Song of the Week: "New Fragrance" - Lxnny

In his first self-produced release since 2022, the Charlotte emcee/producer takes a break from his usual indulgences. Mostly.

Song of the Week: "New Fragrance" - Lxnny

In a social media post earlier this week announcing his latest song, "New Fragrance," the Charlotte-based emcee/producer/mixing engineer Lxnny shared a mantra that will presumably guide his release schedule over the months to come: “We not holding onto music this year.” It was a bold statement of intent, albeit a curious one, given that, well... Lxnny doesn't seem to have much of a problem with holding onto music. In fact, he might just be one of the most prolific, freely-sharing hip-hop acts in the state.

To dig even an inch below the surface of his catalog, however, is to invite a certain cognitive dissonance: while the Raleigh-raised artist has never gotten the same shine or accolades as many contemporaries from the underground NC scene, his music nevertheless has the tendency of sounding not just on par with those peers, but at times, a cut above. Listen blindfolded to his 2023 EPs, Mango Sherbet and Pantera GT5-S — no peeking at modern-day contextual info like Views, Follows and Monthly Listeners allowed — and it really isn't hard to imagine you're listening to a buzzy, offbeat artist from Kansas City with an UPROXX 20 interview under their belt and an EP with Alchemist or Kenny Beats on the way.

The Kansas City part is true, actually (he lived there between Raleigh and Charlotte), but the other stuff has yet to materialize. In the meantime, Lxnny has dutifully laced up his kicks and put in the work — alongside a melange of contributors familiar to any Triangle hip-hop fan, from Ace Henderson to Newman to TheDeeepEnd — churning out no less than four full-length albums and five EPs since 2019.

With an eye for evocative art direction and an appetite for refined, velvet-upholstered samples (see: the spare, hypnotic keys of "Black Countach," the twirling flute runs on "Emril Lagasse," the triumphant soul glow of "Half a Zip"), Lxn has cut himself firmly from the cashmere cloth of unhurried, esoteric luxury rappers before him (sports cars, jet-setting, pop culture, video games), combining the colorful opulence of Westside Gunn with earlier, less dangerous forebears of the discipline like Curren$y and Sir Michael Rocks. From lines like "You can't fathom it, like Nate blockin' Yao/ but it happened, bitch, and I'm only really tellin' half of it..." ("Half a Zip") to "the Bentley is needed, the clothes are Parisian, might book a whole month at the Seasons..." ("Parisian Fabrics"), the references are both everyman and otherworldly, relatable and outrageous, irresistibly fun and irredeemably excessive.

On “New Fragrance,” those gaudy, free-associative lines are conspicuously absent, or at least greatly subdued, for good reason. With Lxnny looking back on life in his 20's ("I'm gettin' better with age, now we remember them days"), they're replaced instead by solitary, staccato bursts of Zen-like aphorisms, seemingly more direct than his usual style and yet still highly interpretive at the same time:

“I stepped on the Earth for a reason,
We all look the same when we bleedin’,
Respect can turn quickly to treason…” 

Wistful, sober, and stripped of the usual accoutrements, Lxn's words here would feel out of place if forced up against the plush, grand soundscapes that anchor most of his archive. The solution — an ethereal haze that remains in the background from start to finish — was provided by Lxnny himself. (That's what he meant about "not holding onto music," by the way: "New Fragrance" is the first self-produced song he's released in two years.)

It's a welcome and refreshing sound for the almost-30-year-old producer and emcee — one that he'll hopefully balance going forward with the other proficiencies already in his toolkit. After all, everybody grows and evolves with time. But some of us never grow tired of expertly delivered raps about marble slabs, Parisian fabrics, flights to Argentina and appearances in the NBA Skills Challenge. 


“Fire Emoji” - Deniro Farrar

Still, without question, one of the best voices in all of rap. Video dropped three weeks ago, but for those who want to download the song, it just went up on streaming platforms this past week.

“Big Bank” - Reuben Vincent 

The latest single from Jamla's youngest member, leaning hard into West African lingo and style. For more on the influences on this one, as well as his previous single, "FUFU," follow his IG.

“A Few Grand” - Madrique 

Madrique as consistent as ever, still doing the damn thing from Raleigh. Need that lime green-and-blue basketball jersey. The video for "A Few Grand" is hot off the presses, just dropped yesterday.

LAteNoticE EP - yngART  

The first-ever EP from Raeford-born, Charlotte-raised YngART, longtime collaborator and creative partner with TheDeeepEnd, is a real treat — especially this first song, "you & I." Check it out via YouTube above, or on Apple Music.


20 track album

Turich Benjy may be based in Cincinatti, Ohio, but that doesn't mean we can't post him — not when multiple songs on his new album come from NC's own Michaelxwhite! Check out the whole album (exclusively on Bandcamp), but these two tracks especially:

“Sparkz (In The Air)” - Turich Benjy
“Overnight Celebrities” - Turich Benjy ft. Siri Imani, Fly Anakin

“Can’t Lack” (Video) - Jaythehbk

Fun video for "Can't Lack," from the Durham-based singer's January 2024 album, Character Development.

That's all for this week, y'all. See you next time — same day, same place. And before we go, big thank you to our co-publishing partner The INDY and Sarah Edwards for putting the Friday roundup in front of more eyeballs than ever before — they'll be putting this post up on their site later today as well. If you want to support their mission of providing quality journalism to the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, joining the press club is the best way to do it. Peace!