“Got to get and again and again and I get to got, etc…” Go, yeah, wow, here’s Rob’n’Raz (and Leila K)!
Swedish DJ’s Robert Wåtz and Rasmus Lindwall finished the 1980’s with an irritating number that went high in the charts across the world. The pair had been making music and working together since 1987 and eventually wrote “Competition Is None” in 1988. The song was recorded with rapper David Wahlgren aka ‘Papa Dee’ (b.1966) but wasn’t a hit. The clubs seemed to love it as they did the follow up, “Microphone Poet”, also with Papa Dee, at the beginning of 1989. That year they went into the studio to record their first album, not with Papa Dee, but with an 18 year old singer and rapper by the name of Laila El Khalifi. They found the Moroccan-Swedish singer – who went by the stage name of Leila K – in a singing contest and recruited her as their main vocalist.
The track, “Got To Get”, was selected as the lead single from the album and it powered its way into the top ten across Europe and made No.48 on the US singles chart too. It went top three in Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland and peaked, eventually, at No.8 in the UK in January 1990. Their album, “Rob’n’Raz featuring Leila K”, was of limited commercial success, but the follow up to “Got To Get”, “Rok The Nation”, was much bigger in their home country, reaching No.3 in early 1990. A Third and final single, “Just Tell Me”, produced much fewer sales. Rob and Raz joined forces with the duo DLC for their next project, a duo made up of Swedish producer and rapper David Seisay aka MC Stranger and American singer Lutricia McNeal (b.1973), who would later achieve chart success on her own with songs like “Stranded” and “Ain’t That Just The Way”.
Together with DLC, Rob and Raz achieve two Swedish chart hits with “Bite The Beat” and “Clubhopping” in 1991 and 1992 respectively along with a whole album, “Clubhopping”. The duo also contributed a cover of “Dancing Queen” with DLC for an ABBA tribute album later that year and wrote and recorded a second album with the duo in 1993, “Spectrum”, which produced their only Swedish number one single, “In Command”, which made a tiny indentation in the UK singles chart at No.87. This partnership continued into 1994 with “Power House” (Swe No.12) and would result in a third album together, “Circus”, in 1995, which would feature the singles, “Take A Ride” (No.8), the interestingly titled “Whose Dog Is Dead (Someone’s Sleeping In My Bed)” (No.16) and “Throw Your Hands In The Air” (No.31). Thae partnership ended here as McNeal want signed as a solo artist in her own right, releasing her debut album in 1997.
Rob and Raz went back to being DJ’s shortly after but in 2001, they turned up on Swedish television as judges on the music contest, Småstjärnorna. They returned to recording in 2005, releasing the single, “Snake” with Swedish Pop Idol Loreen, and in 2007 with “My Girl”, which gave them a moderately charting single, but nevertheless, their first for nine years. So what of Leila K? Well, she enjoyed a successful career across Europe throughout the 1990’s. She released her debut solo album, “Carousel”, in 1992, which featured the chart hits, “Ça Plane Pour Moi”, “Slow Motion” and “Open Sesame”, which reached No.23 in the UK, her first and only top 40 appearance since “Got To Get”. She attained her first top ten hit since her days with Rob and Raz with “Electric” in her home country in 1995 and a further two top ten hits in Finland with “C’Mon Now” and “Rude Boy”, all from her second album, “Manic Panic”, in 1996.
Leila generally dropped out of sight at the end of the decade, releasing just a best of in 2003, which perhaps helped her as it was reported that she was homeless and stealing food to survive! Her saviour came in 2011 when she was asked by producer Petter Wallenberg to perform the song “Legendary” from his collaborations album, “Legends”, which also featured the likes of Neneh Cherry and singers from Massive Attack and Soul II Soul. She pops up from time to time in Sweden and together with her old pals, celebrated 30 years of “Got To Get” in 2019.