What’s up everybody! I am Six Wheelz of Hip-Hop Society and today we have X the Unknown Variable from Los Angeles, California making his footsteps felt in the underground. He’s been putting in major work lately and we wanted to take the time to learn more about X and get to know the man behind the microphone. Well there’s nothing left but to get straight to it.
Hip-Hop Society: First off, what I wanted to know is how did you come up with that cool ass name?
X The Unknown Variable: I came up with my name around 2008-2009 in the middle of the night while writing. I used to go by my street name but I realized how that could bring unwanted attention and hold me back. I quickly came up with X the Unknown Variable because for one, many dope artists have an X in their name like DMX, X-Clan, Sadat X. Second, 10 is my favorite number and X is the Roman numeral for 10. As for the “Unknown” part, I would hide my identity not showing my face on my profile or when performing at shows ny wearing a bandana. I was super insecure and wanted people to know the artist and not the person. The “Variable” part of my name stuck as a reminder to always be versatile.
Hip-Hop Society: Okay that’s dope! So how long have you been making music?
X The Unknown Variable: I have been writing raps for 13 years. I started writing with a homie named Joseph who introduced me to different artists but we also had similar interests in graffiti, music and hobbies. So we were always learning new things together when we weren’t causing trouble.
Hip-Hop Society: What is your biggest inspiration?
X The Unknown Variable: My biggest inspiration in music is suffering. I write with a purpose: to enlighten people about issues in our communities and tap into their hearts, to make them feel for others and then take action. I see what people go through every day and if I’m not making music to teach or bring awareness to anything, I’m not making music. Even if you were to read verses I never release, you’re very likely to learn about something new, no matter how big or small.
Hip-Hop Society: That’s real man, because a lot of these rappers are doing it for the wrong reason and it’s refreshing to see you turn pain into something beautiful. I really mean that. So do you have a favorite conscious rapper?
X The Unknown Variable: It’s hard to pinpoint a favorite “conscious” rapper. There are many who preach messages of peace in the community and respect for women and self, yet still use oppressive language like “bitch” and “slut.” Many rappers also have no problem excluding the LGBTQ part of their community, using the words “gay” and “transgender” as insults. Every one has learning to do, but there’s a difference when it comes to willful ignorance. If I had to choose based on skill alone and not personal politics, I would go with Black Thought. Actually, he’s top five dead or alive to me.
Hip-Hop Society: Black Thought is definitely slept on. Here’s something new- What’s your favorite song of your own?
X The Unknown Variable: My favorite song of my own is “Rhythm of the Rain.” I wrote that song with my homie Remgee in the studio at SESSIONS LA, a youth music program we were both students and mentors at. I found the beat, I asked him if he wanted to write a story to it and we worked on it immediately. When we closed down the studio, we went outside to his whip and worked on it for about another hour and a half. My verse in particular, I took inspiration from something that happened between me and an old homie. It was also therapeutic to talk about it and have it out for everyone to hear. I still have younger homies who tell me they bump it and love my verse. I don’t chase props, but it feels good when they come. I personally love MCs who can tell stories through music, and I definitely felt that emotion when I was listening. So even though I think so, I’ve been told that I don’t know it all.
Hip-Hop Society: So what’s the best advice you’ve gotten?
X The Unknown Variable: The best advice that I’ve gotten was from an older homie when I was about 10 years old. We were talking and I kept interrupting him, finishing his sentences when I thought I knew where he was going with it. He told me, “Don’t ever interrupt anyone when they’re speaking, because you might think you know what they have to say and you might be right, but they may have even more to say than what you know.” Ever since then, I let people speak completely. It also helps keeping you in check making sure you actually listen, instead of just waiting for your turn to speak.
Hip-Hop Society: Good stuff! I have to remember that next time I argue with my girlfriend lol! Every music fan has one, so what’s your dream collaboration?
X The Unknown Variable: A dream collaboration? It will only happen in my dreams now, but I always looked forward to the day I could make a track with Sean Price, Rhyme In Peace and Psycho Realm. On a track by Soul Reaver 7100, my producer.
Hip-Hop Society: That would be dope! What do you have cooking up in the kitchen right now?
X The Unknown Variable: I’ve got my next mixtape titled “10: The Demon Owns Our Moon” out now. I chose all MF DOOM instrumentals for this and it’s a step forward from “The Faces of Death” my last mixtape. I open up a bit more about my personal life and issues. It was all a growing process while writing the lyrics. The mixtape will be sent out digitally by request to those who contact me at XtheUV@gmail.com and physical copies will be available in the next few weeks.
Hip-Hop Society: What separates you from other artists?
X The Unknown Variable: I think my content is what mainly separates me from other MCs. The things I reference are my interests. I reference books I’ve read, movies I’ve watched, my favorite animes, video games. Nerd culture is kind of pop culture now, but that’s been a part of my personality since I was a toddler, literally. I’ve never been shy about it, and it’s not just a look for me. It’s what I love just as much as I love Hip-Hop. You won’t hear me talking about things I don’t know much about in my raps.
Hip-Hop Society: Definition of a real MC. Word to you phony rappers out there. So do YOU have any advice for fellow artists?
X The Unknown Variable: The only advice I feel qualified to give is this: Step out of your comfort zone. As I stated earlier, I used to rap with a bandana covering my face. I never told anyone about my music and just pushed it online through my artist page. I was shy and insecure about my art, because art makes you vulnerable. It makes you dig and find raw emotion, then put it up for display. I would be much further in my career as an MC if I had been more open to change and took risks at an early age, so get up on that open mic, spit that written you’ve got in the vault, freestyle in that cypher. Everyone goes through a learning curve and what you have could be the best work out there, maybe not, but people appreciate sincerity and honest effort. The sooner you learn to step into that space you’re not used to, the sooner you’ll see progress in yourself.
So that wraps everything up like a dirty diaper, a HUGE thank you to X for his time and to you for checking out this interview with the Los Angeles rapper. Remember to checkout his mixtape “The Faces of Death” and where to follow him below:
Follow X The Unknown Variable
Facebook – @xtheunknownvariable
Twitter – @xtheuv
X The Unknown Variable – The Faces of Death