Florida-native rapper and songwriter TEF XL announces that the second part of his highly acclaimed debut album Code Switch Vol. I: The Prequel is in the works. The Hip Hop artist who premiered the 13-track record back in December, admits that the upcoming chapters are about growth and his “life experiences in volumes.”
Read the full interview below.
First off, congratulations on your grand debut last year! You kicked off your career with the 13-track record Code Switch Vol. I: The Prequel. How did the public and critics perceive your work?
Yes, thank you for the acknowledgment, this release was a milestone for us. We’ve received great feedback from fans and critics both on the quality of production and the lyrical content. I think my message resonates well with so many people, because it comes from a place of authenticity and experience. The biggest compliment I get from most people is that they listen to the entire album.
Anyone from the industry contacted you or shown their support and love? Can you share some of the feedback that has stuck with you and motivated you to work harder on your next releases?
Yes, I’ve received words of encouragement from so many people in the industry – artists, producers, songwriters, and radio. I think releasing an album really allowed people to appreciate my range. I’d say the best piece of advice I received was from Sway Calloway – – he said there’s room for all artists, make music that your core audience identifies with and super feed them that.
The album surely holds a special place in your heart. Can you tell us what it means to you personally and professionally?
Definitely. From a professional perspective I’d say our Code Switch album solidified a few things for me:
- Great music inspires people. Great production and great messaging go hand in hand and people will acknowledge you for it.
- Incremental success is proven success. We set out in 2022 to build brand awareness and drop the first Code Switch album. We did both and created momentum stepping into 2023.
From a personal perspective, it’s a milestone in my life and I’m thankful for having the ability and opportunity to tell my story through art. It signifies for me once again that anything I put intention behind can be accomplished. I think we forgo pursuing our passions for multiple reasons, however, the most common is self-doubt and insecurity due to the pressures of social norms. I’m proud to be someone who can push through the noise of personal insecurity and self-doubt and inspire others through music.
You’d previously mentioned that Code Switch is a trilogy. Have you started working on Vol. 2? Do you have a specific release date in mind? What kind of songs should fans expect to hear on the anticipated album?
Begin with the end in mind. That simple principle came to me through business, and it stuck with me. We started working on Code Switch Vol. 3 first and then worked our way back to the Prequel. Of course, there are some modifications we will continue to make along the way, but the framework is solid. So, yeah we’ve got most of Vol. 2 complete and anticipate to release in the second or third quarter of this year. As far as songs, I have been working with several different producers to explore diversity in sound that I think listeners will really appreciate.
The Prequel was an introduction to your roots and a tribute to your hometown; Duval County. What will the succeeding chapters be focused on in terms of narrative and style?
The next chapters are about growth and what comes along with it – it’s my life experiences in volumes. You’ve got the same hustle mentality, but a new grind for TEF, you’ve got relationship challenges, challenges of raising a son, the struggles of social justice. As far as style of music we begin to layer in more instrumentation signifying the growth and refinement on TEF’s journey.
You’ve worked with Fedarro, Alonda Rich, Bigga Rankin, WAX, Spinabenz, and many more notable artists. Are there any collaborations in the works right now?
We have some great collaborations on the next album both behind the boards and on the microphone. We will share collaborations once we start our release campaign for each volume, can’t give it all away right now!
We know it’s difficult to choose, but we have to ask! Which one’s your favorite track from the album? And why?
“Serenity” – It’s my personal favorite because it really captures pivotal phases of my life across three verses in a special way. I share about losing someone I love, I speak on the business of the streets and the mindset I had to adapt to survive it, and lastly I speak on the consequences of those decisions and how fortunate few of us are to live and talk about it.
Do you have songs that didn’t make the tracklist, but would like to release them as a single or as part of another project?
Absolutely, I’d say we recorded probably north of 50 songs before we landed on the 13 songs we released as Vol. 1. I’m sure we will revisit some of them and drop them along the way. There are some gems in the vault for sure.
“B.O.W.” and “Say Less” came with visuals. Will you be dropping any new videos for your other tracks?
Yes, as a matter of fact we just finished shooting videos for “Pronto” and “Serenity.” I think video representation to cement the story is important.
When do you plan to go on tour? Are there any live performances you would like to share with us?
We’re working on some tour dates for this summer. As soon as we finalize we will definitely get them to you and Team TEF.
Listen to Code Switch Vol. I: The Prequel here: