Harrogate's only female rapper calls for better treatment of women

Harrogate rapper Sarah Winter AKA Replay.
Harrogate rapper Sarah Winter AKA Replay.

Harrogate’s only female rapper is calling for women to be given greater respect in the hip hop world.

In a town known more for its lovely tearooms than hip hop music, Sarah Winter aka Replay, formerly, L4midable, is following her own course her own way.

Harrogate rapper Sarah Winter AKA Replay performing on stage.

Harrogate rapper Sarah Winter AKA Replay performing on stage.

Sarah said: “Some people ask the question whether women rappers get enough respect. I don’t think they need anyone’s approval or respect.

“A lot of guys can’t rap well, even some of the well-known ones. It should be about your ability and nothing else.”

Retail staff member at Sainsbury’s by day, rapper by night, Sarah, 27, first got interested in rap music as a 10-year-old back in the days she lived in Jennyfield and went to New Park Primary School.

“I went to call on a friend but when I went through the door I tripped and fell onto the floor.

“There was a cassette tape of The Real Slim Shady by Eminem, who I’d never heard of. I borrowed it and listened to it constantly.”

Sarah, who studied at Harrogate College, and took part in military and police exercies as a student, still rates the rap superstar highly for the rapid-fire, clever wordplay of his lyrics.

Serious and thoughtful but no wilting wall flower, Sarah is no fan of the macho strain in much of modern rap.

Her style is complex and intellectual but also personal and witty and, occasionally, tackles real issues and topics.

She said: “I don’t relate to lyrics full of slang words people can’t understand and drugs. I like being clever. I like lyrics that are personal though I occasionally do social issues.”

Sarah, who was brought up largely by her mum, has certainly put the hours in.

She first started writing her own rap lyrics ten years ago.

Unusually, she still runs all of them by her mum who has been incredibly supportive of her rapping from the start.

She records her sparse but insistent tracks with her feminine voice at Harrogate’s Warehouse studio with producer Dan Mizen.

One of her recent tracks Problem after Problem is, perhaps, it's her most personal to date - and it had a big impact online.

Sarah said: "I had a tough couple of months in all aspects. I thought I'd put all the things that had happened in my life into one song. There were some things in the lyrics that I had never told anyone.

Readers may not have heard of Replay but she has already made an impression inside the world of rap.

Most of her collaborations with other rappers happen online in the digital world.

It’s where she says she has come to the attention of the likes of Michael Neely, A&R man for legendary label Def Jam.

Surprisingly, Sarah didn’t make her live debut until she performed at music charity Orb during Knaresborough’s feva festival in 2012 but she absolutely loved it.

She said: “Harrogate hasn’t got much of a rap scene, you have to go to Leeds. The place was packed but I felt really confident beforehand. It it felt really good to be on stage.”

Sarah’s aim in the long run is simple - to have some sort of ‘normal’ career in rap.

"I've put so much time and effort into this it's unreal. I like taking pride in things. I like getting to the point. When I hear something good I need to be as good as that or I want to quit.

"It would be nice to become an established female rapper and tour properly."

The latest track Sarah - or Replay - is working looks at the issues around Black Lives Matter.

Should this unique and most unusual of rapperr fail to reach her goals, she says she still might consider a military career.