Lithium, YouTube, & peanut butter tortillas.
Often ratchet, sometimes rapt, always raw: Licki (she/her) juxtaposes the wit & charm of contemporary rap with riveting, chaotic, & wholly unexpected production elements to create a sound best described as "gift rap."
Describe Licki Ucroj in 3 words:
Ratchet / Irreverent / Raw
Can you tell us a little bit about your playlist?
I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 in 2015; I’ve finally (ungrudgingly) replaced liquor with lithium. There has always been a flame flaring up just beneath my flesh: feelings flailing against my insides, furiously seeking escape routes, prying open the most porous parts of me. This is the heat I’d been trying to cool—to tame—with drugs and alcohol for the better part of my adult life. That feeling isn’t gone at all; rather, now I can better identify it when it comes. This playlist is comprised of songs that either emulate and recreate this feeling, or help calm it when it surges within me.
What should we do while listening to it?
Whatever you must, to keep from being self-destructive.
How was Licki born?
I spent the summer of 2010 in NYC: I had zero expendable cash, lots of time, and lots of heartbreak. I jokingly decided I was going to become a YouTube star over the summer (rather prescient, even if it didn’t pan out that way). I needed a way to protest my own propensity to wallow in self-pity; Licki’s voice was more powerful than my own.
How do you feel about being an artist in 2018?
When my dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, I shut down. I couldn’t take in new art or information because there was no available space; I couldn’t get anything out because I couldn’t process something that I couldn’t rationalize. I limped along for a few years not knowing how to say whatever it was I needed to say to find my way back to some semblance of sense.
My dad’s college major was music theory and composition. He has always been synonymous with music to me; intimidated by his knowledge, I’ve spent my whole life telling people I’m not a singer. Even though I did musicals and choir in high school, I constantly qualified my participation, I think in part because I was afraid I wouldn’t know how to be good enough to make my father proud of me.
In 2018, something finally clicked in my brain. I just want to make as much as possible; nothing need be perfect, I simply want to participate. I just want to be in the mix of life.
What does “identity” mean to you?
The intersection of where I’ve been and who I’m trying to be.
Eating nothing but tortillas & peanut butter for one sad, impoverished autumn...and living to tell the tale. I’ve made it :)
What are you most proud of today?
My relationship with my wife.
Do you have any advice for emerging artists?
Only what I have to keep telling myself at least once per day: “What is for you will not go by you.”
Who’s one artist on your playlist we need to start following immediately, and why?
Field Division. I was introduced to their most recent release “Dark Matter Dreams” because my childhood friend was one of the session musicians that played on the album, which is lush and exhilarating and heartbreaking and of the past and barreling toward the future all at once
Licki’s Upcoming Show
10.15 — “Admission” solo show / single release party — Rockwell Table & Stage — Los Angeles