Lex Luger's Sober Resurgence: Hard Lessons, Feuds & Building A Legacy

Lex Luger has develop into one of many few producers followers acknowledge past a moniker. He rose to fame as an innovator, hovering from the tradition’s appreciation of his manufacturing on Waka Flocka Flame’s debut, Flockaveli. He quickly gained recognition from his friends, incomes an impressive amount of placements that made his sound inescapable for a number of years.

When I received the chance to cut it up with the musical luminary, we hopped via totally different eras of his life, together with his days of teenage mischief, the precise second he fell in love along with his woman, and the present state of 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.

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HNHH: Kids from small cities often get right into a little bit of hassle out of boredom. Do you keep in mind moving into a lot of these conditions with your folks?

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 automotive at evening. Everyone had totally different turns to drive, and it was my mine. I used to be driving via the neighborhoods and whatnot, and a police officer received 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 off for like four blocks?” I had been using round with my lights off the entire evening. He form of simply allow us to go. He stated, “Get your asses house.” 

And we didn’t go house. I believe we went to this teenage membership known as Janelle’s  that wasn’t too far. We had been form of like robust guys. We felt like the massive guys on the block. Blasé, blasé. So, we omit of there and n*ggas begin taking pictures at our automotive. Not no Tom Cruise Mission Impossible-type taking pictures however, like, 2 pictures on the automotive. We had been like, “Man, let’s simply go the hell house.”

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 sort of 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 numerous dancing occurring 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 how one can 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 someday and he was like “Man, you may make your individual beats with this. It’s tremendous easy. You don’t must have all of the gear, the MPCs, and all that stuff.” I had used packages previously, however my beats sucked. I wouldn’t play them for anybody. I used to be embarrassed. But as soon as I received Fruityloops I received my confidence like, “I’m fairly good at this.” All the rappers preferred it, the native rappers preferred it. I form of received my identification, you realize?

Lex Luger's Sober Resurgence: Hard Lessons, Feuds & Building A Legacy

Photo by Tommy Trilla

Are there any of these native rappers you are still linking with musically?

Yeah, yeah, I really simply signed my first artist, his title is Big Dog Duke. We name him Duke.

Big Dog Duke?

Yeah, he is the little brother of the man who launched me to Fruityloops. We grew up collectively and we nonetheless make music collectively to at the present time. 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 at all times do music collectively regardless.

You simply signed Duke, so you’ve got your individual label occurring now?

Yeah so, I’ve an LLC. I’m simply utilizing that platform to perhaps work with the main labels and get a label deal. Everything is form of us and unbiased proper now.

What made you need to lengthen your platform like that since that’s numerous accountability by itself, you realize?

I at all times received the query, “Why don’t you begin your individual label?” It was as a result of I used to be so younger, and I used to be going via the entire habit with the medication and alcohol. I simply wasn’t in the correct thoughts. I felt like I did not need to babysit no man, no rapper, you realize? Rappers received a thoughts of 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 form of 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 train them music after I can. It’s form of an funding. I’m considering for the longer term.

So longevity. That’s a wise transfer.

Yes, and Virginia is a hub. Lots of people are from right here, they begin developments right here. It’s so artistic right here, but it surely’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 folks come and get that uniqueness and creativity.

You talked about bringing that taste with Duke. Are there some other tasks you’re enthusiastic about?

Yeah, I’m getting into attire. I received a group dropping for ComplexCon and I’ve all these information that I’ve achieved 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’d] pay for the function or pay for the music so it could possibly be a Lex Luger music, form of like how DJ Khaled does. It’s difficult however that is the aim for me. To actually put out my very own music and let folks get a really feel of Virginia.

Is there something you want you’d recognized 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 may’ve had a guide…I imply they do, however like I stated, I used to be 17. I wasn’t studying no books. The subsequent one that 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 folks attempting to inform me about copyright, pattern clearance.

I received sued one time with Wale, Jeremih, and Rick Ross, trigger I had a Curtis Mayfield pattern in there and the label advised me that we had been gonna care for it. But they had been simply saying that they needed to place the report 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 folks suing me.  

I additionally want any individual would have advised me these rappers are like actually faux too. I don’t wanna get blackballed but it surely’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 folks 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 anticipate him to be Mission Impossible, leaping off buildings and sh*t. He did that to entertain you. He received paid. It may’ve modified some folks’s lives. Duke has a narrative, to not say it is faux, however he is gonna painting it a sure means as a result of he cannot inform the reality about every thing. Some of 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 folks can take that film or that music and it will possibly get them via the day. I’ve handled habit previously and there are specific motion pictures and songs that helped me go 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 desires to put on 10 chains all day? Sh*t hurts.

I believe most individuals do know that there’s theatrics concerned. Maybe, with the rise of the totally different social media platforms, it will get a bit extra complicated?

It actually does. Don’t get me fallacious, there are some people out right here that basically have lived every thing they rapping about however “have” is the key phrase They’re probably not going via it anymore, so in a way, that is faux to me too. Or simply rappers [saying], “Hey, ship me some beats.” I decide the beat, I ship them the beat. They ship me the music after which [nothing]. Why would you say you gonna do that and that and I hear nothing again from you? I believe that is a part of each trade, it is a part of the sport. You simply gotta by no means complain and are available out like a boss.

Speaking of misunderstandings and the transactional a part of the connection between the producer and the artist, I do wanna carry 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 habit and psychological points. Anybody may 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 along 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 of 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 of my thoughts.

And you had been on some Erykah Badu “delicate” sh*t.

Yeah, precisely. You know what I’m speaking about.

Has your artistic course of modified in any respect now that you’ve a transparent thoughts?

Yes, it has. I received 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 may work 12 hours and actually deplete all these hours. It’s simply not like that anymore. I received payments and the children.

How did you meet your woman?

I used to be on the studio, really, and he or she was there too. Out of all the ladies, she was lit. It was like some film sh*t. When I noticed her every thing was in gradual movement. Her hair was f*cking blowing within the wind and he or she simply gave me this look along with her eyes. It did it for me. I don’t stroll as much as girls however I could not assist it. I found out I may actually stroll to her home. Damn, man. We been round one another for a few yr or two and we didn’t comprehend it. Our connection was there and we did not need to go away one another.

I’ve two daughters with one other lady. My ex had my laptop 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 laptop. I received it and, consider it or not, I needed to observe out A$AP Ferg and ScHoolboy Q’s music. It’s known as “Let It Bang” off A$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 habit. 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 previous?

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 of Jack Harlow?

I don’t suppose so.

You ought to try Jack Harlow, man. He’s this White child. He even appears Jewish. He may sing a bit. I actually like his album. There’s a lot music popping out now. I’m going via my iTunes day by day and undergo the browse web page, to new music, and to prime charts to see who’s actually profitable out right here. I am a agency believer in “good music is sweet music.” This music isn’t gonna be within the prime 50 if it isn’t good music. I actually go search for any style so long as it is good music.

Your different influences outdoors of Hip Hop. What would that be?

Jimi Hendrix. I gotta go to the studio in a short while and after I hop within the automotive, I am undoubtedly gonna placed on some Jimi. My pops grew me up on Beach Boy [type] music. Man, I may go deep.

I’ve a query for a pal of 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 am going to 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 isn’t 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 prime of it?

Yeah however, like I stated, if it is good music it is gonna rock out. Like when Blac Youngsta dropped that “toot toot,” numerous my mates can be like, “That’s not it.” But it is the vibe of the music. It’s the nice feeling like in the event you go to the membership and get a drink. Or in the event you do not drink you’ll be able to nonetheless social gathering. You get a superb day trip of the music. As lengthy as it will possibly transfer me I do not care in the event you’re rapping like Kendrick Lamar or like…a rapper that may’t rap like Kendrick. But I do attempt to go for that prime artist, somebody that is going to place all of it out.

I believe 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 of my plaques, and he had preferred it and put one of many coronary heart emojis. That was displaying love. Recently, I went on and DM’d him and advised him I apologize. He messaged me again like, “It’s cool, lil bro. Congratulations. I am pleased with 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 arduous to see brothers combating.

Yeah, however brothers do struggle.