XP's Unstoppable Rise World Tours, The Unusuals, Macklemore, and Beyond

XP’s Unstoppable Rise: World Tours, The Unusuals, Macklemore, and Beyond

6 mins read
XP's Unstoppable Rise World Tours, The Unusuals, Macklemore, and

Today, we sit down with Tyler XP Andrews, aka Xperience, and dig deep into the roots of his steady rise and plans for the future. Let’s dive right in.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey from being raised in the church in Detroit to becoming a prominent R&B musician and rapper touring the world? How has your background shaped your artistic identity and the stories you tell in your music?

I started playing the drums for my church at a very young age. The drummer would give me a pair of sticks, and I would sit on the floor behind him and beat on the floor. One day he didn’t show up, and my mother was like, “Tyler can play!” I had to be about eight years old, and I was like, I can?! But I did. Fast forward to East Chicago, IN. I was playing the drums for New Ebenezer Baptist Church as well, until one day, they found out I could sing a little bit. So they assigned me a lead solo called “Live in Me Jesus”. Singing it meant I had to get off the drums, and I did not want to. I would literally ignore the organ player playing the intro over and over. But eventually, I would get up and sing. It’s funny because that’s how it kind of was when I started singing RnB. I had been rapping and just wanted to rap until Mack convinced me to sing on his first album. A song called “Hold Your Head Up”. Since then, I’ve been more comfortable with singing and have released two singing projects.

Your music often combines elements of R&B and hip-hop. What draws you to these genres, and how do they influence your songwriting?

I’m a big fan of both. A couple of my biggest inspirations in hip-hop are Pharoah Monch and Royce da 5’9. As far as RnB goes, it’s got to be Bilal and D’Angelo. They’ve always had this grimey aspect to the way they create RnB. I’m always trying to be original, but I also try to be all of these guys rolled into one haha. Keyword “TRY”. People who care that much about lyrics seem to be far, and few these days, so I’m still trying to keep that element of lyricism alive. I’m also a big fan of old-school RnB—the Temptations, AL Green, and The Isley Brothers, just to name a few. So you will definitely find some homage to them when I’m creating.

Tell us more about your latest project, THE UNUSUALS, and what sets it apart from your previous work.

This project is some of the best writing I’ve ever done. I had to step it up since, on the other side of the tracks, is one of the craziest emcees ever. Not to mention one of my Best friends, JFK, also known as Ninjaface. We have no expectations for this project; we literally just want to rap better than everybody. You can’t tell us we didn’t. We really pushed each other to be more creative with how we construct verses, come up with bars, etc. We are playing with formulas, making new ones, and just having fun. There’s a real spiritual side to this album that I’m sure people will pick up on. We are definitely choosing sides here. We speak a lot about where we came from and, as Jay would put it, all the “nefarious” shit we’ve done. But we know how we got here and why we are still alive, and we have no problem crediting God.

You’re very busy with constant touring & recording. How do you balance your solo career and the collaborations?

I’m constantly writing on my phone. Even when there’s nothing to work on, I’m writing. We have been posting weekly verses on our IG (@Two_Unusuals) to get people familiar with our new group. But balancing it all seems simple right now: music is life. I was only singing backup vocals on this last tour with Macklemore, so I had plenty of time to knock out some weeklies. I had finished The Unusuals project before the tour started, luckily. As far as solo stuff goes, my last album was in 2020. Usually, after everything calms down and I get bored, I start to think about my solo stuff. I think that times rolling around again.

How did your initial collaboration with Macklemore on “The Language of My World” come about, and how has it impacted your career?

He was going to college in Olympia, WA. We debate on how we first met, but it was because of hip-hop. Pretty sure we both opened a show, and we were like, “Damn, you’re filthy!”. We became good friends, and eventually, he asked me to help work on his first album. As I mentioned earlier, this is where he convinced me to start singing more. So there are songs on there like “Good for You” and “Hold Your Head Up”. The latter is still some people’s favorite song to this day, I think, because it has such a positive message. Today, people still come up to us and tell us how that song saved their lives. A reminder of why I do this. Your contributions to Macklemore’s “The Heist” and “Gemini” have earned you multiple gold and platinum certifications.

What was it like working on those projects, and how do you feel about the success they achieved?

Those albums were a lot of work! But it paid off. A lot of days sitting in his basement, out at his second home in the woods somewhere, or flying down to LA to work. But we had so much fun working on those albums. He trusts me enough to tell him, “Nah, that ain’t it,” as well as putting the responsibility of coming up with hooks for such big songs in my hands. I actually was nervous a lot; like, damn, I hope he fux with this, haha! We never really went into it like, “This one is it, it’s bout to be huge!”. We more-or-less were just having fun and wanted to create good music, it turns out many people agreed with us.

Being integral to Macklemore’s music and worldwide tours must be an incredible experience. The shows and crowds are massive. What is it like to perform at that level?

I get more nervous singing one-on-one. When the crowds are that big, the energy emanating from them is unbelievable. You just want more of it, like a drug. One time, we played in front of 100,000 people. That was like playing for a giant organism. It felt like one big blob of love. You kind of lose yourself and just be free—one of the best feelings in the world.

What are your thoughts on the music industry’s current state, especially in the Pacific Northwest, and how do you feel that it has evolved since you first started?

Music is in a weird place right now. Don’t get me wrong, I love some artists of this generation. But I think it’s getting harder and harder to find the originality one needs to become inspired, which is probably why I just listen to Afrobeats constantly. As far as the PNW, there’s so much talent. Unfortunately, everybody has a friend who makes music, and they have no time to support YOU haha. This is why I tell people you have to travel outside of your comfort zone and build a fan base that is universal.

What advice would you give emerging artists trying to establish themselves in the music industry?

Be yourself, and be original. Work and travel as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to take risks. I think that was my problem. I tried to adhere to a formula I thought everyone would like. The moment I let that go is the moment I created some of my favorite work.

How do you stay healthy, both mentally and physically, on those long tours? Any tips you can share with our

Boy, it’s hard. There’s good ass food everywhere we go! But you have to stay mindful of what you eat. DRINK MORE WATER. Usually, if we stop for a day off, we get a hotel. That’s when we have the time to hit the gym. I wish I were more motivated, but I be tired! Haha. I try, though; I get a good pump in every once in a while. I’ve always been pretty strong mentally, and sometimes I’m the rock for other people going through something mentally. I have no problem with this since I just want to see people smiling and having a good time. That’s one of the things I was blessed with. It takes a lot to break me.

Finally, what’s next for you, and what message would you like to convey to your fans and listeners through your music and your journey as an artist?

What’s next is dropping this Unusuals album on yall head! If anything, people will be impressed with what we have to say and how we said it. But stay tuned; I’m far from done. I feel like the sky is the limit; I simply just have to choose what I want to create next. That’s the hard part. But trust, I will create. I must. God willing.

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