Summer is now over and it’s time to get ready for the snow. Don’t fret do help melt away that snow we are bringing back a feature we truly love and missed, rapper of the month! This month we are proud to bring you the incredibly talented X(ten) coming out of Baltimore. I remember hitting play on his smooth track “Time Machine”. It has a really old school hip hop sound with a new melodic twist. He’s making music that is unique as he tries to break free from the norm. I was able to talk with X(ten) about how he got his name, how long he has been rapping for and what the scene is like in Baltimore.
So you’re coming out of Baltimore, Maryland. What’s the hip hop scene like out there?
The Hip-Hop Scene in Baltimore is definitely slept on; Baltimore is on the rise it’s too much talent for it not to. Mostly everyone is the same basic trap style rappers, reppin’ the trap life, or at least glorifying it and telling the same story. I’d honestly love to start seeing more artists step out the box but the talent is defiantly there. If more artists stepped out the box and came together. Instead of viewing everyone as negative competition, Baltimore’s exposure would probably be much larger than it is now.
How did you come up with the name X (ten)? Is there a deeper meaning or story behind it?
Nah Not Really. I went by “Weridoh!” for a few years before I decided it was time for a change. I first knew I wanted to pursue music when I was 10 and it took until I was 20 to seriously try to do what I love. So I ran with that Ten, then with a fascination of Roman Numerals I decided to use the Roman numeral for 10 which is “X”.
How long have you been rapping for?
I’ve been rapping for almost 3 years now. 3 years being serious about it at least. With being a full time Architecture Student, having two jobs and trying to starting a design company I didn’t really have the schedule to dedicate the time I really wanted to. So I took the time to study, practice and experiment with the craft to keep getting better. Whether that involved watching tutorials, learning to take my beats to the next level with what I had, just freestyling or writing.
Do you produce all your songs?
I produce most of music; eventually I would like to get to a point where I’m only using my beats, that’s a personal goal. Plus I do all my works on my own (recording, Mixing, etc.) so I still consider myself as working on my craft. It’s a lot I’d like to get better at and a lot I have to learn. I won’t be able to do that without collabs and mentoring. I feel like no one can grow alone because no matter what you’re exposing yourself to the same thing.
How did you learn to produce? Did you teach yourself?
It was a challenge; at first I was learning completely on my own. I started off making beats from sampled loops they were cool. But they didn’t have much variation and after a while became repeatative no matter what sample I used. I personally wanted more from my music and I wanted better. I had a vision of how I wanted a beat but at the time my skill level wasn’t there. I had to work with what I had. Which at the time was virtual Dj and a vision. I kept at it, kept practicing and learning new tricks until fall semester 2014. I was staying on Campus at Morgan State. Coming into that school year I got a new roommate from Houston, who goes by 5-11. Eventually it came out that we both did music. He had more of a trap sound but he had a different feel, he had a little soul. Like old Zaytoven more importantly he had 808’s, drums, structures, drops, hi hats, etc. All that I felt my beats lacked just being loops. He introduced me to FL studios (or Fruity loops) and took me under his wing. It was still difficult as hell to get where I am now since we both had different styles. The answers to my questions weren’t always there, so had to learn as I went. Eventually I was about to show him a few new things along with teaching others to produce. It honestly made both of us stronger at the end. We collaborated a lot and made some slappers, I give him credit for helping me bring my visions out.
When creating a song do you first make the beat then add the lyrics? Or do you have lyrics already and form a song around that?
When I do music I’m usually going with the flow. Sometimes I’ll make a beat and just freestyle over it but won’t do anything with the beat immediately. Sometimes I’ll come back to a beats and write to it. It depends on the mood but I never plan to do anything specific. I don’t like to put deadlines on my music or go in saying anything more than “I’m bout to make some shit”. Usually when I do that opposite happens; I’d say I’m bout to just make beats all day and end up rapping. It’s easy for me to just let the music come out. My Best music comes from freestyles I recorded playing around or juts spittin.
What can fans expect coming out next? A project? Videos?
I definitely want to start getting these tracks I’ve made over the last couple of months out there. So it’s definitely going to be a beat tape coming soon. I’m currently networking and just creating. Of Course I want to get some videos and visuals out there. That’s actually one of my top priorities right now, especially for “Time Machine”. I’m working with some other artist producing projects, designing, etc. Other than that expect singles and beats until the next tape is in the works. I want the next tape to be a Classic and well thought out. Oh wait a College Degree is coming to if that counts ha ha.
Did you think “Time Machine” was going to be as big as it was?
I can definitely say the success came with a shock. “Time Machine” is getting the success I’ve been dreaming about and working hard to achieve for all my music / everything I work on. I just hope it continues, a lot of love went into “Time Machine” and all my music. I can only work hard and hope that “Time Machine” was just a glimpse of the future success to come. But I cant say the shock will ever stop. Its like getting that “A” on a test when you actually studied.
If someone hasn’t heard you before how would you describe your sound?
The best description of my sound I’ve heard is a blend of different genres with a classic hip-hop feel. So I’d go with that ha ha.
If you could work with anyone past or present who would it be?
I’d defiantly want to work with Kanye for present and either Rick James or Roger Troutman for past.
What was the last album you listened to?
Travi$ Scott – Rodeo
What do you want people to know about your music and you as a person?
On a Personal level I’m a pretty chill and relaxed person. I just like to smoke and create honestly. As far as the music, I’m out to make a difference and leave my mark on the game. I have no desire to fit in or change up for the sake of “making it”. My music is extremely personal, it’s both one of my dreams my escape from reality. And where I’m from and in this world today I need that escape. My music is a part of my legacy, it’s so many memories embedded in these songs. I want my music to be listenable 20 years from now; I want my music to deserve a greatest hits album.
These days hip hop tends to be flooded with many up and coming rappers who all sound the same. But X(ten) is a ray of sunshine in the darkness that is the trap sound which covers the genre we love. X(ten) is incredibly talented and insanely motivated, nothing is going to stop him from achieving his dreams. Over the summer he released an album Love X check it out and follow him on Twitter.