midwxst defies a lot of stereotypes. He’s a cutting edge artist from the oft-overlooked state of Indiana, a genre defier combining hyperpop and digicore with hip-hop, and just about the most gracious, thoughtful, and loquacious teenager you’ll ever encounter.
Born Edgar Sarratt III, he’s been making music as midwxst for about two years now, drawing on influences like Pi’erre Bourne, Kanye West, and Marvin Gaye. His recent projects, 2020’s Secrets and this year’s Summer03, are filled with frenetic, shapeshifting production, well-developed melodies, and candid, charismatic lyrics.
“A lot of people expected me to be a trapper, rapping about guns and all the generic mainstream stuff. When I talk about how your own mental health and emotions can be the most dangerous thing you possess, especially as a teenager or young adult…” midwxst says, revealing he personally defines his music as alternative,“…people get such a different vibe from me and that’s what I strive for.”
midwxst isn’t afraid to let his true feelings show in his songwriting. “thank you so much” is an exceptionally candid song about the challenge of even finding the motivation to make music some days. His breakthrough single “trying” racked up more than 3 million combined plays on Spotify and YouTube–it’s also the song that made his high school classmates notice the nascent star in their midst. Though its lyrics are plaintive, there’s a message of resiliency (“I done took so many L’s, I think it’s time for me to win”) that Midwest makes a throughline for all his work.
“I just try to write from the perspective that things will always get better,” he says.
The breadth of midwxst’s talent is on display with new single “Ruthless,” a return to his rap roots. “[It’s not about] having an ego, but knowing my worth as an artist and talking my shit, to an extent. I’m letting people know I’m here to stay, I’m not just gonna be a name you see for one moment. You’re gonna know the name midwxst,” he says.
midwxst has a passion for fashion that complements his musical talents, and says he wants to create not just songs, but immersive worlds a la Childish Gambino’s Because the Internet and The Weeknd’s After Hours. Videos for “trying,” “Trouble,” and “thank you so much.” are endearingly chaotic and distinctly post-modern, fitting companions for songs that showcase his creativity and wit.
“Fuck all emotional connection, I don’t want a lover / Wish that I could fucking fall off, I don’t wanna be discovered / Okay, maybe that last line was a lie / I kinda wanna blow up, but not at the same time,” he laments on the latter in an infectious singsong cadence.
In addition to continuing his ascendant artistic career, this fall midwxst will start his freshman year at Belmont University’s Audio Engineering Technology program. He’s approaching the experience with a characteristically open mind, but remains committed to making genre-defying records that are resonating deeply with young fans.
“’I’ve gotta keep doing this music stuff, because if I just stop, who are they gonna look to? Especially with me having such a specific demographic. I’m a Black 18-year-old kid who just graduated high school who is about to go to college who just signed to a major record label. And I made all my music over there,” he says, gesturing to a corner of his quaint bedroom where the myth of midwxst began.