Lyrix Anthony, 21, and Koncept Jack$on, 22, are next up to take the crown as the best MCs out of Richmond. The West End and Southside natives respectively, have been good friends since elementary school and between them they have over five projects to include a collab album called Koncepts & Lyricism (2012). We were able to sitdown with both Lyrix and Kon, here is what they had to say:
Q: When did y’all start rhyming? When did y’all start taking it seriously?
LA: For me it came about 5th grade, that was like 9-10 years old. I remember performing at a family member’s friend’s house; this was before we knew each other by the way. I started taking it serious when I realized I had that power that people will stop what they are doing and listen to you. That power comes with a little bit of responsibility, word to my n***a Spiderman.
KJ: At the time I was moving from New Jersey, going into my 4th grade year, that summer I realized I started getting into songs; I was doing poetry before. You know, I was putting my own spin to songs you would hear on the radio. Particularly, I started hanging at my great-aunt’s house and then there was my older cousin, his name is Mike Hughes. He used to be on that spittin’ s**t this was back when n****s had the karaoke mic and plug it up to the computer and do it like that. That s**t used to sound horrible. He used to have me listen to the music you couldn’t listen to around your mom, like Jay Z, The Lox, and the Ruff Ryders, he was on everything. So you know, n****s was just being a product of that environment. I recorded my first song when I was in 7th grade. I remember he [Hughes] had a whole ITunes database full of beats and two big old iPods full of beats. I remember after I made my first track I said, “This s**t felt good, I need to keep doing this s**t.” N****s was f*****g with it too, I let them listen to them.
LA: I was from the West End, you know, I went to the Henrico schools and they gave us laptops. So I would take them and go home and use the little Xbox USB headset to record; that s**t sounded horrible. The moment I took it serious was when it [his music] was in the teacher’s Dropbox. I remember getting on the bus and people who heard my songs from there were like, “Yo this joint fire, come sit next to me!”
Lyrix Anthony & Koncept Jack$on
Q: What was the names of y’all’s first projects?
LA: My first project came my sophomore year of high school, I was 14-15 when I was making it and 16 when it dropped. It was called When Lightning Strikes Twice. I was slinging them joints in high school making bank during the fall. You know, I made a whole lot of them, my mom helped me a lot. From there I told myself, if you really wanna do this you really gotta do it because you can’t half-ass it out here. I remember we [him and Koncept] linked up through a mutual friend a little before I dropped my project, at least a year or two prior. So, mine dropped November 13th, and his [Koncept] dropped the following summer. After our solo mixtapes, we did a collab one in 2012, the Koncepts & Lyricism mixtape, it’s still out there. After that dropped, I went to school in Philly; Temple University. Then while we were waiting on his [Koncept] to drop, I came back from school a year ago and started working on the album and dropped it in November of last year.
KJ: Talking in My Sleep was my first one and that was 2010.
Q: When did Making You Think come about?
LA: Making You Think deals with everything that we do. I mean you’ve gotta live but if you think about what you are doing before you do it, just think how much better would the world be. You’ve just gotta think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, you’ve gotta own it.
Q: Describe y’all's rap styles.
LA: I feel like I’m really about the wordplay. You can freak it man, and rhyme, and if you put thought into it too, man. A lot of people have some of it but not all of it. I just try to put my all into every line, I will never give you a bulls**t line. I just try to go in and try to prove my point as a spitta. I love old school, grimy, going in. That’s what I came up on as far as listening to hip-hop.
KJ: I always grew up off the authentic s**t, the nostalgic s**t. I feel like that’s where my style derived from. I wasn’t like, “I want to be a 90’s rapper,” but that’s just the s**t I listened to. That’s the s**t that influenced me and you know I just wanted to make my twist to that s**t. My s**t is also storytelling and also heavy wordplay. You don’t want to ever waste a line. I also really put in work with the hooks too, I really think that’s important.
Q: What does Operation Liv Lav mean?
KJ: When I was at NSU, I was coming from a time when we used to record every weekend at the West End. At NSU, I had no way to record. There was a studio there but I was only able to record like once a month. At that time, I was listening to beats and vibing to them s**ts. I had all this s**t ready but nowhere to record it. Also, I was trying to figure out what the goal for me was being in school. I was like, “Did I want to be a teacher? Or whatever the f**k I’m here for. But what do I want to do?” I was struggling between what my family and parents wanted me to do and what I wanted to do. It might sound foolish to everybody but the operation was to be living lavish. I had to live my dreams.
As far as the album, this is the response I wanted to get. I did not want to drop it and have like two people retweet and say “Yo, I f****d with it!” I did want that s**t to be blasting among the masses. My man Oct was behind that s**t, he’s probably the most connected man in Richmond. Shoutout to Octavion and Cain!
Koncept Jack$on's LP, Operation LIV LAV
Q: What clicked to make y’all decide you didn’t want to go to college?
LA: I found myself every day, if I’m going to class, I was on my phone studying this s**t [hip-hop]. Being a rapper is more than just recording and putting songs out. If you really are a rapper, you’re in love with this s**t. I just found myself drowning in that and paying school no mind. You know I was waking up every morning thinking about people I aspire to be like Pac and Big. I often thought, “I’m almost 21. What was Pac doing at 21?” He wasn’t sitting behind a desk everyday and doing homework. He was out here seeing the world. So, I knew it was time and I feel like school, whether is four years or however long it takes, will always be there. So I feel it’s time right now.
KJ: The moment I realized I wanted to stop f*****g with school was when I would literally wake up every morning and the first thing I would do is go on my laptop and just play beats. I would just freestyle and start writing to them. I remember I would lose track of time and by the time my first class came around I was still spitting. I was like, “Damn, I’m really in this s**t.” I remember my roommate would hear a beat and be like “Damn, you need to go in on this s**t.” By then, I’d be like, “Damn, I’m not even going to class, f**k this s**t and go to Chic-Fil-A and get something to eat and then come back to this [music].” After a while, I was just like f**k this s**t, I’m going back to Richmond.
LA: Nas, Lupe, Kanye, Kon, and Biggie. But I didn’t grow up listening to rap, my pops always used to listen to jazz. I didn’t get into it till the 4th or 5th grade because of my cousin.
KJ: Jay-Z, Big L, Eminem, Nas, and Biggie.
LA: Some rappers, even today and it’s sad, come out and don’t really represent their city. I feel like when rap first came out it was like, “We’re over here with it, South Bronx, we’re over here with it in Queens.” It was like you rep where you’re from. Then, it spread out to Atlanta, Philly, but Richmond ain’t on yet. I just want to represent myself and my city.
For more information on Koncept Jack$on and Lyrix Anthony, click the following links: