Born in Ohio and raised in North Carolina, Jacksonville emcee, Chox Mak (pronounced Chose -Mack), has been dutifually touring the internet circuit for the last few years. Making a name for himself through solo projects and interviews, Mak has secured his fan base by feverishly dropping new music, almost on the daily, for the last four years. The 29 year old rapper, whose name is short for a personal nickname, Choxen Immakulen, appeared on our radar back in 2010, with the release of his debut mixtape 910over. Since then, he’s teamed up with New Jersey’s own DJ YRS Jerzy for a series of collaborations that are both lyrically intense and sonically pleasing. Check out our exclusive interview, where North Carolina’s choxen one details his journey through his music career, his relationship with AKDJ Jerzy, and his plans for a future in hip hop.
RESPECT: How long have you been making music?
Chox Mak: I wrote my first rhyme when I was 9 years old.I didn’t actually record any material until I was 17. My parents wasn’t feelin my interest in hip hop at a young age.I had to wait till I was able to move around a little more as a teen to start even thinking of pursuin’ music.
How would you describe your sound in four words?
Intelligent, Raw,Versatile, 90sFlow.
When did you first conceive of rapping as a career?
I would say about 3 years ago. I had already been on my journey with hip hop for years before. I was doin’ my thing then though, working and hustling and making pretty good cash so I never really considered putting a hundred percent effort. I just realized one day that I should stop playing wit it and really see what I can do cause the feedback from it just being a hobby was phenomenal. So here we are now.
What part of North Carolina are you from, and what is the music scene like right now over there?
I’m from a little city called Jacksonville; I call it Jax City though. It’s in eastern North Carolina. The music scene has its ups and done it’s not a lot of support either through artists or the public. There was a span of a few months that it was really poppin’ and people, not artists, were packing the spot we rocked at every Thursday. With this being a small town with a lot of beef cops tend to shut down anything dealing witht music due to a couple incidents. So it really fluctuates and will probably bounce back but my main focus is the world, not just my city. But I do love where I’m from and will always rep it nonetheless.
Specifically, what do you think you can bring to North Carolina hip hop that no one else is bringing right now? What makes you different from other rappers repping the south this year?
I think I can bring loyalty if nothing else. I wanna build in Carolina, not blow up and leave. I understand demographics and all that but I feel like Carolina needs a presence constantly that can bring more attention to these other dope artists, singers, producers, whatever. I also feel like I can somewhat do what every artist in the game today can to as far as songs. And better than a few.I believe I’m different from other southern artist because I don’t see lanes. I do what I want. 90sFlow is the movement, but I don’t put myself in the box of just makin’ records hip hop heads wanna hear. If I can relate to the beat and make a dope record I’m gonna do it.
Are you doing any regular shows? Where can people come see you guys?
Yeah I perform from time to time. We are working on doin some more traveling in 2014. Got some charges holding me back right now but we gone make it happen. There’s always a spot to get busy in my city. So if you’re ever out in Jacksonville, NC hit me on twitter and I will set up the last minute show.
Your EP, Audio Murder, dropped last summer. What was your beat selection process like? How long did it take you to finish the writing process? How did you know when the project was finally finished and ready for the public?
We set up Audio Murder wit the joint “1995.” Pushed that as a single for a minute and it started to get some friction. We also put out snippets of the songs so my supporters could check it out. We also got a sponsor thru CrunkAtlanta, shouts to them. I really just told my homie Dr. G to send some heat and that’s what he came up with. I just like to take from a small pile when I do EPs cause it’s a lot easier than doing a mix tape so I try to minimize the recording time as much as possible. I probably recorded Audio Murder in 2 studio visits over about a 2 week period. Dr.G and Bunty Beats are 2 of the most influential producers to my style and really inspire me, so writing to their beats is easy, so I’d probably say it took about 3 weeks all together. I sent it to my manager Jerz and he listened to it a few times, put his finishing touches on it and we dropped. I don’t like to sit on music too long cause I record so much and drop frequently.
I believe that your most recent release before Audio Murder was your EP with Bunty Beats, Life After Def. However, I am not one hundred percent sure, because it is really hard to keep up with your latest releases when you drop music almost every week! What were your last two complete projects before Audio Murder? How are you able to sustain such a high turnout rate for your music without compromising your quality or wearing yourself out?
[laughs]. Before Audio Murder I dropped Nine Eleven Vol.3: The Unexpected, which was pretty much like a compilation of singles I dropped wit a few bonus tracks and snippets. Before that was Death By Design, an all original tape prod by Coatse Beats,a producer from the UK. I just write a lot and read articles on the internet, so I always have ideas racing through my mind and bars. I just feel like if you don’t wanna pay attention I’mma make you pay attention cause I’mma drop so much that its hard to keep up like you said. It’s just a strategy we developed to keep the buzz growing and it’s working out so far so good.
In your opinion, how does the sound on Audio Murder compare to some of your previous works, in terms of your development as an artist?
I think it’s a solid body of work and its versatile. The reason I named it Audio Murder was because I feel like I can take different ideas and express them better than a lot of my competition so I’m killing ’em through music. That’s what I wanted the masses to get from this project and I believe they did. It’s definitely no Boom Bap; I think it’s gonna be hard for me to top that EP ever again.
How do you choose your cover work for all your projects? I really dig the cover art on your tape with Ea$y Prophyt, Choxen Prophys, but it’s still very different from the cover for a lot of your other work.
Really it’s just whatever comes to my mind at the time and I’ll either express it or explain to whoever is doing the graphics for me. That first visual has to be eye catching to make people want to hear the music more. Yea, my homie Baba cooked up The Choxen Prophyts cover. It’s really an expression of me and my bro E@$¥ ‘s personalities. I’m the laid back chill dude, the moon. He’s the turnt-up-to the-max, hyper-all-the-time type, the sun. I gotta give most the credit to Baba. He’s a dope ass graphic artist.
Since summer 2013, you’ve focused on dropping a bunch of really hot singles. In particular, I really like your “Pound Cake” freestyle. Childish Gambino, Migos, Raekwon, and a bunch of other have also jumped on ssome freestyles and remixes on Drake’s track. Why do you think so many people are in love with that beat?
That beat to me is just so subtle and dope at the same time. I think it embodies hip hop from the sample to the drum patterns and the overall melody. The beat definitely spoke to me and I immediately hit Jerz and was like yo send me that pound cake instrumental. I got a pretty good response from that record.
I also really like your single, “NLA”. When was the last time you were in L.A, and what were you working on out there?”
I’ve actually only been in L.A. for about 20 minutes in my whole life [laughs]. On my way to or from Japan as a youngin we had a layover for about 20 minutes in L.A. I actually have a few homies out that way and a few DJs and artists that rock with me. One of my main sponsors, Teruo Artistry, is based out of L.A. But the title actually means “No Lames Allowed.” I just used references to L.A. in the hook as a play on words.
In a lot of your songs, you shout out the #NCtotheUK movement. Can you explain your connection with artists overseas? Do you have any projects about to blow up over there?
I work with a number of UK producers and have a pretty good following over seas. Bunty Beats, Jose Bee, Dr.G, Coatse Beats, B.Line, and Pepsikalisz are all from the UK. I’m actually signed to an indie UK label, Mixkings Records, which is my only affiliation besides SDYP. Me and Bunty have started workin on an LP that should be out summer 2014. Also look out for The Coalition, by Dr.G. I’ll have a few joints up there and he’s got some heavy hitters on that tape. It should drop early 2014.
You just dropped the video for “No Weapons.” What has your experience been like working on your own music videos. Do you always work with Rock Royal Imani Films, and what is your creative relationship like with them? Are there any more music videos you expect to work on in the near future?
It’s been pretty dope to see my visions come to life, so to speak. It’s kinda hard to because I want to keep it so that my videos are getting better and better and have them more planned out; most of them were planned last minute. I’ve been knowin Rock for a minute on a professional level and as one of the homies and he does good work but I am going to be working with some new videographers in the next few months. I plan on dropping at least 2 videos a month in 2014 so expect a lot more visuals.
Any other kinds of projects we should be on the look out for now?
I have a few projects in the works, but the main focus right now is Cross Colours and Starter Jackets. It’s gonna be an all 90s instrumental tape hosted by DJ YRS Jerzy as always. I’mma take you on a trip back to the era I grew up in that really began my love for hip hop. That’s all I can say about it for now. Be on the look out for plenty EPs and singles in 2014.
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