Lesley Lyrix

UK-based Lyrix started performing as a DJ in 1982. He nurtured his militant style chanting on the sound system circuit before making his breakthrough into the mainstream. The DJ initially came to prominence…
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Artist Biography

UK-based Lyrix started performing as a DJ in 1982. He nurtured his militant style chanting on the sound system circuit before making his breakthrough into the mainstream. The DJ initially came to prominence within reggae circles when he appeared on pirate tapes of a soundclash, which surfaced in specialist record stores in London. The tape featured a live recording of a show featuring Saxon and Ghetto-tone Hi Fi, which included Lyrix and Phillip Papa Levi in a libretto contest. The tape surfaced in 1983 and has been widely acknowledged as an archetypal example of the dancehall ambience in the 80s. Endorsing the sound system the DJ formed his own Ghetto-tone record label. Lyrix’s stance demonstrated his independence although he insisted that the support from his cousin Tony Henry and his manager Othman Mukhlis was upheld. The DJ subsequently went to Jamaica where he recorded on sessions with producer Junior Reid and neighbour King Jammy. On his return to the UK Lyrix recorded for Music Of Life, the Mad Professor, Greensleeves Records and the former DJ, Mykey Simpson. The association with Simpson resulted in the release of ‘Rasta No Trend’. In the song Lyrix promoted the ideology that Rastafari predated Christianity and proclaimed the evidence of its existence in ancient Egypt. His reputation as an Afro-centric DJ led to an acclaimed world tour including concerts in Europe, the USA, Grenada and Jamaica. While in America he was influenced by radical hip-hop performers including, Ice-T, Chuck D. and KRS-One and in 1989 recording in New York released the hip-hop styled, ‘Too Black In Brixton’. Lyrix has been described as being Britain’s answer to KRS-1 who placed similar emphasis on diction and clarity when executing his vocal delivery. The DJ refused to chant in the slackness style stating that if he could not play his tune to his children or mother then he would not record it. His conscientious stance led to his research into the cultural significance of reggae music as a voice for the African Diaspora for his PhD at Goldsmiths College in London. Although recognised as a DJ he also had the reputation as a black activist and poet who wrote, published and lectured on black identity and history. In 1999, the DJ completed his critically acclaimed debut album with Mykey Simpson and Tony Henry.