Following the release of the Deluxe version of his stunning ‘No Love Lost’ EP, VIPER caught up with Blxst to chat influences, his production and the LA sound…
Blxst has pioneered the West Coast Hip Hop and R&B sector and his momentum is set to pierce the global stage – It’s just a matter of time. During an unconventional and disruptive year for the industry, the artist’s name has been whispered amongst music heads, ClubHouse chat rooms and top 5 album conversations. More so, the cool and humble nature Blxst possesses, has kept him as a hidden gem of 2020 – but only just. This isn’t Blxst’s first time at the rodeo, having previously produced for artists like YG, DJ Mustard and Kendrick Lamar.This time round, it’s a self-produced debut of himself. His project, ‘No Love Lost’, the perfect cruise playlist, includes classic R&B samples from Donnell Jones, inspiration from soulful greats such as D’Angelo and memoir confessions from Black man facing love, betrayal and self-growth. Adding flavour from the West Coast, while ticking the final box of 2020, the release of a deluxe iteration features Ty Dolla $ign, Dom Kennedy, Tyga and Bino Rideaux.
In conversation with Blxst, I asked what the strategic formula to his impetus entailed? What is the successful ratio to debuting during a pandemic?. Perhaps the tactical release of his first breakout single, ‘Hurt’, followed by a short series of visuals to support the project. This definitely worked in Blxst and his teams favour. Keeping the anticipation via the story-telling nature of his work. My conversation with the pending legend aimed to delve into the who, what, and why of Blxst and his Eagle Gang team and was there really “no love lost?” after the wicked emotions he’d explored…
How are you doing? How’s life been in 2020?
Good. I feel like 2020 has been a good year for me. Musically of course. With all the “Yes.” going on, I feel like me and my team have been able to really highlight the project that we put out, which is No Love Lost. And I’ve just been taking it in day by day really.
We’re at the last leg of the year, what have you got left to look forward to?
Right now just closing the year strong. I’ve got a big song with Ty Dolla Sign and Tyga that I just put out. Yeah. So the last thing I want to do is shoot a video today. It just closes the year with that. Then I’m done – 2021 we bouncing back – right back on their necks.
For those who may not be familiar, how would you describe your sound?
Man, I would describe it as like a laid back music, melodic. Something to channel and smoke to. It’s melodic but it’s also got a gangsta edge to it at the same time. Just like, street love. That’s what I would say is street love.
Everyone always has someone who they’re like, yeah, that’s kind of who got me into music. Who inspired your musicality?
Erykah Badu, D’Angelo I’m big on like, soulful music, you know, these things that make you feel? Raw emotions. I feel like being vulnerable as a man is important. And I give a unique perspective in my music, speaking on relationships and stuff.
The journey of ‘No Love Lost’ began when Blxst debuted his first single ‘Hurt’, the eighth track on the deluxe project, and perhaps the best track to set the pace on the project. It can be argued that this particular version of Blxst wasn’t always heard when he hid behind song credits and features alongside Bino Rideaux and Mozzy.
This is more than just “gangster rap,” let’s talk about some themes explored?
Yes. So you know, it was definitely speaking on a specific relationship, you know, just growing as an artist, independently, just the different trials and tribulations you face. And, you know, it was just a rough reflection piece. For me, it was around a time when I was having my son. So I was going through certain motions that I couldn’t describe, but I’ve just expressed it in my music, and turned out to be a good body of work. And then we put together a video series, a five part video series, basically, subliminally speaking on those topics that I was saying in the song. And, you know, we speak on love, but also smoke on like, betrayal, disloyalty. And, you know, friends going behind your back, this all type of stuff, type of things that we go through, you know, just letting the spell out of me.
What made you decide to make a short film out of the visuals?
Just to build anticipation, and me being a new artist and new face. I want people to have something to hold on to, and they want to come back to at the same time. So just like spoon feeding and teasing, too. So we can keep the viewers on their toes as we roll out our project or the videos.
So your sound is very much R&B and hip hop, and you’ve got a very classic LA sound to you. Would you ever venture out of that space, explore other sounds?
Yeah, I mean, me as a producer as well, I feel like that’s important to step outside of my box. Every now and then, you know. At first I just want to show that I’m capable of creating my own Sonic and my own sound is used to me as a brand. And then I’m gonna step out of it and show people that I can do different things as well. But I felt like it’s important for people to be able to identify you to a certain sound, just so you can have that foundation.
The bloggers and music heads have been calling you the next Nate Dogg, whats that about? I feel like, the only other person they could have compared to Nate was Ty Dolla $ign. Then you kind of shocked me when you bought out the deluxe and you already had the song ‘Chosen’ with time, so there’s no room for that. How do you feel about that comparison?
That’s big for me! I really look up to people like Ty Dolla $ign and Nate Dogg. So that’s definitely a compliment to me. At the end of the day, I’m Blxst, you know, I’m saying, I’m here to make my own name. But it’s nothing but respect for both of those artists. Like, he taught me something that I use today in my music. So that’s that.
Top 5 achievements this year?
I feel like the biggest thing for me was just having different artists that I look up to reach out and let me know that they rock with the project. And other than that, me just even putting out a project itself was an accomplishment for me, it was kind of nerve racking, you know, putting out your first project. And then this happens. But we still managed to push through and I felt like it was because people got the time to sit and actually listen to the music instead of being distracted. They got to actually appreciate the letter. So that was a big accomplishment for me.
It’s like we created our own Netflix series. People can binge watch or, you know, just tune into each episode that dropped.
Have you done anything that’s kind of taking you out of your comfort zone?
I would say just working with other artists, for me, is stepping out of my comfort zone. That’s why I wanted to do that for the deluxe because, you know, I have no features, I produced the entire thing. I’m always in my own bubble, always record at home. So me stepping out, going to other people’s studios, vibe with other artists just making my little connections – is me stepping out of my box because I’m not the biggest social artist. But, it taught me a lot. It taught me how to be comfortable with myself in any room that you step in, like you’re there for a reason.
And what artists are you excited about? Who have you been listening to throughout quarantine?
First [artist that comes to mind] is Roddy Ricch. I feel like yeah, he’s definitely on top right now and he’s from the city, I feel like it’s always good to see trajectory. Aside from him, I rock with Lil Durk a lot too. I like his growth and where he came in, where he came from and where he’s heading. I think it’s inspiring for sure.
Are there any producers or artists that if you were to apply any more new projects into 2021? Who would you like to work with? Because I know you produce by yourself, but if you were ever to let anybody into that Blxst bubble?
I’m not really big on like, current producers who are hot right now. Honestly, I want to work with the big dogs like Kanye West and Pharrell and I want to take them to that level. You know, I’m trying to be great. I’m not trying to be regular. So I feel like if I connect with anybody that’s a GOAT – I feel like it’ll make me that much better.
So if we were to do this meeting again – like this time next year – what do you hope to have achieved?
I want to have already put out my album. And honestly, I really don’t have too much that I want. I just want to be able to be consistent right now. I feel like I’m still making my first impression. So I just want to showcase that I’m able to put out quality over quantity.
Do you have any final words?
Shout out to everybody that’s been in the DM’s showing love, I try to respond to everybody in the DMS. I don’t focus on the highs too much. I don’t focus on the lows. My head is down, I’m focused and hopefully I’m here for them. Not, hopefully, I will be here.
Interview by Thandie Sibanda