Razor Tongue Media

Xperience Is Royal On Regal Blue '84

Xperience album "Regal Blue '84" cover has a drawn picture of the shirtless rapper wearing a crown and looking intently off to the right.

The soulful and the suave have returned to Hip Hop in Xperience’s latest album, Regal Blue ’84.

Since his debut album Soultree (2004)Xperience has captivated listeners with a gritty, philosophical lyricism that could grapple with that of many of the industry’s most celebrated underground rappers. In later solo releases and collaborations with the likes of Macklemore and Onry Ozzborn, Xperience began to showcase his additional talent for singing. To that end, he released the album Piscean (2018) on which he can scant be heard rapping a single verse. Much like Piscean, Regal Blue ’84 is mostly a sung project. Only the first and last songs include rap verses, the majority of the album is a concoction of R&B, Soul, and Acid Jazz.

Thematically, this album is beautifully grounded. In it, Xperience heartily shares moments and relationships from his own life. The opening track “Cats and Dogs” (featuring Tiffany Wilson), tells the artist’s journey turning childhood dreams into reality and navigating the interpersonal struggles in the midst of it. “Sibling” is a ballad in which Xperience pledges lifelong brotherhood and support to his sister. Even in some of the more fantastical love songs like “Ladybugs”in which the hook whimsically sings ‘Hey, Ms. Ladybug, let’s look for UFO’s together’, the story is wholly relatable, nostalgically referencing K-Swisses, beepers, and many other hallmarks of young adult dating life in the 90’s. On writing this album, Xperience has stated that he “wanted to sing and make realistic love songs”. Through earnestness and evocative storytelling, the aimed realism has certainly been achieved.

The tracklist of the album tonally weaves from depth and sultry romance all the way to partying on the town. The track “Saucy” features seductive falsetto and a Jazz electric guitar that would fit right in with the steamy works of Al Green. It is directly followed by “Peacockin’”, a Zapp and Roger style romp that celebrates Xperience’s bombastic dress-to-impress fashion sense. The culmination of the whole project is “Orion”, a banging feel-good finale that shouts “I feel like royalty today!” Somehow this album successfully spans a diverse spectrum of emotions without clashing against itself.

This lively, spirit-filled writing is also delivered skillfully by masterful musicality. Xperience sings with the range and style reminiscent of 90’s R&B and is further intensified with the same vibrant propulsive energy he brings to his rap delivery. Beneath this electrical velvet vocal performance, there is also such artisanal instrumentation. In both “Cats and Dogs” and “Peackockin'” are blues trumpet sections that add additional flair and the solo violinist in “So Long” could almost bring the listener to tears (quite appropriate to the break-up song’s tragic message). These and the guitarists, bassists, and producers work provide memorable accompaniment on par with the high standard set by Xperience’s vocals.

Regal Blue ’84 is a parade-like exhibition of Xperience’s many talents and it’s an art-piece to enjoy. Through it, the legacy of the great acts of yesteryear endure with a fresh new take and the horizons of Hip Hop are gracefully broadened. It’s an album for the gleeful times and the times of heartbreak; it’s an album for the raucous times and the romantic. While listening through it, one might laugh, cheer, and cry. On any day, and in any season, a song from this project will suit your mood.

Check out Regal Blue ’84 on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon and make sure to follow Xperience @XperienceXP on Twitter and Instagram.

For Razor Tongue Media,

Mamu McMatthews

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