“Xay Hill is a hyper-energetic guy that loves wrestling, music, and God.”
Growing up, Xay Hill says “music was therapy for me.” He started rapping at age eleven. “I was getting bullied at the time… one day, one of the biggest bullies was freestyling and I just kind of hopped on it. I didn’t know I could freestyle and I roasted him.” Hill described hip-hop as being a way he could stop the bullies and said it remains the same to him now at age 21.
Hill’s mother was married three times throughout his childhood. “I never really had a father figure in my life. My biological father wasn’t there until I was nine, and even then, I would barely see him or wouldn’t see him at all.” He and his mother moved to Cleveland, Ohio when he was a kid.
“There was a lot of violence, a lot of gangs and a lot of drug dealers around there. I went to sleep to gunshots just about every other night, and it came to the point where I got used to it.”
Before becoming a teenager, he joined a gang with the purpose to bring his family protection from the neighborhood’s violence and crime. Part of the initiation was letting “six men beat on me with pipes and wooden planks. They fixed brass knuckles and were beating on me as I was walking down. If you fell down, you had to start over.” To keep his family protected, the gang forced him to do a lot of things that he regrets.
“I eventually told my mom I was doing it and the second I told her she packed our stuff, and we moved away.”
They moved to Florence, Alabama, when he was fourteen.
Despite having been involved in gangs, “I’ve always been a church boy. My mother was a minister my whole life.” In Alabama, Hill decided that instead of using his rapping to stop the bullies, he would use his talents to minister to others.
“I used my rapping to preach in churches and stuff and eventually I learned to record.”
Now in 2019, Xay Hill’s released a new album, Red Ranger Pt. 3. “I want them to understand that if you’re dealing with anxiety and depression, suicidal thoughts… its time to go face the giant, face the demon in your face and rebuke them in the name of Jesus.”
The origin of the album’s title is inspired by the Power Rangers, a TV show he loved to watch as a kid. “The Red Ranger would always be the last one to morph because he had this hard, broken down origin story, but he was always destined to be a great leader.”
Hill feels that he can relate to the Red Ranger with his broken past but also his present feelings of how God has called him to be a leader and share the Good News with others.
“The main point of Red Ranger Pt. 3. was for me to talk about myself without sugarcoating it.”
Most of the lyrics on Red Ranger Pt. 3 were freestyled. When he started working on the Red Ranger projects three years ago, Hill knew what songs he wanted to make and who he wanted to feature, but also knew that it would be way too much music to include in one album. “I always knew ahead [of time] that it would be three parts.”
The album gets very personal, sharing Hill’s life experiences, including his battle with depression: he has attempted suicide six times throughout his life, most recently about a year ago.
“Black Ranger” speaks about the difficulties black people face as a result of racism. Hill says that where he lives in Alabama, he encounters a lot of negative stereotypes. “The first bar in the song comes out harsh. I come out saying ‘The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice, but the blacker the boy, the tighter the noose.'”
Sometimes he feels like the fight against racism is impossible to win, but he takes comfort in knowing that God is with him.
“Don’t let what the world says is a crutch to you hinder you when God can do all things.”
In “Crown Me,” Hill talks about how he has put in a lot of hard work as an artist to get to where he is now. “I worked my tail off from the bottom to the point where people actually recognize me.” As an analogy, he wants people to crown him for all that he has done. “Give me the rank that I feel like I deserve”
“Cry” was inspired by a time when Hill was hurt by a friend. “I just want to cry sometimes.” He describes the song as one he made to get out his emotions rather than to share a message with the listener.
“I stand 6′ 5″. I’m intimidating when people see me sometimes. Even though I look like a giant and I’m ready to attack, there’s still a side of me where I just want to cry out to God.”
Hill describes “Pink Ranger” as a love song inspired by his relationship with his girlfriend. “I was going through a point where it seemed like I had nobody on my side… but she showed up and helped me fix my life back up.” He wanted to publicly thank her for everything she has done and continues to do to support him.
“Imagine this: a dirty glass of water [where] you can see all of these nasty things inside, but then you pour the blood of Jesus in it, and it just turns clear.”
This is the inspiration for Hill’s song “Clear,” which was produced by Derek Minor. He says that when people surrender their lives to Jesus, He makes them clean.
His song “Letter to My Future” follows songs on his two previous Red Ranger projects in which Hill wrote letters to his past and present self. “The future was me declaring victory over my future… We’re pushing one-hundred speed ahead, focusing on Christ.”
Red Ranger Pt. 3’s second to last song, “360,” is Hill’s favorite on the project.
“Sometimes God allows a test to happen so there can be a testimony.”
On the track, he speaks about some of the struggles he has been through and how he has gotten past them.
Outside of hip-hop, Hill enjoys playing piano for his church and playing Xbox One.