XL Middleton & Delmar Xavier VII - XL Middleton & Delmar Xavier VII (LP)
Taking a sharp detour from synthesizer-heavy, uptempo modern funk tracks, XL Middleton teams up with mysterious producer Delmar Xavier VII to rap over a deftly curated selection of Japanese city pop sounds on their self-titled duo debut. DXVII's lush sample choices provide the perfect backdrop for what amounts to a collection of vignettes in which XL details LA life in the corona era. He bounces from reflections on social unrest in the city to an all around history of civic corruption on "Lament For The Angels," then takes a more nostalgic approach as he reminisces on growing up in Pasadena on "626 Since It Was 818", his native corner of the LA area, alongside hometown cohorts Blkwest & Moniquea. "L.A. Noir" feels like the Cliff Notes version of the book City Of Quartz in rap form, while "Strange Dance" (feat. Young Sau) examines the mindset of those who were determined to stay outside even as covid was peaking. The hypnotic "Fire (Storm)" was written when California was in the throes of some of the worst wildfires in its history, a somber, smoke-permeated acceptance of a new normal.
Sequenced in the same order the songs were written and recorded, the album starts to take a more hopeful turn on "Perfect Time To Come Over," a spaced-out anthem for reconnecting with a love interest. 90's west coast rap legend K-Dee glides with XL & Zackey Force Funk on "L.A. Holiday," the only song on the album co-produced by XL himself, featuring his signature analog bounce over Delmar's chopped loops and breaks. The album's finale, "Too Late," betrays its own title and ends the project on an optimistic note.
Lament For The Angels
626 Since It Was 818 (feat. Blkwest & Moniquea)
Gardener (feat. Dialtone)
Only Luv (Interlude)
Strange Dance (feat. Young Sau)
Perfect Time To Come Over
L.A. Holiday (feat. K-Dee & Zackey Force Funk)
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