Saturday, July 21, 2007

Review of Wordz From Tha Underground

XYL and his Dancers
ABORT Magazine was on hand on July 13 to cover my recent show at the Media Club, Wordz From Tha Underground.

Here is the review:

Live Review - Wordz from Tha Underground,
Friday July 13th - The Media Club
Vancouver, BC

SPM Music presented the fifth installment of WFTU’s profile of local talent featuring host XYL (pronounced Exile), Son Real, DJ Vinnie the Squid, the Now or Never breakdance Crew, and Erthtonez.

Kicking off the evening and featuring beats by EV, XYL’s style is an even mix of party rap and philosophy, first hyping the crowd up with drinking’ rhymes and then hitting us with “the code of the samurai”. He’s all about Asia in fact, says he’s planning on going there soon with a mix of rap and Asian pop, and not coming back until he’s a major superstar over there, – He can even rap in Korean! The skinny white girl dancers on either side of him showed how serious he is about this pop star shit (all right, it was entertaining…), and the Japanese hotties in the front row sure loved it.

Son Real was walking around handing out CD’s for free and he gave me one without even knowing I’m Aborted. Kid must have money and CD’s to burn. Anyway, he started out strong, he really did, good voice and all, but it’s a bit hard to believe his whole street hustling shtick (a bit J-Roc) - and then when his buddy came out with the guitar…well, it was bold, and worked for a minute. But listen Son – a hook is just that, a hook, not a five minute chant (Son Real got you so hot or whatever…), and just because your five loogan buddies in the front row are singin’ along doesn’t mean you’re moving the crowd.

Which brings us to….Erthtonez All fresh for the video shoot like they just walked outta Metrotown. Dudes were pretty cool smoking weed and freestyling on the steps, so I was definitely interested in their live styles. Thunderous beats provided by Vinnie the Squid had me anticipating greatness, but when Mishap started rapping I was underwhelmed…him and Explicit have obviously been working on their craft together for some time, and have good interplay, beats and song concepts. It’s just that, well, it reminds me of hippie drum circles where that guy has to play faster and louder than anyone and sounds like some kinda toy machine gun…in musical terms it’s called relentless quarter notes without syncopation –aka: funkless.

Non Phixion can pull it off ‘cause they’re from NYC and their voices naturally swing…really it’s not how fast you say it, listen to some Sean Price for chrissakes.

The highlight of the evening was definitely the Now or Never Crew, who stood anonymously unassuming on the sidelines until the breakbeats dropped and then exhibited the dopest display of b-boying I’ve seen in years! Headslides, handwalks, windmills and insane freezes, fuck man I was pretty drunk by this point and I think I actually drooled in stupefaction. Check out the movies on their site. They teach classes too!

We took off after Erthtonez so I don’t know if the freestyle battle happened or what, we were too intent on pizza and Fireball. Granville on a Friday night is one big Vice Mag.

Fortunately, I arrived home to East Van to beer and barbecued meat ‘till the birds woke up…

By Dave” Corvid” McCallum

Wordz From Tha Underground comes to the Lamplighter next month on Aug 17th featuring Violative Cause, Sketch Bros, and (shameless plug) Abort Magazines’ own Corvid and his crew 49th Peril, hosted by XYL and DJ Antihero.
Support Vancouver Underground music!!! Much respect to XYL for organizing, big up to all the performers for doing your thing and keeping Hip Hop alive.

Back to Blogging

Been really busy with other things and have begun to wonder if it is worth blogging. Anyways, here are some updates:

Performing at Anime Evolution:
I will be performing at a huge Anime convention at SFU in Vancouver. Check the Anime Evolution website for more details about the event.

Featured on the cover of Chinese magazine:
I have been featured on the cover of a Chinese lifestyle and entertainment magazine produced by Pharos Media. To check out my interview inside, CLICK HERE

Recording new Chinese single:
I have finished writing my first single for China. The song will feature the vocal talents of D'arcy Zi Han who will be singing in Mandarin.

First Japanese single complete:
My first Japanese single, 'Dreams', is now complete. The song features production by ZISK from Kumamoto Japan and also Japanese vocals by Tiffa Lei. You can listen to the track on my Myspace profile.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Addicted to Asian Pop Music

Koda Kumi
It's official I am now completely addicted to Asian pop music. I can't stop listening to it all day. I find it really inspiring in regards to my own compositions and also it really gives me an idea what people in Asia love in terms of music style. I'm going to be working with more Asian pop singers now, not simply because it's a big thing is Asia but because I absolutely love this music and I want to absorb some of its flavor into my own recordings.

In my opinion, the two greatest artists in Asian pop are Koda Kumi from Japan and BoA from Korea. One of my goals is to work with both of them.

Next time on Planet XYL, my new Japanese collaboration!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The End of Drinking...

XYL loves beer
Goodbye sweet beer... I must leave your cool, refreshing and intoxicating goodness behind for now. But I know we will meet again someday in a dusky pub or an upbeat Korean nightclub. I will once again imbibe your inebriating toxicity in the future but for now we must part ways.

Hangovers, blacking out, wasting money, acting stupid, I won't really miss those things. Big laughs, one-shotting pints, getting wasted with my friends, these things I will miss. But to get to my goal I have to give this vice up for now. Once I hit Asia then it's all the beer, Soju and Sake I can drink! Nonde!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Wordz From Tha Underground in Review

XYL Live!
It went down on Saturday June 16th at the Lamplighter and what a show it was. And I'm not just saying that because it was my show. No, seriously. Anyways, here's a recap of the night for those who couldn't make it:

I was the host of the evening as well as the first performer. This was my first time performing with the XYL dancers, Juile and Leanne. They dressed really hot in some dope black outfits and completely killed it. Their choreography is excellent and it feels amazing to have dancers who have actually taken the time to carefully choreograph dances for my songs! I feel that overall, this was my best performance yet. My crowd came out in full force, once again being 99% Asian students. They crowded the front of the stage and went nuts it was awesome!

Barrons S
This girl put on a hell of a show! With support from a guitar player and a local rapper from the Sketch Bros., Charz, she had the crowd totally into her set. Her voice is very skilled and she has some great songs. Definitely a talent to watch out for.

Stepping in for Violative Cause, who were unable to make it, was the always cheerful North Vancouver rapper Euneverse. He hit the stage next with his unique style that combines classical music with hip-hop. He says his music sounds like "Beetoven and Bach having beers with Biggie and Atmosphere". Cool. The always entertaining MC laid down a set of tunes from his CD 'Infinite Music' and at one point, had a random hot chick from the audience grinding with him on stage! Can't say anything bad about that!

Damn! A-Slam crushed! One of the members, E.V., is my co-producer and studio engineer for all of my recordings so I'd already heard his material and enjoyed it. However, these guys live is a whole different thing. They had a singer, E.V. rapping and also a really awesome drummer playing a unique East Indian instrument which I believe is called a 'Dhol'. Their energy level was sky-high and they impressed everyone with their unique fusion of sounds.

Keep 6ix
What can I say? Keep 6ix rules live each and every time. This is the third time I've booked them for a Wordz From Tha Underground show and their skill and energy live is unsurpassed. From the more emotional tracks like 'Nowhere 2 Hide'(my favorite) to more fun songs about getting hammered and high, these guys(and gal) rocked the set and then some. At this point the beers were flying about and we were getting completely inebriated. Dope.

The next Wordz From Tha Underground is a big one! It's the Erthtonez video shoot! More details to follow...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I just got laid off my 'regular' job of Vitamin Sales Clerk which is sweet and also sucks. The sweet part is I now have every opportunity to work on my career all day long which is what I'm doing, putting in 12-14 hours a day.

The part that sucks is that I'm broke and Employment Insurance will take 5 friggin' weeks to kick in. Damn it! I'll have to start selling cocaine I suppose. Well, that and ringtones. I have some available for purchase, CLICK HERE.

You can grab a couple of wallpapers for free too.

In other news, I'm going to start blogging more and quit being so damn formal with my posts. This is supposed to be about the day-to-day struggle of a now broke musician not just adspace. I also read a book about blogging for business and I am now an expert. I've basically become the equivalent of a ninja blogger with throwing stars.

Oh, and I quit drinking. But that's another blog post.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Make Way EP is Released

XYL Make Way
After much toil and handship my brand new EP 'Make Way' is unleashed upon the world! I have created a special webpage where you can download the CD plus change the language options. The page is translated into Japanese, Korean and Chinese. Check it out!

This is a really innovative website in that it is basically an online CD. You can access all sorts of cool options such as 'Join the XYL Newsletter', 'Tell a friend' and 'Send XYL a Message'. You can also access all my social networking site profiles. It's a completely integrated all-in-one site!

So go ahead, download my music and share it with all your friends. It's free and totally legal to share with anyone! Thanks for your support =D

Monday, June 4, 2007

A Canada-Japan Collaboration

I am currently working with Japanese producer Ota Kent on one of his tracks. The song, tentitavely titled 'Dreams', is an excellent piece of work and feautures professional quality production. He found me on the Japanese social networking site Mixi and really liked my rap voice. He asked me to rap on his track and I of course agreed seeing that the music was top-notch.

I have recruited vocalist Tiffany Lei to sing the chorus in Japanese. Tiffany is an amazing vocalist and cites Japanese pop sensation Koda Kumi as one of her influences, among others. She is interesting in that she is half caucausian and half Chinese but prefers to sing in the Japanese language. Anyways, I'm excited to be working with both her and Ota.

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Sunday, May 20, 2007

More Work! Cyworld...

More and more work keeps being required as I get set to release my new EP 'Make Way' on June 1st. Now I am getting into the whole Social Networking Site thing, adding friends and introducing people to my music.

Right now, I am having a lot of positive feedback on Cyworld. This is originally a Korean site that ended up creating pages in the US, China, Japan and Taiwan. The concept in sort of similar to Myspace with a few cool differences. The core of Cyworld is the 'Minihome' a pop-up window that contains a room you get to customize with all sorts of different furniture, animals and characters. I find that people on Cyworld are way more receptive to being approached to check out new music than Myspace. This, in my opinion, is because Cyworld is not oversaturated with advertising like Myspace is. People are friendlier and there is way more of a community spirit.

I also updated the look of my Myspace page so be sure to have a look. Until next time...

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Working Like Crazy

XYL going insane!
There is never enough time! I have had the past 3 days off of my 'real' job and have been working full-tilt on my music career. Studying marketing and promotion, working on my Myspace page, organizing my Street Team, recording new songs and the list goes on to infinity. It gets stressful but I love it, as each day I make a little bit of progress towards my ultimate goal and that feels great.

The two new tracks I've recorded were the last ones for my upcoming 'Make Way' EP. I am very excited about them, you'll hear them on June 1st when Make Way becomes available as a free download. For now, it's more work... LOTS more work. If I don't go completely insane I might just make it.

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Thursday, May 3, 2007


I think freestyling is an integral part of hip hop and all MCs should make an effort to build their improvisational skills. Not only is it extremely fun to have a freestyle sessions with buddies but it also helps develop overall lyrical ability. The more you practice freestyling, the more ideas you get for writing song lyrics so I really believe that you can become a better lyricist through freestyling.

Battling is another element where freestyle ryhmes come to the forefront. Two MCs stand toe-to-toe and do their best to insult their opponent and win the crowd. There is much more than just good punchlines to winning a battle however. An MCs ability to flow and to make relevant rhymes is integral. And of course, the crowd plays a big role usually acting as the judge.

I personally don't battle but I love freestyling. And I love watching battles, it's hella entertaining. The next Wordz From Tha Underground I put on will have a rap battle in between sets to shake things up a bit. When the contestants are announced, I'll post it here. Keep up them freestyling skills, they're an essential part of hip hop.

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Anything is Possible

Rumble in the Jungle - Ali vs. Foreman
The year was 1974, the place Zaire and the event was one the likes of which the boxing world had never seen before. Former heavyweight champion Muhammed Ali was aiming to regain the crown and once again be 'the greatest'. The man standing in his way was heavy-handed monster George Foreman, one of the most skilled and powerful boxers in history. The odds were against Ali, seeing as Foreman destroyed both Joe Frazier and Ken Norton with relaive ease, men who had defeated Ali in the past. But real champions don't play by the odds and they certainly don't let the past influence the here and now.

Faced with a daunting task before him, Ali recruited the support of the best people he could have in his corner: the African people. All of them. With his sheer presence and charisma, he made the Africans feel like he was their man, like he represented their whole nation. When the day of the fight came, Ali was the hero and Foreman was the villain. With the whole crowd chanting, "Ali bomaye!" (Ali, kill him!), Muhammed Ali changed the face of the boxing world forever and become the second champion ever since Floyd Patterson, to reclaim the heavyweight title after losing it.

Anything is possible. Visualize, strategize and take action.

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Watered-down Hip Hop Scene

Everybody with a computer and a mic wants to make rap music and that sucks. Thousands of rap fans who think they can make good rap music are recording half-assed beats and recording their raps without any respect for coherency, flow or writing clever and relevant lyrics. In a sense, it's hurting the industry.

Myspace is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Now anyone can make a music account and start posting their sub-par material not only in hip hop but in all genres. People get friend requests from so-called 'artists' all the time and since most of it sucks, they start to ignore friend requests from bands even though there are some great ones out there.

My plea to anyone considering putting themselves out there in any genre of music is this: listen to those considered to be the best in whatever style you perform. Put your own music side by side with it in terms of composition and production and ask yourself if it's even close. Hell, ask other people the same question because so many acts think they're awesome when really most people think they're not. Don't clutter up the already overcrowded music world with garbage because it hurts all the artists who have dedicated their lives to crafting top-notch music only to have it ignored by someone because it's "just another rapper".

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Entering China

XYL and Li Jing

Today me and my good friend Li Jing(pictured above) worked on setting up an account on a Chinese social networking site called SOHU. We set up a blog and photo album for me it is so cool! We are going to continue to build more profiles for me on other popular Chinese sites and then work to draw traffic to them so I can get some fans in China.

In addition, I am going to start recruiting street team members in major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai so I can get the word out about my upcoming CD release.

I'm going to be repeating these endevours in Japan and Korea as well so I will have a decent number of Asian students helping me out. I love all of my Asian friends they are always so supportive and kind to me. Best of all, they really make noise at my concerts! This is the beginning of my foray into Asian territory. More to come soon...

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

XYL Live on April 21

XYL Show Poster

This Saturday, April 21st is the next XYL performance. I will have a professional photographer on hand as well as a camera to film the madness. Since I am also promoting the event, I have booked some really top-notch acts from the Vancouver rap scene: Drunken Arseholes, Triforce Omega, and Quoted Motives.

I am expecting a large turnout as this is the third installment of Wordz From Tha Underground and our first weekend date which is awesome. The last event nearly sold out the Media Club on a Thursday and in between shows, I've been able to build a lot more fans who will be coming out to this one.

I am on the lookout for Street Team members to help spread the word about my upcoming CD release. I've already gotten a number of responses and I always need more members. Benefits include free merchandise, CDs and free admission to all my shows. Also, every once in a while I'll reward the members by taking them out and getting them hammered. Sound good? Email me if you're interested.

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Quadruple Overtime!

I am currently at work hungover and still a little drunk form yesterday but hey, the Canucks game went into quadruple freakin' overtime so really my current situation doesn't surprise me. Does this post have a point? I hope it turns out that way...

The point is perseverence. Those two hockey teams showed incredible fortitude and conviction to give it their all for four extra periods. This is playoff hockey, no one is going to take a breather or play with anything less than one hundred percent no matter how many overtimes it goes into.

Life can be the same way. Like how I turned hockey into a clever metaphor for human existence? Ok maybe the point is obvious but I think everyone could stand to be a little but more agressive with their life's goals. Too many people talk and either don't take action, or take action in a half-assed way. Screw that. I'd rather give it everything I've got, day in and day out. Each day is a new step towards our goals, whatever they may be. Anyone on this planet can do anything they want with enough conviction and determination.

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Friday, March 30, 2007

Top 7 Hip Hop Songs

Run DMC and Jam Master Jay!

I was recently on Bob Baker's Blog and he asked people to list 7 songs they like. Since I am a rapper, I'm bringing this list from a hip hop perspective and instead of just 7 songs I like, I'm listing my top 7 favorite songs of all time from a hip hop act. This is in no particular order. Here goes:

1. Run DMC - "It's Tricky"
2. Beastie Boys - "Paul Revere"
3. The Roots - "Don't Say Nuthin'"
4. Epik High - "Fly"
5. De La Soul - "Tread Water"
6. Jedi Mind Tricks - "Army of the Pharoahs"
7. Public Enemy - "She Watch Channel Zero"

Wow, that was way tougher than I thought. I'm subject to changing my mind so in a couple of weeks this may vary. Google any of the above artists and check out these tracks, they are quality. Anybody else who wants to make a top 7 list, post a link to it in the comments section of this blog entry.

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Meeting With Asian Delegates + Music Across Borders

XYL striking a pose

I recently attended a couple of meeting between myself and Sean from SPM and two delegates from the Asian music industry, Nori Tsuzuki from Japan and Jake Lee from Korea. The meeting was made possible by Music BC so thanks to them for the opportunity.

The first meeting was with Jake Lee and I was extremely nervous. This guy operates two record labels in Korea and is also responsible for putting foreign music in television commercials. Me and Sean sat down with him and I noticed right away that he was a really easy-going guy, very nice. Mind you, I tend to have favorable opinions of all Koreans anyways. Nonetheless, the meeting was very productive and he gave some excellent advice on breaking into the Korean music industry. I hope to place my music in TV commercials, dramas and film in Korea as this is an excellent way for an outsider to be introduced to the Korean peoeple.

The second meeting with Nori was equally nerve-wracking for me as his company, Kyodo, is responsible for booking acts such as Madonna and Christina Aguillera in Japan. Me and Sean offered an artist booking exchange between acts on the SPM roster and some up-and-coming Japanese acts but Nori was concerned with the monetary cost of bringing Japanese acts over as they have no funding programs such as FACTOR in Japan. There is, however, a possiblity of me going over to Japan in the future and in fact I am planning on it next year. Once I have built my name up in Japan and developed a strong following there, I am sure myself and Nori can work together.

The next day there was a seminar given by both these men as well as Mr. Ding Jiabao from the Xinhui Record & Labels Group in Shanghai China. All three presentations were very informative and I especially enjoyed Jake Lee's as he added a good dose of humor as well as practical advice. I look forward to forging relationships with all three of these men in the near future.

This year it's Canada for me and next year, Asia. I am already planning my marketing campaign for both regions and am expecting to develop a large number of fans. Count on it. More updates coming soon...

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Saturday, March 17, 2007

XYL and SPM Music

SPM Music logo
For the past few months, I've been working with SPM Music to organize and promote my monthly hip hop event, 'Wordz From Tha Underground'. Now, I am taking a more serious role in the company and have joined SPM as Artist Development and Booking Agent. We are offering our services to artists and have a package that will raise their market value and secure them tour dates in Canada.

This new role I've assumed is a big step in the development of my career as Sean McKay, the owner of SPM, has been doing this for a while and has an excellent infrastructure in place. He has a vast network and knows how to approach venues and the media so I am learning all about it. I am also doing lots of independant study on the music business, reading everything I can get my hands on. Through this new role, I will learn a hell of a lot about music marketing and will be able to apply it to myself when I release the forthcoming 'Make Way' EP.

Right now we're working with a band called Schulz, an industrial metal band featuring the former guitarist of KMFDM. They've already made a good impact and toured Canada once so our job is to raise brand awareness, generate more radio play and basically earn them more fans as well as getting another tour booked.

The XYL 'Make Way' EP is coming sometime in the next couple of months, and there are too many things going on with XYL to mention in this blog entry so stay tuned for more info soon.

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Wordz From Tha Underground a huge success!!!

XYL live at the Media Club
The second edition of 'Wordz From Tha Underground' was amazing and represents my greatest show, both as a performer and a promoter, thus far in these early stages of my career. Above you can see me and my DJ, Tre Funk, performing to the almost sold-out Media Club and a very hype crowd they were!

Around 150 people showed up to support the local hip hop scene and all the acts killed it. Incredible performances from SVS Dance, DJ Mint, Keep 6 and Erthtonez. As far as my set goes, I feel it was my strongest showing yet and crowd response was unbelievable so thanks to all my supporters who came out, you definitely made your voices heard and inspired my performance!

XYL with his fans

I've hired a Japanese representative to help me in Japan and there's a number of things I'm working on in Asia and Canada. Also, the new EP, 'Make Way', will drop around the end of April. Stay tuned for all the details. Peace!

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Next Wordz From Tha Underground

XYL Show Poster
Coming up this Thursday March 1 is the second installment in the Vancouver monthly hip hop night, 'Wordz From Tha Underground'! I am extremely stoked about this line-up, we got DJ Mint who does a madcap scratch routine, SVS Style Dance Crew a group of girls who do amazing choreographed dance, Keep 6 who always slay it live, Erthtonez who are pretty much the most entertaining and energetic live rap duo in the city and of course yours truly XYL with my DJ Tre Funk.

To see a map to the venue click here. Hope to see y'all there!

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Thursday, February 22, 2007

XYL Live for Chinese New Year!

XYL Live for Chinese New Year

The above photo is me rockin' the Vansky Chinese New Year Party Feb.16. It was a great turnout, around 500 people. The crowd reaction was great and two girls danced on stage behind me which was obviously rad. Check out the video of my performance.

I was very impressed by all the performers that night. The general style tended to be more Chinese ballads, many of them traditional and a number of amazing voices were on display. There was some great traditional dance and also more hip-hop oriented dancing. I got to mention this girl Ying Ying, she first did a traditional dance which was amazing and later threw down a really exciting hip-hop routine. She's the really hot girl with the small pink tutu in my video. Yeah, now you're watching it.

I have to thank Scottie Cash, John Li and everyone who helped organize and work the event, the performers and also to everyone who attended. I look forward to doing more performances for the Chinese community!

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Mindset

XYL ready for war!

I truly believe that our thoughts influence the physical reality around us. One's mindset plays a key role in the outcome of one's life. Positivity will manifest as such and vice versa so keeping an optimistic outlook is important for me. My greatest inspirations, the 'heroes' of my life are men who sought to achieve what everyone thought was impossible and despite the incredible difficulty before them, they conquered their goals. Men like Muhammed Ali, Bruce Lee and Arnold Shwarchenegger. These people inspire me because they prove that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and stick to your goals with steadfast determination.

I will never quit and I will never let setbacks stop me from progressing. I realize that there is an incredible mountain of work before me and that each day is a struggle. From venue research, studying, writing and recording music, publicity, radio play and everything else that comes along with trying to be a successful musician, I love the challenge. I look forward to working on my career each day because I know it is one more step towards my ultimate goal.

In closing, I would like to recommend a book to anyone seeking to understand this mindset. The book is 'Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai' written by Yamamoto Tsunetomo in the 1800s. It is essentially an instruction manual for new Samurai and it lays out the proper mindset to become a great Samurai. This information can be applied to everyday life as well and for a long time it was my bible, I read some of the passages every day and still do now and then. It shows the incredible work ethic of the Samurai and how to attain it. 'Each day, become better than you were the day before.' That is words of wisdom to live by.

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Saturday, February 3, 2007

The Drinking...

XYL getting hammered with Asian friends
The consumption of alcohol amongst friends, is there really anything better? These days I balance my extreme workload with a bit of good old fashioned social drunkeness. Canadians are known for their iron-clad drinking skills and seeing as I am always drinking with foreigners, I try my best to represent my country. However, the Koreans can definitely hold their own. Did you know that South Korea consumes the second largest amount of alcohol per capita, bested only by those wild and crazy Russians? Also, I have found that Korean women are especially strong drinkers compared to females of any other nationality and can often down entire beers in a single gulp effortlessly. Believe it.

So far, all the rappers I book at my shows and have performed with in general tend to drink pretty heavy. And let's not kid ourselves, this is Vancouver BC. Every rapper I know smokes the herb some to a level of extreme fanatasism. Performing drunk/high is another issue and as for myself I will not do it though I don't mind downing a couple of brews first. Just enough to loosen up but not so much that my speech is impaired.

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Venue Research + Chinese New Year

XYL killing the mic at the Waldorf
Lately, I have been researching venue information in Tokyo, Japan and it is overwhelming. There are so many places to perform there you would not believe it. I spent eight hours mining an excellent information source on the net called Tokyo Gig Guide. It lists all the live music venues in Tokyo with their addresses and links to their respective websites. It is listed alphabetically and in all the time I spent I got halfway through the letter 'C'. Needless to say, there is a lot more work to be done.

My friend who is from Japan, sat down with me and went through all the websites to help me extract the required information as the sites are all written in Japanese. She also took my biography and cover letter to the clubs, previously translated into Japanese, and typed it out for me.

Getting the help of my friends is very important to me at this early stage of my career, especially in regards to building my identity in Asia. Of course, I have to make sure I focus on Canada first but I have to start organizing the Asian tour now and figure out my route, travel expenses, which clubs to play at as well as getting my name out there which is a mammoth task considering to sheer size and population of the Orient. I am continuing the Canadian tour reasearch as well and also I am preparing my marketing campaign for the release of my new EP.

I have been booked to perform at a Chinese New Years party on Friday, February 16th at the Firefighters' Club in Burnaby. I will be performing one song, my new single 'Prolly Drunk'. I was informed by the promoter that they are providing me with dancing girls, how cool is that? I am meeting him today to give him a copy of the song and the girls will be practicing so they have a dope routine prepared. Crazy... stay tuned kids, 2007 is just warming up for the X-Y-L.

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Wordz From Tha Underground

XYL kickin it live

The first night of my monthly hip-hop event, 'Wordz From Tha Underground' on January 18th, went great! A turnout of somewhere around 80 people and a very large group of friends, all of them Asian, turned out to see me perform. My fans represented close to 50% of attendace so thank you so much to everyone who came to see me perform.

Also, it was my friend Shizuki's birthday so I borrowed a beat from my co-producer E.V. and wrote lyrics about Shizuki. I memorized them in one day and the song went well, she was extremely thrilled. Here is a pic of me and Shizuki:

XYL and Shizuki

My DJ, Tre Funk, was unfortunately unable to make it out but kudos to Steve, SPM's DJ, for repping the turntables in his absence.

It seems that I am more and more tapping into the Asian community here in Vancouver and I will continue to cater to that fanbase as well as make every attempt to gain new fans. This is a great way to help establish myself in Asia as most of these people are students and will be returning to their native countries to help spread the word. I have also been booked to perform at a Chinese New Year's celebration which is awesome and another step towards my goals as the audience will obviously be primarily Asian. Until next time, I'll leave you with a couple of photos with fans from that night:

XYL with cute girls!

XYL with fans at the Lamplighter

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

In the Studio

I was in the studio yesterday recording a new song called 'Make Way'. These days, I am working with E.V. from A-Slam Productions ( as we work effeciently and he understands exactly the sort of sound I am looking for.

I come from a musical background so my style of composition may be different than a lot of producers. I tend to write one main melody and a secondary melody on a guitar or piano and then go into the studio, play the music on E.V.'s keyboard and from that point, choose from the thousands of different sounds in his computer. After establishing the tempo and recording the primary melody, we move on to the secondary melody and then often come up with some other stuff to layer on top. Then it is time to set up the drum beat. At this point, we only have a generic one-two bass drum-snare beat going just to set the tempo so now we create a specific drumbeat and once again choose from thousands of different sound options for the snare, hi-hat, bass drum, cymbols, ect. E.V. really likes to combine different sounds together and for 'Make Way' we created a massive horn section that has nine different sounding horns together!

We also cut out a verse and chorus from the last song I recorded, 'Prolly Drunk', as it was originally over 4 minutes long. This may not seem like much but for radio play it is too long. Also, I will be shooting the video for 'Prolly Drunk' in late February or early March so four minutes is too much space to fill in a music video and maintain interest. Well, at least with my meagre 500$ budget it is. There will be more details coming for the video shoot soon.

I am very stoked about this new track 'Make Way' and I believe it has definite hit potential. The new EP will be out in Feb or March so stay tuned for further details as well as info on where to hear the tracks and where to buy it. For now, you can listen to a preview of my 'Prolly Drunk' song here: Go to the 'Downloads' section and scroll down to track number 18.

Well that's all for now, got the 'Wordz from Tha Underground' show tommorrow (Jan.18) at the Lamplighter(210 Abbott St.) and I'll also be performing at the Columbia(303 Columbia St.) friday at like 2 AM. Should be interesting... I'll have a full report and pics up here after. Peace!

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Organizing the Tour

XYL Rockin the Mic
I am currently working with Sean McKay and SPM Music (SPM Website) to book a Canadian tour sometime this year. The tour booking process is very time consuming and consists of work which can only be described as pretty damn boring. Researching venue information for the different provinces and cities in Canada and figuring out who is in chanrge of booking each club, what their contact info is, ect. is all part of the process and can definitely get monotonous. To break up the boredom, I generally get completely drunk until I can no longer type properly and the screen becomes a blur. Then I know I've done enough work for the day.

In addition to figuring out all these details, I really have to work to raise awareness of myself and my music across the country, otherwise there is really no point to the whole thing. If no one knows who I am, who's going to come see my show? So, when I release my new promo CD in February I will be working hard to get it played on a multitude of radio stations across Canada as well as trying to get media coverage whenever possible. My marketing plan is not finalized yet but rest assured it will be a carefully thought out and will include the use of street teams who can spread my music around and let people know what's up with XYL.

At the same time, I will be launching a marketing campaign in Asia too. I got some very awesome people down in Japan and Korea who can help me out and I will be recruiting more and more people to join the XYL Street Team. I'm starting a movement y'all so get ready... I will be everywhere.

For the next couple of days I will be doing venue research and working on getting this blog listed on as many sites as possible which, once again, is monotonous office work that will be complemented by the liberal use of recreational drugs and that oh-so-legal liquid narcotic we know as alcohol. One of my new songs, 'Prolly Drunk', chronicles my alcoholism in a humorous way, you will hear it soon.

Thanks to all taking the time to read this, I will be updating it on the regular. Stay tuned, the more this is updated, the more things are happening and the closer I get to my goal of worldwide domination. Peace out!

XYL Official Website
XYL Myspace

Saturday, January 6, 2007

This is how I live...

XYL Promotional Photo
My name is Jesse and I am a Vancouver-based rapper called XYL(pronounced 'Exile'). In this blog I hope to let you in on my day-to-day grind to elevate my career and become internationally recognized. My goal is to blow up in Canada, the US, the Orient and everywhere else. I am particularly interested in Asia and hope to perform in China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. I am currently studying Korean and have gotten into some Japanese as well and most of my current fans are from Asia.

I generally perform in Vancouver around two to three times per month though I am trying to cut this down to once to allow me more time to focus on marketing and publicity planning and studying. I am also a show promoter and often put together the shows I am playing at. My next performance will be an event I've organized called 'Wordz From Tha Underground' on January 18th at the Lamplighter in Gastown (210 Abbott Street). Doors are at 9, Show starts at 9:30 and cover charge is 8$. Below is a Q&A with me concerning the event:

Q: What made you decide to start ‘Wordz From Tha Underground’?
Vancouver city is known for its hip hop. Despite that fact, there is not a lot of support for the underground rap scene here. When a big-name rap artist comes through town, the show is sold out but I have found that the same people won’t necessarily come out and support the local artists. With ‘Wordz From Tha Underground’ I am trying to raise awareness of the immense talent that exists within Vancouver. I am making every possible effort to promote this event and ensure that the artists who perform have an audience to perform to. I hope to get underground artists noticed by the public so they can gain more recognition and build their identities.

Q: How do you feel about the current state of the Vancouver live hip hop scene?
A: I know I’ve said it before but we have some serious talent here that so many people don’t even realize. MCs that would blow your mind as well as incredible DJs and producers. The majority of the live hip hop I have seen is excellent, great performances and a very unified vibe, the exact opposite of the negativity and ‘beef’ that is so often associated with hip hop music.
The only issue I have come across is low show turnout. I don’t necessarily think this is a genre-specific problem, as getting people out to live shows in Vancouver is difficult regardless of the style of music. People want name-recognition, they want to see an artist whose songs they know, they generally aren’t open to taking a chance on acts they’re never heard or seen before. With ‘Wordz From Tha Underground’ however, I am booking only quality acts so I can guarantee that as long as you dig hip hop, you will enjoy the show.

Q: What is the line-up like for the first night of the event?
Headlining the event we have Manik, a veteran of the local rap scene and an amazingly talented MC. He recently won the ‘Song Clash’ competition at club Sonar where 18 hip hop acts square off to show who has the best original material and stage presence. Manik also just release a video for his song ‘Commercial Drive’, based on that same famous Vancouver street.
Then there is KEEP 6, a group of MCs with serious skills. Kai, formerly of Methods of Mayhem with Tommy Lee, is producing their beats and their lyrical ability is show-stopping.
Also, I will be on the bill with my DJ Tre Funk. I have been playing live shows on the regular here and have one EP under my belt, ‘Twisted Genius’. I just finished recording a new single which I will be performing in addition to the material from my EP. I will be touring Canada in 2007 and am working to build my identity in Asia, specifically Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China. I am expecting to tour those countries in 2008.
Character Traits, a 5-piece group from Nanaimo on Vancouver island will be representing and I expect them to fully kill it. They have just released their second album, ‘Pencil Pushers’, have just finished recording a video and have opened for big names such as Sweatshop Union and Kyprios.
Last on the agenda is 526 Music out of Burnaby. A little bit of hip hop, a little bit of R&B and a lot of talent. They are new on the scene but are sure to make big moves as their career develops. Hopefully ‘Wordz From Tha Underground’ can help them get noticed.

If you got the time, check out my website here:
And here is my myspace page:

I have one EP under my belt, 'Twisted Genius', which is kinda a different approach to the standard hip hop formula. I used almost all live instruments and had a live drummer lay down the beats. I dig some of the songs on there but I have decided to not press up any more copies and instead focus on my new material. The new songs I am currently working on have much higher production value and are more commercially viable. It's a struggle I've gone over in my head but the bottom line is, if I want international recognition I have to make songs that are somewhat mainstream. I have three new songs forthcoming which I will release on a promo CD and then I will be launching a marketing campaign to raise awareness as well as keep recording until I have a full-length record. Stay tuned for the new stuff, it truly does kick ass. In the meantime, you can log onto my website or myspace to hear my current material.