In the seven years since he began releasing music, hip-hop artist Weezy Jefferson has very much carved his own niche in Leeds’ independent hip-hop scene.
His style, he says, has evolved over time. “[At first] it was covering other artists’ instrumentals with my own lyrics. I was uploading things on to MySpace and then it became Facebook and Soundcloud and all these online platforms. Then the more that people began to listen I decided to put together EPs. They were smaller projects, they weren’t exactly albums, but they were something original.
In recent years as I’ve started to feel more strongly about certain things there’s definitely a message that I’ve started to put across, which I didn’t really intend to do, from kind of caring a bit more about what I’m saying.
“I started working with local producers and other local artists, collaborating, to bring EPs together.”
He came to wider prominence in 2014 by working with the songwriting and production team Deuce & Charger, who were then based in Leeds. The collaboration had come about via by city singer-songwriter Bianca Gerald, who had contacted Jefferson after seeing him at the spoken word event Dead Poets. “She said she knew these producers and they had a track in mind that was perfect for me – that was Stop The Sky From Falling.”
This month sees the release of his first mixtape, Mr Nice Guy Vol 1. Its lead track, Bring Em Out, features K-One. “It’s been played on BBC Radio Leeds and 1Xtra,” he says. “I’ve actually produced that track myself. I’ve just finished a degree in music production [at Leeds College of Music]. It’s going to be released officially later this year.”
Jefferson believes Leeds’ underground hip-hop scene is “very strong” at the moment. “We have artists like Dialect. Over the last three or four years he’s made a lot of international moves, as he’s involved in Battle Rap, he’s been involved in a lot of the biggest platforms and basically opened a lot of doors, so we’ve seen other artists following. We’ve had artists on SDTV more than once, we’ve had artsist on BBC radio from 1Xtra to Radio 1 to lots of different radio stations, and they’re just getting more and more traction
“At the end of 2015 1Xtra Live was held in Leeds and the MOBOs. One of our own artists stood up and did a performance right in the middle of all the other acts, as well as having projects that captured lyrics from artists around the city. That was held at Leeds Arena so there’s been a lot of traction over the last few years.”
From a personal standpoint, Jefferson says he is interested in “the art and finesse that an artist can put into writing to his lyrical style”.
“An example might be a more lyrical MC such as Big Pun or Lloyd Banks, they really construct their flows as well as their metaphors. It’s quite an impressive writing style, there’s a lot of intelligence shown in the way the lyrics are put together, I think that’s what impresses me the most.
“In recent years as I’ve started to feel more strongly about certain things there’s definitely a message that I’ve started to put across, which I didn’t really intend to do, from kind of caring a bit more about what I’m saying.”
On Tuesday Jefferson will have the chance to support one of his heroes, the veteran American rap star KRS-One, at Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. “I used to watch his videos before I was writing my own lyrics,” he says. “[That gig is] going to be a massive one.”
On July 25 Jefferson can also be seen at Under The Owls, an event at Leeds Market’s new Community Art Space, from 11.30am-2.30pm. He is also due to perform at a fundraiser for St Gemma’s Hospice at The Primrose, aka The Primmy, on Meanwood Road on September 10.
For further details visit https://www.facebook.com/Weezy-Jefferson-296834560329531/