Blxst exploded on this scene with his breakout hit “Hurt” last year, which has garnered over 3 million streams, and he’s been going crazy ever since. As an artist and producer, the multi-talented West Coast troubadour is paving his own way, literally. He produces and writes for himself and loads of other music artists that appreciate his artistic prowess.
He also works heavily with Bino Rideaux and has done great work with Grammy Award-winning hip-hop acts Kendrick Lamar and DJ Mustard.
Now, the burgeoning star is tapped in with Red Bull Records for a sweet partnership that allows him to maintain creative control — something a lot of artists coming into the game only dream of.
Uproxx caught up with Blxst to talk about his contemporary union with Red Bull Records as well as his debut project with the label and what it’s like being one of LA’s lionized rising musicians.
Congratulations on your partnership with Red Bull Records. Tell me about it!
It was mainly the understanding of my creative freedom. They seen that I already had a program and I already had a sound that I wanted to take to the next level and they was willing to stand behind and push the vision.
What would you say that vision is?
Because I feel like my sound is kind of going against the grain of what’s out right now and just standing behind what’s unpopular which is speaking on love and speaking in a positive light.
Are you able tell me more about what the partnership entails?
For right now it’s just one project EP that I’m releasing and hopefully we can continue to do business after the success of this one. So far everything’s been flowing smoothly.
That’s really rare. Some colleagues and I were talking about artists getting in these deals but they don’t really read or understand their contracts. They’re signed for like these long seven-album deals and that’s basically your entire life, right? So there’s been a lot of debate and talk about artists being indie or signing to a major label. This deal sounds very pioneering to me.
My situation is slightly different from another artist because one, I produce my own sound. I write my own music. I’m hands-on with my videos, my artwork, I do all my artwork. So going into my first deal ever, I want it to be very careful and I wanted to kind of see the workflow thing before I commit long-term. So, Red Bull is the perfect fit for that because they understood my vision. They understood my values that I feel I have with myself, even though it’s early on in the game. I felt that move was the most important move that I made up until this point.
There’s talk of Usher and Chris Brown being in a Verzuz. Who would you have in a Verzuz between Chris Brown or Usher?
It’s Chris Brown everyday for me. I’m Chris Brown gang. Anybody getting a flip on stage, he got the W.
I’m Usher over here. What’s your favorite Chris Brown song?
I don’t know, I couldn’t name one honestly, but right now it’s “Go Crazy.”
Oh man, I wish the clubs was open right now.
Man, that’s a heater.
And we missed out on “No Guidance.”
Right! We couldn’t even enjoy that to the full length.
I feel like I didn’t get lit to “No Guidance” enough, and then “Go Crazy” came out and we’re stuck in the house. What’s the name of your project and when is it coming out?
I’m not sure if I want to announce the title yet, but it’s coming in the fall.
Do you consider yourself R&B?
I wouldn’t only consider myself that, but yeah, I am heavily influenced by R&B.
I know with certain artists, depending on how they look, media and whoever else is quick to label anybody that has a certain look and delivers melodically, they’ll automatically be like “Oh, they’re a rapper” but if you listen to their music, it sounds like they’re singing so it’s kind of confusing. Then there are some “rappers” who I feel that want to be called rappers, but they are actually singing. So I always like to ask.
Nah, I feel you. I feel like I have yet to really unleash my other side of rapping. Mainly what I’ve been putting out as of recently has been melodic, but I’m also capable of getting in another bag.
I was reading a couple of things and Nate Dogg came up. People compare you to Nate Dogg a lot and he’s a West Coast legend. Does that add pressure for you?
I love it, actually. I’m a big fan of Nate Dogg and I just felt melodically, we fit in that same pocket of just being smooth and easy-going, not too aggressive on the track. We just fit perfectly with any artists, but we also have our own world we can go to.
How would you describe LA’s music climate right now?
That’s a good question. I think LA is in a solid place right now and I feel like over the years we had the stigma of being boxed in with one sound. Artists like Roddy [Ricch], we broke that barrier to where we can create anything.
Definitely. Where do you feel like your sound fits? There’s a lot of that going on in the city musically so how do you plan on standing out?
I think I’m going to stand out just because of the simple fact I produce my own sound as well. Even Bino [Rideaux]‘s sound is heavily produced by me. You know what I’m saying? So just creating my own lane to make me stand alone.
I know the city f*cks with you super heavy. I’ve seen your name for a while. How does it feel to just have the city support you relentlessly at this stage in your career?
Honestly, I’m still getting used to it. It’s overwhelming, but just going to the store and seeing people notice me locally, it’s kind of awkward, but I like being embraced and I like to love it. It just fuels me to keep going, and doing what I’ve been doing.
Oh, I love it. I know you got a lot of work with Bino, so tell me what it’s like working with him.
It’s real easy. The workflow with Bino, his recording process is just like me. He don’t write anything. He just go in the booth and just whatever he feeling. We just go back and forth whenever we in the studio together. He would go in till he finished first and I go right back in. Then it’s my verse. Then it’s on to the next one.
Is that your go-to studio partner? Just looking at you guys on video, you guys seem like super comfortable around each other.
I just feel it’s a music chemistry as far as workflow. It was as if we’d been working forever, so the chemistry just naturally clicked.
You also have a really amazing song with Mozzy that I love called “I Ain’t Perfect.” What’s it like working with him?
That was crazy. It was really out of nowhere, his manager Dave-O sent him the beat with my beat versed on it. They had no hook. I hadn’t even met Mozzy. I didn’t end up meeting Mozzy until the video shoot.
Whoa, so how did that happen?
Originally, because I also write, we did some writing camps at APG for Fast And Furious and the Scooby-Doo movie, which I got some placements on. But, Dave-O, which is Mozzy’s manager, he was conducting the sessions, but he would just randomly send me stuff. I tried a hook, it was supposed to be for somebody else to sing but Mozzy ended up rocking with the vocals, like, “Nah, let’s just keep Blxst on there.”
Who was on it originally?
I think they was trying to get Roddy on it to my understanding, but Roddy didn’t end up doing it because Mozzy was like, “Nah just keep Blxst vocals on there”. We shot the music video probably a week after.
What was it like finally meeting him in person at the video shoot? That’s wild.
He really embraced me. We actually ended up doing a session afterwards, knocked out like three songs. His workflow is smooth too and he’s from Cali, so I felt like we got that relatability.
On the song it goes, “I ain’t perfect, but I work on that at least,” which I love. Tell me about a time that really humbled you and made you sit down and work on yourself?
I would say just having my son. That really humbled me because when I first had my son, I was in a position of being confused. I fell out with my friends and it was just really a turning point on how hard I wanted to go with this music thing. Me having my son was a blessing in disguise because he gave me my motivation and my fuel that I felt like I didn’t have until this point.
Crazy times right now as we’re in the middle of a pandemic. It’s kind of crazy for artists right now where some people are just in the studio and a lot of people are just trying to get it how they can. What’s been the silver lining for you?
I think it’s just the challenge to become more creative whether it’s in money, thinking of new businesses, being more creative, doing stuff you’ve never tried before. I think that’s the beauty of it. It forces you to think outside the box. Being in the box, hypothetically speaking.
Is there something that you’ve done specifically that you can think of that the pandemic has kind of forced you to think outside the box and get creative?
One thing I’ve been working on is different marketing strategies for my up and coming project. So I kind of started learning how to make pitch decks and things of that nature.
So you’re getting really hands-on with the marketing?
In the future, I want to be able to know how I want to attack my projects from point A to Z. You know what I’m saying?
That’s a good look!