A Tottenham born rapper balancing modelling, music and battle rap, speaks to North East Londoner about bringing both feminine and masculine energy into the music industry.
It’s not every day you come across a musician heavily influenced by hip-hop artists such Kendrick Lamar and Tupac Shakur, but with an eye for flamboyant fashion.
Tariq Lowe 27, started acting at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham, kicking off his career at the tender age of nine.
Lowe then progressed on to the Young Actors Theatre in Islington, but gave up acting after losing the drive to continue.
He said: “The space I was in, felt like I didn’t belong there. It was a bunch of rich entitled white people from Islington, I didn’t know what it took to be an actor.
“I always felt like they were better than me. The worst thing that I could feel was if someone was better than me and if I couldn’t change that view in myself or in other people’s eyes, it was worthless.”
However, one safety net he could always fall back on was his love for making music.
Lowe released his debut album Maxx last year, marking a professional breakthrough as he spent his creative years navigating between battle rapping and writing lyrics.
He said: “Right now, I’m taking my music way more serious than I have most of my life. I plan to keep making more albums and preform as much as possible.”
Maxx delivers raw and authentic emotions in the form of hip-hop style lyricism, exploring ‘life in the ends’.
Having taught himself how to read at the age of three, Lowe always felt a need to reach a level of perfectionism in anything he did.
He added: “I’ve always been really hard on myself. I used to draw when I was young and if I got something wrong, I was very sensitive and would cry If I couldn’t read, I would burst into tears, rip the paper into shreds and start again.”
In 2019, Lowe was introduced to the UK’s battle rap scene while at a friend’s music video shoot, which progressively turned into a new hobby and attended his very first battle rap contest, winning against his opponent.
The Tottenham rapper said: “I didn’t know there was a massive battle rap scene in the UK, the scene is thriving right now.”
With more than 2,000 views on YouTube, he has battled all over the UK including in Manchester, Nottingham and London.
Last year a cutting-edge moment unfolded for Lowe as he unexpectedly stepped into the world of modelling, which he as a way to express his femininity and masculinity.
It was something he never thought he would get into, but was recently signed by a modelling agency.
He said: “I’ve never been someone who is hyper-masculine, when it comes to modelling and wearing certain clothes, I was always down for it.”
Battle rapping is typically believed to be a male dominant industry, heavily influenced with masculine energy.
However Lowe didn’t let the challenges affect him as he continued with his pursuit to success.
He said: “I am both very feminine and very masculine and I exude both of these energies equally.
“So, when people saw what I was wearing and was comfortable being flamboyant, more and more people started getting in touch.
“On one hand I model, I wear make-up and jewellery and then I would go battle rap and tear somebody’s head off and say some of the most hurtful things-they are both me.”
Maxx by Tariq Lowe is available on Spotify and YouTube.
Photo Credit: Tariq Lowe