“I’m not gonna talk about how tight my vagina is,” Lexie Lee states emphatically, just moments into our interview. An undeniably headstrong woman in the undeniably slack and male-ego-driven world of dancehall, she has apparently had to reiterate the statement on more than a few occasions.
“I love sexuality,” the Montego Bay-reared, Los Angeles-based deejay says when asked about the suggestive content in her own songs, which include titles like “Pull It Up” and “Keep it Duttyah.” “I’m a woman–it’s part of [me]. But it should be expressed res-pon-sib-ly. The AIDS epidemic is still exploding in Jamaica, 70% of black children in the U.S. are born to single-family households… You can’t just be throwing your dick and pussy out all over the place.”
While advancing the female perspective within dancehall is clearly one of her agendas, Lee takes issue with being labeled a dancehall artist, preferring to describe her style as “grindcore.” “Categorization is bullshit,” she says. “I’m gonna do what makes me happy.”
What makes her happy includes spending much of her time in Europe, where she tours regularly and has recorded remixes with U.K. garage producers Paleface and Sticky. She has even set up an office for her record label, Manslave, in Leipzig, Germany. “[The music we release is] never gonna be
straight-up dancehall or straight-up rap,” she says.
A compilation, Di Preparation, which features mostly previously released Manslave material, will be out in Europe this summer (with an international, digital-only release shortly thereafter). On the record, you’ll find Lee spitting over dutty riddims, plus crisp hip-hop beats from L.A. producer J-Hits. On lead single “Bye Bye Bye” she matches her fierce, sassy flow (think Lady Saw and Tanya Stephens with a dash of Lil’ Kim and Amy Winehouse) to a typically leftfield track from Florida’s South Rakkas Crew (of Chinkuzi riddim and Mad Decent fame).
Meanwhile, her upcoming “real debut album,” tentatively titled Di Intro, has drawn significant label interest–though she had to nix negotiations with one major U.S. label after an exec emailed her pictures of his penis.
“Obviously this dude was just one crazy fuck, but [overall] it’s never been about getting a deal for me,” she says. “I’m more interested in getting my little label set up and my blueprint down so [if I do sign], they can just follow the format that’s already set.”