Diamond Lex strives to be authentic.
His lyrics pull from reality. Heavily affected by George Floyd’s death, he penned “Black in America, which pays tribute to the murdered Minnesota man.
Heard on all streaming platforms, “Black in America” originally hit airwaves in 2021, but the rapper said it didn’t receive the support it deserved. It’s being re-released Thursday, May 25, the anniversary of Floyd’s death.
“George Floyd’s death really made me question the police, in a sense, and how they handled the situation,” Lex said.
“A lot of things transpired, like Black Lives Matter. It was a weird situation, and it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. It was a hostile situation because of COVID.”
Lex said Floyd’s murder made him feel insecure because “you never know how things can pan out.” One to avoid trouble, he kept his nose in his business.
“I wouldn’t say I was overly afraid, but it makes you question some things,” he said. “You never know what can happen when it comes to situations like that.”
Lex is troubled that police officers and every day citizens are getting away with this. That led to “Black in America,” a dramatic song that starts with a rally and segues into gunshots.
“It really touches deep,” he said. “There’s a lot of truth in that song. There’s no fabrication. It’s how I felt about it. I really put some time into it.”
Variety is Lex’s “thing.” Never one to be pigeonholed, he crisscrosses the lines of East Coast and southern rap. Born in Mesa and educated at Gilbert High School, Lex has been performing since he was 7, but started making beats at 13.
He recorded his vocals onto cassette and when he heard his voice on tape, he thought, “We’re going to have to do something with this.”
“I liked a lot of the rappers for the music and when it comes down to the beats, I got more into it,” Lex said.
“I’m inspired by Timbaland, Pharrell and Swizz Beatz, major producers who came out with platinum hits for artists. I also look up to Drake, Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, Tupac and Biggie, people who have messages. I don’t listen to watered-down stuff. I like stuff with content. I do like some club stuff and pop stuff, but I lean toward songs with a message, something that’s inspirational.”
From his cassette years, he upgraded to CDs and MP3s and digital tracks. Lex is planning to release his album, “Long Awaited,” in mid-July. The collection took a backseat to his battle rap league and his studio, CGE Studios. Now that he has the right people in his corner, including award-winning DJ Jahmar, he’s ready to make his mark.
“I pushed music to the side,” he said. “It’s been two years since I released the ‘Diversity’ mixtape that has ‘Black in America’ on it. Over these past few years, I’ve written a lot of good content.”
He’s helped others as well at CGE Studios, working with a wide variety of artists ranging from rock bands to R&B singers and rappers. Working with them has inspired Lex.
“It makes me understand how to record somebody like that,” he said. “It’s fun to see a new artist and what they bring to the table. I’m bringing my album to the table next.”