The return of the raw brand of Hip-Hop madebyXXII is known for comes in the form of the surprise drop of Arctica. Combining ominous trap, that sways from a slowed down drug distorted haze to haunting up beat melodies, with gritty 90s nostalgic dusty drum grooves Arctica sonically matches madebyXXII’s sporadic stream of conscious sudden shifts. ‘Addict’ starts the project off with alarmingly open honesty detailing flaws, childhood traumas, and introspection. ‘Waist Down’ has an instrumental that pays homage to The Wu-Tang Clan while the lyrics are reminiscent of a Raekwon or Ghostface style street tale. ‘Benzodiazepines’ which was teased earlier via visuals on Instagram finds madebyXXII at his most trippy with distorted sounds at a crawling pace and a sung outro. The pace picks right back up and hits a sharp left turn with the surprise ‘I Hate This Song’ , an upbeat club track juxtaposed with signature Gangsta Ghost grit. ‘Tell Me Watchu Want’ is hedonistic heaven detailed with candid carnal descriptions. The production on Arctica perfectly matches madebyXXII, his ear for beats is as sharp for the proper textures as his eye for design. He has fans waiting for his next release of clothing as eagerly as his next musical project. ‘Tripod Freestyle’ is dark and abstract with a subtle glimpse of a sharp sense of humor, a track that packs in the many distinct elements of madebyXXII’s musical personality. ‘Pour Some’ and ‘All Dem Nites’ conclude Arctica with a return to introspection and self reflection, with just 10 tracks madebyXXII details why he is artistically above all his peers.
With his latest release madebyXXII brings his raw energy and candid emotion with ‘ATLA$’. The title track sets the tone with a sparse spacious delivery over a laid back instrumental of chopped samples and guitar loops. Immediately following the intro ‘Burning Desire Part 1’ cuts through with personal stories and real life tales delivered with brutal honesty. Sonically the EP is filled with atmospheric keys and synths combined with gritty drums and heavy distorted 808s. Numerous vocal samples are played throughout the project, a Kevin Gates interview is used as a pep talk before ‘Thanks’, a straight forward tale of depression and triumph. MadebyXXII takes the creative control of his work personally, altering tracks and adding intros and slowed down augmented outros to various tracks, acting as artist, A&R, and executive producer. The striking cover art is both eye catching and mysterious, a visual representation of the content and feel of the entire EP. ‘LUV’ displays grand ambitions and a desire for the removal of all distractions and defeats. ‘Gullwing Doors’ has madebyXXII getting greasy with a low octave vocal effect on the hook and gritty lyrics. ‘Highway’ is another chapter out of the story, detailing his personal life with no restrictions over a soulful piano loop and slowed down dusty drums. The Atla$ imagery hits it’s pinnacle on ‘California’ with madebyXXII shouldering all his burdens. ‘Trust’ was released prior as a single and has the energy for a full length movie, a Kevin Gates samples comes back in to further the message and keep the theme going. The EP ends on ‘vORHEES 3’ wrapping up the personal tales and trials over a somber instrumental, a great victory lap for a truly cohesive EP that is as creative as it is conceptual.