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Also known asLeikeli
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • producer
  • director
Years active2010–present

Leikeli47, also known as Leikeli, is an American musician signed to RCA Records.[1] In 2018, she released her second full-length album, Acrylic.[2] She is known for concealing her face with a bandana or balaclava at all performances and professional appearances. In June 2019, Leikeli told Cultured Magazine, “Being black, we gotta learn how to wear a mask early.”[3]


Prior to being signed to RCA Records, Leikeli released a mixtape in 2010 titled LK-47.[4] This was followed by a string of releases including the sequel mixtape LK-47 Pt. II in 2014[5] and a self-titled EP in 2015, Leikeli47.[citation needed] In 2015, Leikeli's song "Fuck the Summer Up" was included on Jay-Z's inaugural Tidal playlist called F*ck The Summer Up.[6]

Leikeli's first full-length debut, Wash & Set, was released on September 8, 2017.[7] It was received positively by critics. Afropunk.com wrote, "the album showcases Leikeli47’s distinctively hard-hitting yet playful lyricism, genre-bending musicianship, and enigmatic character."[8] Darryl Robertson wrote for Vibe, "the dynamic, and featureless, effort is loaded with creativity, vigor and the power of her own feminism. It's evident that Leikeli is aiming to break rules and push boundaries hip-hop."[9]

Acrylic was released on November 15, 2018.[10] The title was inspired by her mixture of southern, Caribbean, and city roots.[7] The first single on the album, "Girl Blunt", was featured on the third season of Insecure.[11] The album received positive critical reviews. Jenn Pelly wrote at Pitchfork.com: "Her flow is always gripping, her details novelistic: An aunt sells candy from a windowpane, an extension cord snakes across a hallway, and the lights flicker in an E train tunnel."[11] Dhruva Balram wrote for NME, "At times, and especially on ‘Iron Mike’, Leikeli47 sounds like the best of M.I.A, Cardi B and Kamaiyah rolled into one."[12] Acrylic was named one of NPR's 50 Best Albums of 2018, as well as other lists including Paper Magazine,[13] Esquire,[14] and Forbes.[15] Acrylic is the second part of a planned music trilogy that Leikeli has developed, called the "Beauty Series".[4][7]

She stated that the next installment to the "Beauty Series" will be called Shape Up.[7] About the theme of beauty salons, she stated to The Fader, "They're safe havens for all of us — all women, but especially the African-American community. I wanted to create a body of work that spoke to not looking like what you actually are going through."[1] She has stated that she seeks to normalize Black beauty standards, such as decorated fingernails.[16]

Leikeli performed alongside Pharrell during his I Am Other set at 2017's Complexcon,[17] as well as Natalie Portman's Boston Calling set in 2018, held at Portman's alma mater Harvard University.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Leikeli was raised in both Virginia and New York, primarily in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Brownsville and Bedford–Stuyvesant.[5][7] She learned to channel her creativity within the art world in which she credits her personal interest in fashion to studying photography and film.[1] She describes herself as having been a shy child who was interested in becoming a musician from a young age. She cites Michael Jackson and N.E.R.D as some of her favorite performers.[1] She's known to be very private and has not released her legal name or showed her face, with revelations only made through her musicianship and film.[19]

According to an interview with Vibe, she conceals her face because it gives her courage: "I feel like the Dark Knight, or one of those superheroes, or Superman… the mask, it represents freedom. I'm free with it on."[9]


Studio albums[edit]

  • Wash & Set (2017)
  • Acrylic (2018)


  • Leikeli47 (2015)
  • Pick A Color - Acrylic (2018)
  • Design - Acrylic (2018)


  • LK-47 (2010 First / 2012 Final)
  • The Flower Shop As Told by Brett Elway (2013)
  • LK-47 Pt. II (2014)
  • LK-47 Pt. III (2015)


  1. ^ a b c d "Leikeli47's love letter to black sacred spaces". The FADER. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  2. ^ "Acrylic by Leikeli47". Retrieved March 5, 2019 – via itunes.apple.com.
  3. ^ "Leikeli47 Refashions Anonymity in Her Own Image". Cultured Magazine. June 18, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Chesman, Donna-Claire. "Leikeli47 is Truth, Strength, and Love Personified". DJBooth. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Kramer, Kyle. "Invincible Eyes: What's Beneath Leikeli47's Mask?". Vice. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  6. ^ "JAY-Z: F**k the Summer Up". TIDAL Browse - High Fidelity Music Streaming. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Leikeli47 Is Ready to Give Hip-Hop a New Look". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  8. ^ "Brooklyn rapper Leikeli47 drops breathtaking debut album and new video "M I L K"". AFROPUNK. September 11, 2017. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Leikeli47 Brings Creativity And Vigor On Her Debut Album, 'Wash & Set'". Vibe. September 8, 2017. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  10. ^ Coleman II, C. Vernon. "Leikeli47 Shares Release Date for New Album and Three New Song". XXL Mag. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Pelly, Jenn. "Leikeli47: Acrylic". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  12. ^ Balram, Dhruva. "Leikeli47 – 'Acrylic' review". NME. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  13. ^ "PAPER's Top 20 Albums of 2018". PAPER. December 17, 2018. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  14. ^ Miller, Matt (November 28, 2018). "The Best Hip-Hop Songs of 2018". Esquire. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  15. ^ Suarez, Gary. "10 Great Hip-Hop Albums From 2018 You May Have Missed". Forbes. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  16. ^ Corry, Kristin; Friedlander, Emilie; Ozzi, Dan (November 16, 2018). "An Interview in a Nail Salon with Leikeli47 About Her New Album 'Acrylic'". Noisey. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  17. ^ "Watch Special Guests 2 Chainz, Lil Uzi Vert, and Migos Surprise the Pigeons & Planes Stage at ComplexCon". Complex. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  18. ^ "St. Vincent, Zola Jesus to Join Natalie Portman at Boston Calling 2018". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  19. ^ Bacher, Danielle (September 20, 2016). "Leikeli47 On Using Music as Survival". Paper.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]