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Lancey Foux Interview

Lancey Foux Interview: Living ‘LIFE IN HELL’ brings out the best in UK artist

East London-based artist Lancey Foux fully embodies versatility. His ascension as an artist and high-profile fashion model has not only molded him into an enigmatic force, but ultimately into one that cannot be contained.

Foux isn’t one for facades. He’s real — operating at a level above any other similar act. It’s seen in the way he articulates himself, providing insight into the deeper meanings of his artistry, highlighting his overall perspective on life. Amid the acclaim he’s garnered, Lancey is the true definition of an artist — striving to maintain his balance of good and evil.

After releasing his debut album Pink (2015) and its sequel Pink II in 2018, Foux found comfort in the electro-experimentations of trap production. Using it as a foundation, Lancey’s voice, lyrics and style are uniquely his — finding his footing on his most popular record Friend or Foux in 2019. The UK rapper received a co-sign from English legend Skepta — becoming a close collaborator of Foux’s in the years that followed.

His music is rooted in self-expression — distinctively blending the bubbly ambiance of trap similar to Playboi Carti and Ken Car$on. While he has been known to collaborate with both Carti and Car$on, Foux is in a league of his own — combining his sound with the sinister, grimy cadences found in UK drill. Taking his artistic progression to a whole new level on his latest project FIRST DEGREE, Foux is at his most comfortable curating a sound that blurs the lines of trap’s current wave.

Now, as Foux continues to become a household name in the States, he chopped it up with OGM host Hakeem Rowe in his first-ever on-screen interview, talking his inspirations, fashion, his upcoming album LIFE IN HELL and much more in this new Our Generation Exclusive.

Watch his OGM exclusive below!

A conversation with Foux…

HR: Can you speak on your upbringing? How was it growing up in London?

LF: “When I was younger, I used to be a rebel. I just used to go against everything. But my dad was the one person that if he said something, I’m freezing. I can’t go against that man. That’s the type of swag he had. However I was moving, he would say stop when he had to. I wasn’t trying to do my homework and study at home, but just seeing how my dad moved, and as I became older, I was like, I need to be a G, I need to move with honor. When I walk into a room, everyone’s got to feel me — and not in like a angry or aggressive way. It’s just with honor, with grace. I really have love for everyone, but I’ve got respect for everyone until you show me different.”

HR: You go by Cultcaine as well, how did you get that nickname?

LF: “I work in eras, bro. That was an old era of chaos and not wanting to be perfect — not wanting to be narrowed down. So Cultcaine was that chaos, that punch and that reckless pressure. I spent some time in New York and that time in my life was crazy. Every day, if you’re looking for it, you become more like yourself. I’m my biggest fan and my biggest critic, before I go to sleep or look in the mirror, I just check in with myself.”

HR: What’s your first fashion-related thought? How do you go about putting a fit on for the day?

LF: “My mood. If I wake up and I’m pissed off, I just go towards that emotion and I might wear something that’s a bit more closed in, a jacket or something a bit more tight. But if I feel a bit happier and a bit more relaxed, I might wear something loose or just a looser top. If I feel like you can’t really touch me today, I just want to wear a vest and have my arms out and wear shiny shoes or something. It just depends on my mood, bro. I feel like that’s how I deal with people as well.”

HR: When did you first started making music? What ultimately led you to want to start rapping?

LF: “I was 17 going on 18 and I got kicked out of college. I’m from East London and the college I went to was in West London. I’ve always been a tough person — whenever everyone’s going right, I just go left. I just didn’t go because I was spending a lot of money to get there — I was trying to get my money up to just be on some other shit. So, I was getting some shit. I had to go and meet someone to give them some money and he’s in the studio for 13 hours. When I got there, his artist has not made a single song that whole time, and within a few hours they said he had three hours left. So for 10 hours he hasn’t made a song. I walked over to him and asked him what was along with his artist and he said, “just do your thing,” so I went to YouTube and snatched free beats on a whim.”

“I think I typed up “rap beats,” like just type-some-words-up kind of shit, you know? I did three songs for him there and at that time, I was top of the bone like the same way I’m recording music now. [The music] just comes. So then when I went home and I listened to the songs, I couldn’t stop listening to my voice. I was just it’s me, but it’s like another me. It was just a feeling I couldn’t explain. I found purpose that day. So I started going there just on my own accord. The rate I was making music was quick, but it’s not like I was planning it out. When I did go to the studio, I just heard a beat and went in.”

Lancey speaking on what his arrest did for his music career:

LF: “It’s so funny that the day I got arrested, it was like one in the morning. Later on that day, I was about to do my first job at this place called VISIONS. I’m in the cell thinking a lot and it dawned on me that I really loved this music thing I’ve been doing. Now I’ve got myself in this in this issue — ‘fuck’ I thought to myself. They end up letting me out, and they give me bail conditions. From that day on, I really cut out what I was doing. Money meant nothing to me, and music meant everything — means everything. Discovering who I am, having that process of wanting to make beats, wanting to learn what effect I should to use my voice. I’ve got bars, but let me try to say some some shit that relates.”

HR: It’s very hard to cross over and get Americans to really fuck with your essence because you’re from England. Why do you think it’s worked out so much for you?

Lancey Foux: “Definitely because I spend time here. You know, a London accent is so crazy to them and I think that American accents are crazy to me. So that when I get into my music sometimes, I understand [America’s] culture obviously, but I understand my own culture too — I’m able to just combine them. You know what I’m saying like: you’re talking about swag here. I’m talking about the same swag. I’m just getting from a different place.”

Lancey’s perspective on Skpeta’s love for music and legendary status:

Lancey Foux: “Honestly, the answer to why Skepta will always be a legend is because he really does this for the music. It’s purely about the music 100 percent. We all live in our own greatness and this is what we do, and Skepta, THIS is what he does. Those are people that inspire me. I’ve been around a lot of people that are just ‘sit down students.’ Like, ‘yeah, I’ve got this tune with my man and man’s got to get the No. 1 and it will get bumped with lambos for the video… And I’m like, I hear that. But, that’s not what I want to be around. That’s why I haven’t done songs. Like, I don’t know what you think you are doing, but we really not in the same thing. We’re not making music for the same reason. I’m doing this for legacy.”

HR: What’s your perspective on the the human experience?

Lancey Foux: “It’s fucking game, but obviously it’s all subjective. So however you want to look at it, I can only give my point of view wherever I see. So I think that it’s definitely a game, but in this context of my album being called LIFE IN HELL, that’s what life is. Because life is good. If you’re living, we wouldn’t be here talking and dreaming about life. But how it’s perceived is to be bad, hot, evil, black. Nothing good happens. But, how can we not see that we are living our life in hell? When it comes to LA, it’s like so clear. Because it’s hot. It’s nice all the time. It feels good. Everyone’s wearing sunglasses, getting juice, colorful. But then you see a man smoking a cigarette with his trousers halfway down his leg, in the open all in the same place. Imagine we were sitting here doing this interview right now and I put this dog down and the dog’s bleeding — God forbid the dog’s bleeding out like, what? And we’re just talking and laughing? That’s what life is. That’s what was going on here. So when I go to make my music that’s what I’m saying. I’m showing you a juxtaposition between the two because you need to understand life’s balance. I’ve got tattoo that signifies good and bad and even my name means balance. Lance is in balance.”

HR: Do you ever find yourself caring about the numbers and comments? Or was there ever a time when you did?

Lancey Foux: “In the early days, there was just so many people convincing me like yeah, ‘you’re sick and all you gotta do is this.’ That’s always the thing, they’re here off your hard work. But then, at a certain point you feel like things are not working. And then you’re like, ‘Okay, cool. Let me let me try this avenue.’ And when you do it, you realize that that’s not me, man. That’s not me. Why did I post that? Like, that’s not me. I have never cared about numbers because they can be manipulated. A feeling can’t be manipulated. If someone hates me, that’s just as good as them loving me.”

HR: What’s your creative process? What are you looking forward to be? Are you punching in or are you writing?

Lancey Foux: “I find it difficult to write because I end up overthinking. I have to do what I end up feeling. I typically record like kind of quick, but funny enough when I got here, I was with Strick and I made two songs with him. Then I linked up with Matt Ox in the same night. When I’m making my own songs, it’s just a bit different. Like I try to take my time, but it doesn’t end up taking time. I want to put my time into it, but it just comes up. Like even with the beats, with Jay Trench or whoever I’m with, we’ll play beat after beat and I could just be looking down and a certain simple sound will connect. Everything after that is from somewhere else. That’s where it comes up quick. I’m not saying because I’m the fastest. It’s just the spirit. It just comes from somewhere else.”

HR: What’s your relationship with your producer Jay Trench?

Lancey Foux: “He’s the wizard — he’s the catalyst. Everything I got going on is both of us — it’s him but it’s me because he’s me, you know? Any electricity that’s going through my body is the same going through his. So when we’re in the studio, we just link in hand in hand. Through the pandemic, we was living together and I go in my room or whatever and sometimes we’re not even talking. I wake up to beats — he’s just giving me the hard drive. He hasn’t said nothing and he’s still got his headphones in. This LIFE IN HELL album was like me and Trench not speaking. Really into the music — swimming in it and then we would live. The reason why we’re making music is because we’re actually rolling together as well. That’s my brother I’ll do anything for him.”

HR: With your breakout track “INDIA,” you got the attention of a lot of people saying you were next up in America. How does that make you feel?

Lancey Foux: “It pisses me off, truly. I could probably get attention every day if I wanted to, but I just don’t feel like that song represents me. That’s why it pisses me off. I just feel like it’s just an easy song. When I’m going in and I’m rapping on life and death, that represents me because I’m in this deep enough to know what I’m saying. It’s a feeling.”

HR: Your latest album FIRST DEGREE dropped in March, talk to me about your process with the album?

Lancey Foux: “I went through alot and I learned a few things with people that was around me. I was reading the people around me, but every day I’m doing everything for them, making sure they’re good and they turned on me. They got all comfortable when it’s like, ‘he’s got love for us he will never take it away.’ I realized that’s not how I play. I don’t care how long I’ve known you, don’t my love for granted. I just started getting frustrated with like so many different things. That’s why if you listen to FIRST DEGREE it’s so many different things I’m saying. People just want to hear ‘INDIA type music,’ but when I made that, everyone else around me felt that fully.”

HR: I’ve seen you and Playboi Carti moving together. Would you guys ever work together? And what do you think about the comparison that people are making about you and Carti?

Lancey Foux: “If you never heard Michael Jackson’s music, or never heard Prince’s music properly, what would you say? Prince is trying to do Michael Jackson’s thing — but when you actually look at it, listen and open it up, you realize it’s two different things. He admits feeling as well, but I emit feeling in a more, I guess, straightforward way. Like, he’s gonna go left and go right to get through his feelings and I’m like speeding to it. We talk about things that aren’t even music related, we talk about family and shit. We’re men at the end of the day, and that’s why I’m close with these artists because it’s not only about the music all the time.”

HR: I know you and Ken Car$on worked together, are you guys planning anything in the future?

Lancey Foux: “I’m proud of him, forreal. From the first time I met him — I remember I went to Atlanta and I didn’t know he necessarily rapped at that time. But, it was weird beacsue I didn’t know he rapped but I wanted him to rap. I looked at him and I’m like ‘you’re in this thing and it’s only a matter of time before you figure this thing out for yourself.’ He was around me and Carti and we’re doing what we’re doing and I wanted him to be on the same shit as us.”

HR: What’s your message for Our Generation?

Lancey Foux: “Life gets hard and once you figured out your next thing, is to figure out how to get to a point of peace and clarity. Move on and move with respect — maintain that for the rest of your life and teach that. Especially as men: move with respect, move with honor. Don’t be doing anything just for the sake of it, or to get to a place that you’re going to realize that just doesn’t exist. You create everything that you create for yourself. You create the place you’re meant to stay — you create your own greatness. Live and maintain. Maintain greatness.”