While her journey into performance began in high school when she and her girlfriends would perform at assemblies, Lex LaFoy already started writing poetry and music as a child. It was the discovery of Durban’s Hip Hop Inqaba Sessions that led her into the world of cyphers. “I was in the same crew as Zuluboy, Raheem Kemet, Sizwe Dhlomo who at the time were called Scatter Brain,” Lex remembers.
Initially performing as Leigh.L, she would adopt the name Lexicon in 2005 and began focusing on hip hop and performance poetry. Shortening Lexicon to Lex and adopting her maternal surname in 2013 saw the birth of Lex LaFoy. “I feel like she was an evolutionary step in my journey as a person and as an artist. I felt like Lexicon no longer fully represented who I was because I’d come into this newness and I was so hungry for a new expression,” LaFoy exclaims.
This new expression came via Honey Bass, both the name of her signature sound and her upcoming debut album. Bringing back elements of fun, enjoyment and dancing, the sound was birthed from her work with production trio the Nutscratchers. “We created this song called ‘From the Head’ and it included so much authentic Durban sound as well as the influence of bass that was newly expanding in South Africa. I had stepped into a new realm creatively and I really liked the combination. I love the combination of the bass elements with the rap on top of it,” LaFoy says of the sound’s birth.
Her debut album ‘Honey Bass’ is a feminine twist on the bass sound. Lex LaFoy’s message is one coming from an empowered, confident, bold, young woman claiming her identity. “It’s about wholeness, it’s about confidence, it’s about a young woman claiming her own in a space that is so-called predominantly masculine. It’s about expression and the freedom of expression. It’s also about the balance of the so-called two extremes that some people don’t understand. Because I have to overcome my own conflict and my own so-called contradictions to see that no, just as I am is perfect.”
Featuring a number of collaborations including tracks with iFani, Sketchy Bongo, Veranda Panda, RubyGold & Fiesta Black, LaFoy works with those closest to her in a natural way. “Each of those collaborations was really organic. The collaborations that are on my album are with people that are very dear to my heart and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” says LaFoy.
With the album to be released on the 4th of November with a launch party in Durban, Lex LaFoy is working hard on putting the final touches together. The upcoming single ‘From the Head’ (Remix) is a reworking of her 2012, ragga influenced song that kicked off her Honey Bass sound. “I don’t have to fit into your boxes of what you think is a hip hop sound or what you think is lady-like or what you think is ratchet. I can be all those things and still be content within myself.”
Photography by Llwellyn ‘Juice’ Makhanya
Make Up by Charelle Cassie McAllister
Studio Open Plan Studio, Durban
Nails by Elite