If you follow the Miltown Beat Down at all then you are familiar with the name Lex Luther (or Luthor…it’s been spelled both ways). He is a young and confident beatsmith that is highly motivated to sharpen his skills as a producer so that his talent never stagnates. As the winner of the 2010 Beat Down, he now has the chance to take his game to the next level, competing at the regional level of the larger Big Tune producer battle (put on by Red Bull) in a few months from now in Minneapolis.
When you talk to Lex, his passion translates well but he is unabashed in his delivery of criticism of Milwaukee. This is a double-edged sword because any MKE Hip-Hop fan can agree that there are people who should just put the mic or MPC down and focus on something else, but it also comes off harsh and almost like he’s shitting in his own backyard.
However his words make you feel, his beats are really the way that he prefers to communicate and based on the recent success that he’s had, people like his sonic discussion, and that is really what matters.
First of all, congratulations on winning the Beat Down. What was it like hearing your name announced as the winner of the 2010 Miltown Beat Down?
I was shocked to be honest. I thought we were headed to a “beat off” but it didn’t happen. I couldn’t sleep until 8pm the next day. It was amazing.
You are going into battle against stiff competition in Minneapolis for the regional final of the Big Tune beat battle, of which this year’s Miltown Beat Down was one of several qualification battles for the event…how are you going to approach this new level of battling?
I’ve watched several Big Tune battles online and I’ve noticed several things. The crowd is not as interested in diss samples as much and the most hype beat doesn’t necessarily win all the time. As of right now I’m going to just keep making beats and tighten them up until I meet with the Legion of Doom in July to discuss a new approach.
Are you making new beats for the battle or rolling with the ones that gave you success during the different rounds of the Beat Down?
I’m working on all new beats but I will probably reach back from the previous years to select 2 or 3 to take with me to Minneapolis. I doubt I would be as enthused on stage if I played all my old stuff.
You are a young guy who has had two years of success in the Beat Down, yet I don’t see your name attached to tons of Milwaukee rappers. Who have you worked with in the past and who are you working with right now?
I’ve done a song with A.P.R.I.M.E. and another with Stricklin from EMC. Some of the artists inquiring about beats include: Yo-Dot, Frankie Flowers, PRock, Sean Smart, Defcee, Sikhest, Tay Butler, Adlib, Tumble, A. and several others I can’t remember right now. Hopefully all of these come to fruition before the end of the year.
When you sit down to make beats, what are your weapons of choice? Do you typically construct the beat around the sample or do you make the sample fit the beat? Also, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever chopped for a sample?
My weapons of choice include a MPC1000, two technic 1200’s, a mixer, pro tools, the Akai Samurai (to chop beats to perfection) and the Emerson EGzagerrator. It makes all my beats sound like they’re on steroids. I usually start with the sample to inspire me and I will construct it around the beat I create in my head. The wildest thing I’ve ever chopped was the Cheers theme song or the skate or die video game music. I never saved those projects.
How do you feel about the state of Milwaukee Hip-Hop?
I’m relatively new to the scene but I do like the diversity among all the artists. I really don’t have much else to say about the matter that I haven’t already said in other interviews except that we need to stop lying to some artists that are wack for their own good and ours. Even me. If I play some wack shit on stage I want people to tell me because lies fuck up everybody’s hustle.
What drew you to Hip-Hop production as your vehicle for musical expression?
I started by downloading Acid Pro & Fruity Loops in 2005. I would put funky drummer in the multi-track and add sound effects and other sounds from the internet. I made it with my brother David and he kept pushing me to make more. About two years later I bought a MPC2000XL and knew from then on my social life was over. Making beats became the ultimate form of expression for me because I learned how to control what I wanted to do with the sound. It’s the only aspect in life right now where I have total control. Whether you’re at school or work you’re essentially someone else’s bitch but when I’m behind the mp I’m my own boss you know? I love that freedom.
Since you are a young guy with some good success under your belt, you essentially have your whole career in front of you, so where do you want to be in 5 years and what are you doing to do to get there?
In the next 5 years I want to either have my own studio space in Milwaukee or I will have figured out how to expand and command other regions. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to reach this level and I will make many more to reach my goals.
Any shout outs?
Shout out to Fuzz, Jim, Melo, Ace, Tumble & Stricklin for being real with me about beats and life. Shout out to Ren of No Gimmicks for mixing my beats this year and my friend Dan & Lynd-oh! for helping me finish the beats on time. Shout out DJ Dwood for being the big homie and helping me out all these years! We will get them duckets!! Shout out to DJ Madhatter & Kid Cut Up for giving me the opportunity to rock on stage. Shout out to the Ruler, Shagohod, PFunk, Judge Jordan, Burnt, Tyrranical Tom, Diabolical Dane, Brolic Krause, Dylan Thomas, and the whole gang in Madison, Milwaukee & Chicago for their support. Shout out to B&D for hooking it up with the ill samples too! Shout out to sweet baby rays for tasting so good on this roast beef samich I’m eating right now too. Lastly, I would like to thank God for everything and my Mom and Dad for letting me make noise all day. Shout out to JC Poppe for the interview!
If you would like to stay up with what Lex is doing you can find him on Myspace HERE, on Twitter HERE and if you have a serious inquiry for Lex about obtaining one of his beats, you can email him here: email@example.com. (All pictures used were taken by Abigail Benavides abigailbenavides.com)
Here are some of Lex’s beats for you to enjoy.
18 Wheeler –
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