Photography: Ebony Boadu
Edited: Olivia Suleimon
" I am Julian Alexander, straight from the West Side Crenshaw District. I am an artist, a dancer and an actor. I do it all. I formed the group The Ranger$ and it blew up. I don't know how, maybe it was YouTube, maybe God. It just happened real quick, real fast."
"All the girls was on me, it felt pretty amazing, I never really had that like that growing up. I had girls, but not like that. It was crazy. It was surreal. That wasn't the best part though, the best part was traveling. The girls, it's cool, but that doesn't satisfy me to the fullest. The traveling though ... I've been everywhere: Russia, London, everywhere. It's too many to name.
It's a blessing, for real, because some people don't even get to get out of L.A. Some people don't leave where they're from. It's a blessing for me. It's just crazy. I never thought I'd be here. I always thought I would just be in L.A. I was dreaming about this day, watching people on TV, Michael Jackson, just dreaming about this day, it feels good."
"Back then when I was in The Ranger$, girls was all we really talked about. It got stagnant. I don't want to just be known for that. I'm deeper than just rapping about girls. That's what the mainstream wants.
If you listen to my song "Know Better," if you listen to the second verse, I got a little deeper about my personal life, about my grandma getting murdered.
Songs about girls is what sells right now. That's changing though, with Kendrick Lamar and people like J. Cole, you can get a little deeper now. Back then it was really all about the girls, because I was young and that's all we was really about, just girls and money and dancing."
"I never got to meet my grandma. It's my mom's mom. She got murdered when my mom was like four. It was like a Fatal Attraction type thing. She wasn't trying to mess with this dude, and he really liked her. Since she didn't want to mess with him, he just took it there, and he ended up killing her, shooting her in the head.
Honestly, growing up in L.A., you see stuff like that all the time. You start getting used to it.
You see killings, the gang members. You just kind of get numb to it. My other homie, I was actually talking about him in that song too. He got murdered too. His name is Chepe, all the tattoos I have right now, he did them. He got murdered in his tattoo shop. We don't really know what happened, but some people just ran in there and killed him. They didn't want him around that area and he didn't want to move his shop, so they just ended up killing him."
"Groupie experiences? There's too many in my mind right now, and they're very explicit, and I'm pretty sure my girl does not want to hear this."
"It is hard because I'm a man and it's tempting, so it's hard. Groupies have no fear. They don't care if you have a girlfriend, a wife, nothing. It doesn't matter to them.
The key to a successful relationship? I'm not even going to lie, I messed up a couple times, so it's real hard. The key ... I don't have the answers, I do not have the answers. I guess you just have respect that person. People make mistakes though, but you just got to respect each other. If you really love them, you're not going to do nothing to hurt them.
You just got to be strong-minded. You have to have will power. If you really love that person, it won't be hard. You got to learn. People make mistakes and then you learn from them. It does feel empty sometimes. You just think about it. That guilty feeling after, like dang, like what did I just do? I do not condone cheating, just to make that clear. I am not a cheater. I have cheated, but I am not a cheater."
"With the Ranger thing, because we're not together anymore, if y'all don't know. We kind of fell off, and I had a little period, maybe a two year off period, where I was just trying to find myself again. Now I'm getting back to where I was at.
It wasn't meant to be. Everything happens for a reason. There was no real reason why we broke up. I guess we just grew apart. We didn't have no blow up, no argument.
Honestly, for me personally it's better because it's so many minds and emotions. You have to please three people. You all have to come to an agreement, and sometimes you don't want to do what they want to do and they don't want to do what you want to do. It's just better, because I just do what I want to do. Whatever I feel, I'm going to do it. That's pretty much it."