In the world of Hip Hop, the word “wax” has multiple meanings all of which pertain to the true roots of the culture. “Wax” as a verb means to speak enthusiastically, as many lyricists do in their rhymes. “Wax” as a noun is a euphemism for vinyl, the original means that Hip Hop music was delivered upon. Now, Hip Hop can add a new meaning to the word “Wax”: an emcee who maintains the essence of Hip Hop, while pushing it forward.
Wax began his love affair with music at a very early age, thanks to three little letters: MTV. “My dad was kind of a couch potato, so we were the first people in the neighborhood to get cable,” the Dunkirk, Maryland native recalls. “I had MTV from a really early age.” Raised on a healthy diet of Guns N Roses, Def Leppard, and NWA, it wasn’t long before Wax wanted to make music of his own.
At ten years old, he received a guitar for his birthday and learned to play, pairing his strumming with rhymes. That eventually led to Wax starting a band called MacGregor (“Like the cheap sporting equipment”), touring the country and making records in the hopes of getting signed. “We didn’t really know what we were doing though,” he says.
Once MacGregor broke up, Wax held a bunch of odd jobs: mortgage sales, pizza delivery, courier, hotel services, and the list goes on. While simultaneously perfecting his craft, Wax saw music as a part time venture, not knowing what the future held…in California.
Once Wax made the pilgrimage to California, things started happening, both bad and good. For one, he moved to San Diego for his then girlfriend. As soon as they reached the West Coast the relationship fell apart, leaving Wax depressed and unmotivated. Wax spent the next year in an alcohol induced stupor, working construction by day and blowing his paycheck on liquor by night. “I was living in a garage and it just didn’t feel right,” Wax recalls. “I knew that I could do better than this.” While Wax maintained his writing and recording of music throughout, he began to take it more seriously, and LA was the place to start. He and his twin brother, Herbal T, began making videos of rhymes, skits, and everything in between. They posted the vids on YouTube, which in turn led to millions of views. In addition, VIBE.com held a video contest, where Wax’s video was a finalist, giving him heightened exposure. Through word of mouth, Wax’s buzz began organically, and the music industry began to take notice. The rest, as they say, is history.
Honing his craft for years, Wax’s sound is an amalgam of various influences. Simply put, he describes his sound as a mix of “Johnny Cash and Jay Z”. Ambitious artists to align himself with, but listening to his music, the word “authentic” comes to mind. “I think the reason why my sound comes off as so authentic and organic is because I’ve been doing it for so long,” he explains. ” I’ve been in a band, I’ve been on tour performing for live crowds, and I have a twin brother who I grew up making music with… we influenced each other.” Of course, people who listen with their eyes will place Wax with career white rappers. “People say Sublime, people say Eminem, people say Beastie Boys. Any white rapper they say I sound like,” Wax comments, but he doesn’t take that negatively. “I don’t care about the stigma about white rappers because I don’t give a fuck what people say about me,” he continues. “That stuff just doesn’t bother me. Everybody has to reference something they already know.”
Wax is currently in the process of working on his debut album, but to tide fans over has the Scrublife mixtape; “scrublife” being a term he holds near and dear to his heart. “Scrublife is the representation of a lifestyle, and if y’all were here right now, I wouldn’t even have to say shit,” Wax jokes. “In my kitchen right now, there’s eggs all over my floor, it’s horrific in here. That’s kind of like the representation of what Scrublife is. Living dirty, living broke, and not caring. It’s the opposite of excess.”
“Scrublife” has since evolved into Wax’s record label name, a joint venture with Def Jam. The Scrublife mixtape will include new songs as well as old songs, and will serve as a precursor to Wax’s formal debut. As Wax continues his journey to fame, with a fan base constantly swelling (he’s already had fans show up on his doorstep), he maintains his Scrublife mantra while reinventing the wheel of Hip Hop. “Picture a rapper with a gold chain and a car…I’m the exact opposite of that,” he says. “Beer bottles all over the place, and a smile on your face.”
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