Xaviersobased: Keep It Goin Xav Album Review

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    Once you hear Xaviersobased, you’ll want to argue about Xaviersobased. Indifference is not an option because his music turns casual rap convos into First Take. Possibly it’s because you think his glazed vocals—sometimes pitch-shifted, sometimes layered so thick that they’re mystically fused together—absolutely suck. In some cases it may turn you into the kind of hip-hop conservative you used to make fun of.

    Alternatively, maybe, you’ll see the light, and go on and on, like I do, about how it’s a borderline spiritual experience, one that will have you standing around with crowds of teenagers and skaters after midnight, below underpasses, at warehouse shows with unpronounceable names on the bill, or at more standard venues (where maybe you’ll get caught in a riot, or end up posted up next to a furry), just to listen to this babyface Upper West Side 20 year old’s blur of blown-out, totally zooted dance rap.

    Two years ago, I was initiated into Xavier’s prolific and overwhelming churn of mixtapes and SoundCloud loosies with the self-produced “Crisp Dubs,” a lagging, rebooting single that spices up a sample from the soundtrack of an online porno gaming series. It’s so boundless that it had me convinced that I had just stumbled into the coolest shit and instantly bonded with anyone who felt the same, which is what underground rap is all about in a way. Hardly anything else in his catalog is quite like “Crisp Dubs” but it set the precedent for a style that pulls from so many different corners of popular and underground rap and online and regional cultures that pretty much nothing feels off limits. He can rap “Slap the shit out of a old nigga if he classist,” or a zillion iterations of “Two bad hoes in the trap tryna’ fuck me.” He can reimagine lost subgenres of New York or make a beat that feels like he hacked into Soulja Boy’s old GarageBand account. All for the purpose of making party rap that is infused with the DNA of party rap that came before it.

    Xavier’s first (and surely not last) mixtape of the year, Keep It Goin Xav, is a bottle-popping celebration. Sprinkled with clips from his interview with the tape’s host DJ Rennessy—which are mostly annoying because Rennessy lacks the identifiable charisma of memorable mixtape hosts—it’s essentially a look-at-how-far-I’ve-come project. It’s nowhere near as humorless as that sounds, though, because the music is vibrant, improvisatory, and fun as hell. In a way, it’s of a lineage with so much of the 21st century’s great hangout rap made by those below legal drinking age, from the skater’s anthems to the bedroom-made rapalongs to the Magic City soundtracks.



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