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XV, Popular Culture

As he’s built his buzz over the last few years with a constant flow of mixtapes, XV has continuously made cultural references in his lyrics, using the trends of our society as a lens to contextualize his own experiences and his surroundings. He further hones in on that approach with his latest free release, Popular Culture.

At it’s finest points, the project finds Vizzy trekking through deeply personal moments within his own life while swinging swords of sharp similes related to TV and movies. He’s uses pop culture metaphors and references to tell his own story. This is channeled best on songs like the bare bones “Breaking Bad,” where he relates instances from the acclaimed AMC show of the same name to moments in his own life, and later on “The Kick,” where over dark, stretched out production, the Wichita, Kansas native hopes the dream that he’s currently living—making music—doesn’t come to an end (as dreams do with “the kick” in the movie Inception).

Beyond the thematic cohesion within these sorts of songs, and their individual lyrical ingenuity (“Told my team don’t let dollars break us, we change for nothing,” he raps on “Breaking Bad”), it’s their confessionary and autobiographical elements that give them their greatest value. As XV opens up to his listeners with fearless self-affirmations steeped with valuing accepting who you are (“Be There, Be Square”), grapples with maintaining a relationship while on the road (“Her Favorite Song”), and reflects on losing a friend to suicide (“Go On Without Me”), the technical cleverness used to guide the tales are just an added bonus.

Features from ScHoolboy Q and B.o.B (“Aaahh! Real Monsters”), Emilio Rojas (“Wonkavator”) and Irv Da Phenom (“Zombieland Rule 32″) help play off of the tape’s main character, but in the end this is about XV and his ability to continue to build his own narrative with flair and candor. The Awesome Sound lays the majority of the sonic base for Vizzy’s verbal storyboard, as the sounds vary from bubbly to shadowy, but remain reflective of the content of the songs.

For the near-hour of Popular Culture, XV grabs his concept and sees it all the way through. Though the first half of the project is stronger than it’s second act, XV has again shows his talents, making an indirect plea that Warner Bros. gives him the attention he deserves. —Adam Fleischer (@AdamXXL)

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  • Johnny Fishtank

    Surprised you didn’t mention the track “Andy Warhol” ? It was the dopest song on the tape in my opinion.followed by “The Kick”

  • Chadfella_UK

    This kid and Kendrick are the reason i prefer mixtapes to proper albums nowadays. Artists only seem to be able to get their true creative juices flowing on the freedom the mixtape platform creates. Don’t believe me?? Just look at J cole and BIG Krit’s debuts compared to their mixtapes..#imjustsayin…

    • da mahh fucka

      what??? krits album away outdid his mixtapes.

  • SleazyJ

    I’ve been listening to Spitta for yrs, but this doesn’t compare to Rugby Thompson by Smoke DZA.

  • http://Twitter.com Germ

    S For Originallity? Gtfo ..

  • noah

    from your three categories, this should average out to be L at max. why are you going to be inconsistant?

  • Nah Doe

    No one on this site knows how to write a fuckin review

  • http://www.ghettoredhot.com Ghetto

    These songs just dont really work for me. Not original at all and im not sure why the beat review is so high. Beats aint nothing.


    Johnny Fishtank…Im surprised you didnt read the title about the artist they are reviewing. This is an EP by Curren$y, produced by Harry Fraud. Not an XV mixtape you fucking moron

  • King Chandler

    How does 1 bar for originality and 3 bars for lyrics earn an XXL rating? The fuck happened to you XXL? Oh well, back to bumpin Nas new shit, that shit’s like time travelin back to the 90′s.

    • Jimmy Apperson

      I know a whole bunch of Dudes that would eat this dude up: http:// mtvchristianhiphop.weebly.com/

  • ARYAN Singh


  • Jimmy Apperson

    I Went on MTV Christian Site and heard a whole bunch of dudes that would eat this cat: http:// mtvchristianhiphop.weebly.com/