Freshman rapper, EX (sometimes known as ‘E Sex’), uses themes of freedom, moral ambguity, and the relentless pursuit of one’s dreams to paint a dark picture for audiences. The picture painted could be described as a Noir, but with brightly colored highlights that accent and contrast the dark overbearing shadows that are the foundation from which it is built upon. Coming off of his debut EP “Spooky Boi,” which generated thousands of plays on Soundcloud with little to no promotion, EX’s new work is markedly lighter, featuring the entrancing and groovy hit single “Slip Away” along with an accompanying video that exhibits colorful vapor-wave noir inspired visuals and dance moves.
The song and video are the precursor to EX’s upcoming tape “Manic Demon Dream Boy,” which takes the themes of “Spooky Boi” and further delves into the psyche of EX. Whereas “Spooky Boi” was a deconstruction of the various mental states and tribulations of an artist, “Manic Demon Dream Boy” looks to explore the aftermath of the artist’s self-discovery and the mental states associated with that. An inversion of the classic ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ trope, EX’s version explores similar themes of the rebuking of fake energy and the imposed beliefs of others. EX looks to defy expectations, and his song “Slip Away” does just that, with its dramatic tonal shift mid-song.
“I think they fear what I’ll become:” EX’s opening words on “Slip Away” speak volumes of his direction. The fear of change is in an integral mood that recurs throughout the work of EX, that I think many artists can relate to, in many ways. It is not always the artist who fears change, but also those around them. The dangers of imposed beliefs and breaking away from those stigma to allow yourself to just authentically be, is perhaps always characteristic of the artist’s journey of self-discovery, and EX explores this dynamic through music in a unique way that only he could.