NEW & MAKING NOISE: BLXST
BLXST – Overrated
Picture an open road. The windows roll down, the sun shines, and the speakers turn up. Blxst fits right into this scene. The Los Angeles singer and producer slides through the pocket between R&B and hip-hop with just the right amount of West Coast swagger, edgy attitude, and slick soul. (Think the Instagram era’s answer to Nate Dogg, and you’re on the right track!) Moreover, he personally shapes the entire vision by not only picking up the mic, but also crafting beats from scratch and even often handling artwork and videos. After delivering productions for everyone from Kendrick Lamar and YG to Eric Bellinger and posting up over 30 million total career streams by 2020, he hones this vision on his debut EP for Red Bull Records, No Love Lost.
“I want you to be able to drive to my music,” he explains. “That’s the most important thing. I try to make the sound smooth, laidback, and cohesive. I like to live in both worlds of R&B and rap.”
Growing up in South Central, he found himself magnetically attracted to music. His uncle and older sister formed a local rap group and encouraged him to try his hand at spitting bars. “My uncle told me to look up a new word in the dictionary every day, so I fell in love with words,” he recalls. At the same time, he looked up to creators such as Pharrell, Kanye West, and Ryan Leslie. After his parents separated, he moved to the Inland Empire and lived with his dad for high school. Admittedly “isolating a lot,” he grabbed a laptop and taught himself how to produce and record. In 2014, he landed his first prominent placement with Hitta J3’s “Do Yo Gudda” and its powerhouse remix featuring none other than Kendrick Lamar, YG, and Problem. He also crafted Kalan.FrFr’s breakthrough hit “Right Wit It” featuring Chris O’Bannon & G Perico.
Introduced to R&B powerhouse Eric Bellinger by mutual friend and All Eyez On Me star Demetrius Shipp JR., he cooked up the beat of “By Now” for Bellinger, while the singer appeared on Blxst’s 2018 single “Can I.” Maintaining this momentum, Blxst joined forces with Bino Rideaux for the collaborative Sixtape in 2019. Generating nearly five million total streams, it flaunted fan favorites such as “Selfish” and “Bacc Home”. Throughout the year, his solo single “Hurt” racked up 2.4 million Spotify streams. Receiving critical acclaim from HipHopDX and more, AllHipHop crowned him “your new favorite R&B artist.”
Kicking off 2020, Blxst lent his voice to Mozzy’s “I Ain’t Perfect,” in addition to teaming up with Red Bull Records. Along the way, he crafted what would become No Love Lost, his debut EP on the label set for release later this year.
“I wanted to speak to multiple relationships in my life, whether it be friends, family, or my partner,” he says. “Even though I dedicate my time to the grind, my love is still there; my love is still at home. I’m the same person as I grow. People may look at me differently, because I don’t devote the same amount of time to them. However, all of the love I have for each relationship remains.”
He ignites 2020 with the standalone single “My Emotions.” Steady percussion and airy synths simmer underneath confident verses as he charismatically announces, “you know you rocking with the top dog now.” Nimble flows climax on a hypnotic hook punctuated by finger-snaps.
“It’s a female-based record,” he elaborates. “I may be frequently on the move, but I’m saying, ‘I’m always coming back to you’.”
He followed it up with another single entitled “Slip & Slide” featuring 1takejay. His smooth croon hovers above a throwback bass line and keys as 1takejay namechecks everything from Deontay Wilder to GTA during a fiery cameo before the seductive hook.
Meanwhile, on the No Love Lost EP, “Gang Slide” coasts along on skittering hi-hats as he carries a classic Cali chorus, “It was a midnight gang slide…stick and move on the West Side, ‘cuz you know you give me the best high.”
“It’s a metaphorical record,” he goes on. “You think of it in terms of a drive-by, but I flipped it into pulling up on a girl to do what we do. It’s got a bounce to it.”
Elsewhere, “Wrong Or Right” sits at a crossroads of bluesy guitar licks, woozy synths, and heavenly harmonies. “Searching” slinks along on a delicate groove as he “reassures [his] girl she picked the right guy.”
“I want to make it cool to love again,” he exclaims. “There’s a lot of bragging and boasting out there, but I really focus on honest, relationship-based songs. Those can stand out, because there’s not enough of them from a positive perspective.”
In the end, Blxst’s music will be perfect to cruise to for a very long time to come.
“I want to speak to the kid who is in his bedroom all alone wondering if this is possible and showing him it is,” he leaves off. “My life is the definition of dreams to reality. I’m here to let you know you’re not alone. That’s the most important thing always.”