They often say that if you truly want to understand how your favourite artist is drawn to create the music that they make, you often have to discover the artists that have influenced them. Lord Apex is a rare character, his musical knowledge a rabbithole and that’s evident in the producers, musicians, artists and DJs that he works with. He’s a student of the game, someone who has a rich opinion about anything he puts his ears to — it’s traits like these that will set him apart from his peers in the future. The influences bleed out from beyond the confines of the music itself, you hear tones of Madlib, J Dilla and MF DOOM – arguably the 2012 Miami Heat of rapper-producers. And that’s a pretty solid benchmark to look toward. Long before headlining his debut UK tour in 2020 and selling out Scala, AP’s show at the famed 100 Club in London’s West End cast him in an elite category of iconic artists that have passed through their doors, including The Clash, Sex Pistols, Oasis, After selling out his first UK tour in October 2020, Apex showed the world that he’s only just getting started. The energy the rapper exudes is pure and genuine; during the Leeds leg of His last solo tour, AP took time out to FaceTime his mother during the show to wish her a happy birthday, to which everyone in the room joined in. He cares about the people in his life and wants to see them win big. 2021 promises to be a fruitful and life changing year for the young rapper as he embarks on a tour with Indiana-born, LA-based rapper Freddie Gibbs, who has solidified himself as one of the best rappers in the game right now.
Already, this puts him in conversations with those leading what feels like a return to the soulful rap of the early to mid-00’s, the rappers and producers who have picked up the mantle that Dilla and DOOM left in their wake. In ten years’ time, maybe less, many more will see what some of us already know— Lord Apex belongs in the conversation with the likes of Freddie Gibbs, Griselda, Quasimoto, Slum Village and many more. AP marked the start of 2022 with the release of ‘The Bullshit’ produced by Cookin’ Soul, an infectious, pulsating record that departs from the hazy, nonchalant demeanour fans may have been used to on records such as Smoke Sessions Vol. 2, Supply & Demand and the more recent SSV3. The release of the collaborative album with Cookin’ Soul, Off The Strength, was another masterstroke and an example of one his strongest attributes being his ability to create cinematic projects with sole producers. And with that, it’s no surprise that AP’s has found a deep and strong connection with unlikely music scenes in countries such as Brazil. Lord Apex star continues to rise and then, rise some more. Having toured with Freddie Gibbs in March 2022 and Action Bronson on the NBA Leather tour in June 2022, what more left is there to say? The rapper capped his 2022 with a deft move that only the likes of Madlib have previously made.His collaborative album with Brazilian producer El Lif saw him connect with his largest audience, featuring local rap legends such as Akira Presidente, Febem & rising rapper Sain. It didn’t stop there, AP brought those fans even closer by performing at the first Latin American Primavera festivals in Brazil, Argentina & Chile. Moves like these over the past year have contributed to Lord Apex doubling his listenership from 1.3m (157 countries) to 2.3m (181 countries). AP’s collaboration with Carhartt, a landmark moment in his young career, was a deft partnership particularly with the brand’s storied connection to the hip-hop culture the Sensei prescribes to. You may see him in a fitted cap, baggy jeans, Timberlands and puffer jacket, evoking images and memories of a young Wu-Tang Clan on the grimey streets of Staten Island and Brooklyn. Since then, featuring in campaigns by New Balance, Supreme & the rapidly rising Corteiz have proven his ability to speak to a range of audiences by bringing the worlds of music and streetwear together. More importantly, AP continuously wants to let fans into his world through his words and imagery, and this year, we’ll be taken even further down the rabbithole of the rapper’s expansive and bright mind. To the uninitiated, you may be forgiven for thinking that AP is a part of a saturated UK rap scene but through his words and soundscape, we see Lord Apex as the bridge that connects all those who appreciate above all else, musicianship. His forthcoming music with some of the world’s most illustrious producers is only the tip of the iceberg. Better yet, his career so far is only a fraction of that tip. The best is yet to come.