At the surface, Atlanta may appear to be a number of things. It is the home of trap music, mecca of strip clubs, and arguably the new epicenter of Hip Hop. Beneath the surface, it’s home to some of the most inspiring artists Hip Hop has to offer. One of them I had the pleasure of speaking with via Twitter DM.
Upcoming Atlanta artist, Lexx Nova is the combination of the city’s fast paced brotherhood of a music scene and the unique experiences that brought him to where he is now. Coming off the release of his debut mixtape “Lovenova,” I had the opportunity to chop it up with Lexx about his upbringing, the beginnings of his career, Atlanta, and so much more. Read the Q&A below!
What’s your name and where are you from?
Lexx Nova. Nawf Atlanta, I bounced back and forth from East Atlanta and Gwinnett.
How was growing up in both of those places?
My mom stays in a pretty good area in Gwinnett and my grandma stays in the hood in Dekalb county. Real poverty. It’s humbling seeing both sides. Crazy thing is I got into way more trouble when I was in Gwinnett.
What kind of trouble?
Got locked up at 17. Shit sucked. Prosecutor wanted 10 years at first. At 17 that’s a crazy thing to hear.
For what, if you don’t mind me asking?
Not to go into detail, someone got hurt real bad. But everyone got out of that situation and moved on. Everyone’s good now.
At 17 that must’ve been a scary experience. I couldn’t imagine.
Can’t lie at some moments a nigga was tense but never scared. It’s life. Keep faith in God and let things play out. The shit just took a lot away from me. I was more annoyed about that.
That’s a good outlook to have. Glad you made it out of that situation. Tell me about what made you decide to start making music and when that was.
I always wanted to do it but I didn’t take it serious until I was in the locker room with all my homies freestyling. I was absolutely killing these niggas. But one of my friends was dead silent, staring at me. So when I saw everyone going crazy except him, I asked him what was wrong. He looked at me and told me I was good and that he makes beats. He told me we should do this shit foreal. I thought he was playing, but the next day he scooped me up and we started to record. His name is Hitplay and he produced the track “Gunsounds” featuring Mick Jenkins.
Is that recent? How long ago was that?
I was 16. Actually, I might’ve been 17. Early 17. I’m 20 now.
Okay. That gives me some context. So ever since then you started to take music serious?
Yeah. After that happened that’s when I got in trouble and had to put everything on hold. So I stopped for awhile. I was also having relationship issues which also added to me stopping.
Fast forward to you creating your debut mixtape. What was that process like?
Shit. Hectic. In Atlanta you’re around a lot. I was around Yachty, Raury, OG Maco, 6LACK, etc. Atlanta is fast. I was making songs everyday. The process was hectic. No stability.
Some people work like that. Especially in Atlanta. Would you prefer to work more organized at a more deliberate pace?
I just don’t have a backing label. So with me being independent in Atlanta you’re going to be everywhere. Which is fine by me. Just too much distraction. At least that’s how it was when I was younger. Shit calmed down a lot though. But yeah, that’s my life.
That makes sense. So the mixtape. What was inspiration behind it?
Relationships I guess. Mixed in with some other things I was dealing with. Really just love. Whether that be for someone, for your family, friend or whatever you’re into. Just love.
I get that feeling right away from the intro, “Underwater”. Really brings the tape full circle.
Yeah and then on “Drive Home Safe” it’s the same girl telling me “drive home safe” because if anyone knows, it’s her. She knows my life has been crazy.
There are some big features on the tape. How did the Mick Jenkins and OG Maco features come about?
Yo what’s crazy is I had a flash drive back in late 2015 full of songs man! Some other people who are big now were on there. No reason sharing but fuck. I was leaving this producer named Digital Nas, crib. He’s one of Yachty’s producers but I fucking lost the flash drive. My niggas and I were looking for that shit in the parking lot. We were high as hell looking for it. Had a whole different mixtape on there. But damn, my bad, that question reminded me of that. Shit sucked. Yeah, OG Maco my big bro, he does a lot for the city but never got the support he needed. Very before his time, trust me. People like him, Key, Father, and Raury have a lot of influence on shit that’s popping now. But sometimes people don’t see that right away. I sent Mick my song “Underwater” and he liked it. I think he was in a period of his life where he was into love and positivity. Dope shit. I think he just vibes off that.
Looks like you had your own 56 Nights type of story with that lost flash drive. Hopefully that turns up somewhere. When people talk about Atlanta and the influencers of the city they never bring up those names. Seems like they have their hands in a lot of the youth in Atlanta’s music scene though.
Haha! You said 56 Nights. That’s funny but I don’t have Future money. Yeah man shit sucked. I got over it though. It was a wild night. Yeah, people bring up the usual names and those guys are dope too. Still, Key, Curtis Williams, OG Maco, Makkonen started all that shit man. Atlanta was all about trapping, strippers, drugs and all that. It kind of still is but those niggas brought art, a lot of fashion and just overall weirdness to Atlanta.
Any songs you’re most proud of on the tape? I really like “30 For 30” and “Fucc 12 Freestyle” personally.
Yeah, I was like Blu send me a verse and he sent me a fucking scripture. Love that guy. But probably, “Complicated, Yeah Yeah I Know”. Just because for a second I was feeling this new girl and shit just went left. Everything I said in the song is exactly what happened. Everything in my music is truth. In the future I’m going to have more aggressive songs like those two you mentioned. Less singing. I like “Push Up” as well. Girls send me videos of them listening to it.
Vic Mensa shouting you out at the beginning of “Fucc 12 Freestyle” surprised me. How did that come about? What was meeting him like?
Vic Mensa’s a great guy. I hate that people judge him based on little ass clips of him yelling or something. I stand for everyone he stands for. He does a lot for us young black youth. But that came about from one of his shows in Atlanta. Again, he’s a great guy, he really cares. Funny story too. When I was at Vic’s show this random nigga started freestyling for Vic. Instead of Vic brushing him off, Vic got lit. Shit had me dead.
How has the reception been from the tape so far?
For the people that heard it, great. I mean, it’s independent you know? Have to count your blessings with that, but it’s a slow process. Everyday I’ve been getting emails, calls, messages, etc. Everything has been good so far. But I just wanted to put out some music.
All the love. That’s the best part of putting work out. Seeing people react to it.
You’re damn right. It’s motivation.
Anything else you’d like to touch on that we didn’t cover?
Nope. Shout out to XO and OVO though. Those boys are putting in work. In the next couple months I’m sure my name will be bigger, God willing. Thank you for the questions my man!