After five years in the game, and an already established reputation as one of Naarm’s best upcoming lyricists, Australian-Zimbabwean artist lxrdmc is preparing for his first headline show at Fitzroy’s Bad Decisions on July 13th.

Following the criminally slept-on No Man’s Land EP alongside close collaborator and friend, VV-Ace, Melbourne North-side local shares Popular Loner, his most personal work to date. Currently, he finds himself in a pool containing many talented emerging artists throughout the country also trying to find their place within the industry. 

MC bounced from Zimbabwe to the UK as an infant, spending five years in Wolverhampton with family before moving to Melbourne in 2009. Upon his arrival in Naarm, he’d move around Northern suburbs like Balwyn, Doncaster, and Mernda—which he still calls home today. 

While on the go as a child, music was always a big part of MC’s household. From Zimbabwean music to Beyonce and Lil Wayne, there wasn’t much that MC didn’t listen to. But, his hip-hop interest peaked when his cousin in Zimbabwe, an artist himself, would put him on to the popular rap songs of the early noughties. 

As a child, MC was like a lot of kids who wished they could be an artist but weren’t blessed with window-shattering vocal chords—unlike some, he realised this early and saved himself some embarrassment. That didn’t stop him from hitting the stage at primary school talent shows, even if did feel like a deer in the headlights.

“I would just be up there whispering lyrics and my mate would be breakdancing next to me. I always felt like I had a thing for music, but I never really tapped into it,” MC explained. 

However, when Stormzy dropped ‘Shut Up’, his eyes brightened as he saw his potential door into the music world. Growing up in Australia, MC was the only Black kid in his year level at his first high school, becoming the subject of racial banter by his friends about starting rap and dropping a mixtape. Not long after in a media class, he photoshopped a mixtape cover of himself, going along with the joke, and later in another media class he wrote his first song as part of a project. 

“I don’t think it really pushed me to actually do it properly, it was more just me keeping up with the joke. I didn’t start thinking I should actually do this until I started hanging around black people.”

The practice later turned into legitimate songs thanks to his friends’ setup, and MC would eventually release his debut track, leaving it up on SoundCloud for a few months before deciding it wasn’t good enough. 

In 2019, lxrdmc released his first official single ‘Not Impressed’ alongside VV-Ace, and then his debut EP Here 2 Stay in 2021. lxrdmc was officially on the map. Now in 2024, he’s one of a few artists who stamp Melbourne’s presence heavily throughout their music and become a leading member of the new wave of rising Naarm-based MC’s (like Miko Mal and Moses).

Popular Loner is an important chapter in the lxrdmc story. Not only is it easily his most polished piece of work, it’s his most honest. The project is MC’s version of a diary. It’s therapeutic, with him opening up on past relationships, unhealthy coping mechanisms, and the chip on his shoulder, which he puts down to his immigrant parents and their sacrifices for him and his family. 

“I want to be able to make my parents proud. Being immigrant parents, they’ve worked so hard. Moving countries twice and adapting to the culture while leaving their family, parents, and grandparents behind is a huge thing.” 

On the Brent Faiyaz sampled ‘Too Late to Die Young’, the second last track on Popular Loner, MC demonstrates a strong desire for success. It’s something he often talks about in his music, and while it isn’t the main theme of Popular Loner, it’s still extremely prevalent. On the track, MC’s external and self-imposed pressures actively contribute to his downfall while he desperately tries to stay aligned on his road to success. 

‘Not Mine’, the lead single, MC tells a punchy story about false promises from a relationship and the feeling of being used. On ‘Hope’, the second single release, MC is honest about his trust issues and people who have let him down. He continues previous themes of betrayal and loneliness, only this time he speaks about channelling that energy to level up as an artist—which if you’ve followed him closely, is something MC always seems to do. 

The closing tracks ‘Too Late to Die Young’ and ‘Deep Thoughts Outro’ showcase MC’s depth and range as a rapper and provide an eloquent wrap-up of Popular Loner. On both tracks, you hear some of his rawest writing—all the while he’s humbly proving that his storytelling is levels above many in his class. 

As he says, “There’s too many rappers and still not enough MC’s.” With every release, especially Popular Loner, MC stays true to himself. He’s relatable, he’s witty, and one of the most underappreciated rappers in Australia’s underground for the good part of two years now. 

While the lxrdmc story is only just getting started, Popular Loner is both a great entry point for new fans due to its concision and relatability, while also serving as a good representation of how much he’s evolved as an artist since his debut. 

It’s enjoyable to watch upcoming rappers test and challenge themselves to step outside of their comfort zone, which MC has done all throughout Popular Loner. While the future seems bright, MC is putting his head back down.

“I don’t really care about being well known. Being able to say I gave my all, and having the ability to give back, that’s my measure of success.”

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