Just over a month past when he released his latest project Carolina Baby, Charlotte-based rapper ILUVXANS was able to catch up with us to talk about the work behind the mixtape and much more. He went back and forth between a few other options, but being from North Carolina, the name he chose felt right.
David: What stands out about this project to you? What makes it unique to you?
ILUVXANS: I’m actually spitting on this tape, ya feel me? I put a lot of time into it. I tried to make it as much about life as possible. My music never be about guns and killing, it’s more of like getting fucked up and having a good time type.
David: Tell me about the recording process for the mixtape?
ILUVXANS: Well, the recording process was like 4 months, but I was dropping songs in between that time as well. I write my songs in like 20 minutes so I have a lot of music – I just picked the songs I felt represent me the most.
David: What/who inspired the mixtape?
ILUVXANS: Nobody really, I tried to just be me as much as possible [and] give y’all different flows and shit, you feel me?
Hosted by DJ Swuice, ILUVXANS opens the mixtape with TANGO (PROD): KLEM. Rapping over a really nice, high pitched percussion instrumental and a big 808, the song instantly puts you into a vibe as XANS’ recognizable, low-pitched voice comes over the track. Rolling into a similar second track, he keeps the “getting fucked up and having a good time and having a good time type” of vibe. CIROC (PROD): JOTGL brings a lean-soaked sound as the Charlotte rapper talks about his codeine habits.
STEAK N SHAKE (PROD): ST LOS, one of my favorite tracks on the project, has a super catchy chorus that sticks in your head well after the 9-track mixtape ends.
“Nigga I a’int get no sleep today.
I just popped two pills,
That was yesterday.
Got a nigga up,
Boy I’m wide a wake.
3 o’clock in the morning and I’m fixing me a plate.”
Listing the help of LIL MALCOLM and LIL AMETHY$T for the production of ANDY, the bass continues to roar through the track, a common theme with the production across the entire mixtape. Track five, CAM NEWTON (PROD): SRRY BEATS is another highlight for me on the mixtape. The instrumental for this song is incredible, paired with the bars from XANS, it’s a home run:
“Tryna get that money, bitch,
Tryna get that capital.
Young nigga, I shake and bake,
Making moves international.”
Something that is evident when listening to this project, and most of ILUVXANS music, is the references to drugs. Some people use drugs and lose all productivity, but seems to have the exact opposite effect for the Charlotte MC.
David: Can you talk to me about drug use and the effect it has on your productivity?
ILUVXANS: The drugs make me more comfortable saying certain shit that I do. Like, I could smoke and just be in the zone, knocking [songs] out back-to-back.
David: When you are about to roll up, what are you rolling?
ILUVXANS: Really I been fucking with them Game Leafs lately, I fw leaves. I don’t really like rolling joints or smoking pipes.
David: Have you ever had a terrible experience while under the influence of drugs?
iLUVXANS: I really just have when you tryna enjoy your high and shit and somebody come around with bullshit or drama and be wanting to argue and shit, like that sucks.
Ending the mixtape with a great last two tracks, he hits listeners with the 1-2 punch to conclude. KARMA (PROD): JBANDS feels almost cinematic as he raps about his life and stacking his green “like a farmer.” The spacey beat feels euphoric as the bass rumbles and the smooth instrumental hits you right in the face. Finished with a great chime sound, the beat mirrors the vibe of not only the song, but the mixtape as a whole. Ending the project with WENDYS (PROD): JOTGL, shouting out all of the clones that are trying to finesse ILUVXANS for his style and drip. Not having any of it, he is truly carving his own lane in the industry.
With his latest release, ILUVXANS really put together a cohesive project that holds a euphoric vibe entirely throughout. Creating a great piece of music to live inside, his style when in the booth is easily recognized. Sticking to his roots and trying to just be himself when making his music, his originality is clear. Carolina Baby is a great listen from start to finish, the short tracks flow together perfectly and it sounds great through the speakers.
David: What’s next for ILUVXANS?
ILUVXANS: I’m really tryna drop some visuals and shit and a whole lot of music from my label Terrorize Records. Then, my hunnitboy niggas finna go crazy, me and my nigga los who makes my beats and shit got a project coming. It’s finna be a good year, man.
Blessing us with some wisdom from the 17-year old rapper from North Carolina, I asked him what the best piece of advice he has ever recieved:
“Stay down with the ones who was there when you was down”