Photo credit: Asha Belk
When you have a dream - you go for it. That's what 22-year-old San Diego-bred musician Young Lyxx keeps in mind as he preps his fifth EP, California Dreamin Vol. 1.
Young Lyxx, now based in Atlanta, Georgia, saw his level of notoriety raise when the video for his single "Wow" featuring Rocky Diamonds, produced by GB Hitz, became his biggest viral hit to date, amassing nearly 30,000 views.
The video, while totally simplistic in its treatment, is set on Grammy-winning producer Polow da Don's couch. So, how does a rapper - who's not famous (or signed to a major) - end up in Polow's house? There must be something special about this guy.
AllHipHop.com chopped it up with Lyxx on his upcoming project and his mission to put San Diego on the map, and we get answers to our main question: How did you end up at Polow da Don's house?
In 1999, at just 10 years old, Lyxx became inspired to write after hearing his big cousin rap. He soon wrote his first set of bars, of which he admits today, weren't his best. But he got better. It was in 2010, when he landed a meeting with a Def Jam rep that Lyxx says he received advice that catapulted his career:
"He [the Def Jam rep] was telling me, "You got it! It's just all on building your brand." They want to see that following from you. At that time, I was new on this Atlanta scene, so I felt him. I took from that meeting and just focused on bettering my craft, and building a brand as well - so I could have a movement behind what I was doing."
Though he shares his thoughts via lyrics, Lyxx admits, he's really a quiet person:
"I rap because it's my way of venting. It allows me to express my inner thoughts, 'cause I'm pretty much a quiet person when it comes to showing how I feel about things. Unless I really know you, I won't open up to you. With rap, I can open up to everybody, but in a different type of manner. It allows me to go in the studio and be personal with it, by myself, and then I can let people hear it."
With crews on the rise including YMCMB, A$AP Rocky's crew, A$AP Mob and Odd Future, Lyxx says his crew is taking a different approach.
"I wanted to come up with some type of unit where it would unbalance the industry by allowing our team to not have to reach out for anything. I was looking for synonyms for unbalance - and Top Heavy came about. I know they use that in corporate America as well. Then, when I moved to Atlanta, it formulated with the people."
In 2011, Lyxx released his third project, Almost There, which featured the track "Wow" featuring Rocky Diamonds. Diamonds, a member of MDMA, a group signed to Polow Da Don's Zone 4 imprint, and Lyxx met up in Los Angeles and recorded the song. When it came time for the video, Rocky invited Lyxx over to Polow's house. As quickly as they could, they grabbed a camera and started shooting, with Lyxx revealing:
"One day, Rocky hit me up saying 'Yo. I'm at Polo crib!', and he was like 'Let's shoot the video!'. We had like two hours, so we just grabbed a camera and knocked it out."
Now, on the heels of his latest release California Dreamin Vol. 1, Lyxx says this is his most honest project, revealing:
"This is my first Cali-themed out project, where people can really get a glimpse of who is Young Lyxx, where is he from, what's San Diego about, what's Cali about, just get a different glimpse of Cali through my vision. Everybody can tell you what Cali is like, and it's usually going to be L.A., because that's where a lot of rappers are from, but I'm from San Diego. There hasn't been a rapper to really come out and give you that glimpse.
"We've had Mitchy Slick, but even Mitchy Slick, he's known in Cali as a hardcore gangbanger - I'm not. I feel like it's going to be honest. Even though I'm giving a different glimpse, people in Cali are still going to relate, because it's still real life at the end of the day. It's a mixtape to pay homage to California. I picked seven tracks that were classics. After that, I went to the studio and wrote the whole mixtape in one night. It was organic. The project features '90s tracks from Tupac, Mac Dre, Warren G, Dr. Dre and more. I wanted to take classics, but I wanted to also do underground Cali artists from back in the '90s."
With his unique style of dress and near-perfect ability to provide mellow lyrics meshed together with production from some of the best upcoming producers, it's safe to say, there is something special about Young Lyxx. He's going for his. Not to be alone, he's bringing the whole city with him. San Diego has a new hero.
California Dreamin Vol. 1, hosted by DJ Fu and presented by IMKING Clothing, drops June 19. Follow Young Lyxx on Twitter (@YoungLyxx).