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For the first new Talkhouse Podcast episode of the new year, we’ve got an unlikely pairing—which is one of our favorite kinds of pairings. But it wasn’t exactly our idea to connect Michael Vincent Waller and Lex Luger, it was theirs. The contemporary classical composer and the extremely prolific hip-hop producer made a really cool record together that came out in 2021, called Classic$.
Waller is not your typical classical composer, he’s a real musical searcher. His compositions range from avant-garde to minimalist to slightly more classic-sounding classical music. But over his career he hasn’t stayed in one place musically for very long. He made a record back in 2019 with electronic producer JLin, which you may have read about in an interview with the pair right on this very website. So maybe it’s no surprise at all that Waller didn’t let genre get in the way of his love for hip-hop when he reached out to Luger for an assist on Classic$—which I should note is credited to MVW, rather than Waller’s full name, in case you have trouble finding it on your favorite streaming service. The two collaborated on the music, as you’ll hear, and they brought in a bunch of voices to help flesh things out.
Luger has had an incredible career in hip-hop. For the last decade-plus, he’s been a go-to producer for some huge names, starting with Waka Flocka Flame—who he connected with via MySpace—and Rick Ross, but running through tracks by Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Snoop Dogg, among many, many others. He famously used to make hundreds of beats at a stretch: If you didn’t like one of his spooky trap sounds, he had a dozen others ready for you. I guess the place that Luger and Waller might intersect is that Luger’s beats often feature symphonic elements: They can sound, at times, like horror-movie scores.
In this conversation, Luger and Waller talk about how working together affected them: It was more than just another job for Luger, who feels like he learned something valuable from Waller’s acoustic-first approach. They also talk about what music actually means to them, which is a very Talkhouse-friendly subject. They clearly want to work with one another again, which says something about the deep connection they made on Classic$. Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Lex Luger and Michael Vincent Waller for chatting. Be sure to follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting services and social media outlets. This episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by The Range.
(Feature photos courtesy of the artists, edited by Keenan Kush.)