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New Artist Spotlight: Lex

by Travis on June 6, 2008

There is one site that is predominately responsible for the birth of WYDU. Mastaace.com is where five of the contributors for this site met, including myself and the other co-found, Polarity. In all honesty, I pretty much despise message boards. I may lurk around them, but I don’t post on them very much. MA.com is the only place I’ve posted on a regular basis. It’s also been the home for some talented artists as well, of course SoulClap and Polarity, my man Duke (who I need to reach out to one of these days), Sly MC (another cat I’m going to have to start pushing on to get him to put some more music out), BLO and my man Minimal. But the one who has probably had the most success thus far is my man Lex. I consider any of those above mentioned cats fam. Lex’s debut project “The Vague Clarity Mix” was also the first mixtape/album I ever reviewed. It was also the first promo copy I ever got of anything, and he didn’t have to do it. WYDU was only getting about 50 hits a day back then, so either he felt sorry for me or he was just as desperate for attention as I was in those days. Lex is Queens born and bred. He loves his New York roots and is all about reppin’ where he comes from. But he is also one of the more open minded brothers I’ve ever came across. He is opened minded and is about accepting all hip hop in all of it’s forms, as you’ll read in the interview I did with him. Not only is Lex a great artist, he is just one quality dude…..

Lex….

WYDU: What’s good my man. For those of us out there that haven’t been reading WYDU for awhile, why don’t you tell everyone who you are and some of your background…<

Lex: Peace y’all. My name is LEX representing Sinistah Circle & the New York Rhyme Exchange. I’m from Queens, New York and I’ve been making music for a minute. I hope y’all could enjoy what I bring to the table.

W: You started as a DJ originally, what made you sell the tables and pick up the mic?

L: Well unfortunately, the tables never got sold. Back when I was into DJing, I used to spin instrumentals at the crib while my homies would come over and we’d just freestyle and bug out. Eventually we started getting pretty good at this rap thing. It came to the point where my ambition and passion for that element of the culture outgrew anything else and I started writing songs. From there, the ball just kept rolling.

W: You got a crew you run with, Sinistah Circle, who is that made up and how did y’all come together?

L: Sinistah Circle is made up of myself, my man Snakeyez, E-Noids who produces and engineers for us and my man Ra Ra Aguilar, beatmaker extraordinaire. It’s literally my brother and two of my best friends. The same people I was around when this passion developed. We’re more than a rap crew, these dudes is my family first.

W: Some of the people who have been reading WYDU for awhile should remember the Vague Clarity project you did, run down your discography, including your newest remix project for the Vague Clarity remix

L: “The Vague Clarity Mix” was the first project that I released. That came out in 2005 and got a pretty good buzz going for me. At the time I was still running with the name Lexicon. My second official release was titled “Forward Movement.” I put that out as a free download in 2007 and managed to sell some retail copies of it as well. This project was also well received. I feel like this project showed a little more diversity in my style. The most recent project I’ve released is “The Vague Clarity Remixes” with producer TaeOne of the New York Rhyme Exchange. He basically remixed about 14 songs from the original album and we added on a couple of new joints for the listeners to get a feel for our chemistry. Tae is a beast. There is a 14 track version of that available for free download online. The retail has 19 tracks with a link to some bonus acapellas and instrumentals for anyone interested.

W: You did some work with Reef The Lost Cause, how did that come about? Who else would you like to work with in the immediate future?

L: The collabo with Reef came about through my man Amen of the New York Rhyme Exchange. He’s got a pretty good relationship with some folks over at Good Hands Records and we managed to get Reef to come thru to the lab when he was coming out to NYC for a promo run for Feast or Famine. He was a real cool cat. very talented dude. We lit something up and went to work. You can find that collaboration on Dev Rocka’s The Night Shift. That’s a dope album top to bottom. I’m proud to be a part of that.

To be honest I’d like to work with anybody and everybody with genuine talent and ambition to create great music. I’ve recently got the opportunity to record a track on a Domingo beat. That was a dream come true for me. That will be on my upcoming album “Necessary.” My man Duke had gotten me on a remix with Thirstin Howl for a track on Rob Scholast’s Scholastic Cirriculum project. That was also a dream for me. Dude is one of the most creative MCs ever. I’ve also recently made a contact to collaborate with one of my favorite MCs from one of the most impressive rap crews ever. I don’t want to give away too much on that, but you can expect to see it on an upcoming project soon as well. I’ll work with anyone that’s willing to work. I think right now, I’d like to focus on getting in some work with the cats I see on the scene out here holding it down. My man Emilio Rojas, Sha Stimuli, Fresh Daily, Torae, Skyzoo, Pumpkinhead etc. The dudes that are doing their part to keep this scene fresh.

W: What are some of your influences when it comes to your music, what/who inspires you?

L: I have so many influences. I can go on for days naming rappers and groups that inspired me. Aside from the Native Tongues and D.I.T.C. and Wu-Tang Clan and all those brothers and sisters that laid a foundation for me, I have to say that a lot of my inspiration comes from my family. I’ve got 2 beautiful children that are growing up and they motivate me to be a better artist as well as a better person everyday. And my father is a great motivation to me as well. He’s been making music since before I was born and his undying dedication to his craft lets me know that I should never let up.

W: I know you have some strong opinions when it comes to the state of New York hip hop, what do you say to someone, like myself, that says New York hip hop is in a stagnant state?

L: I’d say that you’re just as right as you are wrong in that mentality. New York rappers tend to suffer from a superiority complex that makes them think 2 things. One, that New York rappers are the best in the world. Two, that they are the best New York has to offer. We need to step off our own dicks for a minute and look at the bigger picture. There is phenomenal music being made all over the map. Dudes like Bobby Creekwater, Crooked I and Royce the 5’9 are some of the most impressive MCs out right now. We need to step out of that tribal mindstate and just make music that is dope because it’s dope. Your measely little record will not bring New York back. Nobody needs to bring New York back. The last time I checked, it was in the same place on the map as it’s always been. If you love your home, that’s great. Lord knows I will represent Queens with every last drop of blood in my veins, but that doesn’t mean I expect Joe MC from Albequerque to bow down to me. Why should he? I’m, sure he loves his home just as much as me, and if his proximity on the map has a slightly different cultural viewpoint on the way rap music should be made, then who the fuck am I to tell him he’s wrong? Music should know no boundaries. Don’t try to confine an artform that has historically been rebellious in its nature.

W: I’ve had the pleasure to hear some of your as of yet to be released project with WYDU co-founder Polarity, and it’s truly some of the best music I’ve heard from either one of you. When is it going to drop and discuss how that project came about…

L: Maaaaan, I can’t wait to unleash some of that music on the world. I am an admitted huge fan of Masta Ace. So is Polarity. We actually met on the MastaAce.com messageboard community. I had posted some music up there and Po got at me about possible work. He asked for my address to send some beats for my consideration. I shit you not, my man sent me a CD with about 50 joints on it. One day I sat down to take a listen and track after track, Polarity’s beats were blowing me away. There was soul much soul in the records he was working with. I was truly impressed and told him there was no way I could pick out only a track or 2. We discussed the possibility of an album and went in with the understanding that this project would take some time to complete. Now, about 3 years later, we’re entering the final stages of putting this album out. It’s called Hennessy and 76th. The title is derived from the mailing addresses for the CDs we transfered back and forth. I’m really proud of this project. Its got a lot of very personal content on it. some of it is outdated in terms of my personal experiences, but it is still good music and reflects a couple of different periods in my life.

W: Any chance of a Sinistah Circle posse album in the near future?

L: Absolutely. We’re almost done recording for our first group release which is called Sin City. That project has been a long time coming. We’ve re-worked it a couple of times and it seems as tho we have it to our liking now. We just want to get one more track in and that’ll be ready to go. Look out for it soon.

W: What about producers? You’ve worked with some great “unknown” producers in the past, Origimoz, Bluntmosphere ), how do you pick producers and who do you have lined up in the future?

L: I just happen to get contacted by the right people sometimes. Every now and then I will check out tracks on people’s myspace & soundclick pages and seek out folks who impress me. If someone posts something dope somewhere, I’ll check to see what else their working with. I’ve just been really lucky to link up with some very talented dudes. I gotta give a shout out to Neblina Records here. I used to frequent there boards and I really thought they had the most talented web communities I’d ever come across. I built some relationships there and held on to some good ones. I also get tracks in the local scene just by linking up with producers at shows and open mics. Between Sinistah Circle & The New York Rhyme Exchange, I’ve got more dope beats than I can ask for. On top of that, I got my regular collaborators like Origimoz and King E that are always lacing me. Shout outs to all the producers I’ve been fortunate enough to work with.

W: Any last words?

L: I just want to say thank you to anyone who has taken the time to familiarize themselves with my name. I’m well aware of how saturated this industry is and I truly appreciate you giving me a chance. I hope you can find something relative in my work and use it to your liking. I’m not much of a motivational speaker, but if you have a genuine ambition for anything in life, keep with it. Whether it works or not, you should always find solace in the fact that you are giving your best effort. I gotta tell myself that shit sometimes.

And thanks to WYDU for the continued support. I’m honored to be featured alongside the material you guys supply here.

W: It’s always good talking to you man, keep up the grind and never give up

taeOne & LEX of the New York Rhyme Exchange present:
The Vague Clarity Remixes

For those unfamiliar, The Vague Clarity Mix was originally released by LEX (then known as Lexicon) of the group Sinistah Circle in 2005. The CD received critical praise online and introduced the world to a young hungry MC hailing from the streets of Queens, New York. Now,
nearly 3 years later, Minority Rules Entertainment is proud to present The Vague Clarity Remixes. The Vague Clarity Remixes is now available as a free digital download that re-introduces many of the lyrics from LEX’s 2005 debut accompanied by the phenomenal production of New York Rhyme Exchange and Midnight Specialists producer taeOne. The two combine their talents for their first full length collaboration project.

http://trakwerk.com/Lex/Vague_Clarity_TaeOne_Remix.rar

Free Digital Download Tracklist:
1. The Vague Clarity (2008)*
2. Beautiful
3. Muscle Up ft. Jaded Wonder
4. The Team
5. Queens Break*
6. Show Me Your Mind
7. Mary Jane ft. Snakeyez
8. Hungry
9. Three The Hard Way ft. Semi Auto & Lucky Dice
10. What It Is
11. Man’s World ft. Snakeyez
12. Dedication
13. The Show
14. God Willing

In addition to the free 14 track digital download, taeOne and LEX offer a retail version of the project including 5 additional tracks including the previously unreleased songs “Nighthawks” and “The Star of the Show.”

Retail Tracklist:
1. The Vague Clarity (2008)*
2. Beautiful
3. Muscle Up ft. Jaded Wonder
4. The Team
5. Queens Break*
6. Show Me Your Mind
7. Mary Jane ft. Snakeyez
8. Hungry
9. Three The Hard Way ft. Semi Auto & Lucky Dice
10. What It Is
11. Man’s World ft. Snakeyez
12. Dedication
13. The Show
14. God Willing
15. Star of the Show*
16. Amen – BQE Verse
17. Nighthawks*
18. Sins (remix) ft. Laif*
19. Industry Woes

*Songs not featured on the original Vague Clarity Mix (2005).
The retail version will be available for purchase online at the following sites:

http://www.myspace.com/lextae
http://www.myspace.com/tae1smg
http://www.myspace.com/lexsinistahcircle

*PRODUCER/MC BONUS*
When purchasing the retail version online, we are offering the option to request a free digital download link including numerous acapellas (some not even featured on the project itself!) and instrumentals from The Vague Clarity Remixes. For those interested in obtaining the link, we ask that you type in the phrase “REQUEST FOR CLARIFICATION” in the Message to Seller section and we will send you a free download link including the following tracks: 1. Beautiful Acapella
2. Hungry Acapella
3. In Danger Acapella
4. Industry Woes Verse 1 Acapella
5. Industry Woes Hook 1 Acapella
6. Industry Woes Verse 2 Acapella
7. Industry Woes Hook 2 Acapella
8. It’s Nothin Acapella
9. The Show Acapella
10. Moonshine Acapella
11. Muscle Up Acapella
12. What It Is Acapella
13. Mari Jane Acapella
14. A Man’s World Acapella
15. Dedication Acapella
16. God Willin Acapella
17. Show Me Your Mind Instrumental
18. For The Team Instrumental
19. What It Is Instrumental
20. Muscle Up Instrumental

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