Twas a night at the Marquee and we did it for youth...
NMF: XV Pop Culture
XV Pop Culture Review
With the success of themed mixtapes/albums such as Jay-Z’s American Gangster and Wale’s More About Nothing series, a lot of artist have followed suit and tried their hand at making such projects. XV has been building quite a buzz for himself in the past year; being featured in one of the BET Hip Hop Awards Show’s cyphers gave the bubbling MC some national exposure. XV looks to keep the spotlight bright on him, with the release of his Pop Culture mixtape.
XV’s latest offering is infused with sound-bites and clips that eclipses different dimensions of Pop culture; from The Simpsons to Andy Warhol, XV gives listeners a variety of subjects and lyrical flexibility throughout the listening experience of Pop Culture. On “The Kick”, XV blacks out over the Inception sampled theme song, which finds him not wanting to awake from the dream-like lifestyle he has been living since his ascension through the ranks of Hip Hop. “Told my momma she’ll never watch from the sofa/Tell my haters, hit record on their remote controllers/ Until my totem falls over.” The MC speaks in reference to how he plans to continue his onslaught on the rap game.
Throughout the tape, XV shows the creativity and versatility that has garnered him the recent attention he’s been receiving. “Wonkavator” features clips from the movie, Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory and is certified heater. XV effortlessly flows over this bass pounding and bouncing instrumental produced by The Awesome Sound; whom contributed several track to the project. “Go On Without Me’’ is not only the standout track of the tape, but also the most tape’s most vulnerable. XV speaks on his best friend committing suicide as well as losing another friend as he chases his dreams over a heart-wrenching back drop.
“Be There, Be Square” finds the MC reminiscing about how he has embraced the differences between himself and his idols, Jay-Z and B.I.G.
I used to rap like Hov before I got signed
High school talent shows, throw up the Roc sign
Pouring liquor on hoes, sipping on white wine
‘Til I realized that whole life was not mine
I never seen Jigga play Chrono Trigger
Sneak out the house just to go out and skateboard with his niggas
XV has a love for skateboards, videogames and as evident from several lyrical references from bands like Oasis throughout Pop Culture, a love for Rock and Roll. XV’s divergent interest in comparison to the other MCs in his lane give him a more appealing and innovative sound than the competition.
Tracks like “ Mary-Kate and Ashley” and “Jedi-Night” are forgettable and better as ideas than actual songs, and the generic chorus’ and hooks on some of a couple of tracks (“Hi, Life” and “Her First Song”) find the XV trying to find radio play but take away from the strength of the tape; its originality. XV makes up for these missteps with the collaborations on Pop Culture. ScHoolboy Q and B.o.B provide stellar guest-verses on the entertaining “AHHH Real Monsters”, while Slim The Mobster also brings some heat on “Andy Warhol.”
Pop Culture is just another example of the evolution of today’s MC. The days of rappers sticking to the realms of trappin’, bangin’ and growing up impoverished are making way for the tales of the kids who grew up in suburbs, skateboard and were “nerds” in school. As always Hip Hop is on the move, and with Pop Culture XV has shown he is down for the ride.