Space Discovery: Leon Flames
Welcome to our new Space Discovery!
Today we didn’t have to travel too far to meet our super talented Leon Flames, South-London born and raised hip hop artist, who just came out with his new single “Stalin’s Lapel”.
It’s with a warm, seducing beat that Leon introduces us to this lo-fi hip hop/boom bap track, where mellow kicks and drums accompanied by a saxophone give off chill vibes, while Leon spits bar after bar, the rhythm of his voice relentless. And yet, sounds and flow here are a perfect couple – the symphony is old-school, almost RnB jazzy, while the impeccable flow is undoubtedly hip hop, but never harsh.
Leon plays with his lyrics, uses internal rhymes, alliteration between consecutive words, chain verses, glissading from one to the other, and unravelling a social commentary on race, history, politics, and art. As a poetess myself, each bar made my hair stand on end, and I just couldn’t stop vibing to the rhythm of this track. Leon hits hard with his lines: “a new Renaissance in place of the decimal/Boris Johnson or Ivan the Terrible/same face, different mask/but none of them invincible”, just to mention one of the many cultural references, wrapped up in poetry and lyricism, that fill this song.
The poetical quality of this single is probably its main strength, with Leon’s intelligent use of metaphors, like “as I adjust the frame of my specs and the light refracts, all of my darkest thoughts feel inept”. He talks about elevation from “the altitude where his brain exists”, uniqueness in his intentions, as Stalin’s lapel, unique in its non-existence.
This song is the fruit of the most recent marriage between late 80s/early 90s West Coast hip hop and 2020s London rap music.
I see that collaboration with Marvin Gaye and Al Green, which Leon dreams about if he could travel back in time, in this refreshed old-school style track, drizzled with a new, wavy London spice full of poetics.
Welcome to Space, Leon Flames!
Congratulations on your new release!
What’s the story behind your latest release?
My new release ‘Stalin’s Lapel’ received its name, because the coats that Stalin wore never had any lapels on them, which would make Stalin’s lapel unique. I wanted to remind people that there are still rappers out there that care about intricate bars, cadence, flow and subject matter. I had first intended on having a hook on the song, but as I started writing, I just kept on going deeper down the rabbit hole and it ended up transforming into one long colossal verse.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future include releasing a full length double album in 2023 titled ‘Kings Never Give Up, to follow up 2019’s ‘Realm Musik Lp’, and to create visuals to go with it, whilst performing at different venues and events.
If you had a time machine, in which era would you travel and which kind of music would you bring with you in the past?
If I had a time machine, I would travel back to the 70’s when artists like Marvin Gaye and Al Green were taking the world by storm. I would take with me some beats from my upcoming project ‘Kings Never Give Up’, so that I could collaborate with them and make some futuristic songs from their perspective.