As Leikeli47 dominated the stage at The New Parish with a performance of her song “Post That,” the Brooklyn rapper asked the audience, “Must I remind you I’m that bitch?” She certainly didn’t need to; by the end of her set, Leikeli’s identity as “that bitch” was crystal clear. The artist’s commanding presence and vivacious persona created a night full of energy that only could have been produced by someone with as much confidence as she.
Leikeli’s latest release, Acrylic, is appropriately the namesake of her current tour: her performances on both the album and the stage command attention for their cohesiveness, energy, and pure swag. This came after the artist’s debut album, Wash & Set (2017), a dynamic and inventive collection of hard-hitting flows and fun lyrics. After the album received high praise from critics and fans alike, Leikeli’s career quickly took off. On April 16, Leikeli bridged the works of her short career as she took the stage in Oakland, performing the most popular tracks off both of her albums.
In a cloud of purple smoke and with a DJ by her side, Leikeli appeared onstage adorned with her signature bandana –– she has never shown her face during a show –– and it was clear that the focus of the night would be on her performance rather than appearance. Wasting no time, Leikeli began her set with an energetic performance of “O.M.C,” a song off her first album, in which she made sure the crowd knew, “Once it’s on, it’s on.” By the end of the first song, concertgoers erupted in cheers.
Throughout the rest of the night, Leikeli gave a consistently braggadocious and dynamic performance, exploring themes such as Black womanhood and independence across the span of her set. In “No Reload,” she sang, “Grew up in a house full of women. … Never seen ‘em borrow shit, they had they own figures” — a snippet of her matriarchal album and independent persona. In her performance of “Iron Mike,” the DJ’s beat perfectly complemented Leikeli’s lusty voice and lively moves as she swaggered across the stage.
At this point in the concert, the crowd was so enthused that Leikeli solicited fans to join her onstage. She brought up several people, asking them to dance with her as she performed “Look,” rapping, “Caviar, collard greens, I keep it real hood in my Prada jeans.” Her unapologetic nods to Black culture seemed to resonate with the audience members as they excitedly became a part of her lively performance.
This transition to older tracks also marked a move toward more lighthearted songs, namely the artist’s hit, “Girl Blunt.” This song garnered the audience’s attention like no other; as soon as the beat began, dozens of people cheered and held their blunts in the air with excitement. The room filled with smoke as Leikeli sang, “This shit is a girl blunt, I only smoke girl blunts.” By the end of the performance, everyone within a 10-foot radius of the stage had thrown their weed on stage. Leikeli paused her performance to exclaim, “It’s raining weed!”
Over her past two works, Leikeli has accomplished what few other female rappers have — she has successfully explored a variety of themes and ensured that every track is fresh and exciting. With her hard-hitting beats, witty lyrics and unwavering energy, the artist channeled her strength built over these past few years into one night at The New Parish. As Leikeli closed her set with “Money,” she proclaimed herself a “rockstar, mixed with a ghetto chick.” And after such a performance, “rockstar” certainly seemed to be the best way to describe her.