L.A. has seen a lot of fine artists break through in the past few years and leading the torch right at this moment is our favorite, Blxst.
After putting out music independently, hustling through selling self designed shirts and hoodies for a years, everything suddenly started making sense in 2020 with the release of his No Love Lost project. I first heard about the South Central to the suburbs of the Inland Empire living artist on the hook of Mozzy’s song ‘I Ain’t Perfect‘ and almost couldn’t believe how good it was.
Seeing the outpouring of our support at HHNM, his team was happy to offer us a premiere of his ‘No Emotions’ video last May, and we were proud to become one of the first media outlets to partner with the talented musician.
With influences ranging from Jill Scott to Erykah Badu, Blxst has a unique way of blending the classic West Coast Hip-Hop sound with soulful melodies that often remind you of the great Nate Dogg. What’s incredible is, he also produces most of his material himself.
This year alone has been crazy for Blxst: his single ‘Overrated‘ became a hit on radio and No Love Lost topped a whopping 250 million streams worldwide, he collaborated with indie king Russ and Drakeo the Ruler on his Just for Clarity EP, was named a XXL Freshman for year 2021 and recently announced his first headlining No Love Lost tour.
To top all of that, Blxst recently collaborated with the legendary Nas on the song ‘Brunch of Sundays‘ off his latest album King’s Disease 2. Blxst and I chatted a few days ago about how the opportunity of working with Nas came to be, plans for his anticipated next album, how he’s getting tour ready, the special nature of his sound, dream collaborations and more.
HHNM: Thanks for doing this.
Blxst: Absolutely, man. You know that. Got to.
Yes, finally. I remember being there for the online No Love Lost listening session last year. We briefly connected there for a minute or so. From then ‘til now, so much has happened and the career has skyrocketed. It’s no surprise though. I was telling everybody ‘yo just watch out for this guy, man.’ It’s just incredible music. So happy to see where you are and to see you evolve.
Absolutely man, appreciate that support and love, for sure.
— Navjosh (@Navjosh) July 10, 2020
When we premiered the video last May for ‘My Emotions’, I got several tweets and comments and DMs about you like ‘who’s this guy?’ I’m like ‘yo, this guy’s crazy’. I remember Elliott Wilson was doing a daily newsletter during the peak pandemic times and he included your mention in that like ‘Nav put me on to Blxst’ which was crazy to see. People might think that it’s overnight but you’ve been doing it for a while now and you’ve put in the work. Do you think some people miss recognizing that fact? Sometimes it looks like you just blew up out of nowhere.
Yeah. I mean, it comes with it though, you know? I don’t get upset when people think it was overnight but I know them 10,000 hours was the reason I’m here now, just putting in that groundwork before everything sprouted. I appreciate it though. Even when people acknowledge me, just that alone is a gift.
Right. No Love Lost was easily one of the best projects of last year. Are you now working on a new album, a proper studio album currently? What’s the plan?
I’m always in the process of creating. Like right now, I’m at the studio, it’s my crib. For the most part, I’m getting ready for the tour, my head is on tour, tryna make the best live No Love Lost show for the fans because I know that that hands-on-hands experience is everything. But top of next year I wanna say, my next project, for sure, yes.
That’s fair enough, once you’re done with the tour and everything. I know that for an artist like you who’s just at that point of like, blowing up, touring is so important to really establish that core fan base across the nation, so I understand that you’re putting in work. That’s great. Can you share any collaborations that you’re thinking of for your album? Anything that you can share at this point.
Exactly. I mean, for the most part, just like No Love Lost, the original version, I didn’t really depend on.. it was no features. We put features on the deluxe of course. So for my next project, I kinda wanna keep that same momentum. I don’t wanna bank on features but if anything comes to light then I’m definitely down to work. But I just wanna go in and tell my story and then whoever adds onto that, it’ll be love.
Gotcha. Your chemistry with Bino is dope. Sixtape 2 definitely has that L.A. summer vibe. How did you originally connect with him? I’m not aware of the backstory. I know he was Nipsey’s guy and all that but how did you originally connect with Bino back then for the original?
I was already a fan of Bino. Like you say, he was running with Nipsey, he came from that umbrella as well. I was more so known as a producer among the L.A. scene. I produced this song for Kalan.FrFr called ‘Right With It’ and it was pretty popular on this side. Bino heard that, he hit up Kalan, he was like ‘yo who produced that?’ So Kalan exchanged our contacts and that was our first form of our relationship, I was just sending Bino beats at first.
Ah ok, Got you. Obviously you produce a lot of your music yourself which is crazy, the quality that comes out of it. Were you always into production early on? You actually wanted to be a producer and then you thought about evolving into an artist? How did that go?
It was kinda simultaneous. I started producing at the same time I started making music but I was just more heavily invested on the producer side, just because that’s what picked up first. But my artistry had caught up, you know? Now it goes hand in hand.
Right. One thing I had been thinking a lot was you are a very fine mix between Hip-Hop and R&B and it’s very hard to categorize you into a particular box. I was studying some of the GRAMMY categories, I’m like ‘if I were to submit Blxst’s project, do I put it into a Hip-Hop category or an R&B category?’ because I also noticed on DSPs, your project is listed as Rap/Hip-Hop but your primary style is more R&B, like Nate Dogg-ish. I’d been thinking about it, like I’m gonna ask Blxst himself. What do you think about that?
Man, that’s a good question. I don’t know actually. It’s a certain pocket and I know what you mean, it’s like not too R&B, not too Hip-Hop, just that right in between spot. So I be having confusion sometimes too, like I don’t even know how to categorize myself (laughs).
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Right. These categorizations, it’s on paper, like for the GRAMMYs, for DSPs. It’s something that may not go away ever because it’s just something that has to be classified. It’s obviously amazing to hear you on the Nas album. How did that connection happen?
Yeah so, it was random. I was working on Sixtape 2, the production, in Miami. Hit-Boy, who is the executive producer of the album, he had called me and was like ‘Nas just shouted you out on a song’. I’m like ‘what? How do Nas even know who I am?’, right? So I fly back to L.A., and I link up with him in the studio. Nas is real humble, he a virgo like me, real chilled, laid back. He embraced me. It was just dope to be amongst a legend. To create with him this early in my career is just dope.
So that was done recently?
Yeah, this was recently.
Even the album announcement came out of nowhere. I know there was a rumor of a deluxe, but they probably went with a sequel rather than adding onto the same album, that makes sense.
Right. I get to be on an album with, you know, Lauryn Hill’s on there too, Charlie Wilson…
You’ve obviously collaborated with a few legends already. Are there more people on your wish list that you would love to make music with? Like both artists and producers that you think, ‘these are my dream collaborations’?
Absolutely. I always say Pharrell, Kanye West, DJ Quik. I wanna work with a bunch of OGs, you know? Just to get that sauce, to bridge that gap and to continue the legacy.
DJ Quik and Blxst, that should be a no-brainer
A classic Cali sounding song. In the recent past, has someone reached out to work with you or compliment your music that you were like ‘damn, I can’t believe this person heard my music’? Apart from Nas which we already talked about.
Yeah. A lot of people from Africa actually, that scene has been tapping in. Davido, Burna Boy, I did a song with Tems. Just to be even recognized from a whole different side of the world is just dope. So that would be the more recent people that tapped in.
That’s amazing. You mentioned the tour. This is your first proper tour, right?
What goes into preparing something like your first tour? Obviously when you’ve done a few, then you know the whole protocol like ‘I get into fitness, I get into practice’, just managing the stage etc. How do you prepare for something like this, for a layman’s understanding?
Yeah. I mean, I might be overthinking it but I got a vocal teacher. I’m training right now, focusing on my endurance. I got a music director. I really wanna bring this experience to the fans where they can actually enjoy it. Especially being my first time on the road, I don’t wanna mess up so I gotta perfect it.
Of course. Will you have a live band?
So, I’m not gon’ have a live band this first one, but I’ma have live elements. I don’t wanna give it all up.
A couple instruments, I get it (laughs). We peeped your collaboration with Apple Maps, that was really cool. Are there any other side projects that we can look forward to in the near future from you?
Slowly but surely. I been working closely with Amazon Music as of recently. We just did the car wash for Sixtape 2, we did the documentary release for Sixtape 2. We just planning more activations as I roll out more music but it’s always something in the works, for sure.
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Great. That’ll be all my questions for today, but it was absolutely amazing chatting with you, finally. I was actually thinking about sending a request in November or December, I’m like ‘nah, I’m gonna wait for a little bit’. You had your album out already, I’m like ‘when he’s about to hit the tour or something, then we can chat’ and I’m glad we could do this. Thanks a lot.
Man, that’s beautiful. It’s always love with you, man. I see you be going hard on Twitter for me so this is dope (laughs).
(Laughs) The first song I ever heard from you was the Mozzy feature.
Oh yeah, ‘I Ain’t Perfect’.
Yeah. Kid you not, when I heard that song, I could not believe the melody, I’m like ‘how is this even possible?’ I swear it gave me chills, you know?
That’s dope for real.
I immediately went deep into your catalogue, I’m like ‘yo, this guy’s crazy’. The melodies are unbelievable. When I was tweeting about you, it just so happened, I think your team noticed and they offered me a premiere of the ‘My Emotions’ video. It was so organic, you know when you fall in love with an artist and something like that happens and you make that connection. I wish you all the best. Thanks a lot for taking the time, I know you’re busy.
Most definitely, man. I appreciate the organic love, like you said. It feels effortless when it’s real and when you actually appreciate the music and I can tell that coming from you so I appreciate you sharing your platform as well.