Words: Dylan Murphy
Words: Dylan Murphy
Jim Legxacy is a South-east London rapper and producer. On Tuesday he released his ep ‘BTO!’ alongside a short film ‘ọlọtẹ’, which was influenced by each track on the ep . ‘ọlọtẹ’, which means rebel in Yoruba, was directed by Fidel. The film follows Jim’s character as a young man who gets caught up in trouble in London. District spoke to Jim about the creation of ‘BTO!’ and ‘ọlọtẹ’.
What was the process of writing and recording the EP like?
It was tough. I just had to work on it whenever I could find the time. I was working the nightshift & going to uni all at the same time as making these songs. I would come home at 8am in the morning from work after a 9 hour shift and I would literally go straight on Fruity Loops studio till 12. I’d then have uni the next day… it was really hectic looking back at it but at the time I was having soo much fun creating that I didn’t see the strain I was putting on myself I guess.
What were you listening to at the time of creating the EP?
Bon Iver and a lot of that and other bands like Dear In The Headlights. They had a song called sweet talk which is super cool! Also Paramore, they always had these INSANE sections and that’s something I wanted to integrate. I was also listening to a song called Circle by Flyleaf, I think the emotion that that song conveys I have never seen in a song ever. I was in awe of how much emotion you can put into a song. I wasn’t listening to as much rap stuff because I create rap music and I knew that was what I was going to make. Listening to stuff outside rap allowed me to place soo many different elements into the music.
Tell me a little bit about how you decided to go for a multi-medium piece like this?
I study art direction at uni & throughout my life have studied different mediums. I love to challenge myself and making good work that is cohesive is probably the most challenging things you can do creatively. Working closely with Fidel, Tieler & Eric on the visuals, as well as producers like Jay Mooncie & Wayward allowed me to string together a piece that stands in multiple mediums but still conveys and communicates the same message and feeling.
Paint a picture of how the inspiration for the film came about, did any one experience encourage you to create the film?
Fidel always talked about a short film, he’s always wanted to do that, and I knew he had the means to bring it together perfectly. He’s this crazy genius that just does genius stuff. I knew that paired with the songs I was working on just made so much sense.
How important was your family heritage in creating the piece?
Very important. I think family are your first iterations of the human experience that you perceive and for me I think there is a lot of ways that capitalistic & systemic side effects have affected me and the people I care about. I think realising these things had increased the value of my heritage because there are soo many things out to destroy it. Its’ to be preserved. The EP almost serves as me being aggressive towards the attempts to separate me from my heritage or make me ashamed of it.
Talk a little about what role Fela Kuti played in inspiring the piece
Fela is one of the greatest artists to exist in human history in my opinion, his expression of radical afro-pessimism is something that I think no artist has ever done. I feel like niggas make music about the system and the system just keeps systeming, but with Fela he made music another the system and the system stopped and sought out to destroy him. I think reading up on his life is like this vigilante story that I think is inspiring because its someone who wouldn’t stop speaking on what was wrong even when it would hurt him.
What came first in your creative process? Did the music inform the film or vice versa?
The music informed the film, but I kinda had the idea of a film towards the latter stages of the creative process.
What was the purpose of having 3 sections, was it informed by how you wanted the story to unfold?
We’re illustrating the lives of Black radicals through a linear sequence of events. Part 1 (PowerTrip) is the opportunistic rise to power, often a key to destruction and a catalyst for setting off a chain of events. Part 2 (4LC) The sudden rise of the radical is followed by downward events that prevent the radical from achieving redemption, ultimately awaiting his imminent fall. Part 3 (DSP) The final act, the radical is now too far gone to seek penance. Their way of life has led them to their destruction and immortalisation as the black radical.
Are there aspirations to move into film as well as music in the long term?
Yes. I literally want to do everything. I want to act, I want to develop games, I want to make clothes, I want to invent a jetpack as well, that’s like portable and well, I have endless ideas but I suppose music acts like a gateway to that, u know?
You captured the bleakness of modern London in the car parks, industrial estates and empty roads, was this intentional?
Of course its bleak, there’s no trees in London.