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The Rap Game UK: Meet P3Lz

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Eighteen year-old P3Lz (pronounced P-Three-Elz) is the youngest contestant in this show’s history thus far. Born and raised in Toxteth, Liverpool, she prides herself on being a “proper Scouser” and loves her city and the uniqueness of her accent, which she believes makes her stand out in the competition. With acclaim from Liverpool talent such as Ayystar, P3Lz is representing the female rappers out of the region and believes it’s her time to contribute to the rappers putting Liverpool on the map. Family-oriented, P3LZ started rapping three years ago, and focuses her style on drill – but is adamant to do it her own positive way, veering away from its usual dark themes and negative lyricism.

Tell us a little bit about yourself – how did you develop your stage name?

My name is Pelumi, basically growing up everyone just used to call me PELZ. So, I thought I’d go with that, but ‘PELZ’ is only one syllable, so I was like “sounds a bit awkward to say” so I changed the E to a three, to make it sound like ‘P-Three-Elz’.

How did you get started in music, and particularly rapping?

I’ve always enjoyed music, like listening to it, and one day I just started writing and I’ll admit at first it wasn’t the best, it was quite bad [laughs], then for my 16th birthday my sister bought me some studio time and I liked it. She noticed my passion for it, and she could see I was getting better, so she encouraged me to continue and that’s basically how it got going.

Were there any artists that inspired you when you were starting out, and who did you listen to?

Yeah, I really like Bugzy Malone, and Ard Adz is probably my favourite rapper.

What’s your favourite track at the moment?

Ard Adz – 74 Bars Of Pain (see video below)

What are you most proud of being from Liverpool?

I’d say it’s the scouser mentality – scousers are proud people in terms of where they’re from, so it’s just taking pride in where I’m from and how we do stuff. It gives me a lot of confidence being from Liverpool because it’s a whole [Liverpool rap] community that not only has your back but the bigger community in general. I’m from Liverpool – I’m a scouser, and you can only ever say that if you’re from here, and that’s something to brag about.

There are a lot of eyes on the Liverpool rap scene at the moment, with the likes of Hazy and Young LS. What does it mean to you that your name is going to be part of the rappers putting Liverpool on the map for rap?

It’s cool, I can’t lie. I feel like I’m doing it for the females as it’s very male-dominated right now, so I feel like it was needed for me to emerge at this time.

Where did you first hear about The Rap Game UK- is it something you had watched before?

I watched the first and second series, so I did know about it. Then when this season was being cast, my sister suggested I apply, so I went for it and that was that. Initially, I just wasn’t feeling it honestly, then they got in contact with me I was still sceptical up until the point they said, “you’re on the show”. I just couldn’t believe I was going to be on it, honestly.

…was it nervousness or did you not feel ready?

Yeah definitely, I didn’t – I felt like I just hadn’t had enough experience in the music world, I didn’t know if I’d be able to keep up with the intensity of the show. When you’re watching it on TV it’s completely different to being on it – like the levels, it’s ten times harder doing it. But I am glad that I did it because I stretched myself in terms of my ability.

What have you enjoyed most about being on the show?

I enjoyed getting to meet, and have time with the mentors (both Krept, Konan & DJ Target, and the guest mentors), and hearing their feedback as well. Normally, I would never meet people who are in the industry and get their take on me as an artist, so that was special I feel.

Was there any mentor or guest mentor that gave you really good feedback or piece of advice?

All of it in general, but in particular Unknown T’s feedback, I’m not going to forget that. When I heard he was coming I was nervous because I’ve listened to him forever, and he’s big in the scene, but his feedback was good – and the one I’ll probably always remember.

How did you feel during the challenges? Were there any that pushed you out of your comfort zone, or one you would do again?

I feel like the clash was the thing I was always a bit nervous about going into the show because obviously, that was going to come up, and I’ve never had the opportunity to clash before or write bars on such short notice, as a battle against someone – so I was just a bit nervous about that. But I enjoyed it and really surprised myself there, so I’d do it again for sure.

As the youngest contestant in the show’s history, what advice would you give to other young rappers hoping to apply next year?

I’d encourage anyone young to apply because even though it might feel like you’ve got less experience than other people, it doesn’t mean that you’re less talented. Being on the show really gave me a sense of independence that I’d probably never get at this age, and it was important for my personal development – I feel a lot more mature, and I feel like I’m able to have more confidence in myself, too.

I’d say the show really stretches you musically as well, like the timeframes you’re given to write bars and then having to remember them, you wouldn’t have to do that in any other place, so musically, lyrically and performance-wise, I feel like I’m a stronger artist overall.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time, following the show?

In five years, I’ll be cemented in the scene, and truthfully, I feel like I’m going to just carry on doing what I’ve been doing and see what happens. Of course I have goals and expectations for myself, but I also like to just see what happens in life and where it takes me.