Thank you Xp for your time! First of all We hope you and your family are in good health and spirit during these harsh times. We would like to start this interview asking you: who is Xp The Marxman aside from rap? You are from L.a. right? Where did you grow up exactly? In a lot of your tracks, like for example “Have Nots”, we have noticed some clear flashes of your rough past in the streets of L.A. … Could you tell us something more about your Mexican background and your life story??
Xp besides rap is a father, a brother, a son, a lover, a fighter, a passionate human being, who loves the challenge of life, a person who is passionate about the things he loves and will always see the glass half full when it comes to challenges, a regular simple man who likes peaceful shit.
I am born and raised 3rd generation to the US from Mexico my family crossed over the border when there was no border lol. Free to come and go as you please, so being that I am 3rd generation here to the US.
I don’t speak very good Spanish as my culture and native tongue was not taught to me as a child we were taught to be as American as possible because of racism and a longer reach in society if you sound more American…
I realize that was a bad decision on my parents part because it put boundaries up and made me a target to be ridiculed amongst my own people and looked at as I don’t exist in white America.
My family is from Gardena, next to Compton..Watts..Hawthorne..apart of South Central, but they call it the “Harbor area”. All my family is apart of L.A. street gang culture, that is my background, that’s what I was taught: soul oldies, partying, gangbangin violence and drugs.
My father moved us away from the place he was raised, I think due to knowing our future was going to be like his and everyone else’s coming from the hood; He moved us to the place where I am now and have been for over 25 years: the great 818 San Fernando valley on the outskirts north of mid city L.A.
I’ve sold drugs, done drugs, been homeless, been poor, been to jail, all that bad shit the streets can offer I’ve been in it around it seen it. And after seeing exactly where it can lead, I’ve stuck to a passion that I felt could lead me away from all the hardships of growing up poor and living in the hood.
From what we have perceived you are certainly not a youngster or a “rookie” but a grown man and a veteran… We may have arrived late but we have just discovered your music in the last couple of years. What was your position in the Hip hop scene before the “At God Speed” Lp for example? When and why did you start rapping and getting in tune with the Hip Hop culture?
My position in hip hop was exactly where it was now.I’ve never changed my work ethic over the past 10 yrs, I think that whole time the game was at a place of being seized by sloppiness and unseasoned rap styles kids, wanted to turn up and buy gucci belts and party, while I was in the studio figuring out my designs and kept releasing material till I broke threw certain barriers.
Back then I would drop a project and get no love but I didn’t understand the dynamics of algorithm…or investment for pr and promo and graphics and videos the whole criteria it takes to really drop a project professionally in this field.
I didn’t know anything, I would just drop my shit and hope for the best up, until at “God Speed” (2017), that was the project I released just as the Griselda movement was taking off and having help from (Dj B Original) to boost my spirits to keep working. After I caught my case I think it set the grounds for me to be able to touch certain algorithmic areas I’m in now and compete with the best of them.
I’ve been rapping since 1998 I’m old but new and if you look me up you’ll see I have music from early 2000s and shows I performed on etc. I’m not new to this.”
What’s the meaning and the story behind your name Xp The Marxman?
Xp the Marxman came from a few names at first I was Xpress as I express myself, but one of my good friends who is no longer with us used to call me Xp and Xp stuck to my name for a long time. So after he passed away I held that name in memory of my friend and the Marxman came after, because of how accurate I can be with my penmanship and how on point I choose to be with my music.”
You and Roc Marciano collaborated in “Nomads” Lp ( produced by Ice Rocks), then He has entirely produced your 2020’s album “Keep Firing: Continua a sparare” EP . A great honor that only very few artists can brag about. What’s about this connection? How did you link up?
Me and Roc linked threw Big Twins of the Infamous Mobb, Roc had a show here in LA and Twin invited me and basically the rest is history: I shot my shots when I had to shoot em and hoped for the best.
Roc is def not just about the money.. he really has to fuck with you as a person to even be in the same room with you.
For the “Keep Firing : Continua sparare” LP you choose an album title with an Italian phrase and there is a voice speaking in Italian in the title track….out of curiosity can you tell us who is speaking? And why did you choose this title and concept? How Did you connect with the italian record label Tuff Kong Records?
Continua a Sparare came from a conversation I had with Roc (Marciano), while going thru beats at his house. I had told him my concerns about how long I have been rapping and me not seeing it go no where, putting my heart and soul into my craft and seeing nothing come to fruition. His response to that was “keep firing, sooner or later they will catch one.
The Italian part of “Keep Firing” came to me as an elegant way of taylor making this project, like they taylor make the gucci products or fine like Italian foods ..and wines and products made from scratch, so i thought of Italia and basically made it a cross over from English to Italian .. The beat you hear is my production for that skit, Roc didn’t make that one: I felt that beat was right for that skit .. all the stuff you hear the helicopter and people shooting is me making my engineer debut lol…
Quel beat che sentite, è una mia produzione… Quella non l’ha fatta Roc: mi sembrava che quel beat fosse adatto per quello skit .. tutte le robe che sentite, come l’elicottero o la gente che spara, sono io che facevo il mio debutto come tecnico del suono .. lol…
I did all that my man @orlando_bng , who did all the graphic work for this project, has a friend who is also a hip hop artist out of Italy named Riizo. He came in with the italian words to “Keep firing”, he made that skit what it is and I thank him always for that. Also keep an eye out for a single we have with our italian brothers threw Mijo ( @mijo_music_records) Orlando on the beat and my man Riizorto killing it in italian its an international single set for release soon.
Tuff Kong is the leading record distro as far as vinyl goes and I had messaged them maybe a year earlier, in hopes of pressing my “Nomads” album (with Ice Rocks). It being a 15 track Lp, It would’ve been a double vinyl, which is expensive. So, fast forward I have two songs ready off “Keep Firing” and i send them the songs with the concept and they were down right away to release it and that was with only two songs done, Termanology wasn’t even on it yet at that point.”
Congratulations for Your latest effort, the 2nd chapter of “Sincere Leader” ( both entirely produced by Slide Beats), which has been out since the 20th of July on all streaming platforms and available for the purchase at www.xpthemarxman.com !!!
Slide Beatz came to me as a blessing. I had did a record with my brother Supreme Cerebral and Slide had heard me on that. He messaged me while I was actually in New York at that time and was feeling the energy immensely from putting finishing touches on the “Nomads” Lp.
I was basically purely focused on “Nomads” nothing else . I see a message in my inbox from slide..He says “yo I make beats can you send me email to send beats” keep in mind I love getting beats and I’m open to getting beats but most of the time they’re just that… beats nothing to really gravitate to my soul ..but Slide is different..
He sent me a folder (which he still does today lol) with over like 50 beats in it .. i was like wtf.. man I don’t want to go threw all these damn beats so I told myself I’d only play 3 beats starting at the top, if I don’t hear anything i’m done with this whole folder ..and I pressed play and long story kinda short..I now listen to every beat he ever sends me because I know he has something for my soul that I can lace up.. Slide Beatz is one of the greatest producers alive. I’m just glad were growing together ..its like I found my Premo or Uncle Al ( The Alchemist). He feeds me beats and I record here in the comfort of my home. It’s very intimate. These projects just happened they were not planned as much as he produces, that’s how much I rap so we work hard and the sounds just come we are seasoned and we sound like we’ve been here for ages. This is hip hop in the purest form on some Rza shit.
What is the meaning and the concept behind the title of this series ( “Sincere Leader”) ? What does it mean for you to be a leader? Throughout all of this project you claim this title, like for example in the song ” Bruja” where you stated “around my hood they call me the brown Shawn Carter”: Do you feel you have already reached that position? And what you would like to accomplish in the future?
Sincere Leader means to me a person who is kind but fierce…a giver and a taker…a person who not only leads, but teaches others to lead in other terms its boss but some bosses are dick heads so I like the term “sincere leader”
When i said “around my hood they call me the brown Sean Carter” it was me stating that Jay Z is the ideal pinnacle of what you want to become as a street hustler turned mogul rapper or not ..It just so happen that Jay is a dope rapper but his skills in hustling is what I was highlighting when saying that bar and my people around me come from nothing so to be a beacon of inspiration it’s a similar story just from opposite coasts, different time frame and I got a lot of catching up to do. Lol .
That’s why I state not nearly there.. I made sure to state that as I know my lane and I know the work, I need to do to even be in that convo but it’s something to look forward to definitely I think the future will only be as bright as I make it and Sean Carter status is what im aiming for.
You are from L.A with a Mexican background but we think it’s safe to say that your influences are from the east coast…You also tributed the Wu Tang in your last project… what are your biggest musical inspirations besides the Wu? And if you could choose with who would you collaborate (Mc or producer) ?
My influences beyond what you hear coming out of my craft is r&b, soul oldies ,classic rock,just to name some genres.
I don’t really listen to hip hop that much on my off time, believe it or not.
If I do it’s something I’m a fan of and I’m a fan of all things natural sounding so you’ll never hear me banging no autotune shit, unless my sons are listening to it.
I like calm relaxing stuff ..reggae.. meditation music which is just sounds and water droplets.. I’m definitely a seeker of new sounds i feel. if i listen to too much of one thing i’ll end up stagnant on my output of different styles and cadence so I always try and listen to new music all genres. My biggest influence in hip hop tho, is 2pac he was like a big brother at a time for me and to me he’s always shedding light on my life, even while gone till this day.
If I had a choice to collab with producers I’d make a album with beats from Premo (Dj Premier) and Alchemist and call it “alchemier”. With features from Freddie Gibbs, Ka, the whole Wu, Snoop Dogg, Dre, Evidence and the list goes on with that forsure lol shit. I’d also like to collab with Clams Casino on some weird space age western shit that’d be dope too.
Also in this last project you say with pride that you won’t compromise your art for the fame and you will “stick to your guns” . Anyway In these past few years the Hip Hop culture has been in very good shape and the underground scene seems to be full of talented artists who have found their own way to make money, outside of the mainstream market thanks to culture leaders such as Roc Marciano who paved the way…Do you think staying independent and underground really is profitable for artists nowadays ? And what’s your opinion about this scenario in a couple of years from now?
Do you think staying independent and underground really is profitable for artists nowadays? And what’s your opinion about this scenario in a couple of years from now?
I found out, first hand, this music stuff only works as hard as your willing to work and it’s tuff to make any type of splashes in this game. Let alone feed your family when I say i won’t compromise shit to sell more, that means you won’t see me doing shit you wouldn’t do to feed your kids and family. If it sells my people out and sells this culture out to make sales and sell shit… fuck no never!
When you buy Xp the Marxman brand music, merch etc.. your always gonna get quality, with bells and whistles, because that’s what my people who fuck with me deserve. They deserve someone who’s honest and true and will say factual shit and won’t put what they’ve built on display for a dollar sign.
I need money we all do but, I want to do it the honest and right way and I’m glad I have a lot of examples around me right now like Roc Marci, like Griselda, like Nip Hussle (r.i.p), who can shed light on being independent were only as successful as the fans make us. So shout out to all the supporters, salute!!”
We are primarily a graffiti magazine, you definitely seem to be a true hip hop aficionado. L.A is a city with a deep graffiti culture…So we would like to know what’s your relationship with the world of graffiti?
Well, I got a hold of my first Liquid Swords ( Gza – Wu Tang Clan) cd, around the time, I’d take the metro bus to school and New York was heavily influencing our school with music fashion and lifestyle.
I remember writing (“beatz”) for years, I’d hit that up on the bus and on my desk.
I didn’t belong to any clicks, I was a loner but I seen the transition from tagging to street gangbanging the streets were infested with drugs and gangs already.
The taggers struggled to find a place: the gangs would give local tagging clicks ultimatums, either join our gang or get done with.
Basically, a lot of the times the taggers were tag bangers, they called themselves and that basically out ran and out shined the graffiti aspect to the Culture.It now became gang culture, it was no longer innocent: if they seen you tagging in thier hood you could be subjected to being physically hurt or even killed.
I know a lot of older guys now who went threw that in their younger years and a lot of og clicks have now linked up and do some dope murals and help the community look better real art muralist!!
Shout out to Stp !! And the whole LA/Valley graff scene!!