It’s been a strange two years without music from EJ Von Lyrik. I used to attend her shows in Cape Town and keep up-to-date with her European tour schedule. I used up my internet quota to download an entire performance of hers from Paleo Festival. I even got her to autograph copies of two of her albums one evening. So it was a bit hard when everything went silent.
To be fair, she did make sneaky appearances at festivals, club performances, and features on other artist’s songs.
EJ Von Lyrik is a maverick at what she does – a brilliant vocalist, masterful performer, and avant-garde lyricist. She used to be part of two now-defunct rap groups – Godessa (alongside Burni and Shame) and The Neophytes (alongside Nama San and Azuhl). The master turntablist DJ Azuhl on meeting EJ:
“I would say the turning point for me was round about ’96/’97; I performed at a school and I saw this girl that just blew my mind away. She was rapping in French. I actually [had to] ask this chick if she wants to be down with the crew. Another friend of mine that used to belong to the TVA crew – a crew that Falko belongs to – introduced me to her, and she was EJ Von Lyrik. She was still at the school, Standard 9. I was out of school already. That’s when Neyophytes started. Religiously for about two-and-a-half years, we recorded stuff every weekend!”
On her recently-released single “Younique“, EJ flexes her vocal chords over a dancehall-ready stepper laced with the thickest bass squelches this side of volcanic eruptions. “Better know where you’re coming from/ if you know where you’re coming from, ra-pa-pam-pam” she sings as the windin’-friendly riddim advances her agenda by serving doses of sonic inspiration to those in need. Rumours have been circulating that she might be working on a new album, her third since “Method in the madness” (2006) and “The human condition” (2010). We await eagerly.
*Extra: Check out this recent video interview where EJ speaks about her musical influences, the biased portrayal of South Africa by foreign-owned media, and why, were she a drug, she’d be ecstasy.