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Their lips look like crispy bacon

Two pieces of crispy bacon

Image: Scott Eckersley via Unsplash

  • Track: Queen’s Speech 5
  • Artist: Lady Leshurr
  • Album: Queen’s Speech EP
  • Year: 2016

Hello there my band of merry hip-hop simile lovers. Like a mail delivery worker with a broken foot, this post is long overdue. Sorry about that, I’ve been as busy as a bee moving house, settling into a new city and going on a similarly overdue holiday.

Anyway, today we look at a cracking, crispy little ditty from Birmingham’s own Lady Leshurr. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realise it’s not pronounced ‘leisure’ – here’s the woman herself on how to do it. For the record, the correct way to pronounce this website is ‘e-hurs-dub’.

Lady Leshurr is bolshy, boisterous, blithe and really funny. Her distinctive Brummie accent contributes to this. She’s the West Midlands’ diss track whizz kid. As we’ve established several times, my finger is nowhere near the pulse of contemporary hip-hop. So despite our ladyship being around for a decade, I’ve only recently discovered her. My loss.

This track is from the 2016 EP Queen’s Speech that catapulted her into the spotlight. It’s a collection of ‘freestyles’. I’m a little confused by this because I’d always thought freestyles were meant to be improvised (like this one). But the tracks on the Queen’s Speech EP clearly aren’t. It turns out large swathes of the internet are similarly confused. People also use ‘freestyle’ to describe a rap that’s not about a particular topic, or not written to a particular beat.

Anyway, whichever side of the freestyle bread you’re buttered on, it’s not worth worrying too much about. The only thing that matters is that Lady Leshurr can really rap. I’ll save my energy for fretting over the meaning of similes instead. Luckily, I understand plenty of Lady Leshurr’s references. Less luckily, she references contemporary pop culture a lot, which mostly accounts for the ones I have to look up.

This isn’t my favourite of the Queen’s Speech tracks. Queen’s Speech 3 takes that spot, as it has some ridiculously good lines. But this one has similes that hit harder than a Georgia Stanway strike, so that’s why we’re here.

It’s lucky I’ve been dipping my toe into some new stuff, otherwise I wouldn’t have found this. Grime’s not really my thing (I think this is grime but might be wrong), but I’m a sucker for good lyrics and verbal dexterity like this. I also recently binge-watched Top Boy, which is pretty grime (and crime) heavy. So I think getting more of a feel for it. And I’m utterly obsessed with Kano’s eyelashes. I’ll get around to seeing how good he is with similes at some point.

Make sure you’re sitting down simile fans, because the first verse is absolutely rammed with them.

The lyrics

View full annotated lyrics on genius.com

[Verse 1]

Please don’t stop for a chinwag
You need a Tic Tac (Ugh)
You will get broke up like a Kit Kat
And then taken out like a bin bag

No time to get settled in readers, because Lady Leshurr is chomping at the bit to get going with some quality hip-hop similes.

With these short lines, the scene for the track is beautifully set. Lady L is not in the mood for niceties. There’s something endearing about two similes about pretty everyday things, it eases me into proceedings. They’re harder to write interesting things about though. But you might like to know that Kit Kat becomes only the second chocolate bar to enter the database after Snickers.

Becah it’s going down, low blow
So don’t make me snap like a photo, slow-mo
I’ll come through hooded up like Trayvon, woo
All blacked out like Akon
I’ma come to your door like Avon
And make you gimme them notes like Trey Songz
Mad ting, sad ting, like a Drake song
Everything’s cool, payphone

Oof. We have not seen such impressive simile density as this in a while. That’s six in six lines in just 46 words. That’s a simile every 7.67 words. If this bit was the entire track, Lady Leshurr would go right to the top of my simile leaderboard in both words per simile and similes per minute. But it’s obviously not the entire track. It’s great stuff though.

And what of the similes? Well, we start with the fairly mundane photo one. But the reference to behoodied teenager Trayvon Martin – whose murder while by a neighbourhood watch co-ordinator – is a little sobering diamond in the rough.

Of the three references to musicians, I only had to look up two. Can you guess which? Even I’ve heard of Drake, although I won’t claim to be too familiar with him. I gave Akon and Trey Songz a little listen – including the track that inspired the ‘gimme them notes’ line. I tried to enjoy them, I really did.

We’ve got a bit of a wait for similes on our hands after all that, during which time Lady Leshurr drops in a reference to another famous musician I’ve never given much attention to.

The very next line is interesting to me in that it’s a borderline simile. Lady L pronounces ‘cool’ to sound like ‘call’, easy in her Brummie brogue. Had she slipped a ‘like’ in before ‘payphone’ her simile count could have been higher. More on that later.

I told you to change your panties (Uh)
So why you still wearing the same ones?
Dutty gyal, no Sean Paul (Nah)
I’m bad gyal, what you gon’ do?
Look, I got supporters in Cornwall
And I know some ballers in Portmore (Kingston)
But wait, why do girls love to do that pose?
Are they your new trainers?
What are those? (Ah)
Eediat gyal
Pick your nose and eat it gyal, ew
I am the realest gyal
I-I-I am the realest gyal
You ain’t like Melesha
I’m a hurricane, yeah, I’m Katrina

This is interesting – Melesha is Lady Leshurr’s real given name (Melesha Katrina O’Garro). Lots of self-referential similes are in the database, but this is an unusual take on the type. By leaning on metaphor with Katrina though, she does lose one potential simile. Tut.

English class, didn’t like the teacher
So I walked out like “Bye, Felicia!”
Stay in school, kids

Sound advice. Big shock here – this simile references a popular 1995 film and subsequent meme that I’ve never heard of. It’s called Friday and stars fellow rap god Ice Cube. The story behind this particular phrase is a little convoluted to go into here. So read about it on Wikipedia if you’re interested. It’s also common on RuPaul’s drag race which – and you might get a shock here – I have seen. I am so with it.

[Chorus]

They don’t show no appreciation
Keep things short like abbreviation
All these girls are really hating (Why?)
When their lips look like crispy bacon

Just the two similes in the chorus then, and both quite inventive. You get the sense Lady Leshurr was pretty pleased with the simile that gave this post its title, because she’s pretty keen to ham-mer it home. Ahem.

CRISPY! Crispy bacon
CRISPY! Crispy bacon
CRISPY! Crispy bacon
Your lips look like crispy bacon
CRISPY! Crispy bacon
CRISPY! Crispy bacon
CRISPY! Crispy bacon
Their lips look like crispy bacon

[Verse 2]

I’m on the grind, skateboard
I’ma go nuts, acorn
They try to take shots, paintball
But I’ll cross when I want like a jaywalk

The similes start to dry up (also like crispy bacon) around this point, but there are a few left. Once again we are left to rue the missed opportunities of ‘on the grind like skateboard’ etc.

Pathetic, your weave’s synthetic
If you think that you’re gonna get past me
Then you can forget it!
Like, hello, do you hear me?
I’ve been dying to let you know that you’re the biggest wasteman
Look, I’ll take you for some garlic bread (Yeah)
I’ll take him for a tuna salad
Just when they thought I was done
I gave them another one, DJ Khaled (Ah)
So don’t think you’re bad (Nah)
‘Cause your man prees my Instagram (Mm)
So you got mad then hit the fan
I hit him up then I hit the dab like woo! That’s it

Apparently there’s a nod to someone called Adele in this bit, but that’s obviously lost on me. I accept it’s fairly dubious that this is a simile, but I’m generous/indifferent enough to put it in. At least I know what a dab is, but I imagine that’s already ancient history.

Don’t try talk with your black lips
I heat things up like June the 1st
I took the crown, Miss Universe

Aaaand, that’s the last one in the track. I spent a little time trying to work out the relevance of 1 June, but I think it might just be to get the rhyme to work. Or maybe Lady Leshurr is referencing the great Chinchaga fire, which started on that day in 1950. Maybe. 

All that remains now is one last slice of the chorus and a little outro, so let’s leave things there shall we?

[Chorus]

They don’t show no appreciation
Keep things short like abbreviation
All these girls are really hating (Why?)
When their lips look like crispy bacon
CRISPY! Crispy bacon
CRISPY! Crispy bacon
CRISPY! Crispy bacon
Your lips look like crispy bacon
CRISPY! Crispy bacon
CRISPY! Crispy bacon
CRISPY! Crispy bacon
Their lips look like crispy bacon

[Outro]

Queen’s Speech 5, you know? (Haha)
Sorry for the wait
I dropped my phone in the toilet, awks
Bom-bom-bom-bom
Ba-dum-bom-ba-dum-bom
Bom-bom-bom-bom
Ba-dum-bom-ba-dum-bom, ah (Woo)

Good stuff. So that’s 15 similes in all, coming in at just shy of five similes a minute. That’s a good rate, and puts Lady Leshurr in at number seven on the SPM leaderboard. She’s also the highest ranking UK act. So we’ll let her off not having many after the first half of the track.

After all that simile cataloguing I think I need another break. But a dedicated simile-spotter’s work is never complete, so I’ll have to wait.

The stats

Similes:15
Words:447
Words per simile:29.80
Length:3m02s
Similes per minute:4.96
Pop culture references understood by the author:20%

Leave a comment. Bonus points for similes.