With the recent breakthrough of many highly followed underground acts, we have been introduced to some artists who stray away from the vintage persona of a musician. Newly signed Warner Bros. Recordings rapper, XV on the other hand, ran like Jason Bourne from that persona. As an open video game addict, and a broad pop culture junkie, anytime XV steps out of the booth with a new project, it’s a complete ode to 90’s kids.
XV struggled to gain attention, and had very little fan support while coming up, opening for acts such as Curren$y, and Pac Div. XV gained fame from his 12th mixtape released in 2009 entitled Everybody’s Nobody, which had a plethora of big name features ranging from Big Sean to Colin Munroe. After 12 mixtapes XV finally found the success he longed for. He was nominated for XXL’s 2010 Freshman Class, but was left off the list for artists such as Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, and J.Cole. XV inked a deal with Warner Bros Recordings in the summer of 2010, and has been touring, and releasing music to garner a larger following for his mainstream debut.
XV released his whopping 18th mixtape on June 15, 2012 entitled Popular Culture. This project is a perfect representation of XV to those unfamiliar with his music, bursting out of the seams with video games references, and clever television, and movie samples. The cover displays a huge range of pop culture figures (Kanye&Kim, Dwight Shrute, Goku, etc) in the living room of The Simpsons.
The mixtape starts off with an intro of various clips of television theme songs, and they also appear as interludes throughout the mixtape. A theme song for XV’s followers, target audience, and description of his movement, is the track “Be There, Be Square”. The Chiddy Bang producer Xaphoon Jones takes the reigns on this track including a lot of Nintendo Wii sounds over brass instruments, and 808 kicks.
XV displays his raw mainstream talent with the track “Wonkavater” which has an alienish type beat, with drums that resemble trap music. XV flips through different flows like TV channels, and creates a catchy hook with the perfect sample of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
His only big name features, Schoolboy Q, and B.O.B., both join him on the song “Aaahh Real Monsters”. Underground west coast royalty, Schoolboy Q, brings his style to this song, as the entire track oozes out of your speakers with an old school Snoop Dogg feel to it.
XV reveals his rendition of Wiz Khalifa with the track “Hi, Life”, a smooth, dreamy feeling song, with guitar, and soft 808 kicks.
XV’s debut album is set to be released during the summer of 2012 under the title The Kid with The Green Backpack. This project has little room to fail as Just Blaze has been named the executive producer. Just Blaze holds production credits from some of the most influential hip hop albums of this generation. Jay-Z’s Blueprint, Blueprint 2, and Eminem’s Recovery, just to name a few.
It will be very interesting to watch XV’s progression into fame, fortune, and expectation. And to also watch his music’s evolution in an industry where the consumer has the power to rip his art from his hands, and flip it from its foundation. XV should face no challenges though, as his content is always packed full of…. popular culture