DubXX is here to make waves in the rap game, literally. Following the footsteps of Machine Gun Kelly, the Cleveland native proves he has the talents, work ethic, and passion to rise to the top, just like his peers. Being an integral part of the EST 19XX family, the rapper/singer continues to deliver smooth flows over hard-hitting beats. Read more…
Following a string of releases and even headlining his own 40-city North American tour in 2014, DubXX returns with his debut album titled Tsunami, home to his standout hit single, “Flex.”
For those who don’t know, who is DubXX?
DubXX is an artist out of Cleveland, Ohio. He’s part of a camp called EST 19XX, alongside Machine Gun Kelly and a couple other family and friends.
How’d you get your name?
At first, I started off as Dub-O. The DubXX came about just blossoming. Mentally, my music, the sound, everything — I just feel like I was growing. It’s also easier to find me that way. The XX is a part of our brand too, I just wanted to keep the XX in tact.
Where do you fit in the realm of hip-hop (how would you describe your sound)?
A rapping singer. I don’t sing, but I can sang. I can harmonize. I’m melodic. I can deliver bars when needed. I just feel like I’m a nice, decent, well-rounded artist. I like vocals. I’m just trapped somewhere in the middle, literally in my own world.
You’re from Cleveland, Ohio, how does that play into your life and career?
Just never settling. We come from the home of underdogs. Even in my situation now — even though I got my camp and everything — I still just feel like the underdog. Me and my guy Irv linked with Wav and just had to make it happen. Where I’m from, you just got to make it happen. You can’t make it happen if you back home in Cleveland, so we had to come out here to LA and just get it going. Just never being happy, never being satisfied. We just want more and more and more.
How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
To me, I think it’s very important. Especially if your maxed out in your city, as in you did all you can. LA, you’re a needle in a haystack. It’s like you wake up, and you ain’t nobody yet for real until you maxed out here. It just keeps you hungry and there’s so many opportunities you can get into. I’ve been back and forth from Cleveland to LA since 2012, but I’ve been out here solid for about four to five months. I’ve put an album out, ran into Wav, I’m here doing an interview with Young California, it’s dope. There are so many opportunities just staying out here. Every time I came back, it was like pressing the reset button.
Talk about your relationship with MGK and how that has impacted your career?
He’s just the motivation. He showed me up front, live and direct, that this can really happen. It’s popping off. “Yo, I get my foot in the door. I do my thing, you do yours, we all gon’ be on.” But it actually happened. We actually were loyal to each other. We always stayed in his corner. Me and Slim, his hypeman.
How’d you and MGK meet?
We met through a mutual friend. He knew one of my friends when my homie started going to his school. My boy lived in the hood, but he was sneaking going to the suburbs. He had to use a fake address. They were doing some rap program and he ended up bringing MGK to the studio where we were at one time. From there on, we just linked. Everybody was just cool on a daily basis. At that time, Machine Gun had just dropped his manager, so we just were kids in the city all doing our own thing. Kellz was doing his thing, we were doing ours. We were just kicking it with each other every day.
Was this before or after the “Wild Boy” record?
This was way before. We’re talking about before Puff, before everything. This was 2008, 2009.
What’s the best piece of advice he’s given you?
Not caring about what anyone thinks, as far as when it comes to making music too. Like “if that’s what you think, then that’s what you think.” Go with that. Go with your gut and forget what anybody else say. Comments and all that, once you block all that out, you good. I did that from the jump. Just do your thing.
Talk about your new project, Tsunami.
It’s a dope project and it’s out everywhere right now. It’s ten tracks, I call them ten waves. It’s one big sound, which is the Tsunami. I plan on just flooding the cities, states, and countries. It’s time for people to get hit with a real wave. You got everybody that’s just like, “Yo, I got this wave.” Like nah, I got these waves. I got this whole tsunami sound.
What do you want fans to get from your story?
To me, it’s all about the music. I know the stories are cool and all that, but I just want my music to put people in the best mood ever. Each track offers something for the ears, the mind, the body. Just relax. I didn’t go in there and say, “I need to rap about this, I need to rap about that.” Literally every song, I rap about everything. Every song should be relatable, to some point, to some degree.
How do you feel about dropping the same day as Nas?
I actually didn’t know that. I just realized it the other day, but I don’t think it will affect neither one of us. [laughs] He’s over there, he’s big time. I’m over here, I’m grind time. More than anything, if there’s somebody out there that like Nas and like DubXX, that’s fire. Shout out to Nas.
What is your take on the music industry?
Everyone is hungry. I think everybody is doing anything they can to get on. It’s good music out there, it’s bad music out there. Regardless, everyone is working. I respect that. I’m not tapped in too much because I’m really in my own world. I’m super zoned out. I just want to add to it. It’s missing something. Everybody feel like they’re the missing piece.
But right now, I feel like my sound is a real-life mood/wave. I don’t have to use heavy autotune or none of that stuff, I’m not just strictly an autotune-singing dude. I’m just a new sound that needs to get put out there, and hopefully other artists will want to be a part of this wave. I just feel like I got something to offer on the sound side.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
I wake up, brush my teeth, roll up light up, smoke — this is all by 8am. I wake up every day at 8am. The studio is in the crib, so I’m in there at least until 12:30 or 1pm. Take a break, go back in there by like 3pm. I’m in there until 7 or 8pm, and then it’s just freestyle for the rest of the day.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
I actually have no idea. I literally dedicated everything to this. I was working in a factory probably six years. I was always the last one working. I actually got Kellz a job at Chipotle through a mutual friend. I got him his first job, right around the time his daughter came. I was working night shift, and they would come and stay at my crib when I went to work. Man, that was the only thing I was doing, was labor. I was trying to avoid the streets. I knew a bunch of people, but I just had bigger dreams.
Favorite song to perform in a set?
My new favorite song from the project is “Can’t Deny It.” It’s my favorite song on there. But one of my favorite songs I like performing is this song from my last project, Smoking in Public, called “Come In Town.” It’s probably one of my favorite joints. When I perform it, it’s not a hype track, I just literally have all eyes and ears [on me]. Everybody just be looking at me crazy like, “Oh my gosh, this sounds good.” My brother Slim produced that.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Me, because I honestly don’t have nobody else on my phone. Actually, I ain’t gonna lie. Over the past few weeks, I have been bumping Childish Gambino heavy. “Redbone” is my favorite song out right now. Been listening since it came out, all the way from beginning to end. Especially the end part when there’s really no words, just music.
I always throw people off with this, because this is one of the people that low key super got me wanting to do music. He don’t make music no more I don’t think, but Chamillionaire. He’s from Houston, Texas.
He’s literally the biggest entrepreneur right now.
Yeah, he crossed over. I paid attention to that. Even when he was rapping, he was always taking old, refurbished cars and making them brand new and selling them. He sold Pimp C cars. Chamillionaire, he was just lyrical as heck. At this point, it doesn’t even have to be a collab. I just want to chop it up with him, on any level. Other than that, I’d like to get a little verse from T.I. There’s just something about the Southern lyricists I rock with. Even though I can’t always understand what he’s saying, he just always puts it together so well.
Is there anything else you want to let us know?
I’m on the come up, stay rocking with me. DubXX is out there everywhere. Big shout out to Young California, I want to thank ya’ll for the interview. I’m very humble. More to come with me and Wav. Shout to Wav too.