Lex Lanson (Alex Melanson)’s outlook on life and his approach to music are unique. He opens up about navigating the world of hip-hop while being mixed raced, starting a family, and trying to never forget his goals: being able to support his family by creating music and doing what makes him truly happy.
I’ve known Lex since childhood. The first time we hung out was at a Sugar Shack; we were 7 and high on glucose. I thought it would be great to start off this project by delving into the mind of someone I know very well. – Brandon
“The hardest part is when you hit writer’s block and you think to yourself,
‘If I’m meant to do this, why am I having such a hard time?'”
Lex Lanson – I go by the name of Lex Lanson. I’ve been rapping for about 7 years. I was forced into it a little bit. I started out making beats – I didn’t think I had the potential to rap, until some good friends of mine pointed it out, so I’ve been on that road ever since.
What does hip-hop mean to you?
L.L – It’s created a therapeutic outlet in which I can channel all the positive emotions, negative emotions, and just make sense of everything. It helps teach me about who I am as a person. I’ve learned a lot about myself because of hip-hop and things that I have written.
Some say that hip-hop could have a negative effect on kids. What do you think about that?
L.L – I think that has a lot to do with personal perception. The problem itself has more to do with proper parenting
What do you think about the state of hip-hop right now?
L.L – The state of hip-hop is… I like it! There’s a lot of people who talk about hip-hop not being real, I think it has just evolved and expanded. It’s a lot broader than it once was just because of the availability of technology, it’s at our hands. There’s a lot of creative people out there and there is not going to be one type of hip-hop. I think it’s cool, there’s a lot of flavours and variety is the spice of life. To each their own. Nowadays, hip-hop is more open to a different type of artist; you see a lot more “Danny Browns”, and “Childish Gambinos”.
If you could convey one message through your music, what would that be?
L.L – Uh… being real in hip-hop has nothing to do with being “hardcore” from the street. It’s about being yourself. There’s going to be people that resonate with it and relate to it; you’re not really alone. You have to be yourself, that’s all you can do. You have to be yourself because at the end of the day, if you’re rapping on a track that’s about BS, people are going to catch onto that very quick. They aren’t stupid.
L.L – [laughs] That question is interesting… I definitely went through a period where I was rapping as somebody else. I was rapping under a different moniker, but I retired that moniker just because that stuff I was rapping about wasn’t me. So yeah, there was definitely a time where I was floating in the in-between.
Do you think your life as a teen has influenced what you rap about today?
L.L – Nowadays when I do write, it’s usually about events that I’m going through at that given time. However, I do have songs where I take a trip back through memory lane and think about – not so much teenage years, I try to forget about those years – but my childhood.
Why do you choose to forget those years?
L.L – As a teenager I felt very outcasted. I was mixed raced, I didn’t feel like I belonged with anobody. I was bullied, rumors were spread about me. There was a lot of bullshit, like trying to fit in and be cool, yet you don’t really know who you are at that time. It was challenging.
What is a “modern day slave”?
L.L – A modern day slave is the “nine to fiver”, a person who’s at the job, not because they want to be, but because they need to pay their bills and put some food in the fridge. A modern day slave is you, me, and most likely the person you pass on the way to work everyday.
Do you think it’s necessary, or is it just a distraction from what you really want to do?
L.L – You have to find the right balance. I believe in the law of attraction. I believe if you want something bad enough, the universe will put it in place for you.
What’s the hardest part of doing what you do?
L.L – The hardest part is when you hit writer’s block and you think to yourself, “If I’m meant to do this, why am I having such a hard time?” But I think that just comes with the territory.
Have you ever thought about quitting?
L.L – [laughs] Yeah, everyday. I have multiple songs about that. You know, you have that voice in your head that’s like, “take a trade”, or “go back to university”. That voice is there, and it’s always going to be there as long as I’m a struggling musician.
What does success mean to you?
L.L – There are different levels of success. Level one would be, being able to do music on a full-time basis. Level two would be, reaching people on a wide scale, like having a lot of people come to the shows, not to support my lifestyle but because I’ve touched them in a certain way, or I’ve shone some light into their lives. Just reach people with a positive note.
Do you have a lot of support?
L.L – My woman is very supportive of this avenue that I’m travelling on. Which is really surprising to me, because in the past I came across people who didn’t take it very seriously and put a lot of doubt in my mind, where as, you know, she is a very strong supporter. Like I was in the studio yesterday and when I got home she grabbed my phone and my earphones and was like, “Where is it? Oh, play that back”. She’s very supportive and it lets me know that I’m on the right road. It’s the best feeling in the world.
Anything you want to add?
L.L – For anybody who wants to pursue hip-hop, or anything in that matter, go for it. You got to put your all. Like I said, you have to find that balance, but you have to definitely put your all, and believe in it. I believe one day I’m going to be where I want to be, and that’s all it takes… I think that’s all it takes, is just to believe… have faith.