For 21-year-old singer-rapper Tuxx, music isn’t just a pastime or hobby of his, it’s life in every aspect.
Touting influences from a plethora of genres, his sound seemingly shapeshifts from one to the other in a matter of minutes — cultivating something that’s completely his own. With that, the Los Angeles-based, former Internet Money artist is seemingly impossible to box in. His versatility not only makes for a diverse soundscape, but allows his discography to be expansive because of it — evolving as an artist more and more each day.
“I just want to progress. I just want to keep growing as an artist. I don’t have a goal of being like, oh, I want a million streams, I want 10 million streams because it doesn’t even have to be that. I could sell out venues of f—king 50 people and I’ll be happy.”
Whether he feels like rocking out with a band or hopping on a trap beat to spit some bars, the sky is truly the limit for Tuxx as he continues to develop his sound and status in the industry. However, finding his voice has been tougher than anticipated for the Tempe, Arizona-born artist, as Tuxx knows he’ll be able to find his “direction” at some point down the road.
“I’ve been really trying to just find how I want to push myself as an artist and my image and everything so I don’t really know what direction I’m going in right now. I’m still trying to just figure out shit. I like making music organically because I just love music. And I feel like I’ll find it eventually.”
Tuxx’s interest in music sparked from his step-dad, a musician in his own right, by playing songs for him in the studio. Along with seeing how the music-making process worked as a kid, the music his mother and step-father would play around the house also influenced his aspirations to become an artist. While his early teens were dedicated to skateboarding, he still kept that passion for music alive by riding around to his favorite tunes.
While skating one day, 16-year-old Tuxx and now fellow artist Jaxx were invited to a friend’s house to try their hand at rapping. The duo would eventually converge for plenty of collaborative tracks over the years, as well as crafting their own individual songs where Tuxx would dip into a variety of genres.
“I started making rap because it was the music I was listening to at the time like Lil Uzi Vert and Juice WRLD. That type of scene was what I was really influenced by [at the start]. But when it goes into the rock shit, it’s all the shit that my parents listened to.”
As the Tempe-based duo started making waves around their community, Tuxx said that having a “really good start to their buzz” was all that was needed to lift them to greater heights. With neighboring high schools all bumping Tuxx and Jaxx’s underground hits in the hallways and hearing friends driving around to it in their cars, he said it was “so cool” and “so wholesome” to see their music be received “off the rip.”
However, competition started to get fierce the more they dropped, as the state’s underground scene tackled cutthroat, toxic battles stemming from the lack of connection and appreciation for each other’s art.
“Believe it or not, when I first started making music, the Arizona music scene was very competitive and kind of hostile… It was really, really odd.”
While there was a disconnect for many artists in the area, Tuxx and Jaxx continued to stay hungry, optimistic and boasted a “tunnel vision” type mindset looking to provide more music for their respective fan bases. This led them to working with underground production company Overcast that would evidently catapult them to internet acclaim.
“Two of my buddies, Danny and Tommy, started Overcast and something clicked,” he said. “It made Arizona start collectively working together. It was crazy, it was like how Lyrical Lemonade was. Building a foundation for the seed and making Arizona a hotspot.”
As Tuxx continued to rapidly release tracks, music videos and show off his more artistic side, Internet Money eventually offered him a record deal, as he would spend that following year in Los Angeles dedicating all his time to making hits and improving his sound. Tuxx even recalled the first time he received a call from Internet Money, exuding excitement similar to when he first hopped on the phone.
“Hef Stradamus, the A&R for 10K Projects found my songs ‘Just Another Shitty Day,’ and ‘Beautiful Ending,’” he said. “And he pretty much just hit me up and said, ‘Yo, do you know who Taz Taylor is?’ And I said ‘oh yeah, of course.’ And he said, ‘I’m gonna have him call you.’ I was just an 18-19-year-old kid, and I was like ‘f—k yeah, Internet Money, let’s go.’”
With open arms, Internet Money and its founder Taz Taylor took Tuxx under their wing and acted as a mentor for him. He got an inside look as to how most labels work, how the production process in a legitimate studio goes and an overall taste of how the music industry is ran at that level.
“The first few weeks I arrived at the IM house and I became friends with all of them. It was like a family, you know, so it’s not just going to a house and making music, it was really wholesome. We were all making music together and started pushing shit out, and eventually got into the deal.”
In 2020, Internet Money released their collective album B4 The Storm which features some of hip-hop’s most tantalizing hitmakers. Juice WRLD, Trippie Redd, Don Toliver, Future and more all graced the mic, as Tuxx was also slated to be featured on the star-studded project. However, due to ceaseless leaking of his track “Sippin Hennessy” with TheHxliday and The Kid LAROI, it never saw the light of day.”
“[Taz Taylor] called me downstairs and said, Yo, I have a Laroi song for you if you want to try and lay a verse on it. I said, um fuck yeah. So I went upstairs and I did a verse and it took me an hour or so. Taz ended up loving it… But I think it ended up getting leaked and he wasn’t able to put it on the album.”
As Tuxx stayed focused on making music with Internet Money, he would eventually develop his own aspirations to broaden his sound in an attempt to dabble in other genres like punk and alternative rock — the music his parents would play for him while growing up.
As IM wanted Tuxx to take a more hip-hop approach to his music, it would lead him in a different direction entirely. With such passion and self-confidence in his versatility and musical abilities, Tuxx opted out of his contract to follow his ear and create music independently. His departure was civil and ended on good, mutual terms. To this day, Tuxx still remains in touch with many artists and producers over at Internet Money, divulging that “everyone’s still cool.”
Immediately after opting out of his contract, Tuxx was all gas, no brakes as a newly-independent artist. He stuck with his gut and locked in with his go-to producer, Baker Beats, as they began producing most of Tuxx’s latest tracks — even recruiting his old band to help bring his pop-punk, alt-rock visions to fruition. He would go on to drop plenty of rock-influenced songs throughout 2021, with his most notable being with genre-bending star Landon Cube for “Gravestone.” His latest single “American Blueprint” combines elements of hyperpop, hip-hop, and pop-punk all at once — further proving Tuxx’s ability to genre-bend ten-fold.
Being an independent artist is a double-edged sword of sorts. While one has the freedom to spearhead the overall direction of their sound, there will always be difficulties when it comes to one’s music, image and overall identity being totally in their hands. Despite Tuxx’s internal battle with portraying his art to the masses — even considering quitting music for some time — he continues to dedicate his efforts to mastering his craft and growing as both an artist and an individual.
“I’ve had points where I thought about quitting music, but then something just hits me and I’m just like, why would I quit if I love doing this? I don’t know what I would do without it,” he said. “I’ve had people literally DM me and say ‘you’ve saved my life’ and sometimes that’s so crazy to me. I can’t comprehend it. That stuff means the absolute world to me and keeps me going.”
For Tuxx, enjoying the present and appreciating everything coming his way has been very important. While his eclectic ear allows him to please fans from all different genres, he is aware you can’t please everyone all the time, so creating a sound uniquely authentic to himself is what his main focus has been. As life continues to go on and as Tuxx continues to grow, so will his discography.
“I’m an open book because I’m making music for me right now. I don’t really know what I want to push out. It’s just a matter of, like, I’ve found a sound and it’s me. It’s just a matter of how I want the world to portray me... Whether I make like, a billion people happy or f—king 10 people happy like, this is what I want to do… for as s long as I fucking can.“
Although Tuxx may feel that he is stuck in the middle when it comes to the music he’s releasing, he still knows it’s not for nothing. His artistic ability allows him to fit into any space he wants, as his skills are more than capable of leading him to a superstar acclaim. By staying confident and true to himself, nothing is impossible as he’s just at the cusp of his career — striving to secure his sound one song at a time.
Check out his latest release “American Blueprint” below!