Rodney Blu and FXXXY at the rapper's EP release party in Deep Ellum. Courtesy of Rodney Blue

Music

FXXXXY’s Life Was a Journey to Make His Dream Come True

After grinding for years, the Dallas artist found success behind the scenes of some of rap's biggest moments. His own success was born of silent battles and small victories.

I was introduced to FXXXXY Ank before the world was.

Not by a childhood friend or family member, but by DJ and visual artist Michael Felder. One of FXXXXY’s earliest and most fervent fans, Felder brought us together in an attempt to align two young artists deep in our individual creative pursuits: FXXXXY’s efforts to create and solidify an artistic legacy and mine of discovering artists in Dallas through my platform alreadyRADIO.

I met FXXXXY in Felder’s dining room. I sat across from him while his music played on a Bluetooth speaker that sat between the three of us. I was impressed by the young man, modest in his delicate approach to music, but certain of his unique abilities.

His technical abilities flirted with song and rap, like many of his peers. But his studious reverence for hip-hop, originating in his love for Black people, distinguished him from the rest. He studied music like a science, learning to interpolate production and lyrical styles formed in some of the most esoteric circles of our culture. He was both reverent and innovative.

As a producer, the song’s instrumentation held as much value as its content. As an artist, he was a gifted songwriter and producer. He created his own universe, where FXXXXY was the author and subject of his own lore.

Inspired by the cultural connections of Houston and New Orleans, his elders, and VHS pornography, FXXXXY’s art was a reflection of his own endless nuance – a combination of thoughtful introspection and vulnerability. Draped in designer obscenities, he found allure in contrasts.

His eye for aesthetic and visceral imagery elevated his craft beyond music and art. He took audio excerpts of classic Black films as if they were a scrapbook, matching them with pornographic soundbites. Together, they enticed. They repelled. They intrigued. They reflected and satirized.

He rapped lavishly long before his life and lyrics reflected one another. In my memories of him, he is dressed in a rotation of hoodies and puffy jackets, accented by chunky Margielas or AF1s. But his glow was always from within.

By the time we met, he decided superstardom was his life’s only path. There were no alternatives. He was feverishly determined to tell his story, committed to sharing his sound with the world—an unmistakable sound that he knew would be indisputable.

I believed in him. (Before the lyrics matched the wrapping, ya dig?) I know how it sounds when a person dies and everyone within reach of the news rushes to profess their allegiance. I take comfort in the fact that when he was alive, we shared space together and I believed in what his art could become. He was my dawg.

His mosaic approach to rap, song, and production was his own. He drew inspiration from the dark alleyways of Dallas, the dangers that exist within the shadows, and the lurking desires that exist there. His story is one of survival, tragedy, and perseverance for the ultimate glory: shine.

Before his abrupt death last September, he was at the precipice of his career. He lived the life he spoke about in his own songs. His dreams came true. As his profile increased, there was no indication, no tell of his silent fight for life. Looking at FXXXXY, there was no sense of a man chasing time. He was calm, secure, and knew what he wanted from this life.

He was honored when Earl Sweatshirt featured him on Red Bull Music Academy Radio’s Stay Inside. When articles called for the immediate recognition of his undiscovered genius, he thanked the writers and advocates, assuring them that his time was coming.

In 2019, Future commissioned him to help write, produce and creative direct on SAVE ME. The next year, he once again contributed to Future’s multi platinum album High Off Life, surrendering his talent, creativity, and ego to the process. In the year before his passing, a few months ahead of his commercial debut, he was harder to reach. He was still the same kid with a rotation of hoodies and puffers who believed in the luxury he rapped about, all the way until it came true.

The twinkling of his diamond encrusted grill is not something you unsee. That light burns forever. He seemed to be happy, finally able to actualize his vision and life with one of rap’s biggest cosigns beneath his wings.

It was his time. To take off. To blow up.

It was his turn. He’d done his due diligence.

And just like that, he was gone.

It was his turn to be loved, to be celebrated, to be recognized for his genius.

But at that point, he’d given us all he could.

As a friend, as a fan, and as someone whose life was immediately impacted by the life of Maudell Ray Watkins, better known to the world as FXXXXY, I’m thankful for that much.

214 ANK CASH CARTEL RUN THE WORLD.

If you know, you know.

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