X: I started rapping when I was about 13, for fun, and I wasn’t particularly good then. But by the time I was 15 I started writing real songs with hooks and choruses on them on them, and that’s when it got real for me. I’d say ever since I was 16 I’ve been writing full blown songs.
RHHR: Who were some of your early influences?
X: I was influenced by Too $hort, N.W.A., Ice Cube, and Scarface more than anyone, and then 2Pac. I’m a student of Hip-Hop, a historian of the game, and I’ve actually been influenced by every era.
RHHR: How have you seen Hip-Hop change since you started?
X: Hip-Hop has advanced a lot since I first started. One of the major changes is that the artists have more control now. There was a point where the record companies held all the cards but now artists benefit more greatly from their work, which is the way it should be. The music itself has advanced as well, and while I think the artistry of being a rapper was better then, the music is better now. The beats are stronger and more melodic, not so much reliance upon sampling exclusively. Rappers are more likely to follow melody within music now too, where they used to just rap on a beat no matter what the melody was, the same monotonous patterns of delivery. I know some people complain that rappers are wack now, but there have always been garbage rappers, that ain’t nothing new. But there have always been good rappers too, and I’m happy to see that’s still true. There are plenty of people making solid music right now. I’m proud of it all.
RHHR: Give us a little history about growing up in Sac and becoming X-Raided…
X: Growing up in Sacramento was lovely. It’s proper out in Sac. We made it rougher than it had to be, as far as the way we pushed and represented the hood, but the truth is that if we were looking for opportunities to do something major, it was out there. And we got beautiful women in Sac, real talk, some of the best in all of Cali. I came up in the streets representing Garden Blocc, in Southside Sac, and I was making mix-tapes for the homies. That led to my signing with Black Market. I got locked-up for gang-related homicide but I never stopped doing my thing, and it paid off. Since then I’ve just been pushing forward, constantly trying to advance. At this point, it’s all about X-Raided and Bloc Star Entertainment. That’s what’s up!
RHHR: What’s up with Bloc Star Entertainment?
X: Bloc Star Entertainment is X-Raided’s home. I am the Bloc Star, so I am Bloc Star Entertainment. We’re going to bring out other guys, like Gangsta Reese, C-Dubb, and B. Parker. We’re going to push more X-Raided. It don’t stop!
RHHR: What do you think about the many albums you’ve put out over the years?
X: I feel like I’ve consistently written some of the best rhymes album for album. It can be argued that I’ve written better rhymes consistently than anyone in my region. I’m happy just to be part of the argument. I think X-Files Volume 1 was good, both discs, in terms of telling stories and delivering rhymes in unique patters. I think X-Filez Volume 2, Unforgiven with Vengeance is Mine, that’s when I really took it to another level lyrically. The same for X-Filez Volume 3.
RHHR: How about your latest album, Eternally Unforgiven?
X: Eternally Unforgiven really shows the growth factor, in terms of marrying the tight deliveries with lyrical content. I think it was also a learning experience for us, in terms of me and Bloc Star producer Filthy Rich getting to know each other’s styles. On the new album, The Unforgiven 2: Assisted Suicide, we took it to Mars. We’re on another planet with this one. It’s out September 22, 2009. It’s the best album I’ve ever made. We also re-released the Unforgiven 1: In the Beginning with new songs and remixes. We’re just getting started. We’re going to come non-stop from now on.
RHHR: How do you feel about the way your fictitious lyrics were used against you during your trial?
X: My lyrics weren’t actually used against me in trial, they were used by the media, played on the news over and over and printed in the newspaper over and over. The judge never allowed them to play my music. They didn’t really make much of an issue out of that at my trial. It was the media who ran with that, and it was not helpful. People actually believed the reports that there were lyrics that were about my crime. That was never true and it was never allowed in court, just on the evening news, night in and night out.
RHHR: What advice do you have for youngsters coming up in poverty in the Central Valley?
X: My advice to anyone living in poverty or oppression would be to smash their way through school. Get your education game up. If you can’t finish high school get a GED and go to community college. The key to combating poverty is not dope, not gangs, not the homies, it is by getting diplomas and degrees. How do you do that without money? By smashing on it. Whatever else you have to do and whatever else you go through, you go to school day in and day out and smash your work. No matter what. You do that and you will eventually overcome your circumstances. Education is the key. Get your learn on, only stupid people think learning isn’t cool. When you get older you will realize the cool people are the ones with brains.
RHHR: Anything else you’d like to add?
X: Much love and respect to everyone out there who has ever supported X-Raided’s music. Bloc Star Entertainment is the new movement and we need all the representatives we can get, so hit us up at http://myspace.com/xraidedloc and we’ll holla back. Peace.