Dear Family, Friends and LxVEd Ones,
I’m writing you today to explain a change in my life. Along with the deeper meaning and sincerity that it derives from. First off I want to thank you for supporting me in any way, shape or form up until this point. It has been a long, slow and steady race against time with my creativity, and has evolved so much over the years. And if you’re taking the time to read this I’m sure that you truly care. There’s so much out in the world today to take your attention so know that any second you give my way is appreciated more than you know.
So let’s rip the band-aid off and get right to it. Yes, I have changed my name...again. However there is a difference. This time I am living in my truth, and changing my name to my own. (I see the eye rolls through your screen) Let me explain the significance.
Most live their life proud of their name, and what legacy they come from. I’ve lived my whole life living behind a nickname. My mother nicknamed me A.J. for short of my real name. I’m not exaggerating when I say she has NEVER called me by my real name. Not even when angry. Never. So everyone has called me A.J. And I wouldn’t accept otherwise. I had the attitude of “If my own mother didn’t call me by my real name, what gives you the right to.”
My government name is Alfred Wilson Coles, Jr. I’m named after my father Alfred Wilson Coles, Sr., who is named after his father Alfred Coles. I honestly don’t know my father’s father’s middle name. I’ve never met him. I’ve never spoken to him. I’ve only seen one picture of him in my entire life. Which the image is foggy to my shortening memory at best. The most I remember is a man’s headshot with the same skin tone as mine, and an afro. He left my father when he was a little boy, and they barely got a chance to rectify before my grandfather passed away several years ago. My father on the other hand has always been in my life. He was my hero as a child. Unfortunately our relationship took a long detour to get back to this state after my parents split up when I was around 11 years old. He was no longer around every day and was halfway across the country. I really only spent a couple months with him a year over the summers. Looking back I wasn’t too proud of being named after these men. And to my benefit, I didn’t have to worry too much about it.
I first started my creative journey as most artists do adopting my nickname A.Jizzle given to me by my family that stemmed from my first nickname. Not my proudest name, but it was given to me around the Snoop Dogg era when he was rapping “Fa shizzle dizzle, it's the big Neptizzle with the Snoopy D-O-Double Jizzle!.” Those are the real lyrics by the way.
Anyone from my hometown I was really tight with calls me Jizzle still to this day. And when I first started rapping I believed you were supposed to use the nickname given to you as your rap name. I only did one release under this name, and it was by myself, and only burned on CD’s. This was before everyone uploaded their music online. I have a copy, but you will probably never hear this project. And I’m okay with that. However, I knew the “izzle, for-shizzle” phase was only a fad, and would become corny soon enough.
Next came me using just the name A.J., which I released my first mixtape Best of Both Worldsunder, but everyone knows an A.J. I can’t survive and stand out with a name like that. So I added my actual government last name Coles. This worked out for a few mixtapes. I’m especially proud of Not Your Average Mixtape with my brother in life and music, A.P. However, this drew a problem as another rising star with a similar name began to take off, Mr. Jermaine aka J.Cole. I even had people asking my family members who hadn’t ever met me before back in my hometown asking if he was me. So I knew I had to change my name again.
So I turned more to my creative character to come up with a name. Since the beginning I was always known for my lyrics. That has never wavered in my music. So I decided to name myself Lyrical A.J. This was around the time I truly took my craft seriously and released my first solo project on all major platforms Cinematic 0.5: The Pursuit of Happiness. With great help from my friend and fellow collaborator DJ Nick “The Quick” Dean. I was finally coming into my own as an artist. However, I began to have one issue. Whenever someone saw my name, being a lyricist became all that they would look at me as. And I knew I wanted to be more than just a lyricist in the long run. I want to be remembered as a complete contemporary artist. In whatever way I see fit. Lyrical A.J. got the message across of my skills as a lyricist, but put me in a box in every other way. So I changed my name again.
One day I was driving and saw a license plate that read “AXJ…” and those letters stuck with me. I liked how it looked, and it read like AJ to me in my head. I liked how the “x” was there. The “x” leaves a mark, it’s reminiscent of Malcolm X. It’s the number 10 in Roman Numerals. The complete and divine number. X marks the spot when leading someone to their treasure or goal on a map. All of these meanings I stand for, and can align with. And from it spawned the idea of LxVE (Love x Value Everything). The brand and company I live with to this day, and don’t plan to change for anything. Only expand. I dropped two albums The Light Bulb Moment and 14:HOURS under this moniker. I even matured in my business and my LxVE team and I began putting on our own shows and creative events including Rap Reel, iLxVE Art, and our beloved annual LxVE Fest. I don’t regret this change whatsoever. However, if I was honest with myself deep down there was always this feeling of discontentment. I knew it wasn’t quite right. There was something better. On top of that you’re average person doesn’t naturally read AxJ and pronounce it “A.J.” They say “A times J” or “A-x-J.” Rightfully so, but still wrong. I didn’t want to end up having the same issues 6lack has, and have people constantly saying my name wrong due to the way that I artistically spelled it.
So here we are today. I’m now sitting in L.A. in my 1 bedroom apartment in Chinatown typing you this letter with a true revelation. Life really does come and go in cycles, and seasons. I’ve never been afraid to evolve. I go wherever my creative energy takes me and go all in. But with time and life’s ups and downs I realized I was always running from myself when it came to my name. And the best acceptance a man can receive in his life is his own self acceptance. I ran from my name as fast as I could, and never looked back. I’ve lived as a nomad in 6 states in my life, and have resided on the East Coast, Midwest, down South, and now on the West Coast. And each time I never looked back. I’m okay with change. I’m okay to evolve for the better. I’m okay with developing from the old, and building new. I can’t change where I’ve been or who or where I come from. All I can do is build where I am, and grow from there. I am who I am, and every part of me has gotten me to this point. I feel more like myself creatively than ever before. You’ll see what I’m talking about soon enough. I love you, and thank you for coming along on this journey, and watching me grow. This time there’s no reason to change my name. I am, who I am. And my only wish is to help you be who you are to best of your wonderful ability.
So please except me as I am, Alfred Nomad. You can now see all of the new updates, and listen and watch all of my solo music all in the same place! All music is available on all streaming services. Listen, and follow me on Spotify and Soundcloud