Lex Luger (record producer)

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Lex Luger
Birth name Lexus Arnel Lewis
Born (1991-03-06) March 6, 1991 (age 25)
Suffolk, Virginia, United States
Origin Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Genres Hip hop, southern hip hop, trap, R&B
Occupation(s) Record producer
Instruments FL Studio, Maschine MK2, Pro Tools[1][2]
Years active 2008−present
Labels 1017 Brick Squad, Fool's Gold, Warpath Group, TMOG
Associated acts V.A.B.P., Low Pros, 808 Mafia, Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka Flame, OJ da Juiceman, 2 Chainz, Pusha T, Big Sean, Rick Ross, Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa, Soulja Boy

Lexus Arnel Lewis (born March 6, 1991) professionally known as Lex Luger, is an American record producer from Suffolk, Virginia currently based in Atlanta.[2] He co-founded the American hip hop production team 808 Mafia with Southside.[3] Luger is also a member of the hip hop production duo Low Pros with A-Trak and the VABP (Virginia Boyz Productionz), a hip hop group that he founded in high school.

Career[edit]

Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Growing up Luger played percussion for his church and drummed in church bands. His first introduction to music was playing drums for a number of bands at his local church where he learned about beats, measures, BPMS and bars using a DJ set where he took instrumentals and mixed them with acapellas.[4] He then moved on to making music on the PlayStation game MTV Music Generator 3, where he started working with turntables. When Luger eventually saved enough money for an Akai MPC 2500 and established the VABP (Virginia Boyz Productionz) production crew with his high school friends, Luger began to try his hand at making high quality industry hip hop beats.[2][5] After purchasing an MPC 2000 from his uncle, his friend and now collaborator Urboyblack brought Luger an unlicensed copy of FL Studio, a piece of music production software which he uses to this day. He has also incorporated music production workstations such as Maschine and Pro Tools.[1]

Initially spending long days experimenting with Fruity Loops and working every day after school and all day every weekend wasn’t enough to jumpstart Luger's production career. He dropped out of King's Fork High School after the 10th grade to further hone his music production talents when he realized that he was able to produce song length instrumentals at a fast pace.[6] Putting hours into honing his craft, Luger began to dramatically increase his musical output after he found that he could knock out at least 10 beats a day.[7] He then started hearing about independent music artists gaining exposure through MySpace and started posting music on that website. Around late 2008, he began cold-emailing his beats to various rappers and posting instrumentals on his Myspace page, hoping to gain further exposure in the hip hop industry. In 2009, a then unknown rapper by the name of Waka Flocka Flame began e-mailing him back. The two later built a relationship on MySpace when Luger began sending Waka beats once every few days.[1][2][5]

Rise to fame[edit]

Waka expressed interest in Luger's production style when he requested a particularly vicious beat that he wanted to rap over. Luger sent Waka 40 beats, where 3 beats eventually ended on Waka's 2009's Salute Me or Shoot Me 2 mixtape.[8] Waka later requested some more from Luger to which he responded with hundreds more, and eventually Waka Flocka Flame flew him out to Atlanta to collaborate with him. Spending months sequestered in a basement with no internet access in Atlanta working with Waka Flocka Flame, Luger laid much of the production groundwork Waka’s debut album. Not knowing the future outcome of his career, Luger contemplated taking a second job stacking boxes in a warehouse to support his production career.[5] After building a relationship with Waka Flocka Flame, he flew Luger out to Atlanta to live to further his music production career. Waka later gained fame and was eventually signed to Bricksquad when his song O Lets Do It became a hit.[5]

Waka Flocka Flame's "Hard in the Paint" was Luger's first instrumental to hit the radio waves and became a hit by May 2010.[2][9] Luger was in Atlanta at the time when he first heard the song playing on the radio. While in Atlanta, Luger got a phone call from Chicago rapper and record producer Kanye West, although he didn't realize who he was talking to for almost 30 minutes. After realizing who it was, Luger agreed to fly to New York City to work with him.[9][10] He eventually created eight backing beats for West's use, including the beat that eventually became the single H•A•M as well as the bonus cut "See Me Now" for West's 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Luger also got a request from Spiff of SpiffTV who contacted him to get the instrumental track of "Hard In The Paint" that eventually led Luger to build a relationship with Rick Ross as Ross wanted to do a remix for the song. This led Luger to build a relationship with Rick Ross to which he later produced B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast) and MC Hammer for Ross's 2010 album Teflon Don.[5] After working with Ross, Luger achieved a career boost when he began receiving an increase in amounts of followers on Twitter.[5] By June 2010, Luger had landed production placements from rappers Ace Hood, Soulja Boy, Chingy, Sean Garrett, and Fabolous.[2][11]

As Luger's sounded drifted upstream from the mixtape circuit towards the mainstream hip hop, his sound caught the eye of numerous rappers that requested his jackhammer drum and spooky trap synth production style.[5] He then produced tracks for a number of popular rappers including Rick Ross's Teflon Don, Waka Flocka Flame's Flockaveli, Slim Thug's Tha Thug Show and Kanye West and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne.[12] He then went on to work with a number of other popular rap artists including Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Wale, Fabolous, Juicy J, Soulja Boy, Snoop Dogg and 2 Chainz as well as producing songs for a number of street famous rappers such as Fat Trel, Lil Scrappy and OJ Da Juiceman.[12] Following his success with Waka Flocka Flame and Rick Ross, Luger then began building a relationship with Juicy J in late 2010 citing him as a musical influence as well as a music industry adviser. Juicy J eventually took Luger under his wing and the two eventually collaborated on two mixtapes with Juicy J leveraging Luger a career boost as well as to generate buzz to further get Luger's name in the hip hop industry.[13] Luger went on to produce more than 200 songs throughout 2010 and 2011 fueling hit songs by a number of popular rappers as well as number of songs featured on an array of street and underground hip hop mixtapes.[2][12]

Luger was initially affiliated with fellow Brick Squad producer Southside. The two of them formed the production team 808 Mafia in 2010, to which he later left the group the following year.[14] During the same year at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards, Luger won the award for Producer of the Year.[15]

Present career[edit]

In February 2014, Luger joined forces with Canadian DJ/producer A-Trak under the moniker Low Pros, with the intention of releasing a collaborative project.[16] Their first release was "Jack Tripper", a drug-addled trap song featuring Brick Squad affiliates PeeWee Longway and Young Thug, who had just risen to popularity at the time due to the success of his 2013 singles "Stoner" and "Danny Glover".[17]

In late 2014, Luger started touring as a live act. He signed with agent Wilcox Weaver at Oklahoma City and Los Angeles based Warpath Group in September 2014 for worldwide tour bookings. In January 2015, he signed to EXYT Agency for European and Asian tour bookings. Luger has played all over the world with the set consisted of Luger and his DJ, Kino Beats.[18] He has had solid success with this endeavor, selling thousands of tickets across the globe as he sold out an entire European tour in May 2015.[19]

On June 27, 2015, Luger headlined Virginia’ fifth annual EpicFest Hip Hop Festival in Richmond, Virginia.[20][21]

In February 2016, Luger caused incitement on Twitter when the singer Azealia Banks requested to buy some beats from him. The incitement began when Luger exposed a private Twitter conversation of Banks trying to undercutting Luger when she tried to buy beats at an offer of $40 USD per beat. Luger then claimed Banks as "broke" for undercutting him as well as being an irrelevant artist that nobody listens to.[22][23][24] Banks later responded with a death threat and tweeting out a link to her live performance of “Yung Rapunxel” at Glastonbury in 2013 showcasing her relevance and fame in the music industry.[24] Luger later cleared up the online incitement in a VladTV interview citing no animosity between the two artists.[25][26]

On March 22, 2016, Luger released his first full length instrumental project. The project features his DJ and collaborator KinoBeats as well as his V.A.B.P. collaborators back from his early production days HighDefRazajah, UrBoyBlack and Trama.[27]

Production style and influences[edit]

Luger uses the digital audio workstation, FL Studio along with custom installed VST plugins to compose his beats. He has also incorporated music production workstations such as Maschine and Pro Tools.[1] In each of his productions, he has become known for using his signature electronic sounding build up effect in the beginning and throughout his productions. The basis for his stage name came from professional wrestler Lex Luger as well as the Luger pistol. He cites producers Dr. Dre, Shawty Redd, D. Rich, Drumma Boy, Jazze Pha, hip hop production duo The Heatmakerz, rapper Juicy J and his former group Three Six Mafia, and the Harlem rap group The Diplomats as his musical influences.[4][28] He self describes the creative process of making his beats coming from his inner "pain" bringing out stress and pouring his heart out when he composes his beats.[4][28][29]

Luger is known for his strong adherence to Atlanta's trap sound making use of the Roland TR-808 kick drum, ominous synth lines, and threatening ad-libs.[30] His austere, jackhammer and utilitarian orchestral trap sound has been well known for his heavy use of hard hitting 808's, crisp snare drums, frantic synthesizers, spooky, sinister and rhythmic Danny Elfman-like bombastic ominous orchestration of synthesized brass, stringed, woodwind, and keyboard instruments commonly incorporated throughout his productions.[31][32][33] Luger is known for his musical confluence of combining bombastic orchestral instruments, spooky synths with urban street hip hop sounds. Since his entrance into the hip hop industry, he produces with a more diverse approach further incorporating pop, R&B, as well as electronic dance as a creative aberration from his traditional trap sound into his production repertoire.[34][35]

Discography[edit]

Production credits[edit]

Main article: Lex Luger discography

Singles produced[edit]

List of singles produced, with selected chart positions and certifications, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
US US R&B US Rap AUS CAN IRE UK
"Hard in da Paint"
(Waka Flocka Flame)
2010 111 28 20
  • RIAA: 2× Platinum
Flockaveli
"B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)"
(Rick Ross featuring Styles P)
60 6 4 Teflon Don
"H•A•M"
(Kanye West and Jay-Z)
2011 23 24 14 78 47 40 30 Watch the Throne
"Hustle Hard"
(Ace Hood)
60 9 10 Blood, Sweat & Tears
"Grove St. Party"
(Waka Flocka Flame featuring Kebo Gotti)
74 12 10 Flockaveli
"Platinum"
(Snoop Dogg featuring R. Kelly)
60 Doggumentary
"In da Box"[36]
(Sean Garrett featuring Rick Ross)
62 Non-album single
"Go n Get It"
(Ace Hood)
60 Blood, Sweat & Tears
"That Way"
(Wale featuring Jeremih and Rick Ross)
49 4 5 Self Made Vol. 1
"Round of Applause"
(Waka Flocka Flame featuring Drake)
86 16 17 Triple F Life: Friends, Fans & Family
"9 Piece"
(Rick Ross featuring T.I. and Lil Wayne)
61 32 18 Ashes to Ashes
"Bake Sale"
(Wiz Khalifa featuring Travi$ Scott)
2016 56 18 9 71 Khalifa
"Let it Bang"
(A$AP Ferg featuring Schoolboy Q)
Always Strive And Prosper
"Round and Round (Champions)"
(Kanye West featuring Travis Scott, Quavo, Yo Gotti, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Gucci Mane & Desiigner)
71 Cruel Winter
"No English"
(Juicy J featuring Travis Scott)
RBB3
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Category Recipient Result
2011 BET Hip Hop Awards Producer of the Year Lex Luger Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Pappademas, Alex (November 4, 2011). "Lex Luger Can Write a Hit Rap Song in the Time It Takes to Read This". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Patrick Lyons (February 12, 2014). "Behind The Boards Producer Profile: Lex Luger". Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Lex Luger Lewis: Dances to his own beat, By Andrew Barker for Variety, Posted: Fri., Oct. 22, 2010, 4:00am PT
  4. ^ a b c David Turner (January 21, 2016). "Interview: Lex Luger". Red Bull Music Academy Daily. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Rosie J (11 October 2011). "How They Came Up: The Lex Luger Story". Indiehiphop. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  6. ^ Clover Hope (November 9, 2010). "Lex Luger". Vibe. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  7. ^ Walker, Angus (18 May 2016). "Behind The Beat: Lex Luger". Hotnewhiphop. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  8. ^ Walker, Angus (18 May 2016). "Behind The Beat: Lex Luger". Hotnewhiphop. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  9. ^ a b Pappademas, Alex (November 4, 2011). "Lex Luger Can Write a Hit Rap Song in the Time It Takes to Read This". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "Lex Luger Talks Working with Kanye West, "Taylor Gang"". HiphopDX. February 17, 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  11. ^ "{News} Producer Lex Luger Talks Success, Work with Kanye, Rick Ross and Waka". iStandardproducers. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c "CRITIC’S NOTEBOOK: Bam! Pow! A Loud Young Rapper Rekindles Rap’s Old Fighting Spirit," by Jon Caramanica. Published October 8, 2010, The New York Times
  13. ^ Insanul Ahmed (17 February 2011). "Interview: Lex Luger Talk "Taylor Gang," His Beats Sounding The Same, & Being Scared of Kanye West". Complex. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  14. ^ Instagram
  15. ^ http://consequenceofsound.net/2014/02/a-trak-and-lex-luger-team-up-as-low-pros-stream-new-song-jack-tripper/
  16. ^ "A-Trak & Lex Luger (Low Pros) - Jack Tripper Feat. Young Thug & PeeWee Longway | Stream & Listen [New Song]". Hotnewhiphop.com. 2014-02-05. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  17. ^ "Young Thug Talks About Working With Kanye West and If He'll Sign To Future | Complex". Complexmag.ca. 2014-01-28. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  18. ^ Niyah Nel (June 18, 2015). "Exclusive Lex Luger Interview in Milan, Italy With Akeem Of Zamunda". Hiphopsince1987. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  19. ^ "Lex Luger – Warpath Group". warpathgroup.com. 
  20. ^ "Lex Luger to Headline "Epic" Virginia Hip Hop Festival". The Source. June 8, 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  21. ^ "SlapdashRVA Presents: #EpicFestV | June 23rd – June 28th". Slapdash. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  22. ^ "Lex Luger exposes Azealia Banks for trying to steal his beats without paying". HiphopOverload. 14 February 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  23. ^ "Lex Luger Claims Azealia Banks Is Broke". Follownews. 17 February 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  24. ^ a b "Lex Luger Claims Azealia Banks Is Too Broke to Buy His Beats". Complex. 13 February 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  25. ^ "Lex Luger Says There's No Beef with Azealia Banks Over $40 Session Dispute". TrapBuzz. 24 February 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  26. ^ Kairi Coe (24 February 2016). "EXCLUSIVE! Lex Luger Says There's No Beef with Azealia Banks Over $40 Session Dispute". VladTV. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  27. ^ Bryan Tomlinson (22 March 2016). "Lex Luger Experience: The Tour, Vol. 1 (Instrumental Album)". The Drop NYC. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  28. ^ a b Nadine Graham (11 February 2011). "Lex Luger Recalls Working With Game On "R.E.D.," Says His Sound Comes From Pain". HiphopDX. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  29. ^ "Lex Luger Interview – Speaks on "See Me Now," Odd Future". RESPECT. July 15, 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  30. ^ "Lex Luger Talks Working with Kanye West, "Taylor Gang"". Washington City Paper. December 24, 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  31. ^ Alex Pappademas (November 4, 2011). "Lex Luger Can Write a Hit Rap Song in the Time It Takes to Read This". NY Times. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  32. ^ Matthew Schnipper. "Drum Majors: Four Producers to Watch". The Fader. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  33. ^ "The Waka Flocka Flame/Lex Luger Sound". Pitchfork. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  34. ^ Jayson Rodriguez (21 January 2011). "Jay-Z, Kanye West's 'H.A.M.' Beatsmith Lex Luger Looks Ahead". Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  35. ^ J. Pablo Caraballo (14 April 2016). "Producer Lex Luger Talks First Instrumental Album, Going EDM on 'Low Pros' EP with A-Trak & 808 Mafia Beef Rumors". Billboard. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  36. ^ "iTunes - Music - In da Box (feat. Rick Ross) - Single by Sean Garrett". Itunes.apple.com. 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 

External links[edit]