After a polite greeting, 23-year-old Hunxho has folded his 6’ 7” frame into a conference room chair at his label 300 Records. His hands are busied with a stack of hundred dollar bills adorned with Megan Thee Stallion’s visage. “It helps with my anxiety,” he says in a calm but attentive tone. The Atlanta native and self-described “street poet” is just a week away from the release of his project, 22 (OUT NOW), and some of the songs he is about to play were only recorded a few days ago. But don’t take this as a sign that he is anything but intentional about every move he makes.
His intense work ethic is evidenced in a discography that already includes Street Poet, Street Poetry, Humble As Ever, Xhosen and the viral hit “Let’s Get It” featuring 21 Savage. The one-time basketball prospect and college athlete saw run-ins with the law derail his hoop dreams, but incarceration honed his laser sharp focus, which has been distilled into his latest collection.
The title of his project is inspired by every aspect of Hunxho’s young yet experienced life. He was 22 years old when he got signed to his record label and had his first son in 2022. He grew up at 2200 2nd Ave in the East Side of Atlanta and this latest project clocks in at 22 songs released on 3/22/23.
“22 is a big part of me,” he tells HipHopDX. “I named it 22 because I’m talking about everything we was going through on the block. I got 22 tatted everywhere, too; 22 on my eyes, my stomach, 22 on my shoulder, 22 on my chain. It say my name, but it’s 22 inside the zero. I put the 22 on my eyelids so whenever I close my eyes, you can see 22. And when I’m dead, my eyes aren’t going to be open. They’ll be closed. All they’ll see is 22. They’re going to remember 22.”
Read and listen below as Hunxho breaks down some of his favorite tracks from 22.
It’s eye-catching, you feel me? Because it’s different. That ain’t usually like the kind of music that I make. I really just put all my pain into it, like everything was really going on. Like I was talking about when I went to school… I was going to school but I was getting offers. I was playing basketball but I kept losing my offers because I was fucking up in school, like I was fighting and getting suspended and doing hack stuff.. I’m talking about a lot on there. Like for me going to jail, what I was doing to go to jail, all that.
I didn’t start smoking at seven years old. But the first time I smoked I was seven, you feel me? It wasn’t a constant smoke, it was like… I smoked like two times. When I started smoking I was like 13. But now I don’t smoke at all. I was just doing it because that’s what was going on. I was just being a follower. But I don’t really like how it made me feel so I don’t smoke at all.
“True To My Religion”
This is probably one of my favorite songs though because it showed that I’m versatile, you feel me? On the rest of the songs, I’m really just rapping, telling you what’s going on. But in this song, I’m really playing with my words, using, I don’t know if it’s called metaphors but, you know what I’m talking about? I’m just trying to show them I’m versatile and I can do it all.
Why it was called “Top Floor”? Really, the name of my songs, I really don’t even pick the name of my songs. I let the engineer pick it. Usually, I go in there with whatever on my mind. He’d be asking me, like, “What do you want the title to be?” I would be like, “You can name it whatever you want to name it.” That was really just me trying to get turnt another way. Like, not the pain. Transform over from the pain to the turnt. That’s like the first turnt song in the order of the tape.
What’s the highest building you’ve ever been in?
I’d say The Twelve, downtown Atlanta. It ain’t even that tall. I really don’t even like going that high.
“Destined For This”
“Destined for This” is really for a motivational purpose. It’s really just to tell you you got to keep on. You feel me? How we’re destined for this. You see how I talk about God, to let them know to keep their faith in God.
They’ll probably be in grind mode [when they listen to this]. You feel me? I don’t really know what kind of mood, but it just like motivation.
I don’t even know when I recorded it. I think it was in October, or November. But it’s funny that you said you see it on a film, because I’m doing The Black Ink show, and it’s supposed to be on that show.
“Uh Huh” F/ Tee Grizzly
Yeah, I got Tee Grizzly on there. I had to try to perfect that song because my right-hand man made the beat. His name Eli. He my right-hand man since I was a kid. This is my first time getting on his beat, so I said I got to make this motherfucker perfect. He really just started making beats. He been making beats, but he stopped for a minute. He just started back. When he was making beats before, I wasn’t at where I’m at now, so we can do more wit it.
First I had sent Tee Grizz another song I did, but he was like, “No, I need some turn-up shit,” so I sent him that.
He did come to Atlanta, we went to the Hawk’s game, shot the video for it. It wasn’t too long ago. It was a couple months ago.
Selim [Bouab Co-President of 300] got him on three-way and I told him, “Shit, man, I need you on the song. I need you on my album.”
“48 Laws of Power”
Just made this song 3 days ago…[I got the title from] The book. I was just laying the numbers out, like I said. But I was doing my laws, I was doing my rules. I said “rule number one, rule number two, rule number three…”
I have a concept for [the video for] 48 Laws of Power. It probably would be like me now, talking to a younger version of me. White lambo and shit. I’m going to be in the background the whole time. I’ll be talking to myself.
What was your favorite law? Or your favorite rule?
I don’t know. I don’t remember the number, I just like when I said, “This should have been number one, keep faith in God.” For real, I was really just talking to myself. It’s for people to listen to, but it’s really just me, shit I need to tell myself.
“It doesn’t matter who was there first, it’s who keep it real”
Just like, you got people around you, they’ve been around you, your family. But you got people that you just met, and they’ll be realer than the people that been around you for a long time.
And I had learned sometimes people will be like, “Don’t fuck with the new people,” you feel me? But the new people be the ones to change our life.
“It don’t matter if you fail, you tried.”
I failed a lot. I had went to jail. I rapped before I went to jail, but I ended up getting locked up. I could’ve gave up then, you feel me? Because I ain’t know when I was getting out, could’ve gave up. I was still in jail when I realized when I get out and I’m going to do it to the fullest, I just got to let the other shit go.
“Lookin For Love”
This song had come out before, but I took it down. It was only out for a couple days. But females love this song. There was a sample on there [“Charlene” by Anthony Hamilton] that I didn’t get cleared. I still put it out though.
The man [Anthony Hamilton] was so crazy. He DM’d me on Instagram. He was like, “I love the record, man.” This is while the record was out. He was like, “I love the record, man.” Then next thing I get a call from the label, they like, “Yeah, Hamilton and the label are trying to sue you.” I didn’t know that part. But it worked out. Thank you, Anthony Hamilton.