XL Middleton is an artist who is best explained in three different ways - recording artist, producer, and CEO of his own label, Crown City Entertainment, which is home to himself as well as four other artists who all hail from Pasadena, California: Rev, Sic Sense, Black & Mild, 1stBorn, & Young Tremayne.
As a recording artist, XL, along with his Crown City family, is bringing "slacker hip hop" to the table, also variously known as "hooligan hip hop". His lyrics are directed at the regular everyday folks who have to work 9 to 5 jobs during the week, and like to unwind with a few drinks (or maybe several drinks) on the weekends. Just look at the title of his most recent effort, the double CD "Music 4 A Drunken Evening" and the title of his upcoming album "100 Proof Music - The Alcothology". XL goes deep with his intoxicated subject matter; he can talk about the fun you have while partying, the regret of waking up the next morning with a hangover, and every emotion inbetween. Though he's not fond of the cliche phrase "keeping it real", XL does not rap about things he doesn't take part in, such as selling drugs, owning fancy cars and chains, and busting guns just to look hard. He does it all through a very cynical point of view, meshing this seemingly superficial subject matter with sly social commentary and satire, on songs like "Do The Ignorant Dance" about using a night at the club to forget about today's important issues, "Beautiful People" about the detrimental obsession with physical appearance, or "Now That You Got Thin" about humble women whose egos inflate after shedding a few pounds. It is this outlook on life, unorthodox for hip hop music, which XL hopes will set him apart as a recording artist.
As a producer, XL uses a minimum of samples (though he will use them if he finds a nice one), and instead opts for complex keyboard melodies and bouncy basslines. Though his bread and butter is traditionally "West Coast", a la DJ Quik, Dre, or Battlecat, XL can pretty much bring any flavor to the table, since he was trained to play keys at a young age and brings this musical experience to the table when making beats. It's not uncommon to put on an XL production and hear solos from pianos, guitars, and synths that give the music a "live" feel that so much of today's hip hop music is sorely missing. XL, along with his production partner Sic Sense, run a website, www.crowncityproductions.com, where young MC's can listen to and purchase beats for reasonable prices to help put together demos or albums.
As a CEO, XL has a whole lot on his plate besides just being creative. He handles much of the business aspect of what he does, overseeing graphic designs for his album layouts, website maintenance, and even shipping orders. He has a hand in every aspect of musical creation, execution, and promotion. Aside from his own material, CCE has released an album from Rev, titled "Insufficient Funds", and an album from Sic Sense, "This Fool", which are now available on the internet from www.crowncityentertainment.com. XL is also actively working on several other projects, which include the forthcoming album from Black & Mild, titled "Bottled Up," 1stBorn's solo debut "The First Draft," and production and mixing efforts for affiliate label Herban Liquor Productions, also based out of Pasadena, California.
XL has collaborated, through production and guest appearance, with the following artists: Dr. Stank, Dirty Birdy, Bo-Rocc of The Doveshack, Foesum, Bad Azz, E-White, Big Wy of The Relativez, Techniec and Dynamic Certified, The Twinz, Scipio, Bigg Steele, Big Saccs, Shade Sheist, and several others.