XV - Complex

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We need something defining from a brand new artist and not just the run of the mill, everyday emcee. This was a decent effort for a break out album, but it is a far cry from Complex.

Ever since the emergence of
Eminem, Hip Hop has been more
receptive to Midwestern artists from areas other than Chicago. Those from the middle seem to
display a combination of lyrical, attitude and clothing styles that are usually
unique to one or another region of the country. For instance, Nelly raps with a Southern twang but Eminem, Obie Trice and others that are further towards the Eastern side of
the middle, the dress reflects more Eastern shoreline than Midwestern
cowboy. XV comes to us from Kansas City and seems to
fall into the category of coastlessness. This seems to cause him problems
at times, finding him sounding generic and anything but Complex

The album begins with XV flexing his best Game-isms. He continuously drops Jay-Zs and refers to The Blueprint and basically Jay's entire catalog. The majority
of the production sounds like knock off Kanye
pre-College Dropout and The Blueprint tracks. The first two
songs ("Feels Like The First Time," "You Got Me") sound like everyone else who
brags about how they are the next emcee such and such and how hard their
struggle was to get in the game. On "Give You Everything" we are subjected
to another typical female song where "shorty
is so fly and she want this and that and I gotta keep her laced up
." And
here, not only does the production mimic Kanye,
but so does his delivery and enunciation. Once again, the name of the album is Complex and these are all issues that
have been visited and revisited in this same fashion. 

Next we move on to "Cruise,"
a cool track due to the production which fits the title perfectly. However,
the content is filled with more name-dropping and no substance. "Dream
Killers" is just a flat out blatant attempt to mimic any random summer-sounding
track by Jay and YeXV even goes as far as saying "I
feel like Hov on this one
." This
is one major aspect that causes the album to suffer. XV most definitely has potential but the majority of his music is a
carbon copy of what has already been done. His talent takes a backseat to him
seemingly trying to sound like others rather than being himself. On "King
of The City," he flips the "Mambo Italiano" beat, and it really bangs. The bad
thing about this song is it was one of the best attempts at something original
but the concept doesn't match the content. The song is called "King of The
City" but he says nothing about the city at all. No references to his
neighborhood, high school or even the name of the town he's
from. Ironically, on the very next song "Other Side of Town" he gives us a
little insight into what life is like in Kansas. "Stare
& Whisper" also contains a sample that we're familiar with. This track
was used by Masta Ace on "H.O.O.D." As
a matter of fact, it sounds like the exact same song outside of the drum

The album's best track has
to be "Boy From Kansas." XV
drops his guard and gets personal, which is something that Hip Hop needs more
of because we all know everyone isn't hard all the time. XV has potential as an artist, but he
will have to figure out who he is first. The lyrical content mirrors just
about everyone else and the music as a whole does not represent one area or the
other. We need something defining from a brand new artist and not just the
run of the mill, everyday emcee. This was a decent effort for a break out
album, but it is a far cry from complex.

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