Lex Luger has turn out to be one the few producers followers acknowledge past a moniker. He rose to fame as an innovator, hovering from the tradition’s appreciation his manufacturing on Waka Flocka Flame’s debut, Flockaveli. He quickly gained recognition from his friends, incomes an impressive amount placements that made his sound inescapable for a number of years.
When I obtained the chance to cut it up with the musical luminary, we hopped via completely different eras his life, together with his days teenage mischief, the precise second he fell in love along with his lady, and the present state his relationship with Southside. He additionally reveals some gems just like the recipe for huge 808s.
The journey started in Suffolk, Virginia, a small city he described to me as “Patrick Star beneath a rock.”
This interview has been edited for size and readability.
HNHH: Kids from small cities often get right into a bit hassle out boredom. Do you keep in mind stepping into these varieties conditions with your pals?
Lex Luger: Yeah, we had been actually younger and no one had their license. So, my one mates, his mother would work late so we might steal her automobile at evening. Everyone had completely different turns to drive, and it was my mine. I used to be driving via the neighborhoods and whatnot, and a police ficer obtained proper behind us. Everybody began panicking like, “Oh no.” Then they’re like “Nah, you’re cool. Just put in your alerts.” Blasé, blasé.
The cop adopted us for about four blocks, then he activates the lights. Everybody’s like, “Aw sh*t.” So, he comes and he is like, “Hey, man. You know you had your lights f for like four blocks?” I had been driving round with my lights f the entire evening. He variety simply allow us to go. He stated, “Get your asses dwelling.”
And we didn’t go dwelling. I feel we went to this teenage membership known as Janelle’s that wasn’t too far. We had been variety like robust guys. We felt like the large guys on the block. Blasé, blasé. So, we miss there and n*ggas begin taking pictures at our automobile. Not no Tom Cruise Mission Impossible-type taking pictures however, like, 2 photographs on the automobile. We had been like, “Man, let’s simply go the hell dwelling.”
No means, so issues do go down in Virginia. So, you solely had a Wal-Mart and this teenage membership known as Janelle’s?
Yeah, it was like a teen membership that wasn’t even in Suffolk. It was like 15 minutes from Suffolk in Chesapeake.
What kind music had been they bumping there on the time?
Oh, wow. It needed to be like snap music? Like “Shake That Laffy Taffy,” like D4L and Lil Jon’s “Snap Yo Fingers.” It was quite a bit dancing happening like “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” and issues like that.
That’s fairly dope. What made you transition into manufacturing? What was that second music clicked for you?
So, I had been taking part in the drums for my mother and pop’s church, the church we went to since I used to be like 11 or 12. It went from that to studying learn how to DJ, how 2 songs mesh collectively, taking a Michael Jackson acapella and placing it with a Lil Jon beat or any Hip Hop beat. My pal came visiting with Fruityloops in the future and he was like “Man, you may make your personal beats with this. It’s tremendous easy. You don’t must have all of the tools, the MPCs, and all that stuff.” I had used applications up to now, however my beats sucked. I wouldn’t play them for anybody. I used to be embarrassed. But as soon as I obtained Fruityloops I obtained my confidence like, “I’m fairly good at this.” All the rappers preferred it, the native rappers preferred it. I variety obtained my id, you realize?
Photo by Tommy Trilla
Are there any these native rappers you are still linking with musically?
Yeah, yeah, I really simply signed my first artist, his identify is Big Dog Duke. We name him Duke.
Big Dog Duke?
Yeah, he is the little brother the man who launched me to Fruityloops. We grew up collectively and we nonetheless make music collectively to this present day. He’ll sit within the studio with me whereas I make beats for Wiz. Anybody that grew up in my circle since highschool that I used to be actually tight with, we all the time do music collectively regardless.
You simply signed Duke, so you’ve your personal label happening now?
Yeah so, I’ve an LLC. I’m simply utilizing that platform to possibly work with the most important labels and get a label deal. Everything is variety us and impartial proper now.
What made you need to lengthen your platform like that since that’s quite a bit accountability by itself, you realize?
I all the time obtained the query, “Why don’t you begin your personal label?” It was as a result of I used to be so younger, and I used to be going via the entire dependancy with the medicine and alcohol. I simply wasn’t in the best thoughts. I felt like I did not need to babysit no man, no rapper, you realize? Rappers obtained a thoughts their very own. They’re wild so I did not need to cope with that. But now that I’m older and I see the influence I’ve on younger youngsters and the affect I’ve, I simply variety need to hone in on that. Be a person, take the accountability and actually begin one thing for my youngsters. God forbid, if he takes me away tomorrow they’ll have this. I educate them music after I can. It’s variety an funding. I’m considering for the longer term.
So longevity. That’s a wise transfer.
Yes, and Virginia is a hub. Lots persons are from right here, they begin developments right here. It’s so inventive right here, however it’s not like Atlanta, or New York, or LA. Pharrell is from right here, Missy’s from right here, Teddy Riley, Allen Iverson, Michael Vick. So, I simply need to make it a spot the place individuals come and get that uniqueness and creativity.
You talked about bringing that taste with Duke. Are there some other initiatives you’re enthusiastic about?
Yeah, I’m moving into attire. I obtained a set dropping for ComplexCon and I’ve all these information that I’ve completed with Young] Thug, me and A-Track collectively. Or like Waka, Hood Rich Pablo Juan. It hasn’t been launched. We simply sitting on these information so now I’m attempting to get clearance on these information. If not, then I would] pay for the function or pay for the track so it may very well be a Lex Luger track, variety like how DJ Khaled does. It’s sophisticated however that is the purpose for me. To actually put out my very own music and let individuals get a really feel Virginia.
Is there something you want you’d identified earlier than beginning within the music recreation?
F*ck, sure! Oh, man, trigger I used to be like 16, 17. The enterprise, I did not give a shit about. You know LLCs, copyright, publishing. I had nobody to show me about that, no mentors. I simply jumped in, signed this for this quantity. I did not care about what was occurring later, I simply knew I had this cash now. If I might’ve had a ebook…I imply they do, however like I stated, I used to be 17. I wasn’t studying no books. The subsequent one who had lower than me, I did not actually care what they needed to say, though that is f*cked up. I didn’t hearken to individuals attempting to inform me about copyright, pattern clearance.
I obtained sued one time with Wale, Jeremih, and Rick Ross, trigger I had a Curtis Mayfield pattern in there and the label informed me that we had been gonna take care it. But they had been simply saying that they needed to place the file out. But I do know now that] in the end it is on the producer. The producer samples it so I’ve to get it cleared. So I went via that battle at 18, 19-years-old. Curtis Mayfield’s individuals suing me.
I additionally want anyone would have informed me these rappers are like actually pretend too. I don’t wanna get blackballed however it’s leisure. I am studying that now and I am instructing Duke that you must be an entertainer. It’s not an excessive amount of about being true to the streets. You simply must entertain these individuals and these followers and that is all they need. They’re paying you to be entertained.
So, in what sense is it principally leisure in your opinion?
Let me attempt to clarify this, ‘trigger I am actually not attempting to name anyone out. So you see Tom Cruise on the road. You cannot count on him to be Mission Impossible, leaping f buildings and sh*t. He did that to entertain you. He obtained paid. It may’ve modified some individuals’s lives. Duke has a narrative, to not say it is pretend, however he is gonna painting it a sure means as a result of he cannot inform the reality about every part. Some that sh*t may get him in hassle. He has to make it like a film, like presentable PG-13, Rated R or no matter so individuals can take that film or that track and it could actually get them via the day. I’ve handled dependancy up to now and there are specific motion pictures and songs that helped me move via that ‘trigger I can hear this artist going via the identical factor that I went via they usually’re okay now.
It’s only a persona. I get that.
Yeah, and I imply who needs to put on 10 chains all day? Sh*t hurts.
I feel most individuals do know that there’s theatrics concerned. Maybe, with the rise the completely different social media platforms, it will get a bit extra complicated?
It actually does. Don’t get me flawed, there are some of us out right here that actually have lived every part they rapping about however “have” is the key phrase They’re not likely going via it anymore, so in a way, that is pretend to me too. Or simply rappers saying], “Hey, ship me some beats.” I choose the beat, I ship them the beat. They ship me the track after which nothing]. Why would you say you gonna do that and that and I hear nothing again from you? I feel that is half each business, it is half the sport. You simply gotta by no means complain and are available out like a boss.
Speaking misunderstandings and the transactional half the connection between the producer and the artist, I do wanna deliver up Azealia Banks.
That’s my homie.
Y’all had been going at one another on Twitter again within the day.
Yes, we had been at every others’ necks. I used to be actually coping with dependancy and psychological points. Anybody might say something that I did not like and I would not simply take it as ‘f*ck you.’ I’d take it as ‘f*ck you, your dad, your mom, your sister, and your brother.’ Now that I’m sobered up, we cleared that up. I am sending her beats, she’s doing songs. I actually can say I wasn’t in my proper thoughts and I am attempting to proper my wrongs with that. That’s why I apologized and we’re all good.
That’s dope.. you are engaged on music together with her proper now?
Yeah, and I needed to ask her how a lot she was gonna pay me for beats. I despatched them and he or she was like, “Ok, I am doing this,” and I used to be like, “Azealia, the place’s my cash?” And she was like, “N*gga, no. I’ll provide you with 40 and a bag Cheetos.” This is quote, unquote. And I used to be like, “Nah.”
She was joking when she stated that, proper?
Yeah, however on the time I used to be out my thoughts.
And you had been on some Erykah Badu “delicate” sh*t.
Yeah, precisely. You know what I’m speaking about.
Has your inventive course of modified in any respect now that you’ve got a transparent thoughts?
Yes, it has. I obtained four youngsters so I do take out time for them] till the boys are asleep. Then I will be there working for two or 9 hours. But I do know they’re asleep the entire time so I am not lacking out on no one’s first phrases or their first step and issues like that. But after I did not have any youngsters, I used to be like on go. Wake up go to work excessive as sh*t. I might work 12 hours and actually burn up all these hours. It’s simply not like that anymore. I obtained payments and the youngsters.
How did you meet your lady?
I used to be on the studio, really, and he or she was there too. Out all the ladies, she was lit. It was like some film sh*t. When I noticed her every part was in gradual movement. Her hair was f*cking blowing within the wind and he or she simply gave me this look together with her eyes. It did it for me. I don’t stroll as much as ladies however I could not assist it. I found out I might actually stroll to her home. Damn, man. We been round one another for a few 12 months or two and we didn’t realize it. Our connection was there and we did not need to depart one another.
I’ve two daughters with one other girl. My ex had my pc however I did not wanna go to New York on my own. I known as Erin, my girlfriend now, and I used to be like, “Hey, you wanna go to New York with me?” But I did not inform her why we was going. We went up there and he or she was a soldier, man. She helped me get my pc. I obtained it and, imagine it or not, I needed to monitor out A$AP Ferg and ScHoolboy Q’s track. It’s known as “Let It Bang” f A$AP Ferg’s album. She went to the studio with me, helped me bang it out. I used to be excessive as shit, sleeping via the session, battling dependancy. I misplaced my telephone in New York and he or she helped me get that again. She simply helped me everytime I failed and we weren’t even a factor but. I like her to demise. She’s gonna be like Beyonce quickly: “Shoulda put a hoop on it.”
What present albums are you listening to whether or not they’re new or outdated?
Definitely Blac Youngsta’s album. It’s like Three 6 Mafia sh*t, the chants, the beats. I like Nipsey Hussle’s album, Victory Lap. Have you heard Jack Harlow?
I don’t suppose so.
You ought to take a look at Jack Harlow, man. He’s this White child. He even seems Jewish. He might sing a bit of. I actually like his album. There’s a lot music popping out now. I am going via my iTunes day by day and undergo the browse web page, to new music, and to high charts to see who’s actually profitable out right here. I am a agency believer in “good music is nice music.” This track isn’t gonna be within the high 50 if it is not good music. I actually go search for any style so long as it is good music.
Your different influences exterior Hip Hop. What would that be?
Jimi Hendrix. I gotta go to the studio in a short while and after I hop within the automobile, I am undoubtedly gonna placed on some Jimi. My pops grew me up on Beach Boy kind] music. Man, I might go deep.
I’ve a query for a pal mine. He was questioning the way you get your 808s to sound so fats?
I get that query on a regular basis and I don’t know. It’s simply kinda like intercourse. You simply get in there and discover that groove and that is it proper there, do not transfer. When they match, I simply flip these motherf*ckers up. I am learning frequencies now and I will simply increase that low find yourself. If I am making beats in the home I’ve to listen to the photographs on the wall rattle or it is not proper.
Now that there’s extra vitality, sensitivity, and care that goes into your music, are you extra choosy with the content material that lays on high it?
Yeah however, like I stated, if it is good music it is gonna rock out. Like when Blac Youngsta dropped that “toot toot,” quite a bit my mates could be like, “That’s not it.” But it is the vibe the track. It’s the great feeling like if you happen to go to the membership and get a drink. Or if you happen to do not drink you may nonetheless social gathering. You get a great day trip the track. As lengthy as it could actually transfer me I do not care if you happen to’re rapping like Kendrick Lamar or like…a rapper that may’t rap like Kendrick. But I do attempt to go for that high artist, somebody that is going to place all of it out.
I feel our readers would in all probability need to know your standing with Southside? Have y’all talked?
We have not had an in-person dialog or over the telephone. But I had put an image up with my youngsters and a few my plaques, and he had preferred it and put one the guts emojis. That was exhibiting love. Recently, I went on and DM’d him and informed him I apologize. He messaged me again like, “It’s cool, lil bro. Congratulations. I am proud you.” I really feel like he is rooting for me and that is the place we at proper now.
That’s good, man. It’s exhausting to see brothers combating.
Yeah, however brothers do combat.