Photo creds: @arrxy_ on Instagram
Ix (pronounced Ice) is a rapper and producer hailing from Richmond, Virginia. Growing up just south of Richmond in Ettrick, Virginia, his creativity was first influenced by Gucci Mane and his song So Icy. A conversation between a friend of his in his early days of creating music influenced him to go by Ix instead of the name Ice, but still, pronounce it like Ice. Ix is affiliated under an umbrella of different collectives from GRLGNG with UV Scutti who I interviewed recently, Area 51, and CVC. Thanks to his trap sounds that gained the attention of producer Lex Luger, he has been featured recently on Worldstar for his song Stay Dangerous, which has hit 73k views on YouTube. I had a chance to learn more about Ix after he visited TheMSQShop a while back.
Jay: you were featured on Worldstar for Stay Dangerous featuring Turtle Rocky and Eazy Trappin. Can you tell us how that collaboration came to be? Were there any different ideas for the video?
Ix: Funny story. Eazy and I were working on the Internet Trappin' project and Turtle came by to drop Eazy some money for a previous session. Turtle heard the beat and said, "let me drop something on this." At the time, we had no clue what we wanted to do with the song, what to name it, nothing. So as he was leaving, he said, "Alright, y'all stay dangerous" and that is where the song's name came from.
For the video, Clout Squad made a film studio and it had a lot of newspapers around it. I liked it and I thought of the movies where the old killers are in the room solving a mystery, looking at articles everywhere around them. That was the inspiration for the video.
Jay: Who are some of your producing influences?
Ix: Pharrell. He's a big VA influence. I'll also say Teddy Riley from VA. Now for urban music: Lex Luger, Shawty Redd, and 808 Mafia. I grew up hearing their music on the radio and I swear right after hearing their songs play, I always wanted to cook up some beat. They had that energy man and I was blessed to work with Lex Luger.
Jay: Tell me more about how you and Lex Luger met.
Ix: I met Lex Luger in Virginia. I went to a studio with DJ L.E.S. from Queensbridge. L.E.S. produced Will Smith's Getting Jiggy With It and Nas's famous song Life's A Bitch. I met L.E.S. through a friend and thanks to LES, I ended up meeting Lex. A friend of mine invited me to Virginia Beach one day. I remember he hit me up saying, "Yo, I got some shit going on tonight. Come fuck with us." I asked why and he told me just to roll with. I went and the studio was DEEP with producers and artists. In some type of cinematic way, Lex was sitting in the middle of it all. I wasn’t star-struck at the time but I didn't walk up to Lex at all. I didn't want to come off as awkward but I said wassup to everyone and everyone said hey. Lex Luger eventually went outside and started talking to everyone. Lex Luger walked up to me and asked if I was Ix. Then he said, "Yo, I fuck with your shit. My heart dropped to my fucking balls and then mid-convo, he said "Yo, let's cook something up." so we ended up working on some beats. He walked out at some point, I looked at my homeboy. I told him, I don't know if this is dope, so he added something to the beat. Lex came back and said that the shit was fire. To get the approval of someone like Lex Luger was dope.
"Lex Luger eventually went outside and started talking to everyone. Lex Luger walked up to me and asked if I was Ix. Then he said, "Yo, I fuck with your shit. My heart dropped to my fucking balls and then mid-convo, he said "Yo, let's cook something up." so we ended up working on some beats."- Ix
Jay: Do you have a preference for producing software?
Ix: FL Studios all the way. I worked with MPC and Logic before but I definitely prefer FL Studios. I'm an OG for FL Studios since FL 6.
Jay: Do you ever feel like you want to rap more than produce or vice versa? Does one creative medium cater to you more than the other?
Ix: Actually, producing is second nature but I started producing because I was rapping and my brother told me I wasn’t gonna make any money if I didn’t own it. So I started making my own beats because of that. At one point I was working with another producer in this group at the time and he said something that stuck with me one day. He didn't like how I was rapping and producing so he said to me "You either have to quit rapping and take producing seriously full time or stop producing and let me make your own beats."
I stopped rapping for five years and made beats from when I was seventeen to the time I was twenty-one and decided to rap again. I would have on-and-off spells of rapping and it’s so second nature. It's more robotic now but when I rap, I feel more creative.
Jay: I see it like how boxers would train on the heavy bag to improve their hand speed. They improve their muscle memory by remembering combos such as a jab, straight, and left hook. A boxer would repeat that combo rather than punching a bag hard with random strikes. Eventually, memorizing those combos like dance moves can be pulled off with ease and at a fast pace in an actual fight. The way producing became second nature to you is like how a boxer's combos become second nature through muscle memory.
Ix: Damn, that's a pretty great comparison.
Jay: Talk about the Area 51 Studios that’s opening soon. What should we expect from the studio?
Ix: The studio is actually ready it’s not as pretty as I want it to be yet. I still got paintings being done for it, the studio is ready to record.
Jay: On social media, you have been promoting the release of ParaNxrmal 2 to come out in December. Can you tell us a specific release date?
Ix: I’ll give you a hint. It’s going to be after the first week of December sometime… It’s gonna be before LVBXSH is dropping on Xmas Eve, so it’ll be before then too.
Jay: ParaNxrmal 2 is hosted by OG Hoodrich of Hoodrich Films. Can you tell me how you two started collaborating with each other?
Ix: Funny story. We met through one of my friends that is in Tennessee right now. He met a rapper that come home from jail recently and that rapper was plugged into Atlanta rappers like Young Thug and I told him I rap too. I was gonna buy a feature but a friend told me this, "Look. You can buy a feature or spend money with someone that knows how to campaign your music." Then he told me of OG Hoodrich who I already heard about and the rest is history. Shoutout to my boy Mark for introducing me to him.
Jay: In a recent IG post of ours, we asked if indie artists should drop their music at the beginning of the week rather than at the end of the week. What’s your take? Is it still solid to drop on Fridays or should there be a new day of the week to drop music?
Ix: Tuesday and Thursday. Our various collectives CVC/Area51/GRLGNG is gonna drop every week whether it's Tuesday or Thursday. It's about finding that algorithm. We'll be dropping commercial content, videos, and more.
Jay: Who are some indie artists that you would like to shout out?
Ix: UV Scutti. He's one of my favorite artists because he can stand in front of a mic and do whatever he wants. He has that type of energy. Riyah Buffy. I see her as the best female rapper in VA, maybe even on the East Coast but she got a little bit more to prove. I'll also say myself because my artistry derives from everything about myself. Everything I touch is my vision. Kanye does that. I didn't include Kanye as a producing influence earlier in this interview but add him to that conversation too. Everything Kanye touches turns to gold. It's his vision. Whether it's movies, fashion, producing, et cetera, he has full control of everything he works on. I aim to get to that level with my artistry.
You can listen to the Internet Trappin' EP with Eazy Trappin and follow Ix on all social media @icenicewitit .
Written by: Jay Guevara @justinhisprime on all social media.