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VERANO - Stephen Xavier

Written on 10/17/2020
Irate Specialist


Many hip hop artists these days are all following the same formula for success. Leaning on trap beats with booming 808s as the foundation for their next hit song. However, it becomes clearer every day that Jersey artists are distinguishing themselves as the exception. Stephen Xavier’s new album Verano a prime example of the unique creative expression grown from the garden state. 

 

 

“Stephen Xavier is an artist in every sense of the word,” said Xavier. “However, I can get any type of artistic expression out; that’s what I try to do." 

 

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This desire to continue expanding his artistic expression even propelled him on the journey of learning how to mix and master his own tracks. Leading him to be able to mix many of the songs on his new album. 

 

 

Xavier, inspired by the genius sounds of neo-soul artists like Frank Ocean, Erykah Badu, and Lauren Hill, blends harmonic R&B vibes and bars harder than online classes in 2020 to give us Verano. It’s Xavier’s third project this year; however, it’s the one he’s been working on the longest, which is clear to see as the project takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions while also taking into account our dualistic nature. There are always at least two sides to every story, and Xavier takes the time to explore them multiple times throughout this project. 

 

 

The song "Glance” also played a significant role in the overall sound of the project. Originally released last year, “Glance” came about after Xavier was getting complaints about not being able to make summer vibes. 

 

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“Before that [Glance] I was told summer vibes were not my strong suit,” said Xavier. “When I made ‘Glance,’ I realized this is a summer vibe right here. Listening to hooks and how easy the song came out I was like, 'let me go with this feel.’ Without even thinking about it, I started making more that was built around that song." 

 

 

"Glance” is a beautiful story about the anxiety from not knowing when that moment will change your life forever will go but still being on the lookout. The honesty of the song plus the instrumental work together to create an authentic vibe. From this lens, it’s easy to see why this project is vibealicious from top to bottom. 

 

 

One other interesting thing about this project is that Xavier explores life’s dualities through a few tracks on the project. One of my favorite examples on the project are the songs “That Love Shit” and “That Luv Shit (featuring Jóvon Garlin).” Both beats include the same sample used differently, like how love can be expressed in different ways. 

 

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“I was like, 'these both sample the same track I can connect them somehow,’” said Xavier. “So the fast-paced one when you first initially enter love. So I’m happy talking about the mistakes of the past, but I’m like this [time is] different. Then we go to that Luv shit, and it’s the reality. Once the veil lifts and you see the actual thing and realize this is toxic." 

 

 

Xavier masterfully executes these topics using the beat as a blueprint to build the right vibe from.

 

 

 On "That Love Shit,” produced by Chef Slam, Xavier flexes his talent as a rapper and a singer bringing beautiful melodies and bars to dance on together on this track. Xavier rides the instrumental smoother than a skilled surfer on a wave. Throughout the track, the harmonies help make it clear that he’s caught a vibe that you won’t mind catching, unlike Corona. 

 

 

On “That LUV Shit,” produced by Dusa, Xavier slows it down to tell you the truth about the love he thought could be real on the earlier track. This deep reflection can be boiled down to Xavier’s last bar on the track, 

 

 

“Yea, you’re riding me/ But would you ride for me. The amount of bars throughout this song and this project clarifies that you don’t have to sacrifice bars to catch a vibe. 

 

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There are other examples of these polarities on the album as well, but we’d be here all day discussing them because they are that beautiful and meaningful. 

 

 

However, if you want to know more, you can hear the full breakdown of them on the Music & Mindfulness Podcast. Find the link in @irate_specialist’s bio on IG. 

 

 

Truthfully the way this album comes together to tell these and other fantastic stories showcase an exceptional level of skill. 

 

 

This is a project that you’ll want to play repeatedly, even though summer is over. So please listen to Verano now streaming on all platforms. Also, bump the track "Connect” that joint is fire. 

Listen to Verano by Stephen Xavier below: