Birmingham duo Ash and Lucas, aka Lotto Boyzz, have been steadily pushing what’s been described as ‘Afro bashment’ for a little while now. Whether or not that term is wholly accurate is another question (R&B, gospel, hip hop and myriad Caribbean influences can often be heard). Still, their canny blend of R&B, Afrobeats and Caribbean music should definitely score them a lot of mainstream success in the future. There isn’t so much about Lotto Boyzz online as of yet — to date, they only have a handful of tracks on Spotify, including remixes — but the groundswell of support is rising. That said, those tracks form a pretty damn impressive hit-rate. 2016 alone saw three huge hits for the boys in ‘Gangster’, ‘Hitlist’ and ‘Bad Gyal’, together chalking up millions of views. Even the comparatively deeper cuts like ‘Plantain & Dumplin’ (from P Montana’s Rah Boy Vol. 1) are surefire crowd-pleasers.
The pair’s ‘No Don’ remix with Chip and Not3s, for example, is a clear highlight of the pair’s nascent career, but special consideration should go to early cut ‘Birmingham (Anthem)’, a R&B-tinged Afrobeat love letter to the city that raised them. In fact, it was ‘Birmingham (Anthem)’ (which features fellow Brummie JayKae) and their ‘Wild Thoughts’ remix that first brought the 0121 boys to the attention of most people; the former even got them some early press coverage in the Birmingham Mail. All that was certainly impressive for Lotto Boyzz, but their biggest win so far has to be with ‘No Don’ and its subsequent remix.
The original of ‘No Don’ rightly did some respectful numbers on the various online channels that picked it up, but the remix with Chip and Not3s all but confirmed their ascent to the top. Their mix of R&B and Afrobeats came just at the right time as much of 2016 saw Afrobeats working its way into hip hop, grime and club music as a whole. Getting Chip and Mr ‘Addison Lee’ Not3s in for the remix was an even more well-timed move, coming just as Not3s’ name was ringing loudest across social media and the streets of the UK. And then we come back to the ‘Wild Thoughts’ freestyle/remix. Despite being released very early in their career, their interpretation earned the boys a lot of attention, deservedly so. While everyone was making Carlos Santana memes, these boys put in the work and delivered what we didn’t know we needed. That’s not to say any of these well-timed moves are at all cynical. Lotto Boyzz aren’t looking out for a hype train to jump aboard, each move comes organically, and they’ve always felt like the next natural progression.
With all that in mind, it’s been a fast-paced year for them, even beyond the list of releases, with a string of live appearances at Lovebox, MADE Festival, Reading and Leeds and multiple European festivals. Their new EP Afrobbean is just around the corner and, if its title and their reputation are anything to go by, we’ll have a fresh batch of melody-rich, club-ready anthems to pump through the city streets of Birmingham before the year is out. If this is what they’ve managed to achieve in the past year plus, 2018 is going to be extremely busy for the 0121 twosome.
This article first appeared in Notion 77.
Lotto Boyzz wear Lucas (left) Jacket Alpha Industries, top Les Benjamins, trousers Luke, Ash (right) Jacket Nanamica, t-shirt COLDXLONDON, trousers Topman
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