lone**w0lf – [Lil Xelly]

A lot of rappers claim to be the hardest working musicians in the world and will stop for nothing in order to make it to the top. If anyone tells me that, I can’t help but bring up Lil Xelly who, at one point in time, was putting out multiple mixtapes and EPs every week. Not just numerous songs, but I repeat, multiple cohesive projects. While I appreciated the sheer output he once produced, I also found myself not necessarily appreciating the music as much as I should have. It was hard to even find time to listen to everything, so I would tune in every now and then which led me to miss out on how diverse and truly skilled he actually is as an artist. Not only can he rap in the most intricate, eye-opening ways, but he can also sing a lot more impressively than I ever previously thought. His liveliness on every single track is infectious, and there’s really no way of ignoring him at this point because he’s going to turn your head and catch your eye every single time one of his songs is played.

In order to understand how dexterous he is as an artist, his most recent mixtape lone**w0lf is the perfect place to go to discover his myriad of different styles. He takes listeners on a bit of a sonic journey throughout his musical abilities, boasting so many different sounds and aptitudes that aren’t easy to find in the current age of Rap music. The project begins with “el camino” which does a flawless job of demonstrating just how energetic he truly is. His ad-libs are shouted vigorously which shows off his personality and draws you in from the very moment of this tape’s inception. While his flows might not be overly complex in this first song, don’t worry, because he’ll get there before you even know it. In fact, the very next song “c0d mobile” begins to ramp up the hastiness of his words. The rolling, almost mysterious beat creates a foundation for Xelly to come in and play around, acting as if he’s just toying with listeners while still hiding something else up his sleeve.

After such a powerful couple of tracks, it only makes sense to bring the vibe to a different headspace and lighten the mood a bit, which is exactly what he does on the third song “no more drugs”. With this hit, he shows off his voice and the multitude of effects that alter it, although not in a way that takes away from his actual skills. Instead, he proves that he’s an expert when it comes to autotune and other effects, squeezing every last drop out of these alterations to truly use them to their full potential. The last extremely hard-hitting song in terms of thunderous 808s and intense production is “no way jose”, which might be one of my favorites off of the project. It seems like on this track more than any of the others, he just allows himself to get lost and go completely off the rails, resulting in some of his most impressive verses on the tape itself. The second half of this project goes back to the lighter, more buoyant melodies and autotuned singing that he has seemed to master over the years, which is a style that I was missing previously at times during his overload of releases not too long ago. The fact that the last few songs demonstrate this style gives a sort of upbeat, lighthearted aesthetic to the end of the project, sending the listener on their way in a good mood while also leaving them slightly hungry for more. At least, that’s the way I felt after the mixtape came to an end because I selfishly wished that it lasted so much longer than its almost 19-minute run time.

Although Lil Xelly might not be putting out multiple projects every week like he once was, he is truly focusing on his craft and making sure that he’s not just releasing things for the sake of saying he dropped something new. While he’s still putting out tons of new music and visuals even more so than a lot of other artists at his same level within the industry, each release seems to be so well put together and finely orchestrated that a deeper level of thoughtfulness definitely goes into each new offering, which is something notable that I’ve taken away from his recent drops. If you’re not very familiar with Lil Xelly, I personally believe that lone**w0lf is the perfect place to start because it really showcases his abundance of skills and diverse styles that he’s not only good at creating, but he has seemingly mastered over his years coming up in music. Whether you’re a fan of hard, aggressive Rap anthems or softer, more melodious ballads, Lil Xelly has something for you on his latest mixtape, so be sure to give lone**w0lf a spin as soon as you possibly can.