So yeah, pretty much my school experience.”
We addressed a recent tik tok posted by Lil Shakz in response to Aitch’s statement in a Capital Xtra interview where he said “no one younger than me is bothered about grime”. To showcase that youngers do also know about grime, Lil Shakz then hit back by telling Aitch to listen to his U18’s Blackbox Cypher where you’ll find him rapping over a grime beat.
The South London Rapper then went on to express his love for grime “I’ve always loved grime, I love the culture and it helped me as an artist today because some of the flows you get from grime, you’re not gonna find in any other genre”.
“Grime is the genre that built me to be the artist that I am today, it helped me with my energy and flow but I wouldn’t put myself in the boat of being a grime artist. I just wanna be known as an artist, a rapper, because I can do various different styles and it just really depends on the mood. I want to be known for doing multiple genres.”
Lil Shakz recently released his debut 12 track mixtape “Tunnel Vision” on Friday 10th March – which serves as solid evidence of his versatility and exceptional lyrical flow as he genre-blends between grime, drill, melodic rap and more.
Q: How would you describe the tape as a whole?
“Versatile. I think on the tape, you’re gonna have a track for everyone. You might have some tracks that the females are going to love. You might have a track for the mandem and they’re going to be like, yeah, Shakz, we have a serious one.”
Q: Where would you like to see yourself in the upcoming years? What do you hope to achieve?
“I think after the release of Tunnel Vision, it’s more letting people know who I am. Because dropping a mixtape, it’s a statement, you’re kind of letting people know, this is who I am. This is what I can do. So I think after I’ve made my statement from the mixtape, I can start reaching out and maybe collaborating with certain artists that I’ve always wanted to collab with, and just continue to keep growing my name as an artist.”
Q: Besides rapping and music, do you have any other passions or anything that you’d love to get into?
“Not a lot of people know this about me, but growing up one of my first passions alongside music – I wanted to be a footballer. I was decent, I didn’t really have the confidence on the field to show people but I was an alright baller. I had the passion without having the skill. I played football, I played basketball. I think in the future I might wanna test a couple artists out, see who I can beat on the field, maybe it might be a little 1v1 with Dave or Stormzy, someone like that.”
“Tunnel Vision” is now available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer & Youtube https://share.amuse.io/album/lil-shakz-tunnel-vision
Interview conducted by Serena Khan.