Wonderland.

LIL XXEL

The TikTok rapper on his explosive breakthrough single “LMK”, whirlwind rise to fame, and surprising dream collab.

ASHLEY803Lil Xxel interview with Rollacoaster suit

Suit SAINT LAURENT, boots STYLIST’S OWN

ASHLEY803Lil Xxel interview with Rollacoaster suit
Suit SAINT LAURENT, boots STYLIST’S OWN

Taken from the Autumn/Winter 2020 issue of Rollacoaster. Pre-order your copy now.

Like most of us, Lil Xxel resisted the incessant advertising for TikTok at first. But thankfully, also like all of us, he gave in. Through the platform, his single ‘LMK’ has exploded and received millions of views and streams.

Lil Xxel took some time to catch Rollacoaster up on his whirlwind rise to fame, what’s to come and who his surprising dream collab partner is. Wasting no time in following up to ‘LMK’, Lil Xxel’s new single ‘MNU’ is out now. Is it too early to add it to our songs of the summer playlists?

Lil Xxel interview with Rollacoaster cream jumper
ASHLEY803Lil Xxel interview with Rollacoaster leaning

Sweater and pant KENZO, boots STYLIST’S OWN

Lil Xxel interview with Rollacoaster cream jumper
Sweater and pant KENZO, boots STYLIST’S OWN
ASHLEY803Lil Xxel interview with Rollacoaster leaning

Despite everything being locked-down over the last few months, your career has still managed to blow up. How has that been?
If I had to break it down to just one word, I would have to say, crazy. I still live a normal life. And I guess I still do all the same things that I used to do prior to all the exposure. But my schedule is busy. I’m doing interviews and photoshoots and meeting new people. It’s really exciting and crazy at the same time.

Where did the name Lil Xxel come from?
My real name is Alex. But, all through high school, my friends called me Lexx, which is L-e- x-x. Then one day, I just flipped it backwards, and now I’ve become Xxel.

As someone who has become so popular on TikTok, what brought you to the app in the first place?
If I’m being honest, there was really nothing attractive about TikTok when I joined. At the time that I joined was probably like September of last year or maybe even August. They were running a whole bunch of cheesy advertisements, all over YouTube and Instagram. They posted videos that were just not entertaining at all. You would look at the app and wonder why anyone would ever get this. Then one day, I decided I needed a new platform to post my music. I thought Instagram was becoming saturated and YouTube was saturated, and I didn’t really know how to use Facebook, so I landed on TikTok. I decided to post a snippet, and it started doing well. I mean it didn’t do a million views like “LMK” did the first time I posted it, but it did get around 200,000. I was pretty excited because I’d never seen those numbers before.

Lil Xxel interview with Rollacoaster denim jacket far away
Lil Xxel interview with Rollacoaster denim jacket

Jacket & pant SAINT LAURENT, shoes KENZO x VANS, sunglasses PRIVE REVAUX

Lil Xxel interview with Rollacoaster denim jacket far away
Jacket & pant SAINT LAURENT, shoes KENZO x VANS, sunglasses PRIVE REVAUX
Lil Xxel interview with Rollacoaster denim jacket

Was there anyone in the early days of TikTok that inspired your use of the platform?
I joined when TikTok was just TikTok. I didn’t see anybody famous, no one really posting their own music. It was just people using the app for what it was initially for – making creative videos of themselves, DIY content, that sort of thing. So, I just started using it for myself. I took a chance, and here I am.

Your song, “LMK”, has exploded on TikTok, and in general. What made it so big?
I used to post all of our new music and then one day I had no more R&B snippets to share. So, I just decided to post “LMK”. I don’t understand what made it take off, but just listening to the feedback, I guess people thought it was catchy. To be honest, it was really random. It surprised me, and I’ll be forever grateful.

In the music video for “LMK” your girlfriend and family are featured. Why is it important for you to involve the people close to you in your work?
I think it’s very important for me to bring people I know just to keep it authentic. I wanted to keep things genuine, which is one thing I always stress. I’m an artist, but I’m not an actor. When it comes to music videos, I think it’s much better when you can include the people you love.

Where did the idea for the music video – the classroom, the talent show, the pool party – come from?
The idea of the music video is really a recap of my life, especially the music scene. The music started in high school alongside the girl. And then the talent show was kind of like a flashback to when I lived in New Jersey. I grew up playing baseball. I played shortstop, I was team captain and was on the All-Star team. I skipped an important game to perform in the talent show. That’s when people first realised that I could sing. So, it was just me telling my story. That’s exactly why I enjoyed it. We had all the people who were part of my life. And it was pretty much an exact replica of the life I have lived over the past few years.

Lil Xxel interview with Rollacoaster tux jacket side on
Lil Xxel interview with Rollacoaster tux jacket side on far away
Lil Xxel interview with Rollacoaster tux jacket

Suit SAINT LAURENT, boots STYLIST’S OWN

Lil Xxel interview with Rollacoaster tux jacket side on
Suit SAINT LAURENT, boots STYLIST’S OWN
Lil Xxel interview with Rollacoaster tux jacket side on far away
Lil Xxel interview with Rollacoaster tux jacket
Photography
Ashley Osborn
Fashion
Audrey Brianne
LIL XXEL
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