XV, whose name refers to the age (15) at which he began to create music, is an emcee on the come-up. The Wichita, Kansas native has built his buzz and following through a slew of not only mix-tape releases (14 of them), but also the through the use of social media and the new school promo vehicle; the Internet. Based on the guest-list alone, XV’s 15th mix-tape Zero Heroes looks to be a promising effort, featuring the likes of Donnis, Kendrick Lamar, Cyhi Da Prynce, Vado, and more. The question remains though, is it indeed “Awesome”?
Yup. As XV gives props to his hometown on the lead track “Wichita”, it’s obvious that the best is yet to come. Stout production makes Zero Heroes an enjoyable listen, as XV slays beat after beat with tracks such as “When We’re Done” and “Smallville” providing a nice opening. The slow build hits an early peak, with the standout Swiff D produced banger “That’s Just Me”, a memorable head nodder that screams to be replayed. As Zero Heroes continues, it does so without skipping a beat or falling off. Tracks such as “Awesome” feat. Pusha T and “Pictures on My Wall” keep the ball rolling at a point where most artists usually insert filler.
While somewhat light, the guest-list featured on Zero Heroes is stellar. Kendrick Lamar lends a hand on the dope “Textbook Stuff”, CyHi Da Prynce and Vado join XV the fantastic “All For Me”. “U.F.C.” (feat Kristina Rose) and “Best Days of Our Lives” keeps it going as Zero Heroes builds more steam. The amazing thing about listening to Zero Heroes is the ability of XV to push strong track after strong track without any drop-off even as he album closes out with “Swervin” and “Last Hero”.
While some fans may not be familiar with XV, they should, in the words of Clinton Sparks, get familiar. Zero Heroes is a surprising effort, seemingly out of nowhere. On this fifteen track opus, XV creates a nice mix tracks to ride to, bob your head to and think about. Zero Heroes is a sonically pleasing effort that slides onto the list of best mix-tapes of 2011.
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