It’s safe to say the rise of artists coming out of the Midlands and surrounding areas has peaked an all-time high over the last few years within British rap. Hailing from Birmingham is the rising duo Lyco x Wxyne whose sound has taken to the ears of many across the nation. Having first connected – Gen Z style – via Instagram DM’s a few years back, their fun-filled and feel-good music began gaining traction when they started to throw parties in their university dorms, that in turn accumulated a small buzz around their name.
Following the release of their stand-out track ‘Midlands’ that dropped at the start of the pandemic last year, the pair took the time in lockdown to focus on levelling up their music and are now gearing up for what’s looking like a promising year ahead! More recently, the duo made their highly awaited return with the release of their summer-infused sizzler named, 'Birkin Price'. Encapsulating summer at its finest, the pair boast their infectious melodies, and quote-worthy bars throughout, to create the ultimate summer anthem!
Clash got the chance to catch up with Lyco and Wxyne following the release of ‘Birkin Price’ to talk about their journey thus far, impersonations on TikTok, and more.
Tap in below to see what they had to say!
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What was it like for you both growing up in Birmingham? What kind of artists were you growing up listening to?
Lyco: We met in 2018 over Instagram and he [Wxyne] had already been making music for a long time, I was looking to get into music and release my first song. I don’t like doing things without looking at what my peers are getting up to. I heard his music and he sounded like what I aspired to make, I hit him up on Instagram and he said I was cold. I used to make covers, and he wanted to get into the studio and work, luckily, he had a home studio which made everything easier. Every single Wednesday throughout my first year of Uni I went to Wxyne’s house to make music and that’s how we grew together.
Regarding my influences, I’m Nigerian so I grew up on people like Wizkid and Maleek Berry, they’ve really inspired what I try and do today. Bringing it forward, I would say artists like Oxlade, Yxng Bane, and Lotto Boyz are the key people that I’ve looked up to.
Wxyne: I’m Caribbean so I get a lot of influence from the dancehall side of things, people like Popcaan and Vybez Cartel. From the UK, Lotto Boyz are a huge influence on me, but I also really like Not3s and NSG. When I first started music, I was doing a lot of R&B, I think some of the melodies that I do today come from that R&B influence.
Wxyne, you started music prior to becoming a duo. What was the triggering point for you in which you realised that you wanted to take it seriously?
Wxyne: I started on the production side, when I was producing, I wasn’t thinking of becoming an artist at all. One day, I made a beat and wanted to try something on it and ended up releasing it on YouTube and I got a good reception. That motivated me to keep going and I fell in love with it from there.
Before gaining wider success online, you both threw parties in your university dorms to help spread your music. What was the reception like to your music back then?
Lyco: They were always positive! A lot of the time I tried not to say that it was our music, especially at the start, just so that we could get an organic response; five to six people would ask me what the song was, or I would see people trying to Shazam it in the corner, trying to add something that wasn’t even out. It was an interesting experience!
Did you guys build some type of fan base prior to blowing up on TikTok?
Lyco: Because of ‘Midlands’ a lot of people associated us with the university lifestyle. Even now, when I go to Covid secure gatherings I still hear people say, “Aren’t you the guys that made ‘Midlands’?” and because of that song they flock towards us. I would definitely say it helped us build up our fan base 150%.
Would you say that ‘Midlands’ was the turning point for you both?
Wxyne: It helped kick start something, but I would still say we are waiting for that one track to kick it off properly. ‘Midlands’ put is in a decent spot though, people know we are out there and have acknowledged us. It was an important song.
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I noticed on your TikTok Wxyne that you like to impersonate other UK rappers from the likes of Abra Cadabra and Aitch. How did you discover this talent?
Wxyne: Me and Lyco just have banter in the studio! (laughs) We will always do impressions and impersonate people! One time I was making a beat and I said, “I wonder how Fredo or M1llionz would sound on this” and that’s we discovered it, I did a lot of artists in one video, and it blew up!
You recently released your 'Birkin Price' single which is a real summer anthem! Talk me through how this single came about?
Lyco: We went to a studio in London with one of our friends back in Birmingham who plays the guitar as well as a producer called Culture. The first couple of beats he played us we thought were cool, but we decided to put them to the side, and started one from scratch. We began mumbling some melodies and it came together really nicely. We wanted this song to be based around feeling expensive, Birkin’s obviously aren’t cheap, it’s about finding out if someone is worth that price in attention.
Lyrically, who or what do you draw from?
Wxyne: Lyrically, I really like Dave. When he raps you can feel the emotion from him, I like to listen to people that have real experiences or a narrative. It doesn’t have to be real, but when somebody can tell a story in their songs, I like that stuff.
Lyco: For me, Ebenezer has inspired me a lot recently. I also really like how Burna Boy describes things! Also, the way M1llionz talks about things indirectly I think is very important.
Wxyne: M1llionz tells a story, he’s cold.
Putting the music aside, what do you both like to do for fun?
Lyco: I’m a gamer and I like food! (laughs)
Wxyne: I like to go the gym, I used to do track, I don’t do it as much anymore though. I do want to get into the production side of things, I’m trying to become a producer / artist.
Are there any producers that you like in particular?
Wxyne: Yeah, I really like TK, Hazard, and TSB, there’s a lot!
What are your current thoughts on the UK scene as it stands?
Wxyne: I think the UK scene could be better. People are just dropping songs because they can, rather than dropping their best pieces of work. There is a lot of music coming out that isn’t slapping how it should be, as opposed to how it was 2016/7. I wouldn’t say it’s terrible but there is room for a lot more improvement.
What else can we expect to see from you both this year?
Wxyne: Everyone’s in trouble! (laughs) Thank God for this pandemic because it’s given us the chance to grow, the result of that is good music. We believe in what we do, so you can expect some serious heat from us.
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Words: Elle Evans
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