Wax: 'I'm a Good Guy and a Scumbag'

Wax: 'I'm a Good Guy and a Scumbag'

Maryland emcee talks new album Livin Foul, and the complexities of artist life.

Published November 3, 2015

As humans one of the most difficult truths to face is the reality that in some way, shape or form we’re all hypocrites. And in hip hop, where credibility is capital, admitting contradiction or showing any type of vulnerability for that matter can be a career threatening risk, but for Maryland born MC, Wax admitting weakness has actually given him strength.

On his third solo album, Livin Foul, the 35-year-old rapper and producer confronts his internal struggle between egomania and self-loathing head on. America has always proven itself a country that appreciates honesty and even if he does consider himself a “Scumbag” as the LP’s introductory track suggests, Wax is winning the old fashioned way: By being himself.

In an exclusive conversation with BET.com, the former YouTube sensation talks about the evolution of his sound, channeling his emotional instability into his music, and repaying a debt to his identical twin brother.

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How does Livin Foul reflect your evolution as a person and an artist?
This album reflects my evolution and also reflects my lack of evolution in my personality. Livin’ Foul is kinda like, it just means I’m getting old [laughs]. I’m into my 30s and I’m still living like I’m young. I’m still drinking a lot and what not and I feel a certain level of guilt so a lot of the songs are about that. Musically it’s a new step for me 'cause me and my boy Davy Nathan produced the whole thing. I think it’s a lot more consistent than a lot of my earlier work which was kinda all over the place. So it’s a dichotomy. It’s an evolution musically but also a reflection of the lack of evolution as a human being. 

I noticed that it touched on different mind states. How consistent are you emotionally in your personal life?
Not very... My brother and my mother are my family members I talk to the most. They would tell you that I’m sort of bipolar. They don’t know what I’m gonna be like on the day-to-day as far as whether I like what I’m doing or not, whether I’m happy or miserable. So I would say it goes up and down a lot and plus I think that a lot of people that come out [to Los Angeles], and a lot of people that are entertainers, especially musicians and comedians are the kind of entertainers that are alone a lot. I think a lot of s**t is egomania, and egomania will make you think you’re the s**t one day but you’re really just covering up some problems you have. I think that’s why half of my album is me talking about how I’m the best and the other half is me talking about how I’m the worst. 

Which track would you say was the most personal for you?
There’s two. The one that had the most meaning when I wrote it was “This One’s on Me” because it’s actually about my brother [Herbal T]. He used to help me out, so now I get him back when I can financially; I buy him drinks and stuff like that. But at this point the one that hits me the hardest and that I relate to the most is the first track, “Scumbag.” Those two are the most personal and they’re personal in opposite ways.

Speaking of your brother. He’s got a verse on this project. Any talks of another collaborative album?
We did the album Grizzly Season in 2006 and next year will be the ten year anniversary of that album. I think we’re gonna do a second one. We’ve been in talks about it so we’ll see.

With him having a family and doing more of the nine-to-five thing. Do you guys ever talk about wishing you had each others’ lives?
[Laughs] Absolutely. I think we’re jealous of each other. He lives a happier life, but I live a more interesting life, and if he reads this he’ll probably laugh but his wife will probably be like “What the f**k you mean by that?” But he’s more stable, he’s more, I would argue, happy consistently, but I kinda like have more interesting stories. When we talk on the phone we talk about his family or my job. We would never talk about his job, but we would also never talk about my family 'cause I don’t have one as a father or husband.

One of tracks that helped you gain popularity was “Rosana,” which got over 30 million views on YouTube. Do you feel any pressure to duplicate those numbers?
Hell no. I feel no pressure at all. I’ve gotten to the point –– literally, in the last week –– where I came to the realization that I’m not doing anything for the business side of it. I’m just gonna have fun. And I think that I have enough fans that like my stuff that I can maintain and just have fun. There’s no point in stressing about goals. I’m just trying to be consistent. I’m not trying to have this constant [feeling of] it’s not good enough, it’s not enough views, it’s not enough money, it’s not enough sales. I’m just done with that mentality. I’m not gonna be mad if it does well though.

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(Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images)

Written by Jake Rohn (@jsrohn)

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