On a sunny afternoon, the Wurst had the chance to speak with local hip-hop artist Ben Arend, known professionally as Lay-Z.
So, who are you?
My name is Lay-Z, and I’m a rapper and hip-hop artist.
Where did you get the name Lay-Z?
It sounds like Jay-Z, one of my heros. Also, I just couldn’t be bothered putting much thought into it.
You’ve said that your childhood was difficult. Can you go into detail?
Yeah, I hardly knew my mom and dad.
Did they abandon you?
No. They’re both lawyers. They always worked late. They still work late. So my brother and I, we were on our own. We made some bad decisions. But luckily AA was there to save us.
No. Anna and Antonia. Anna was our au pair. Antonia was our live-in maid. And I should give a shout out to Romain, our gardener. And Stephano, my opera coach, for …
Opera? I thought you were a hip-hop artist?
Yeah, but I changed paths when I was 17.
Aren’t you just 19 now?
And what? Biggie Smalls released his first demo tape at my age.
Right, so which hip-hop artists influenced you the most?
I’d have to say N.W.A. I can really relate to them. They rapped about being from the mean streets of Compton. I’m from the mean streets of Strassen.
Can you really compare the two?
In Compton, you might get hit by a bullet just walking down the street. In Strassen, you might get hit by a Range Rover just walking down the street. You have to watch your back.
I’m still not convinced
People don’t know what Strassen is really like. Last year, a friend of mine was shot …
… he got shot a dirty look, by a lady walking her poodle, just because of the way we were dressed.
That sounds awful. Is he okay?
He survived with a few months of therapy.
So how often do you perform?
I haven’t yet.
Wait, have you released any albums?
No, but I hope to next year. But I’m thinking of getting into house music instead. Or jazz. And wouldn’t it be cool to learn how to play a tuba?
There’s been some kind of misunderstanding. Why are we interviewing you?
You contacted me, remember?
Yes, that’s technically true. But we thought you were an established hip-hop artist. Sorry, well, good luck with your career.
Thank you, and as we say on the streets of Strassen, I’m Audi here.