After taking a semester off to focus on studio sessions and live performances back home in Southern California, local rapper INDYXHILL has returned to the University of Nevada, Reno. This experience inspired his new tape Back 2 College, released in September.
INDYXHILL, born Xavier Ze’Jour Wilson, only started taking music seriously last year, becoming a part of L.A. rap collective Black Hoody Family.
He took cues from gangster rappers like Drakeo and Blueface. “I was trying to be YG, make something girls would shake their ass to,” Wilson said. “Then I started playing with my voice a little better.”
Although he enjoys the new wave of SoundCloud rap, he doesn’t identify with that genre. “If you actually take the time and listen to my shit, I’m not mumbling,” he said. “I actually have real bars. … I respect mumble rap because I like the sound, and I love how they’re trying to do something different. … I respect the old shit, too. That’s why I try to place myself right in the middle.”
Indy recorded Back 2 College in studios throughout North Hollywood, including Neighborhood Watch, Red Rooms and The Spot—where popular artists like Post Malone record. EQ of Atlantic Records engineered the tape. Glossy trap beats came from producers such as Cormell, Captain Crunch Beats and Adam22.
“I just go in there and have fun with it,” he said. “Now that I’m more comfortable, the music is sounding way better. I’ve never received so much love.”
The tape features songs college students might find relatable, with titles like “Sorority Girl” and “Fell in Love with My Professor.” The latter, a banger with a Bay Area bounce, is an autobiographical tale about a professor he liked.
“She was so bad, bruh,” Wilson said. “Halfway through the semester she came to class and announced that she was pregnant. And I was like, ’Damn, if she only knew.’ I mean, I’ll still hit her up later sometime.”
A couple of songs take a more serious turn. “Blxck” discusses drugs as a coping mechanism for depression or an “escape plan.” “Sadder Days (Rip)” laments the passing of two friends. Indy has visuals dropping for these two tracks, on which he collaborated with fellow UNR student Conner Young. Currently pursuing a business marketing degree, Indy thinks of everything on a marketing level.
“Heartbreaker” features fellow Reno rapper Lil Traffic. The pair performed together at the Holland Project on Sept. 7, at Racktoberfest on Oct. 12, and they opened for Skizzy Mars at Jub Jub’s on Oct. 19, and played a show in Boise on Oct. 21. They currently have a collaborative EP in the works.
“Indy, deadass, my brother,” Lil Traffic said. “He’s a great guy and easily one of the most talented musicians I know. I feel like him and I can do so much for the city. We really locked in like that.”
In the future, INDYXHILL wants to work with artists like Yung Bans, Lil Baby, Rich the Kid and Famous Dex. Although he misses home in L.A., he’s glad he came back to school in the Biggest Little City.
“Over the summer I was having fun doing all these shows, but I honestly missed school,” Wilson said. “Because it’s fun down there, but it’s a different type of fun. It’s boujee fun. Up here it’s more college sloppy—everyone’s just having a great time.”