When melodic hip-hop artists Bino Rideaux and BLXST (pronounced Blast) enter their release party on July 16 for Sixtape 2, their presence is commanding, however, both humbleness and pride cloak their celebrity status. Hosted at the Ace Theater in Downtown Los Angeles, industry peers, and fans of both artists flocked to enjoy what happened to be some attendees first live-listening experience since the COVID-19 pandemic enforced an ongoing shutdown of social activities in the spring of 2020.
Smino, RMR, Burna Boy, and more were all in the building to enjoy the scenery, and new music from two of Los Angeles’ rising stars. Heavy weed aromas danced around the smell of fresh popcorn prepared for guests to consume while watching the mini-film. As the theater seats began to fill, and time 8:30 PM call-time had passed, the lights dimmed and the stars of the night entered, walking down the aisle through a hushed crowd to sturdy velvet seats. Direct Devin, director and editor took the stage thanking the attendees to heavy applause.
The short, yet effective film highlighted not only the history of Bino Rideaux and BLXST’s creative relationship, but offered an intimate behind-the-scenes look at the recording process, and how the two artists centered their Los Angeles experiences with the release of Sixtape 2.
Afterward screening the film, guests were welcomed by small plates of sliders and spring rolls, plus a ticketed bar serving up “Movie” margaritas and “One Of Them Ones” gin cocktails for the lively crowd. Both artists can be seen smiling, mingling with the people and enjoying the fruits of their labor, opposed to being secluded in a VIP section as DJPHILLIP ran their newest release.
The original Sixtape released in 2019, was the result of both artists tag-teaming each other’s creative endeavors. BLXST would send beats and Bino Rideaux would add verses and return the music. When what would become the song “Savage” was delivered with BLXST vocals, his peer was intrigued, before even knowing whose voice it was that piqued his attention.
“I heard BLXST…I would hear his beats,” Bino Rideaux remembered of the two musicians’ early interactions in conversation with VIBE before the evening festivities kicked off. “I tapped in with him and at the time, I’m not even knowing he was an artist, you know. I’m just knowing him as a producer. So, he would send me packs and I [would] do my thing. We developed that kind of relationship. One day he sent me a joint with some vocals on it and I’m like shit hard as hell, ‘who is this?’ And he’s like ‘that’s me’ just humble, you know what I’m saying? I forgot type shit. I’m like man is crazy bro.”
This digital interaction between BLXST and Bino went beyond that first track. As they continued to swap files, their first collaborative mixtape was born.
Bino continued, “So we just started doing that seamlessly back and forth, he’d send me vocals and I sent it right back [and] vice versa. Before we knew it, we had six songs. I’m like, man that’s enough for a tape. We gon’ call this Sixtape. And we put it out there and it did what it did.”
Now, three years later, the two remain connected as their respective territories expand. Bino Rideaux and BLXST have both grown to different stages in life, career, with widened audiences and demand for music both in and outside of Los Angeles since they released the first Sixtape.
Both genre-bending musicians have been active, building loyal fandoms and rising profiles for years. Before Sixtape brought the pair together, Bino Rideaux recorded his 2015 project Life Is Like A Movie in a self-made studio in his grandmother’s home. The South Central native continued to build his audience, garnering the attention of Nipsey Hussle before they collaborated in 2017. Post Sixtape, he released his full-length debut Outside, in 2020, which featured the likes of Ty Dolla $ign, Fredo Bang, Mozzy, and BlueBucksClan. Bino Rideaux has also signed with Def Jam in partnership with Out The Blue, the label he co-founded, and has released a handful of singles alongside Sixtape 2 so far this year.
For BLXST, his career also goes back to 2015, working with names such as Kendrick Lamar, YG, Eric Bellinger, Mustard, G Perico, and Mozzy behind-the-scenes. Although he and Bino’s 6-track package in 2019 put him on the radar of many, 2020 served as his breakout year for him as an artist, with his solo EP No Love Lost and the follow-up deluxe edition adding the likes of none other than Bino Rideaux, as well Dom Kennedy, Ty Dolla $ign. He earned a spot on XXL’s 2021 Freshman List and released tickets to a headlining tour which sold out several dates immediately.
Sixtape 2 was officially released July 16, 2021, and doubled the six songs on the first edition. The new songs add to a familiar story present on the initial drop—BLXST and Bino Rideaux are determined to succeed, have fun and look fly in the process, and refuse to be deterred by lingering lust or hidden agendas.
On songs such as “Pop Out,” and “Movie” the first two tracks, the two are blissful bullies, singing delicate threats that they may f*ck up your plans or be responsible for the time of your life. The tracklist progresses to include more heartfelt R&B leaning songs with catchy hooks and edgy lyrics. From song no. four “Program,” to song no. eight “She Perfect” and closing with “Beginning To The End” BLXST and Bino reflect on their South Central upbringing and their desired dividends from life and romance.
If you ask either which track is their favorite, their answer may change depending on the day. This time, BLXST offered “Might Do Well”, while Bino decided on “Stressful”. As for myself, I added “Hate How Much” to the conversation. Standing at track seven, the boastfulness of “Hate How Much” is an instant confidence booster.
“It’s funny. That’s one of the songs we made kind of back in that era, it’s from a while ago. A lot of this music is new music where we came together was like, ‘let’s build this project.’ But that’s one of the ones that stuck out from what like…that’s like a year ago.” Bino shared of “Hate How Much.” “That’s just really us in our bag, vibing out on the track, not overthinking.”
“I’ma have to say “Might Do Well.” I love that vibe because it’s like..it just felt like when you close your eyes, you just feel like you had a barbecue two-steppin’ with your loved ones. It puts you in that energy,” BLXST said of his song choice.
“I say mine is ‘Stressful.’ That’s what I was trying to say earlier,” Bino Rideaux laughed. During the interview before VIBE’s, the track title briefly slipped his mind. “‘Stressful’, it’s just like… it’s a slower vibe, but it’s such a vibe. Late night, early in the morning, no matter when you turn that on, it’s gonna put you in yo’ Birkin, for sure.”
Overall, the entire project, at 29 minutes, was made with the listener’s experience in mind and Los Angeles at heart, even with the secondary promotional event. Channeling the theme of the “Movie” video, the two hosted a free car wash on that Sunday (July 18). Both Bino and BLXST set out together to create a project that people could listen to and enjoy, with the desire to replay each song. Their artistry reflects their personas, smooth, careful, guys with a refreshing presence.
“Just as far as our characters, like in a room, we not the loudest, aggressive, most extra’d out ni**as, like we just chilling. That kind of bleeds into the music. We don’t really make sh*t that gets on your nerves, you just fall into the vibe,” BLXST said.
“I agree. I feel like our aim going into the studio is to just make good music. I’m saying that creatively, but I feel like everything between us is built on authenticity. We ain’t going in there, like trying to force nothing. It’s not that…It’s really just going in with your homie, trying to create something,” Bino Rideaux added. Me being a fan of his work, and him being a fan of my work, it’s a pleasure to be in there. If we hear an instrumental, I kind of see his thought process and I compare it to mine. And it’s like, wow, like we really [are] the perfect match.”
The two musicians were able to come together for the sequel tape unlike the first where the work was exchanged digitally, The documentary held no secrets, showing the process of each artist taking cues from each other. As the camera followed them and others such as producers Therealjfkbeatz, and Jay Millian in-and-out of the studio to capture their process, Bino Rideaux exclaimed at one point he felt like he was on popular reality show Love And Hip Hop as the theatergoers laughed.
“The first thing that comes to my mind, as far as growth is our chemistry between each other. The first one, it was real early, like we didn’t even know each other like ”, said BLXST, confirming to Bino with a slight head nod. We trusted the process off the strength of music, and it worked in our favor. For part two, we actually got a chance to really sit down with each other, and be in the same setting to where we can feel each other out, and work in a space where we can, you know, vibe off each other.”
Bino added, “I feel like we came together and we was so raw, [our] sounds just meshed and made the perfect pot of gumbo. Since then, branching off and doing our own thing, we elevated as artists…because we [are] different artists than we was in 2019. Seeing that happening and being in the studio with bro, and seeing you know, he working and where he developed to be is like this…you can hear it in the music like the sound is elevated is, is crazy.”
As for what’s next, neither BLXST nor Bino have any profound plan to offer up. Rather than confirm or deny a Sixtape 3 with 18 full tracks could be in the future, they’d rather be present in the present. A grounded perspective mirrored through their real-time lyrics.
“[You] gotta let us live with this for now, I’m saying we worked hard on this. You know, I’m saying that we developed a strong love for this. So that’s what we focused on right now,” said Bino.
BLXST added, “I’m still tripping off the fact that we really here, that we really made part two. And I feel like we owed it to the city first and foremost. I’m still caught in the moment.”