Inside exxy! ‘s PARADOXX: A Fusion Of Freedom, Youth Culture, And Musical Ingenuity
One of LA’s hottest up-and-coming rappers, exxy!, brings together a dynamic blend of hedonism, rebellion, and carefree energy in his latest mixtape, PARADOXXX. Rooted in his unique fashion sense, the record including the much-loved single; “NVR FELT THIS,” channels his audacious style into a metaphor for his life ideology.
The album showcases a wide range of emotions and themes, from materialism to introspection, fusing various flavors to create an innovative and impactful sound. In our interview, exxy! openly shared that he thrives on the concept of living without limits, which matches his fearless fashion style. He believes that this philosophy really clicks with today’s youth culture.
exxy!’s musical journey began with his discovery of hip-hop icons like Run-DMC, Beastie Boys, and A Tribe Called Quest. These influences shaped his distinct style, which he further refined through freestyling and rhythmic experimentation. By incorporating personal experiences and emotions, the rapper ensures that his songs strike a chord with listeners.
Check out the full conversation in the section below.
PARADOXX embodies a distinct fusion of hedonism, rebellion, and carefree energy. Can you delve into the backstory, recounting a particular instance or encounter that influenced the album? How did you infuse different facets of youth culture into your music?
Most of my rebellious nature comes from my fashion sense. Nobody around me has ever dressed like I do, and that’s just inspired me to go harder and think of even crazier pieces to wear. Even in school very few people actually went up to me and told me they liked my fits, but I was still voted best-dressed before I graduated. It feels good to be the best-dressed person in the room, even if people might not agree with you or immediately show you love.
How I wear clothing is really just a metaphor for how I live. The youth just want to live at the end of the day, they don’t want to be put down or constricted. Clothing is definitely important for youth culture as a whole. It’s another way for kids to freely express themselves as they’re developing a self-image, just like music is. Doing what you want is the most liberating thing you can do, which is why I embraced it on my album. Dress like you want, act like you want, be what you want. Nothing else matters.
How did the collaboration with underground rapper Lunchbox on “NVR FELT THIS” come about”? What was the creative process like when you two started working on the lead single?
Everything started through Instagram DMs. I’ve been listening to Lunchbox’s music and respect his work, so he was easily one of the first people I considered collaborating with on the album. “NVR FELT THIS” had a lot of bounce and energy when I first sent it to him, and he added even more with his verse. Looking back, I wouldn’t have put anyone else on the song. It turned out just how I dreamed it would.
Within the PARADOXX tracklist, a rich spectrum of emotions and themes unfolds, spanning from materialism to introspection. If you were to select a single track representing the mixtape’s core essence, which would it be?
“NVR FELT THIS” represents a lot of what I cover throughout the album. It’s all about experiencing new feelings and emotions and what comes with those experiences. I went to a lot of different places in my head making all the songs on the album, and “NVR FELT THIS” is like a recognition of all those places and the emotions/ideas I felt there. Aside from it having a great feature and crazy energy, it’s also the album’s lead single because it’s so all-encompassing in terms of the album’s essence.
Can you remember a moment during your hustle in the past few years when you knew in your gut that hip-hop was your calling? How did you start playing around with sounds to create something totally unique and mind-blowing?
I really got into hip-hop during middle school when I started developing my music taste. Listening to new music from Migos, 21 Savage, and Travis Scott at 13 or 14 years old was revolutionary for me; it opened up a whole world to explore. Even at that age, I was interested in making music to some extent because of that exposure. I still remember trying to make beats and write lyrics over them with one of my best friends.
A few years later was when I really started to get into music creation and songwriting, I tried out every sound possible until I found something that stuck with me. It took all of that inspiration, trial and error, and persistence over the years to eventually develop something that I felt was worthy to be publicly released. Now I’m just grateful I have that foundation to build off of and have fun with to give the world something unique.
Elaborate on a musical technique or element you incorporated in the mixtape that you believe contributes to its innovative sound!
Freestyling plays a big part in my creative process with music. The very first thing I do when I hear a beat or melody that fits an idea I want to tackle is freestyle. It’s not always a full chorus or verse, but it’s always a rhythm or pattern that I keep when I finalize the song’s lyrics. Starting the process on a rhythmic level helps me find a nice bounce for the rest of the song.
The mixtape tackles topics like fun, love, and good times, but there’s also that deep, introspective angle. How do you juggle all these different flavors in your music, making sure they click together and really hit home with listeners?
I want my listeners to be able to relate to the topics I rap about on some level. Whether it’s an emotional relation or a literal relation, there has to be some connection for the song to resonate with my audience. Adding an introspective element to my songwriting adds to the personal significance of all my songs. There are a million topics I can rap about, but they don’t mean much if I can’t add my own experience or emotion to them. Everything comes together once I find them.
You’ve highlighted how iconic figures like Run-DMC, Beastie Boys, and A Tribe Called Quest left their mark on your music. How did you channel their influence to shape your distinct style and vibe?
Those artists were the very first people I ever heard in hip-hop. They’re the first building blocks of my whole experience in the genre. Run-DMC, Beastie Boys, and A Tribe Called Quest were always different from the other artists I heard growing up. There was something rhythmic about their music that stuck with me even at such a young age.
A Tribe Called Quest specifically were the first artists to expose me to jazz with the samples they used, which is a whole other genre I now love outside of rap. When I first started looking for new music to get into, I used my years of listening to classic hip-hop to explore modern rap. It’s amazing to look back through all the music I’ve listened to and see how it’s all built together to form my taste and style today.
Listen to the full album below: