Some of XV’s throwaway lines here on Popular Culture would highlight other rappers albums. But just know: I will never go from tinman to scarecrow. Trading in my heart just to get brain he raps on Her Favourite Song. But enjoy any line for longer than the time it takes XV to deliver it, and you’re gonna miss a quotable elsewhere.
That’s the beauty of XV’s music, and much is owed to his eloquent delivery. It’s clear and concise enough for first time listeners not to be discouraged, but with enough depth to keep you hitting play over and over. The Kick is the most obvious example of Vizzy flexing his lyrical muscles. Some were disappointed that a track that was first released over three months ago was included on the tape, but it provides a rare sombre moment in a project that is filled with energy and…
The tape does stumble ever so slightly after B.o.b puts the exclamation point on the instantly lovable Ahh! Real Monsters, the only explanation for Jedi Knight is that XV really wanted a Star Wars track, but it’s a free project and even Zero Heroes had Best Days of Lives.
In the absence of frequent collaborator ‘Seven’, XV relies heavily on the talents of the producer of that track, ‘The Awesome Sound’. He comes across as someone who is still working out his sound, and that works to XV’s advantage as he is able to explore and experiment with a variety of different sounds on Popular Culture. The juxtaposition of the introspective Go On Without Me with the infectious Wonkavator displays XV’s growing versatility better than any other 1-2 punch on the tape.
Call him Lupe Fiasco with more video game references, or Childish Gambino with more versatility. Whatever you call him, just don’t call him underground anymore.