Artist Profile – XV

“Small town, big dreams
And a young boy at the age of fifteen
Had a premonition that his city would get seen
Now I’m winning, get Sheen in the city of
The home of our hero
Heroin stay back, this is dope on a needle
Do it for the people, with an anchorman ego
Sex panther cologne in a speedo
Coming live from”

This one is a bit overdue, so allow me to apologize. So, late last year, as most of the hip hop debates go on Twitter, the question at the moment was “What’s the Mixtape of the year?” I saw a title multiple times, and I was like “who the hell is this?” Well, me being the investigative one, I went and looked up the title of the mixtape (Zero Heroes), and I saw that it was by some guy named XV (roman numeral for 15 if you didn’t know that), and I was like okay, some new guy. (Twitter – @XtotheV)

I took in Zero Heroes and as I was listening to it, I was feeling his flow, but his nasally voice was kind of annoying at first, but his flow made up for it, and he had some bars to go along with it. Production was CRAZY, and he had solid features on it. From there, I was like alright this guy is pretty good, I can mess with his music. I didn’t really go back to listen to more mixtapes from him, but I just heard one of his older mixtapes (Everybody’s Nobody) and his whole approach is essentially being the nerd in school that got a chance to be better than the rest of the popular kids in school. The thing is that he’s carried that same mantra throughout a few of his more recent mixtapes, and it gets repetitive, but at the same time, when something is going for you, why change it?

He’s embraced the “nerd” in him by his movement (Squarians, which are squares, which is another word for losers), and in his rhymes he refers to video games a lot and makes TV show references (more so in his more recent mixtape, Popular Culture). He’s a rapper that pretty much just has fun with his music, and he’s different in his approach, especially when it comes to his production. He raps over techno/house/dubstep inspired beats, but he does them justice. It’s cool to see rappers not just stick with the norm, and actually take the time to go and explore their creativity. It’s pretty dope, so I’ll give him a nod for that. He’s even had one of his songs on EA Sport’s ever popular Madden NFL football game.

The reason why I like his music is because it’s original; he’s not appearing to be a copy of other rappers that are out right now, and he’s building himself a movement, and he’s from Wichita, Kansas, which is a really small city in the Midwestern United States. He has a lot (and I mean a lot) of mixtapes in his catalogue, but I’ve only listened to 2 of them, so you can start there and work your way back. He’s worth the listen, so check him out and look out for future projects from him, because he’ll be dropping a lot of them sooner or later.

Bonus – Blame Yourself (a single from his upcoming album)

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