Magazine article The Fader

Lex Luger: Setting the Table for Hell on Earth

Magazine article The Fader

Lex Luger: Setting the Table for Hell on Earth

Article excerpt

In the spring of 1995, amidst a bid to snap back from the commercial failure of an album called Juvenile Hell, Mobb Deep's Prodigy offered unrepentant insight into the desperation of his adolescence. I'm only nineteen but my mind is old/And when the things get for real, my warm heart turns cold, he rapped on the seminal "Shook Ones Pt. II." Lex Luger, the 19-year-old producer of "Hard In Da Paint," 2010's most riotous rap single, and the song that kicked in front doors across America for Waka Flocka Flame, knows the feeling. "At the end of the day, my homeboys is still in the streets," Luger says. "That ain't no hidden part of life. People struggle, people do sell drugs and get murdered. That's what I be around, that's what I'm used to making." Music made, in a manner of speaking for real niggas who ain't go no feelings.

Something of a prodigy himself, Luger, born Lexus Lewis in Suffolk, Virginia, made the beat for "Hard In Da Paint" when he was just 16 years old. By then, an uncle had given him a drum machine after noticing his nephew's proficiency with composing music on the MTV Music Generator 2 game for the Playstation 2. Before dropping out, Luger spurned even high school dances for studio time, amassing a war chest of instrumental, the earliest of which he'd provide to a burgeoning Waka Flocka.

Hard In Da Paint itselr is unnerving. For all of Waka's incorrigible energy, Luger's whirling synth riff and acidic drum chops sound like a demonic carnival. From "Hard In Da Paint" came Rick Ross' "B. …

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