At 19, a Versace Model and a Rapper
Posted January 17, 2018 5:48 p.m. EST
— Name: Judah Lang.
— Age: 19.
— Hometown: SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan.
— Now Lives: In the same loft on Greene Street where he grew up with his parents and two siblings.
— Claim to Fame: Whether he’s starring as the face of Versus Versace, appearing in the music video for “Raf” by ASAP Mob or rapping under the name Judah Stax, Lang is a mercurial performer who is up for any role that comes his way. “Everybody is acting all the time, and all of humanity is a character,” he said. “So, I might as well be good at it.” Pushing boundaries seems to be a family trait: His parents are artist Suzanne Bocanegra, who hosted five nights of performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in December, and Pulitzer-winning composer David Lang.
— Big Break: While riding the subway with friends at the age of 16, Lang was discovered by the young talent scout Aaron Bakalar. One month later, he flew to Los Angeles (accompanied by his mother) to star in a Saint Laurent campaign photographed by Hedi Slimane. “I honestly didn’t know who Hedi was, so I ended up having fun and joking around with him,” Lang said.
— Latest Project: Playing a friend of Jaden Smith’s character in “Skate Kitchen,” a film about a clique of young female skateboarders directed by Crystal Moselle, which will have its premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. “I had known a few of those girls on set from hanging out around the city,” he said.
— Next Thing: Lang’s MC moniker, Judah Stax, combines his first name and a slang word for large amounts of money. This year, he will release a new set of music videos and a mixtape of frenetic hip-hop tracks he made with a DJ named Loudman (aka his older brother Ike). “There are times I rap totally for myself and I don’t even bother recording it,” he said. “I do it for emotional reasons.”
— Dropping Knowledge: Many of his lyrics name-check unexpected historical figures, like Catherine the Great and Yi Sun-sin, the 16th-century Korean naval commander. (Sample lyric: “I’m feeling like Admiral Yi/ You don’t want to battle with me.”) “It’s not ‘Hamilton'-y at all in the sound,” Lang said of his craft. “But it is totally historically accurate.”