Rapper Wax Loses Def Jam Deal, Regains His Mojo
See also: Rapper Wax on 'Rosana' and Little Mamacitas Who Don't Play
Recently L.A. rapper Wax told us about his Internet-generated fame, the raunchy hit video for "Rosana," and being signed to Def Jam. But even more recently he had surprising news: he's parted ways with the label, after being on it for about a year year. (His widely-watched YouTube video announcement is below.)
In our conversation this time around he is unexpectedly upbeat. "I don't care about fame and money as much as I care about making cool music," he claims. Our interview is below.
What happened with Def Jam?
I'd been signed to them for a while, and I've been working on songs. They really wanted me to make a radio single. You know, I gave them songs I thought were singles, but the last batch of songs, they didn't believe in. So they dropped me.
Was it a shock to you when you were dropped from the label?
No. I was happy. I was hoping that it would happen, actually.
Why didn't the label think "Rosana" was a hit, even with all the YouTube views and radio play?
The day after I put the "Rosana" video out, I signed the paper that I was no longer with them. I don't know why they didn't believe in it.
The video was released in July. Were you dropped from the record label when I interviewed you last?
Well, in a sense, I was lying to you last time. We hadn't released the info yet.
Why did it take you so long to break the news?
I was making sure what I could and couldn't say. I was actually thinking you would be the person to break it, but then I thought the best way to do it was to sit in front of a camera and tell the fucking truth to my fans. Did you think you were the jinx? [Laughs].
I was hoping that I wasn't. How have your fans reacted?
They've been positive. They just want me to put out more shit. A lot of my fans never thought this shit was right for me anyway. They never thought I should have been on a major label.
Did the reps at the label work with you to try to make a hit single?
They were putting me in with songwriters that were known to make hits. The songs I was making with these people was stuff they would write for some 16-year-old pop star kid. Most of the things they wanted me to do were gay. I just wasn't into it.
So they wanted you to change your style significantly?
They wanted stuff that sounded more like the music on the radio, but everyone wanted something different. Even they don't know what they want. People meet you and you bring them one of two songs, and they think they know who you are. This one time, this dude was in the studio, and I was in the recording booth. I was going to layer a harmony over this thing that I sang. And he was like, "No, Wax doesn't sing harmonies." That was the first day that I met him.
Did you tell him off?
In my head I thought, "I give up." That's how that session went. I didn't get anything out of it.