The present era of women in hip hop is the most impressive it’s ever been. From the days when there were just a few at a time to now countless female MCs making their voices heard, and Lady London is next up to separate herself from the pack.
Zaire “Lady London” Miyalun was raised in the Tri-State area, but her hometown is East Orange, New Jersey. Miyalun grew up an inspiring poet, raised by a teen mom who instilled in her to be strong on education. This fueled Miyalun to graduate from Howard University in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine. “Howard was a pivotal moment in my life,” said Lady London,“Howard taught me to not feel guilty about speaking out or organizing or taking issue with the conditions of African Americans in society.” All was going according to plan; Lady London was a college graduate in pursuit of a career as an orthopedic surgeon, but Fate had other ideas.
In 2018, while in a traffic jam, London posted a poem that went viral, gaining over 8.7 million views. She saw the digital moment as an opportunity, so she dropped out of graduate school at the University of Southern California to pursue rap full-time. London’s mom told her she had six months to show results, so the young poet took the next few months to teach herself how to rap; she began recording and posting freestyles titled “Lady London Mondays.” The consistency of her songs gained 25,000 followers a month on her social media platform and created a fanbase that was thirsty for more.
Proof of Skills
After building a musical platform and following through the digital space, Lady London set off to prove her mic skills. Like on Hot 97 with DJ Funkmaster Flex where she rhymed, “Lighting up my wrist,/ if you ain’t notice I’ve been freezing./ You’ve been biting on my sh!t,/ but ya’ll ain’t notice she was teething.”Or witty bars, like on Real Late with Rosenberg when she said, “And my whole yearbook was a letdown./ Because the girl who got Cs is in tech now,/ and ‘most likely to succeed’ does meth now.”
Lady London’s poetry background is to credit for her rap gift having depth, which can be heard on songs like “Do Something” ft. Jeremih, an updated spin on Mya’s “Best of Me” ft/ Jay-Z. The song “Lisa’s Story” uniquely showcases London’s storytelling ability as she performs from a third-person perspective. London also blends well with other rappers, like Chicago’s own Dreezy on the track “Yea Yea.” The two exchange bars as if they were born from the same rhyme pen.
Respect Earned, Future is Open
Lady London is a new talent who isn’t afraid to build and do the work for a long-game career. Her crisp flow cuts through songs whether the production is smooth or a bounce beat, and she’s gained respect from contemporary rap icons and legends alike. Cardi B said of London, “She is so underrated.”Big Daddy Kane—after quoting one of London’s rhymes—simply said, “Don’t play with that girl!”
So far Lady London has proven through clear yet clever wordplay that rhymes do matter and the artform of lyricism doesn’t have to get lost in song. London has a multi-generational potential that sets her apart from not just the present wave of female rappers but could place her ahead of all artists in hip hop.