It’s time to get X-Raided! Sacramento OG and veteran rapper X-Raided served 26 of a 31 year sentence after his lyrics were used against him in a murder trial in which his innocence was maintained and no murder weapon ever linked to him. Despite the situation, he managed to release albums and projects by using creative methods. Upon his release, X signed to Tech N9ne’s Strange Music label and recently released his album, A Prayer In Hell in June of 2023. Our own Todd Davis caught up with X-Raided for an exclusive WCS HipHop50 interview. Read below!
First things first, this year (August 11th) marked the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop — What exactly does that mean to and for you?
Hip Hop is the measuring stick of my life. I remember where I was and who I was with based on what was happening in the culture each year. I literally wouldn’t be me without Hip Hop culture. It means everything to me.
To quote the late, great The Notorious B.I.G., “You never thought that Hip Hop would take it this far!” — Was this something that you ever could’ve imagined?
I’m simultaneously old enough to remember the beginning of our viability as a culture and young enough to appreciate where we currently are. I remember seeing Run-DMC on MTV when it meant something for them to be there. I remember Krush Groove and the rise of LL COOL J. I remember how significant Slick Rick’s album was and everything from Rakim, KRS-ONE to the 2 Live Crew, NWA and Ice-T. I’ve been able to experience practically every generation’s contribution to the culture. I knew we were here to stay, but the culture has exceeded anything I could have imagined.
What are some of your fondest, most stand-out moments / memories from your lengthy tenure in this thing called Hip Hop?
As a fan, it was seeing people appear in the culture who I could personally relate to. Where I was from, when I went outside it was Dickies and Levi’s, Pendleton’s and white T-shirts. Cortez Nikes and Converse. Being from California, I loved Hip Hop almost as a spectator initially, purely as a consumer, then Ice-T, Too $hort, Eazy-E and Ice Cube popped up and made me feel like there was a place for me as a participant. Their arrival and ascension are some of my fondest memories, as well as seeing Hip Hop at the Super Bowl. As a participant, though, my fondest moment was seeing myself in Hip Hop media in the beginning of my career. I felt like, “Okay, I have a shot. I’m here.”
That said, what are your future plans and / or goals throughout the remainder of 2023, going right into ‘24?
My plan is to continue to show my skill as an emcee for the rest of 2023 and highlight some of my accomplishments from the release of A Prayer In Hell to the more high profile placements I’ve had this year. Simultaneously, I need to complete my autobiography, wrap up my second album on Strange Music and be ready to go in 2024.
Switching gears here, what exactly do you want people to get from your music?
The central theme for me is to never give up. Perseverance and positive impact are my core messages. At the same time, I love to play the sport of emceeing so I want to be recognized as one of the dopest rappers alive.
On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?
I’m more happy than unhappy. I personally think Hip Hop will be just fine. We’ve had many periods where the direction of the culture and the lyrical content have caused concern, but we’ve always survived that. Someone has always shown up to right the ship for a time. We are in a state where we have people who aren’t of the culture picking and choosing which aspects of the culture should be highlighted without regard for how that impacts society, yet we simultaneously have the greatest degree of autonomy and independence in the history of the culture. I think we need to see more artists create their own websites and apps to sell their own physical and digital products on. That needs to be the new Mom & Pop store. I’d be very happy to see that happen. I don’t think we have a Hip Hop problem more than we have a positive reinforcement problem, meaning that as long as negativity and inappropriateness are rewarded by consumers, the more of that we’ll see.
What do you feel has and will continue to be the key to your longevity?
I think the transparency and vulnerability in my music have connected with people in a way where they feel an intimate connection with me. I believe that, along with a constant social media presence, combined with consistent exhibitions of lyrical skill are the keys to my continued longevity.
Do you have any other outside / additional (future) aspirations, maybe even completely away from entertainment?
I want to be the best father I am capable of being. That’s my ultimate mission.
What’s an average day like for you?
It’s pretty much work and family. That’s all I have going on these days.
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…
I answer my own DMs and try my best to answer as many comments as possible on social media. I get to spend time with them at the meet and greets when we do shows as well. I’m currently setting up a space to be able to go live from home on all platforms. I want to do a weekly podcast, so I’m working on that as well. A heavy social media presence is mandatory.
What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?
My favorite part is just being creative and seeing how the art impacts the people. My least favorite part is the corporate aspect of the “business.”
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Give great consideration to every step you take and every decision you make with an eye on how they will impact your future.
Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?
Chillin’ with my family in my own world.
Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?
I think we touched all the bases.
Any “parting” words for our readers?
Long live Hip Hop!