CLASH Magazine recently featured me in a piece titled: Meet Five Women Pioneering Europe’s DIY Scene. Read my profile below and the full article at

Lily Mercer

What started as a hip-hop blog turned into a career in internet radio: Lily is a leading international voice in progressive hip-hop via her show on Rinse FM. She also has a background in journalism and has started her own zine, Viper, which seeks to “boost underground hip-hop and the culture surrounding it… dedicated to rap fans and supporters of cult scenes worldwide”.

“The most important thing about radio – for me – is discovery,” she says. “So I’m not going to play an artist that is already really successful over someone who’s undiscovered.” Among the first to break acts like Chance the Rapper to a UK radio audience, Lily doesn’t work with pluggers or have a playlist that’s dictated to her, meaning a show that’s genuine to her vision and to her audience: she has found all the artists herself, through her passion for hip-hop.

“The way I approach my show is super DIY,” she says, talking about having to learn the technical side, even driving around listening to tunes and talking about them out loud to get used to discussing and describing tracks. “I’ve always produced my show myself so I have incredible freedom. I’m completely uncensored – no one knows what I am going to say. I think that’s something really British, when you think about pirate radio… lots of people in the US don’t even know what pirate radio is. And even that British anti-establishment feeling we have, we’re very ‘fuck you’ to authority.”

Viper came about when Lily was in a shop trying to find a hip-hop magazine and couldn’t find one – so she decided to do it herself: “The whole idea was to write about underground culture for hip-hop lovers, and there are loads of people I know who are great writers.

“I think that print journalism and radio are the two mediums that are staying most true to what they came up as. People say to me, ‘Why are you doing a print magazine?’ and I say, ‘Well vinyl outlived CDs, so I’m not going to just assume print is dying just because of Kindle or something. There’s a tactile relationship there, which is really human.”

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