2xcali sounds whimsical and airy on his three-track cut, NOW, where he opens up about his struggles surrounding starting up with all the odds being set against him — and prospering despite them.
On "Martyr," the first track off this record, 2xcali explores the cycling of his introspections and resonates on mantras in his subconscious: "Back against the wall, but I won't give up easily, I can't sleep knowing my daughter needed me." It comes off as melancholy concealed withing a staggering flow simulating the underlining trepidations of Toriano Howard's past, but then his true tone is unveiled.
"Die by my respect cause I'm a Martyr, I was thinking small, but I'm thinking larger," he stabs with the words leaving his lips, "finna crash out, but I'm thinking smarter, time be getting hard, but I'm going harder." Here, 2xcali somehow finds reservation for cheerfulness in the opaque descriptions of his adolescence. The delightful if somewhat ominous-sounding melody signifies the return of one of Rap's most secret weapons: amongst all his storytelling, he provokes a carefree bounciness, amplifying in the way his flow allures you with his magnetic topline melody.
Few are better at triggering this phenomenon than the Mississippi rapper himself. As more is divulged about the story, he warbles and trills with the spirit of someone who doesn't care what others deem as unsurpassable and life breaking; because for him, anything is surpassable if you believe in it.
As is often the case, 2xcali does much of the heavy lifting for his productions as most of the attention tends to be absorbed in his presence; but honestly, that that's how it should be. He always works in a funhouse entirely constructed out of booming 808s, dripped out reverbs reminiscent of some of his influencers, and hook samples—and the rapper embraces it a like squire becoming a knight, flourishing in his new merited form. It's hard to imagine anything flustering him in this die-hard mindset that he displays on "Martyr."
Hello 2xcali and welcome to BuzzMusic. What usually stimulates your urge to create music, and does it resonate the same way it did when you first started making music at fifteen years old?
When I hear an instrumental I get excited, there are so many things I can say about my life that connects with the listener and so many ideas I have to make the song great, The passion to make music from 15 years old to now is always been the same, I have fun with it, I make sure that its real and educational.
Do you work with any producers that help achieve some of the qualities and tones you highlight in your music? Or has this always been a solo venture?
Yes I work with different producers, but all of the melodic work and writing I do myself, I'm open to constructive criticism and will make any adjustments if needed, for a while I was a solo act, buying Mp3 leases from producers and making the song
When did you know which direction you wanted to go with NOW, and how do you think Martyr fits into that methodological mind-frame?
I knew the direction after I made the song “Time Zone” which was the last installment for the 3 song EP, The “Now “ Ep captures what I was going through at that moment, gathering all my emotions, taking highlights from personal conversations and implementing that information into the songs. Martyr was used as a metaphorical/symbolic term for the EP and song, just me saying that for the things I believe, I am willing to die for them, Also the song was inspired by my favorite historian Malcolm X and his “By Any Mean Necessary” Speech.
What do you hope to keep challenging and improving your artistic process and performance this year?
I hope to challenge my storytelling capabilities, my vocal presence, and energy on stage. Also connection with my fans base, I hope to bring in new fans to share music with, hopefully, educate and help others with my songs.
What has been keeping you inspired in 2020?
My innovative process, my team, just being a creator keep me inspired. Also, I have a lot to prove.