Keep It Goin Xav – Xaviersobased Review

by Dakota Rossi

The polarizing Upper West Side rapper and producer XavierSoBased had an incredible year in 2023. From rapidly gaining online popularity with breakout singles like Patchmade (released 2022) and how i feel pt. 2; to producing for other notable underground acts like Duwap Kaine, wildkarduno, and phreshboyswag, and being featured on tracks from legendary underground producers like DJ Smokey and Hi-C, Xavier was constantly on the radar for fans of various internet rap scenes. Keep It Goin Xav, released on January 15th, alongside host DJ Rennessy, showcases how far Xavier has come from his roots as a relatively unknown underground producer.

Xavier started making music around 2017 but didn’t start consistently working with like-minded rappers and producers until around 2020. In his early career, he was involved with Jewelxxet, NOVAGANG, and So Evil Boyz, working closely with artists like Xhris2Eazy, Acid Souljah, Lazy God, and CJ808. Leaving Jewelxxet in 2021 and continuing to develop his style, Xavier helped to found the group 1c, alongside names recognizable in today’s underground scene like ZAYGUAPKID, Tenkay, and ksuuvi. The loose internet collective’s members continue to frequently collaborate with each other, each having unique and experimental styles that blend regional hip-hop influences, internet rap culture, hyperpop, vaporwave, IDM, and other genres to create dense and cloudy bass-heavy soundscapes. Xavier in particular loves using reverbed and ethereal vocals, often in a repetitive, hypnogogic way that makes him stand out in the scene. In 2022, Xavier released Install, his most popular album at the time, which received lots of praise from those in the underground hip-hop community. With a Polo Perks feature on Get Away From Me and popularity from the previously mentioned Patchmade, this album let Xavier begin to get more much-needed acclaim from producers, rappers, and promoters within the scene.

In 2023, Xavier began collaborating with more artists that make up the backbone of today’s underground. EPs with Yhapojj, singles with Nettspend, and continuing to produce for all sorts of internet hip-hop stars, Xavier’s name was all over the place last year. This popularity allowed him to perform at more and more events, opening at New York shows for acts like Snow Strippers and SURF GANG. By the end of the year, he became the headliner at shows like Restless Fest. His most notable concert was during December, where him and Yhapojj were meant to perform at the Mercury Lounge before the show got shut down less than 10 minutes in and fans started to riot. Xavier has shown that he can captivate his cult-like fanbase in a way that very few artists do, and this January release shows him in his best form to date.

The front half of the tape starts with the drugged-out and hallucinogenic FanOut, priming fans for a dark, atmospheric, and surreal cloud rap experience akin to SALEM. Before the track speeds up to the fast pace Xavier is known for, Need Me continues with the quick repetitive production Xavier fans have become familiar with: bars shouting out 1c and talking down on haters. The tracks on this mixtape have samples from an interview between DJ Rennessy and XavierSoBased, discussing his influences and motives for creating music. Get High and BreakItDown provide more jumpy beats and drowned-out lyrics flaunting money, drugs, and guns, with the prior being more cloudy and the latter having trap-style production. Google is perhaps the most unique track on the mixtape, with Xavier rapping in a higher voice and discussing his new-found fame.

The album really finds itself on the sixth track, Ascend, produced by 1o and showcasing the album’s first feature from Jtxpo. Special is my favorite track from the tape. Production is done by DJ Ess, a Houston-based producer who has gained popularity remixing songs into blown-out jerk and low-end jams he calls ‘mixx’es. Some notable mixxes Ess has made have been done on Punchmade Dev’s Internet Swiping and Certified Trapper’s Slipped Up. Special has the heavy jerk influence Ess is known for with an extremely catchy hook over sparkly synths. MyAll, produced by and featuring Kuru, has Xavier rapping about how he has been putting everything on the line to make it as an artist.

Yhapojj is featured on UToldMeIWasAFuckUpGirl, with pensive vocals over a slower piano-focused beat, making another highlight on the tape. KlkMiHijo has Xavier boasting over another incredible beat from CJ808. Load Up continues the hot streak with heavy reverb on Xav’s vocals over a bitcrushed synth. On My Own puts Xavier on a floaty low-end beat full of depth making for one of the catchiest tracks from the project. Xavier provides some of his most entertaining lyrics on another low-end beat with This Far, alongside a Nettspend feature that delivers. Xav brings another classic hook on KeepItGoin, with him flowing smoothly over a super fun jerk beat. The album closes on Finna Go Ot (technically a bonus track), using a cloud rap beat that is constantly switching with each bar Xavier drops.

This is one of the most fun mixtapes I have heard in a while, and Xavier is not afraid to experiment with different styles while staying true to himself. It may take some time for a first-time Xavier listener to come around, but there’s just so much to love on the tape. The back half of this project is truly something special and I wouldn’t be surprised to continue to see Xav influence more of the underground, perhaps with a mainstream breakthrough soon to come. As 2024 continues, make sure to keep an eye out for Xavier on producer credits and features for some of your favorite cloud rap and plugg artists. It’s exciting to see such a unique artist stay true to their roots while beginning to emerge from this scene.

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