Few rappers have had as many diss tracks pointed at them as Young Lex, and even less so this early in their careers. The Indonesian artist doesn't really care, to be honest.
"Opinion is opinion," he says. "People can think and say whatever they want about me, and so can I. There's no right or wrong. Everybody has their own point of view, and I never regret whatever I've said."
Most of the criticism is pointed at his brutally frank lyrics, his unapologetic attitude when it's his turn to speak his mind, and oddly enough, the way he dresses.
But it's exactly these qualities that have shot him to stardom so quickly, and they're the reasons why artists like Akwarin, Gamaliel, Reza Oktovian, and Afrogie have been lining up with collab with him, earning more than 100 million combined views on YouTube for their videos—so clearly, Young Lex is doing something right.
Turns out, he'd been doing something right since long before he got on the mic.
Growing up as a teen along Gang Bocor, an alley in Jakarta locals liken to the Bronx for the sheer density of its population, Lex always knew that he was destined for greatness. Music was a major part of his lifestyle, and the drive to earn a living making what he loved led to some pretty interesting jobs.
He knew that entering the music industry in Indonesia was going to be tough. He also knew that he needed money to cut a studio demo, so he sold tickets at a cinema, peddled coconut ice, and worked as an office boy — the experience eventually serving as the inspiration for his track 'Office Boy' — among other things.
During Lex's turn on the mic at Yo! MTV Raps, you could feel the fire in his performance as he spat out line after line of rising up from doing grunt work at the office to rocking the stage as a rapper, all with the swagger of someone who always knew he'd make it big.
After all that hustling, Lex cut the demo, met the producer who'd help him find his name, and soon enough, his career shot off. But unlike other up-and-comers who were generally embraced at the get-go, Lex's start was met with controversy.
Other artists were vocal about their distaste for Lex — and out of a diss aimed at Indonesian hip-hop icon Iwa K, came a flurry of diss tracks from other rappers like Saykoji and Gerry Xaqhala — rife with accusations that he was generating controversy to fuel his climb to fame.
What they never really noticed, however, was how his music connected with his listeners.
"Usually, the critics just judge me from my work or whatever without doing their research properly," he shares. "They don't see things as a whole, or they're never a part of it. I tell honest, actual stories like breaking news; stories that most people experience. It's never a composed type of story."
Songs like 'Office Boy', 'O Aja Ya Kan', and 'Kunci' are all drawn from Lex's own life, and it's because of how candid his lyrics are that everyone can relate — they've all gone through the same thing.
That grit and realism, and the bluntness with which Lex delivers, are why he's one of Indonesia's most promising young rappers.
Young Lex feels that he doesn't have anything to prove to the critics — don't expect an apology from him anytime soon either.
— Marco Sumayao