XV: Progessing Without Being Recognized


Story By Kimberly M. Yancey

From a cool universe where everybody’s nobody is somebody. Whether under a fitted cap, standing strong by a bursting green backpack or roman numerals used to mark one’s identity, a man’s language is heard to resurrect in color.

XV, was an artist many expected to be on the cover of XXL.  Once the list was exposed the artist automatically went to work. He released  his first mixtape for 2010, 30 Minute Layover,  last Saturday and  is  now collaboratively perfecting ,Vizzy Zone. But in the midst of his stride there is a constant battle with the politics of hip-hop and his relationship with hip-hop.

“I would say my love for hip-hop is a great relationship. I get music the way others don’t. The best thing about me lyrically, anything you may think of I know how to say it in a rap. That’s just a regular conversation. I know how to spin words and  use words or phrases that have double meanings.

But the Hip-hop industry, we have the worse relationship ever. I break up with it like every other week just because what I have to deal with.When the XXL cover was released and if I had to say anything to Hip-hop I would say, “You f *cking them other n*ggas, you f*cking them!” So hip-hop ,the industry,  and I have a fickle relationship because I keep doing it. It’s like one of those long-term relationships when you say, “You keep acting like this and it’s over”, but you always go back.”

XV’s love for hip-hop inspired his latest mixtape, 30 Minute Layover, a work  for his  fans without collaborations.

“Lots of things transpired since the XXL list. A lot of the guys on the cover, I’m friends with. They have contacted me like “Yo, are you going to the XXL?” Then I would say no, and they will be like “I don’t know if I’m supposed to tell you this.” So I found out like mad early. I guess because the people who are on the cover didn’t know who were going to be next to them. I  had calls from artists, who asked me if I’m going out to the shoot in New York. And then I hit up XXL. So a lot of things transpired that made me feel underrated. I’m just going to hit them in the head and that’s why I created  my mixtape. “

How does XV really feel about not making XXL’s list?

I feel snubbed. I feel that I should have been there based on the artists that they chose. This year they picked artists that I’m eye level with. I have records with four of them. Eight artists out of 10, I know musically. I find it weird for XXL to have a conversational piece and not bring me up. But I will say this, I was brought up. It’s just politics, to be nice about it and the people at XXL played their game. I’m not upset. But I do wish people would stop saying, “How you not going to put XV on it”.  I wish they would start saying “I’m glad they didn’t put XV on it” because I don’t want to be pigeon-holed as 10 freshmen because it puts a time limit on my success. What they’re saying is they all have to do something big this year. I’m thankful I’m not on it, but the exposure and the title behind it means something. It’s priceless, something I can’t get. It’s like the Grammy nomination for best new artist; you can only get that once. That’s the only thing that sucks. But I’m open for my own cover. So when I made my mixtape I said “F*ck XXL, I want to be on Time”. I believe in everything I’m doing this year and that’s all that really matters.
Everything would have changed if Drake and Nicki Minaj would have been on it.  Then I could say I shouldn’t be on it. It’s two covers and even on a fold it doesn’t add up. I think if Drake and Nicki were on it ,the list would change but I do believe OJ Juiceman would still be on the cover, unfortunately. I’ve had talks with people in that building and they love that guy. They love him, so what can you do? Many of those artists would have still been on it because the deals and their success they have secured in the industry. Drake and Nicki surpassed what that cover stands for, so it makes sense.”

XV’s personal list for 10 Freshmen for 10′,would range from most-anticipated to underrated newcomers.

“J.Cole, Nipsey Hussle, Big Sean, Wiz Khalifa, Mike Posner, Freddie Gibbs, myself (we’re going to get that right this time), Pill, Yelawulf, Chip Da Ripper. I would pick those 10 because I’m going by what the fans are saying even outside of me.  And I agree with them, still knowing that people were snubbed like Chip and Yelawulf. They are dope artists. It’s just like the MTV list, they left Eminem off.”

Vizzy is working hard to reach his goal sonically with his next release, Vizzy Zone. The first single is called  “Departure” . “Hello, Good-bye”,  is a Beatles inspired song featuring Big Sean. XV collaborated with Mike Posner for another track called “Closet Freak”, which is about a girl who is infatuated with clothes. Also, you can expect to hear the King of R&B, R.Kelly, on a track with XV that is currently untitled.Vizzy Zone will be released on March 26th.  He will start shooting his video for “Mirror’s Edge” in the next few weeks.

Lastly, is XV still the kid with the green backpack?

You can  look for his album, The Kid with The Green Backpack, this August as he introduces himself ,being  a nobody in the music industry and turning into who he is, XV.