Some black folks complain about the white wash of hip hop. But when there are currently only two female MCs making mainstream noise – Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea – should skin color be the immediate issue in a sexist game that is void of women?
New York native Lanz Pierce dares to step forward to diversify hip hop. Signed to Interscope since 2006, at age 16, she thinks the world is ready.
“I would think that in general music has become a lot more open. To me music is a reflection of where we are in the world meaning in current events, in the social kind of vibe of what is acceptable, that’s what real musicians do. They make art they make music based on what’s going on in the world,” says Pierce. “In the world in general, before you couldn’t have in sports openly gay players. Or before you wouldn’t necessarily have the blessing and the beauty of having the first African American president. So the world has become more evolved. So I don’t think the race barrier and the gender barrier is as important. And I love that. I love that hip hop is starting to come around to that. For me, I can’t really speak on other white female rappers.”
Pierce didn’t just get her start in the game by posting a song online and letting it catch fire. She started on the underground and worked her way up.
“I was just grinding. 14 years old, on the underground open mic scene, legendary spots like Downtime, The Pyramid, Speed, I did the Apollo, BB King’s. I built up a buzz,” she says. “And at the time, I always knew Interscope was the only label I wanted to sign to because they had Tupac, Eminem, Dre and just all the classic artist that I was so in love with. I was blessed at the time that an agent from the William Morris talent agency sent my music over. Jimmy [Iovine] heard it and loved it. At 16 year old to sign to that label was a big deal.”
In June, Lanz performed at New York’s New Music Seminar while promoting her latest single “Waterfalls.” She describes her sound as “truth.” “The best way to describe my sound and my art in general is I’m an artist who really believes in leading with truth in your music. I put my lyrics first. My style is fierce,” she says, sounding like a bonafide cocky MC. “Everything that I do is really just about having a voice, and bringing something different to the game right now especially from a female prospective and bringing melody together with the lyrics and the flow I put first.”
Later this summer, Pierce will release her EP Editor’s Eye, a follow-up to last year’s Point of No Return. “I’m really excited about this project more than any project that I ever put out. I just feel very comfortable and excited about the space that I’m in as an artist, as a creator. I started performing with a live band, I have a drummer, I bring in the keys, and even the guitar on certain records. So there’s a lot more musicality involved, it’s not the same boom bap.”