8 Aug 2018

Lord$eez: the NZ trap rapper who made his first album in a youth justice facility

From RNZ Music, 3:00 pm on 8 August 2018

Lord$eez is 16-year-old Kiwi-born South African, Sizwe Singhsesi. He's an Auckland-based trap rapper building a name online and drawing young audiences to his energetic live performances. RNZ Music contributor, Phodiso Dintwe gets to know Lord$eez. 


Lord$eez Photo: Phodiso Dintwe

His fans call him 'demon boy'. But in spite of the pentagram tattoos, the self-dubbed ‘child of hell’ swears he’s ‘not into all that devil worshipping’ stuff.

16-year-old Sizwe Singhsesi, aka Lord$eez of the three-man crew, LORDZMO$TWVNTED (or LMW for short) was freestyling on Facebook videos at age 12 and now has a solid and steadily growing online fanbase.

He also receives his share of hate.

At first, I was stunned to hear this, disgusted even, until I remembered that long before I'd even heard his tracks, I'd written him off after hearing he'd been in a youth justice facility. I checked myself. Sure, he's not yet refined, but who is at 16? People are not incapable of learning; our misplaced views are not necessarily with us for life.  

And there's something about this offensive-lyric-spitting kid – a Kiwi-born South African, raised by a single mother, that undeniably resonates with his contemporaries.

NZ has appallingly high youth suicide and depression rates, so when Lord$eez says he 'prefer[s] the turn up' – the partying and the lyrics that aren’t too depressing – he speaks for his generation.

When did you get into music?

I came out of the womb loving it. I had always wanted to rap, didn’t know how to but decided that I’d do it from whenever till I die.

What’s your day to day life like?

Smoking doinks. Making music. We go out to very far places to check out clothing.

So fashion is a big thing?

No doubt.

You recently put out your second EP Life Is Boring. What was the first?

The $eezy $criptures. I recorded all of it in juvie [Lord$eez spent time in a youth justice residence], wrote all of it there. At 14 years old.

They had a recording booth there?

Yep. [Grins] That’s where I started my career.

Haha, wow. Anything more you can tell me about that experience?

Nah. I don’t wanna talk about that s**t.

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Photo: Phodiso Dintwe

Fair. So what do you write about?

Our LMW lifestyle. I feel like I live a cool lifestyle, I don’t look like nobody around here. People have told me they’ve seen me like three months ago and I’ve been popping up in their head every day. I feel like me and my boys are unique. We talk about our lifestyle: a lot of girls, a lot of money, clothes and a lot of big doinks.

Are all three members of the LORDZMO$TWVNTED based in NZ?

Yeah, we all linked up here. Started up in a garage – we were just freestyling a lot. I didn’t have friends til' I met Lil Cookies and Koolay. Well, didn’t have friends that I could just be my weird self with.

Why a garage?

We were making clothing, planning all this shit, making posters. It just felt like the place for us to just do it and kill it.

And how did you know they were weird?

[His eyes dart towards Lil Cookies and they both laugh] They see me, I mean, they really see why I am like this. My behaviour, how I dress, my writing and they support it.

How did you meet?

I met Lil’ Cookies through Facebook ‘cause he looked cool. He lived in Australia and I used to video call him. Koolay was there when I was born, like at the hospital.

If you couldn’t do rap, what music would you be doing?

I don’t know man. I’m addicted to this, it’s like a drug to me.

Your style is clearly yours. How did you develop it to be what it is?

It took me a while to come up with a sound that I knew when I say one word people would know it’s me. I had to do that through repetitive adlibs, and focusing so much on the little details.

What’s your favourite track to perform?

‘Esophagus’. Or ‘14 Bitches’ because I don’t even have to perform it, the crowd will sing it.

You bring great energy to the stage, is that a conscious choice?

Yes. Even if I’m not headlining the show, I will make it look like I’m headlining the show. I make sure I stand out.

What’s the energy of your shows like?

Rage. Lot of Rage. The crowd joins in with the high energy. What I give them is what bounces back.

And what’s it like performing to a vibe like that?

Wild. A lot of people come to just let loose. Mosh pit. I did my first all-ages show recently and loved it. It’s always the young ones that need to come.

Oh yeah?

Bro, I walk around town sometimes and there’s always kids just loitering cause there’s not much to do. Kids need a place to vent. The music helps me. And going to an artist that you vibe with can help.

I love your confidence man. Do people get put off by it?

People get scared of how passionate I am. But you know, if you’re hungry – nobody gonna know if you won’t make an order.

For sure.

How’re you gonna knock someone for being passionate? There’s so many people here who just wanna stick to what NZ has always seen, who are not open to new things. People don’t wanna branch out, link up with or support people. I started at 14 and the hate was still there. 14 bro.


I’m 16 now and I’ve got 35-year-old men online hating on me. Why hate a kid who’s just doing what he loves?

What are they saying?

Man... That I’m not true hip hop or rap. Rap has to be a certain way. And they use fake accounts to do it sometimes, like, actually take the time out to hate on a kid. A f**n’ kid.

Do people think you're older than you are?

I was going out with this girl, she was 22 and I was 15 at the time bro. She found out and stayed with me, so I feel like age does not matter.


Yeah, people are always mistaking my age cause I’ve got face tattoos.

How did people react when you got them?

People, or my mum?

Hahah. Your mum.

She didn’t talk to me for a few days ... but then I cleaned the house and she was happy again.

When did you get the pentagram?

Not long ago, at the start of the year. I know everybody thinks I’m a devil worshipper but the pentagram symbolises the elements and I feel like I am at one with them. LMW is our religion.

I saw your mum at one of your performances. Is she very supportive?

Yeah, she... [pauses and laughs] Wanna know the real reason my mum comes to my shows?


Because I started at 14 years old, performing in clubs where bitches are shaking ass on me. And so she has to come, as my guardian. But nah, she is very supportive.

Do you ever write about family life?

Yeah, but I keep it low-key. Don’t want to burden people. I prefer the turn-up.

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Photo: Phodiso Dintwe

How much work do you put into your music?

A lot. All the time. Full time. Overtime. Honestly, people don’t understand like, $eezy $criptures had six songs, but there was so much writing. So many bars, it was like a Bible. I write a lot. My phone storage fills up mostly cause of my notes.

Do you think people catch everything you want them to in your lyrics?

It’s up to each person. I feel how I feel and put it on the track, so if they understand it then that’s cool.

So do you plan your moves out, or do you freestyle them?

You could say I freestyle it, though the main focus is consistency. I haven’t stopped, I’m always in the booth. I keep it going, and that’s how shit keeps coming.

What do you wish you were better at?

Focusing on my craft. Being grateful. Give without expecting returns. Hold no grudges. Be respectful. Wise decisions. Making every step important. Keeping loved ones close.

That’s cool.

Oh, and I wish my two front teeth were straighter. I wish I could talk to older women, I need a sugar mama.

How do you balance all this with school?

I went to high school for like, two weeks.

Oh. What?

I didn’t f*** with it. I wanna make up my own mind on what to do.

If I asked you where you were going in the next five or ten years, would you be able to answer that?

Might be dead. Might be rich. Might be broke. Shit. I wanna win awards.

Would you rather be rich and die at 40, or poor and live to 100?

Rich and die at 40.

Are you looking to get signed?

Someone already tried to sign me. Shit went wrong. If the right deal comes, we’ll sign.

If you signed and were told to switch up your style, would you?

Nope. We’re not changing for anybody!

Why do you think the fans love your music so much?

They love it because I don’t give a f***. They love the passion. Look at [Lil] Uzi, Marilyn Manson, why do they have a fanbase? People are so afraid to get out of their shell, but when they see someone else do it they’re like, “Shit! He’s doing what I wanna do!”.

Which artists are you itching to collaborate with?

Imani Sharp, Nicki Minaj. I’d love to collab with 6ix 9ine. Drake is amazing. Ski Mask is slick. Tay K. Lil Peep.

I know you are a fan of XXXTentacion's music. Any comments on his passing?

A young guy, who was messed up but also inspirational to so many people died.

There’s been a lot of people celebrating his death. Thoughts on that?

Oh man. See, that’s why I avoid things like that on social media. How are you happy about someone dying?

And what did you think of him as a person?

I don’t like the fact that a lot of people are trying to use someone’s death for headlines.

That’s fair. I ask because of his alleged assault charges, and because it is of interest that he used lyrics that a lot of people felt were offensive towards women.

Ah. I didn’t know too much about his life. Personally, I focus more on the artistry. The whole feel that he brought, and the emotions with it were relatable to a lot of people and I think that’s important. People felt it. He brought positivity to a lot of people. Negativity to a lot of people. Take what you want from it. It’s okay to be angry at the bad things he did. It’s okay to be sad that he died young.

Cool. I suppose it has always been that, ‘Do you separate the art from the artist, or judge them both as one?’


Hip Hop and current day pop are notorious for being pretty controversial. What are your thoughts on singers/rappers using language that can be perceived as offensive to women?

Hmm. [long pause.]

Including you yourself, if you want to comment.

I guess I’ve said shit that could be offensive, but I’ve never really tried to offend women. And if I have it’s never on purpose.

I was talking to my sister and she mentioned that because the b-word has always been demeaning coming from men, she can’t make peace with us saying it.

Wow. I’ve never really thought about that. You hear artists like Nicki Minaj use it all the time... Some women really get offended by that word?

Yeah man. A lot of women do find it offensive.

Damn. I might have to stop saying that.

Listen to Lord$eez on SoundCloud and follow him on Facebook and Instagram as @lordseezfinesse.

This article's author, Phodiso Dintwe is an Auckland based poet from Botswana. He is also a vocalist and percussionist, both with solo works and as a member of the band ‘New Telepathics’.

Lil Cookies and Lord$eez

Lil Cookies and Lord$eez Photo: Phodiso Dintwe

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