Artist Highlight: ExZac Change

ExZac Change is a Spokane hip-hop artist we are happy to highlight. From smoking weed to uplifting your energy, he offers thought-provoking lyrics which make our day a little bit brighter.
Artist Highlight: ExZac Change

ExZac Change brings positive vibes to Spokane’s music scene

ExZac Change is a Spokane hip-hop artist we are happy to highlight. From smoking weed to uplifting your energy, he offers thought-provoking lyrics which make our day a little bit brighter. We recently spoke with ExZac Change to learn more about his background, inspirations and how he incorporates cannabis into his music.

ExZac Change is a Spokane hip-hop artist we are happy to highlight

How did you get into music? Tell us your story.

I never ever thought I would be into music. I never thought I would be able to create music because I never had that confidence as a kid. I got introduced to underground hip-hop when I was 16, it was like weed and hip-hop at the same time. I just fell in love with underground hip-hop. I already knew rap. I was listening to JaRule, Ashanti, but then I found a lot of underground hip-hop and that started teasing my brain, the lyrics, how people were painting pictures with their words. That’s what made me want to start writing music and freestyle. 

I had no intention of ever being on-stage, having a name or a catalog. I went into Job Corps in 2007 and had a lot of free time. That’s where I started playing around, recording myself, trying to find my voice, which is one of the toughest things for an artist. There’s so much outside influence so you feel you need to do it a certain way, imitate your favorite artist. So at that time I was just trying to find my voice.

For me, actually becoming an artist was a long time. I was making songs, a lot of them never saw the light of day. It wasn’t until I met Matisse, this was like 2011, and I was going to move to New York City and catch a ride with some guys in Spokane, but my car ran out of gas in Cheney. I never ended up going and have been here ever since. I connected with Mike, Matisse, and that’s when shows starting coming. That whole identity, from 2013 is when I started becoming a real artist. We didn’t drop our first real project on Spotify until 2015, and that’s when the gears started turning in that direction.

ExZac Change is a Spokane hip-hop artist we are happy to highlight

How does cannabis enhance or inspire your creativity in music?

It does a lot of things. It kind of takes me off, it sounds kind of cheesy, to a mystical land. As far as feeling goes, vibe goes, it helps me switch out of making money Zach, making money for my family, to get in touch with being an artist. It allows me to just tap into certain feelings very easily. It kind of floats my stresses away. It’s hard to explain. It puts me in a mindset where making music is super fun and exciting.

Are there certain strains you like for writing or performing?

I am probably less strain focused than I used to be. Now there’s really not a specific strain, I do just love good weed. I don’t really find that certain strains pull me too far in either direction. I try not to smoke too much weed before a show. Then you feel like an alien in your body. I’m like, “Oh shit, I’m nervous now!”

You said you like good weed. What to you makes good weed?

The number one thing is not dry weed. Something that hasn’t been sitting for too long. I love terps. I love sativas. I love uplifting. I love hybrids.  I love the dark purples. I love indicas. I have always just loved sticky, delicious, I love everything about weed — the smell, the taste, breaking it up. There are so many strains, so many delicious strains. I’m a connoisseur.

ExZac Change is a Spokane hip-hop artist we are happy to highlight

When we first heard your music, it reminded us of Atmosphere who we saw in Spokane in college. Who are some of your musical inspirations?

Atmosphere is what I get the most out of everything. When new people find my music, they say “Atmosphere vibes!” So that’s on-point, I love Atmosphere. Those guys are awesome.

I have a ton of musical influences. One of the most impactful influences is Devin the Dude. Devin the Dude, when I was at Job Corps, in that writing process, that’s when I found his music and dove into albums. It changed the way I was writing songs. He has humor in there, very chill, very relaxing. If you listen to my music, it’s very chill, very laid back. He’s one of my number one influences.

Lil Wayne, I mean who wasn’t influenced by Lil Wayne? I wanted to rap like Lil Wayne so bad, you have no idea. He had the crazy voice. He was a huge influence on me. There’s a ton more. I’ve taken many pieces from so many artists I love.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists and creatives?

Don’t rush yourself. There’s not a shortcut to success. If you look at the internet, we see people that look like overnight success. You see just that tip of the iceberg. You don’t see all the work that was put in. A lot of artists have been doing it for five, ten, 15 years, working on their craft with nobody listening, no followers. You have to find your voice, find who you are. You just have to create. You’re going to create some bad stuff, and it’s just all necessary in the growth of becoming who you are as an artist. Don’t put any pressure on yourself, just do what feels right. Don’t let any external things determine how you approach your art. I found the most success being myself. It wasn’t until I just stopped doing weird things with my voice or just stopped trying to rap a certain way and just be me, fully, just completely embody who I am. It unlocked so much because nobody can be you. So that would be my advice.

ExZac Change is a Spokane hip-hop artist we are happy to highlight

Do you have a go-to smoke spot and why?

I like to be outside. Summers and springs and falls in Spokane are just amazing. We like to go on hikes. We like disc golf. On the disc golf course it’s just carefree, hanging with your buddies, getting the blood flowing. Or on a skateboard. Just not at home is my favorite. You can smoke at home, but when you’re out and about and we’re just bouncing around the town it is fun.

We like to take Bodhi time as a way to enhance experiences. How do you enjoy Bodhi time?

I love Bodhi time before podcasts, before a studio session. It’s such an enhancer for conversations for me. I’ve learned in podcasting it’s not always the best to get your guests high, but weed helps me in a way. It gets me dialed in to pick peoples’ brains, then sit back and learn about people. I would say, doing a podcast or having deep conversations are one of my favorite things when I’m on Bodhi time.

ExZac Change is a Spokane hip-hop artist we are happy to highlight

Where can people find you and learn more?

Spotify, Apple Music, all the platforms you can find my music streaming. Around town, check my name when you see something come up on a flier. We’ve got some live shows lined up this summer. YouTube, we’ve got quite a few music videos out on YouTube. The podcast on all platforms, on YouTube, it’s called Happy 2 Be Here.

Anything else we didn’t ask that you want to include?

My mission, with everything that I do, is to inspire other people. I make music because it truly feeds my soul. It really is a therapy beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. It is just truly meaningful and deep to my soul. I hope that anything I write and create will affect somebody’s day in a positive way and make them think. I get messages from people who say someone died or they were going through a depressed day and your song came on. It changed my whole perspective. I get these DM’s and it’s like, wow, this is exactly why I do this. The one huge thing in life and finding fulfillment is purpose. And that’s my purpose. So I hope anybody that finds my music can find some joy and love in it and I hope it inspires them to want to be like, “Hey man if this goofy red-headed kid can pick up a mic and rap like this, I can do it too.”

ExZac Change is a Spokane hip-hop artist we are happy to highlight