XVRHLDY – Need To Know II: Luna

“The passion and purpose are clear, the people authorities fear, whomever you pray to, you need to go thank them for letting this reach to your ear.”

– XVRHLDY from the song Road Trips

A few months ago, I interviewed a cat by the name of XVRHLDY. I even went as far as to proclaim him as the new sound of Chicago – which is a pretty big cosign considering the city’s musical roots. To explain, I find him incredibly refreshing. His music seems to blend in and innovate simultaneously, that is to say, it doesn’t slap you in the face with blatant oddity, like say Outkast [editor note: he’s been sonically compared to Andre 3000], nor does it seamlessly fit into the trap sound that currently rules the city’s main arteries.

His latest release, Need To Know II: Luna, is a big win on a few fronts. It satisfies his core, who were open off of joints like Chrome and his original tape, but also breaks some new commercial ground. The latter point is important, because I’m tired of telling people they are sleeping on this kid. For the most part, Luna sticks to the formula (not a bad thing). His production ranges from a “riding around at night” vibe on tracks like Road Trips and the aggressively flowed Noctuno to a smoothed-out vibe on tracks like Black Alablaster and The Root part II (part one had a dope visual treatment).

The standouts here for me were the L.A VanGogh produced New To Me, and his brilliantly executed Marthié François Girbaud, in which he lyrically reminisces time travels back to 1996, to revisit block life and then to 2006 to relive a run-in with Chicago law enforcement. There’s also the head nodding True Enough, which is the closest to a literal love song you’re going get here. Every Story Ever Told  is also getting serious burn here at the office!

“Globally, those memories that are best live through the morning. LUNA is a tale of one of those nights.”


One of the things that struck me about from my original conversation with X was that he had a great game plan, and this project does a great job of reaffirming that. On Need To Know II: Luna, Xavier avoids overly experimenting outside of his trademark sound, and rather delivers a solid, consistent project that flows from start to finish. Ironically that actually makes for an insanely innovative product. The insanely catchy Hammana sounds like a radio banger too, so hopefully heads who have been sleeping on this cat wake the f– up and smell the deep dish.

Chicago is in the building.

Riley About Author

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns