Producer Lex Luger Talks First Instrumental Album, Going EDM on 'Low Pros' EP with A-Trak & 808 Mafia Beef Rumors

Lex Luger

Smoked Out Luger is back in business. Since producing Waka Flocka Flame’s inescapable 2010 smash “Hard In The Paint” and “H.A.M” for Kanye West and Jay Z's 2011 joint effort Watch The Throne, master of the boards Lex Luger became a recluse for nearly five years to nurture his sound and spend more quality time with his daughters.

The 2016 version of the Virginia producer (née Lexus Lewis) is more embracing of the spotlight. First, Luger pulled “Bake Sale” out of the oven for Wiz Khalifa and Travis Scott, which appeared on the former's recently released Khalifa project. Then he loaded up “Let It Bang” for A$AP Ferg and ScHoolboy Q for the Harlem rapper's forthcoming sophomore studio effort Always Strive and Prosper. 

Now, Luger has released his first instrumental album, The Lex Luger Experience Vol. 1 and even rolled out an EDM project dubbed Low Pros alongside DJ/producer A-Trak. Other members of 808 Mafia (the hit-making collective that includes Lex, TM88 and Southside among others) have become huge successes, causing rumors of in-house animosity. Here, Billboard plays catch up with Luger, who explains his hiatus, dabbling in EDM, and his standing with 808 Mafia.

Billboard: Will we see Juicy J's Rubba Band Business 3 mixtape? You've been on the low for a while now.

Lex Luger: I just took time to spend time with my family. I have two girls and I wanted to just be with them for a change. Also I took more time to find myself, find my sound and perfect my sound. It helped me refine my vision and think down the road ten, twenty years… focusing on the legacy. I stepped back and focused on the image I was giving out. I was happy with [my sound] but A-Trak reached out to me and showed me whole different world of producers and DJs, linking up and making music and collaborating doing EDM.

So Rubba Band Business 3 is in the works.

Yeah, we’re trying to make it an EP and not a mixtape. It’s difficult working with the label and getting them to understand it but we steady working anyway so it’s definitely going to happen. “No English,” his new single with Travis is the first single off the project. Right now, though, we’re just going to take our time and perfect it.

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How did the A$AP Ferg and ScHoolboy Q "Let It Bang" collaboration happen?

Ferg was in Virginia. Me and Razajah went to elementary school together. HighDefRazajah made the intro on Ferg’s last album for those that don’t know so [he] hit me up and said, 'Ferg is here.' I pulled up to the studio and played Ferg some beats. I played him that “Let It Bang” beat and he was like “That one. That’s the one.” He went in and knocked it out in a few hours. I didn’t know Q was on it until I heard Ferg’s album. That just added that much more to the song.

What about the “Bake Sale” record? How did that come about?

That came about through Juicy. He called me and said he wanted to get to work on this EP. We don’t put much thought into it we just boom, get to work. We started working last year, just exchanging ideas back and forth while we’re doing other records. He played that [“Bake Sale”] record and they said that they wanted spice up beat a bit. Soon as I heard it I knew it was a smash. And it was done literally it was just perfecting it. Once me and TM [TM88] hopped on it we added that element it needed. But Spinz is still in the credits… Juicy, Crazy Mike too.

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Let’s go back to EDM. Low Pros with A-Trak was an interesting turn of events.

Yeah it was. A-Trak DMed me then called me up saying he wanted to link while he was in ATL. I had moved from ATL back home to VA. But I came down to see him in Atlanta and it was a collision. We were able to collide two cultures together. I’m happy with the project and sound of it. It definitely pushed the limits of sound.

You just dropped your first instrumental album.

Yeah it’s called Lex Luger Experience Vol. 1. It’s an instrumental album like you said. It’s like stepping into EDM shit but it’s really giving artists an opportunity to get beats from there and not blow up my email. Producers can learn off that tape too. KinoBeats, HighDefRazajah, UrBoyBlack and Trama all collaborated with me on it.

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What’s up with 808 Mafia?

They’re my homies.

Would you consider yourself a founding member?

Well, there was a lot of us… There was Southside, TM, Slug. it was a lot of us that came up with that idea. It was a sound we created in our environment. I can’t take credit for being a founding member.

There's always rumors of beef.

Yeah, I hate that shit. We all cool. Those are my homies. Was just in LA with [Metro Boomin]. I was talking to Southside on the phone as he was going to Hawaii. I asked him why he’s going to Hawaii and he said, 'You know the area code in Hawaii is 808 right?'