Photo Credit: Getty Images/Getty Images for Red Bull Records
Will 2021 Be The Year Blxst Takes Off?
We caught up with Blxst who spoke about his creative process, how fatherhood changed him, and what he has planned for 2021.
Blxst is always in the kitchen. The rising hip-hop and R&B artist entered lockdown in March 2020 — like the rest of us — and emerged with a meal to serve. But it wasn't banana bread. His creative space at home allowed him to slowly braise ballads and bops before dishing them out to fans, old and new alike.
After rapping and producing in the LA scene for a little more than five years, Blxst released his debut EP, No Love Lost, in September 2020 on Red Bull Records. (The album was mostly carried by the success of the jittery 2019 single "Hurt.") By December, he dropped a deluxe edition with six new songs, featuring appearances from Ty Dolla $ign, Dom Kennedy, Bino Rideaux, and Tyga. The back to back releases helped usher Blxst in front of a larger audience. However, the singer did not anticipate a breakthrough like this.
“I was just doing what I normally do,” Blxst, which is pronounced blast, told Okayplayer over a phone conversation. “It was crazy to me. It was just an EP. I didn’t have any solo projects. It’s crazy that the reception was that heavy. People that I look up to in the industry were tapping in. It was definitely extra fuel for me to keep going.”
On No Love Lost, Blxst sings and raps through the ups and downs of entering a new stage in life. It is a personal EP, exploring themes of loyalty and love as he navigates the duality of existing as an artist and as a person outside of music. He fuses together soft, endearing vocals with witty, relatable lyrics, and laid-back production to communicate his struggles.
For Blxst, he is able to find peace in relaying honest messages through his music and in life.
“Whenever you feel some way, you should speak on that. I think we should never hold that in," Blxst said. "So that's what I that's what comfort is to me. Being yourself and being able to speak freely.”
We caught up with Blxst about the creative process beyond No Love Lost, how fatherhood changed him, and what he has planned next for 2021.
Photo Credit: Brandon Hicks
What do you think is the role of an artist during a pandemic?
Blxst: We should respect everybody's health first and foremost, that's the most important thing. And also find different creative ways to interact with each other. [It] doesn't have to necessarily be in person. The virtual concerts and things like that I feel like are going to get us through this time.
Has the social justice surge impacted your outlook on being a celebrity or being a black artist in general?
Absolutely. I feel like [with] me having a voice, it's important that I'm very intentional with what I say. My perspective, and how I do it, is uplifting the Black woman with my music, speaking on specific relationships that I've dealt with, and I think it reflects in my music.
Do you think that as a musician, you have any responsibility to relay a certain type of love to your listeners?
I can't really speak on anybody else's relationship, but for me, you got some challenges you go through. My main thing is how can we fix things? Whether that be in a relationship or in society in general. Firsthand is my relationship. If I can't fix this war within my own house, then I can't fix the war outside. So it's always what can I do to better myself? What can I do to better my relationships, outside of just females? Your friends, your family relationships? How can we build that trust and work on something together so we can conquer a mission?
How has being from LA shaped you as a person and as a musician?
Being from LA, [and] being from the West Side, you have a certain pride. We have a certain confidence in our walk, how we talk, and we stand on integrity. I want to be the epitome of that moving forward. Hopefully, I keep [the] intention in my music. Not. hopefully — I will, keep intention [in] my music and stay pure to where I’m from, and represent my roots in the right way.
Can you expand on your creative process behind No Love Lost?
I look at it as another saying for no hard feelings. That's a dedication to the ones around me, my loved ones. There are no hard feelings, no love lost, but I got to continue this mission that I’m on and the mission that I’m on is, building a foundation for my son. It's finding that balance between my relationship [with] my family, my son, friendships, and really focusing on myself and building myself up to be able to give. If my cup is empty, I have nothing to give, so it’s just filling my cup up.
How did becoming a father impact you musically or change your outlook on the world?
It's bigger than me. At first, it was just me just trying to gain everything for myself, but now I see the bigger picture. We[re] all connected, and what I do affects his life, and it doesn't stop there. What I do affects my mom’s life, my sister’s life, my brother’s life. I try to move with intention and know that what I'm representing.
How was it working with artists like Ty Dolla $ign and Dom Kennedy?
Man, it's crazy. It was definitely intentional. It wasn't locked in for sure, [but] it was on my list to work with the top dogs of LA. We’re talking about Tyga, Ty Dolla $ign Dom Kennedy, they have history out here. Being able to work with them, side by side, I feel like was a momentum shift for me to set that tone, and to showcase I can hang with the big dogs. Even though I might be a new face to most people.
Do you think you'll incorporate more feature artists, and if so who?
Absolutely. I definitely want to work with the top of the top. The Pharell’s the Kanye Wests. I just want to maximize my sound and be inspired at all times. I'm a fan of current artists as well too, but I’m a big fan of the OGs. Whatever I grew up to listening [to] I want to work with those types of artists.
One thing I did notice about the features was none were women. Are there any women whether it be rappers or singers that you want to work with?
Come on, women run the industry right now. They are winning. I definitely want to lock in with Jhené Aiko, H.E.R. Ella Mai. I feel like they all had great years since they've been out, and that's definitely a top priority. I definitely want to connect with even Snoh Alegra, I bump her album faithfully. That's definitely what's top of my list.
What's one of the hardest lessons that you learned in 2020?
Defining what balance is. I feel like my son taught me a lot of patience, and it showed me how important time i. I value it in a different way now.
What do you hope to achieve in the upcoming year.
I think it's important for artists to, double back into reality instead of just artist mode, so they can actually have intention behind what they say. That's what I'm looking forward to. Becoming a better father, building on my relationships, and just resetting and getting ready for the next challenge.
DeMicia Inman has written for PAPER, MTV News, Hello Giggles, and more. You can follow her work at MiciaGirl.com.