Following-up from his dual-sided EP release ‘Butterflies Pt. 1’ and ‘Butterflies Pt 2,’ Houston-based rapper Billyracxx released the music video and live performance for his latest single ‘Melt my Face’ on Aug 7th and July 31st, respectively. The edgy track is accompanied by enigmatic visuals continuing to solidify him as an emotionally palpable and risk-taking anomaly in the hip-hop game today. We talked to Billyracxx about his recent works like ‘Melt my Face’, what it means to be an independent artist, and what inspires him to continue stretching the genre boundaries beyond what we are accustomed to with hip-hop.
What first inspired you to get into hip-hop, and how do you feel living in Houston and originally hailing from Florida has shaped your sound today?
I kind of got into music on a whim, and happened to go into this whole experience that worked out really, really well. I lived over there in Florida and I thought it worked out. I guess that sound grew on me. Once it grew on me, I took it a little more serious and took it into the next level. So moving to Houston had a big effect on me because I was already doing music. I was a fan of music in Houston. When I actually started making music, I guess you could say, that the sound I got in a lot of ways does have that Florida in it, but at the same time has a lot of that Houston influence. It has a mixture of that. Yet, I think being from both places definitely had made me kind of this weird, or has made me the type of artist that I am. It’s not things that I can point out in my music or point out in my sound. It’s not like “oh this is Houston” or “oh this is Florida influences.” I am aware that I have that mixture of influences because I have a lot of experiences being in Houston as well as Florida.
You definitely have a distinct sound from other rappers in the game. So, additionally, as being both the writer and creative director for all your projects, what kind of leverage you feel that gives you in terms of re-creating the vision you have your projects? Such as your dual-sided ‘Butterflies’ EP and then your recent single ‘Melt My Face’?
It gives me a huge advantage. I mean, it allows me to always look it at as bigger than music. I can control mostly all corners of our brand, and how I present it to my fan-base. That’s the real definition of having a brand. It’s not just being an artist. It really allows me to control more of my narrative, like an artist being an engineer. I am a creative director as well. So, it’s a dynamic that I value, and I think my fans value. It gives me opportunities that independent artists haven’t gotten. I think that’s what makes it great because I love it, and at the same time, I see it as an advantage I have.
With your recent single ‘Melt my Face’, it’s kind of like this unique blend of hip-hop/screamo/punk rock that is hard to define. Even in your music video, you have the Misfits crimson ghost as well. Can you describe me what was your influence and creative process behind the track and the video for that song?
I think this is a good example of the mix of influences I have. It’s not too specific to one thing. I grew up waking up at 4 in the morning seeing rock videos on MTV. I love horror movies. All these things move to the kind of artist that I am. It’s just a bunch of subconscious influences that kind of represent my life. Again, in ‘Melt my Face’, it was a record that I didn’t actually plan on doing. I just went to the studio and was vibing. The producer created the beat and I really didn’t think too much about it. I just made the record.
When it came to bringing the vision behind the record to life, after I recorded it, it was also natural. Everything I’ve been doing in my evolution of music, for at least literally the past three years has been just me evolving, and me embracing it. I’m not really the type of artist [that is gimmicky]. I’m not gimmicky and I embrace every element of me. I try to put it out there creatively to my music, visually and all of that. The influence behind ‘Melt my Face’ has been a bunch of subconscious influences, but it feels like me though you know?
That related to my next question in terms of what other genres and artistic inspirations that inspire you as an artist. Do they think being inspired by, like you said you grew up watching rock videos on MTV and your a fan of horror movies, do these different influences continue to challenge you to go beyond the barriers of what we are accustomed to listening to hip-hop today?
Exactly. As an artist, I’m genre-bending and doing things in music that black people wouldn’t normally do or supposed to do, or wasn’t the advice the industry or the world had created for black people. I wanted to be like people like Little Richard and others back then, who were kind of working on making those same type of trailblazing moves, and didn’t always get looked at. It’s something you got to be proud of, embrace and grow on. As far as with me though, I go back to the last question. For me, I am here to evolve. When I have a beat in front of me that I think is dope, but not something I did before, I look at it as, there is a reason I think this is dope. I need to make it my vision. I got a lot in this record that fans haven’t heard that is like really, weirdly satisfying. It’s all been of like what I’m inspired to do.
Also with the video, and like your other videos, it’s very compelling, very visual and carries a lot of symbolism. What is the thing you want to tell your fans and people to know about you, especially again with these videos tends to be a lot of symbolism?
In a general sense, I don’t compromise, like self-comprise yourself, integrity and stuff like that. I took that out of my art, and I know I’ve been talking about influences a lot. I may be becoming more popular, and in this day and age, that stuff is real. People will want immediate gratification. Even though I am getting that popularity, my influence is doing even bigger. That’s what I’ve stood for. It’s like in my music, or you look at a video like ‘Melt my Face’, I hit on political issues in my videos and all types of stuff. There’s violence in my videos, and that’s just me putting out my perspectives in an Avant-garde, creative type of way. I think I could speak to the fact that I don’t really want to compromise my art. I don’t really compromise how I put out my music to begin with, or how I think am supposed to do things and I become a millionaire just like that. I make sure my fans can see that, and can see my vision of my music that I’ve been doing for a minute. So, when they see me at the top it makes sense how I did it.
I feel like it’s all very much authentic.
Some of the things I hit on in ‘Melt my Face,’ and that video really makes it like a rebellious kind of song, but not like an openly rebellious song. It’s a rebellious type of song, but like a small sense of rebellion in the feeling of the record, not literally. Like how would I make you feel when there’s chaos, it’s like ‘melt my face off,’ but how I chose the word play and how I chose to use it. So, that’s what I do a lot in my music.
To add on that to that, how do you come up with your own style? I know you have your own persona like on Instagram and everything. How do you stay true to yourself both in your fashion sense and your lyrical approach to your music?
Try not to overthink that either. I really don’t overthink that part. Social media is changing so much and trying to think about what is the most effective way to present your content out to people that can be amplified. As far as the vision that you see, that persona that you see or whatever comes out, is not a gimmick. It’s not someone thinking about doing too much. It’s what I do. It’s not like I’m sitting here and pretending to be a whole other person. A lot of this stuff is done in the moment. A lot of this stuff is done in inspiration, and a lot of my videos are shot in other cities, in other countries off inspiration. No planning, just in the moment and creating art. Not stuff I overthink. I’m just channeling everything all the time. I’m a full-time artist.
How would you compare your most recent works vs. when you first launched your first EP three years ago?
It’s more polished. I know exactly how I want to say it, how I want it to sound, and how I want to say it. Everything is more articulate. I feel like I’m reconvening, still taking risks. I’ll still always be that. As far as the confidence, it’s at a whole new height, whole new level. That’s the difference between then and now.
How have you feel that you have grown as an artist these past three years too?
In a lot of ways. The most important way is, what I just said, is the confidence. I have lot of experiences working with these artists and producers and these collaborations. I’ve traveled to more and more places. I’ve been in London. I’ve been to so many places in the United States making music and performing in so many places. The fan-base is really growing. Going back to the media verification, that’s the main thing people want. I think it’s a measure. It shows how many fans I engage with all-around. How my music has turned people into all-around fans. It’s so important how my influence has been going, like the legacy-type vibe, the mythical-type of vibe. That’s what I’ve put out as an artist from the beginning, since I started this to be some caricature of myself. I’m seeing that get bigger basically. It’s starting to have more reach.
I see that too. Also how was it like collaborating with the producer CHASETHEMONEY, who has collaborated with Chance the Rapper, JID and J. Cole?
It was organic, just like how a lot of my relationships are in the industry. I really liked it. I want people to get to know me as a person, and really organically, I want as an artist for the politics be second. That’s kind of how it was. CHASE as good as he is, making politics second and just making the music. I literally stayed with him a couple of days in Atlanta and we really created and got to know each other. It’s how I think most my relationships are going to be created. Even when I meet like a Jay-z, I think it’s going to be very mutual and organic. I kind of keep my head down and hope that all these relationships that come out, end up being those. [Working with CHASE] went out exactly how I wanted it to be, and I think the music respected that. I think it was a perfect blend of both our styles.
What’s happening in the world today, these protests, all these communities being impacted by socioeconomic factors, especially with the Black Lives Matter movement, how do these events right now affect you as an artist and your creative process?
I use it as inspiration, like straight inspiration. Just channel the energy in enough that I can, can’t do other than that. Since I use it as art. It’s not like I have the loudest voice, because my voice is growing. So, I just try to channel that. That’s who I am as an artist. That’s what I feel comfortable. I have made some songs that I haven’t put out yet, but even in ‘Melt my Face’, there’s elements to that video showing you my perspective and making it with my art, and how I want to get it across.
Like I said, I’m not the most conscious type of artist. I’m conscious in a different way. I like my stuff to be interpreted. What’s happening is giving me a lot of inspiration, the good and the bad. It’s giving me a lot of inspiration. I think with a lot of things that are going around in the world, I just try to really sit down and really figure out how, and now that I’m an artist, I think “this is happening.” It makes me think like that, and then I really channel it into my craft, my visuals, the musical influences, and how I move. I think that’s something reflected in my art, especially over the next quarter with the music that I’ll drop. Everything you can see and tell, I’m conscious of what’s going on, and you can see my perspective. For the most part, I thought to use it as inspiration, and what we have to keep it going.
For anybody else, or your fans trying to make it in the scene, what kind of advice would you give them?
Have a bigger picture mindset. It’s like starting a Fortune 500 company. It can happen that quick or take whatever time, but the moment can be fast. When it does happen, it can happen fast and you have to be prepared. You definitely have to have a bigger picture mindset. You have to passionate about this. I think with music a lot of people think it’s easy now because of the internet. It’s really not at all. You definitely have to be passionate about it. If you ain’t passionate, just give up. Period. It’s so uncertain.
Like anything in life, it can be discouraging at times. I think that music doesn’t encourage a lot of people to be themselves, and the ones who are themselves, everything is different. It tells them to sit down, and then have a huge moment. It will be different then what they see happened to other people in other situations. There is going to be uncertainty, and it’s going to be weird at times. I still experience those type of moments as I hit a new level.
Gotta take the moment and do what you love. Make sure you be authentic about it.
The biggest thing that got me into where I am right now is the bigger picture mindset. I always see when different things happen. When you have a bigger picture mindset, things can happen to your advantage, but if there are things that will not change your life all the way, you still look at them as bricks. It’s like your knocking out bricks, and that’s the bigger picture mindset.
Where as, if you don’t have that type of mindset, and you do a couple things to make a couple of conversations, and you feel like you’re supposed to feel like where you think you’re supposed to be, and if you’re not there, your whole mindset is different. You’re mindset is not confident when things change. If you got that bigger picture mindset, that bigger picture will always be attainable. It’s always there. That would be my advice.