Young musicians out to impress
March 2, 2007
I will be the first one to admit that I am not the authority around campus on hard-core rap or hip-hop, but regardless, the popularity is too great to ignore when upcoming artists of those genres emerge. 2XL is a rap group consisting of two 16-year-old brothers, Bennett “Laze” and Justin “Royal City” Talmadge Armstrong.
The duo’s fist album Neighborhood Rapstar has a few singles that show great potential for the group, but given the boy’s young ages, it’s obvious they still have a lot of growing to do before they find their sound.
The “Magic City” remix, which features Unk is pretty catchy. I am still at a loss as to where exactly Magic City is. Usually rappers pay homage to Chi-town or Atlanta or even neighborhoods where they grew up. Apparently, Magic City is just a place in Laze and Royal City’s mind where they become famous and get beautiful women.
“Kitty Kat” featuring E-40 is a song I can definitely see being played in dance clubs around the country. The concept of “I want to know where the ‘kitty’ at” is a bit too cheesy to be offensively suggestive, but I’ve definitely heard worse at a club — remember “skeet, skeet, skeet”!? The lyrics in dance hip-hop are pretty meaningless when it comes to the fans of the music.
Unfortunately, most of the beats are pretty similar and lack complexity, as if the producer, Scott Storch, wasn’t real confident using a big sound board. According to the duo’s MySpace page, the first single “Kissing Game” has been getting heavy air play in places like Detroit and — of all the hip-hop mega-centers in the United States — Minneapolis.
I personally haven’t heard it on 96.3, but it’s really a cute song. Singing about kissing is exactly what 16-year-old boys should be rapping about — not finding pussy. The same goes for their song “Clap Music.” When you’re 16, you want to clap at the dance club. But by the time you reach your 20s, you’re much less excited — and probably a bit horrified — to be “down with the clap.”
However, life for Laze and Royal hasn’t always been about kissin’ and clappin’.
The boys’ father abandoned them early on and their mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
“The Chapters” documents all the terrible things they were able to overcome growing up in North Hollywood to be able to put out an album.
Though I don’t see 2XL blowing up on MTV or BET anytime soon, I have to give them a lot of credit for working so hard at the age of 16.
Jenna Lee is a student at UW-River Falls.