Next Up: Che Lingo is a hip hop wizard

After a long graft, Che Lingo has perfected his craft to become one of the UK's most promising new MCs.

9 months agoText by


Self-proclaimed young wizard, Che Lingo is far more than just your average rapper. Concocting his eclectic lyrical magic with a fresh and futuristic approach to UK hip hop, this Battersea boy has been casting spells over the scene and has recently been pegged by the newspaper The Voice and highlighted by MOBOs as ‘ready to own 2017’. Far from an overnight sensation, Che Lingo is as focused as he is slick, beginning his career spitting bars in high school before performances at open mic nights where he was discovered by his manager, later opening for talents such as Stormzy and Lady Leshurr. Now, you’ll find him writing and producing dangerously hot hit singles, motivated by the artistic freedom music provides him.

“Creating music allows me to be myself without fear of judgement and just gives me a sense of validation I haven’t since found in anything else. Feelings, thoughts, imagination – I can just absorb and express this and enjoy myself doing it.” Che Lingo’s ability to craft lyrics with an honesty and passion which ebbs and flows throughout his work is one of his standout skills. Placing lyrical content high up in his list of priorities, Lingo has no problem in articulating and expressing himself both in his music and in person. “I think lyrical content is so imperative,” he says. “Sometimes an artist can get caught up in a trending sound and lose sight of their message and their identity. Staying fluid and being able to articulate yourself can never hinder your music, your creativity or sound. Good vocabulary comes with articulation, which can breed great lyrics helping the people that listen to your music understand you. It doesn’t have to be a million words in a verse either, just enough in the right way with the right tone to make them feel something.”

Rather than allowing himself to be boxed into a particular style or scene, Lingo would rather break away from the confines of stereotypes, spanning multiple genres during any given song. With a refreshing sound that gives Lingo a unique spot within British urban music, there’s no wonder this artist has a few ideas about mixing the music industry up a bit. Speaking on how he’d change the industry for the better, he says “I’d provide more info about the differences between publishing, owning a master, copyright, royalties, points and percentages. I don’t think artists understand this enough and they lose out because of it.”

Flashback to 10 years ago and Che Lingo was living every young MC’s dream having his tracks rotated by BBC Radio 1xtra’s Tim Westwood – no small feat for a 16-year-old schoolboy. Having had the experience, we asked Lingo if he could go back in time would there be any advice he would give his former self. “Don’t talk back so much to your grandma or your mum, they’re trying SO hard, give your dad a call and ask some questions, pay more attention in French class and don’t let yourself be influenced by what others have to say about your appearance when you’re in school.”

This article first appeared in Notion 75.

Che Lingo wears dungarees Dickies @ Beyond Retro

Photography Alex De Mora
Fashion Clarissa Bowman
Photography assistant Blue Laybourne
Hair Kristopher Smith using Bumble & bumble
Makeup Josie Chan using Smashbox Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

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