XL Middleton | 100 Proof Music: The Alcothology

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Hip-Hop/Rap: West Coast Rap Hip-Hop/Rap: Rap Moods: Mood: Fun
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100 Proof Music: The Alcothology

by XL Middleton

The next chapter of XL Middleton's ongoing saga of West Coast drunken slackery.
Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap: West Coast Rap
Release Date: 

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1. Intro - The Alcothology
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3:20 $0.99
2. 100 Proof Music
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4:00 $0.99
3. Only Way 2 Chill
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4:09 $0.99
4. 3 Wishes
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3:45 $0.99
5. Kinda Faded
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3:28 $0.99
6. Square Off (feat. K-Duece & Non-Cents)
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4:15 $0.99
7. Wish I Never Cheated Wit U
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4:59 $0.99
8. This Is For...
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4:12 $0.99
9. Cash Out (feat. Gr8 Dane & D'Zire)
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4:20 $0.99
10. We Could Do This Everyday (feat. Rev)
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4:18 $0.99
11. Yall Dont Feel Me (feat. Black & Mild)
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4:17 $0.99
12. Serious Bars (feat. 1stBorn & Young Hootie)
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3:52 $0.99
13. Aint No Heaven (feat. Coolwadda)
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4:01 $0.99
14. The Party's Almost Over (feat. Mista Mil)
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3:55 $0.99
15. S*** Talkers Skit
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1:20 $0.99
16. Dena City Council (feat. Black & Mild, S-Dee, & Gr8 Dane
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3:05 $0.99
17. Feel So West Coast RMX (feat. Young Tremayne & Big Wy of The Rel
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3:45 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
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 five 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 efforts, 2005's double CD "Music 4 A Drunken Evening" and the title of his latest 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 still tells his true life story without the extras. 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", an album from Sic Sense, "This Fool", as well as more recent releases like the critically acclaimed Black & Mild album "Bottled Up" and 1stBorn's self-produced "The First Draft." All of these titles are now available on the internet from the official Crown City Entertainment website, www.crowncityentertainment.com.

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, Coolwadda, Big Saccs, Shade Sheist, and several others.


Reviews


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Westified

A more mature version of the Middleton man, but the party is still crackin!
Critics and fans alike gave a fair amount of praise to XL Middleton's last album, the double-disc "Music 4 A Drunken Evening". The singles "Feel So West Coast" and "Shotgun" garnered enough positive feedback to be considered near-classics in the field of Los Angeles-area underground hip hop. Determined to follow up with an equally explosive disc, XL has returned with his latest installment, "100 Proof Music: The Alcothology".

From the jump one can hear improvements in all areas of the new album. The production has grown more crisp and deeper, with the same signature sound of cool chords and relentless basslines that XL seems to have perfected. But this time around, it seems that special attention has been given to rhythm and percussion, lending itself to a fuller, bigger sonic backdrop throughout the album. As a recording artist, XL's voice has grown more consistent; the flow and delivery have matured immensely since "Drunken Evening". Gone is the all-over-the-road selection of songs which sometimes left listeners a bit puzzled. This album flows from start to finish and nothing seems out-of-pocket musically. His production team has narrowed a bit this time; aside from the CCE staff producers (himself, Sic Sense, & 1stBorn), XL relies only on a few selections from Mista Mil, DJ Glaze (Foesum), and Bumpus to carry the album through. Understanding that a majority of his fans look for his production over lyrics, however, XL himself produces most of the songs.

Promising not to give you "one of those little fast forward intros", he gets right down to business with "The Alcothology", which features a lush blend of rhodes, percussion, and even a horn section's rendition of "Funky Worm" - amazing! He follows right up with "100 Proof Music", a rowdy banger of a title track that shows improved sampling abilities, as XL flips a classic Funkadelic break underneath his own keys and drums. The sure-to-be controversial "Yall Dont Feel Me" finds the Middleton Man hammering out a vague interpolation of the theme music from "Scarface", with sound bytes from the movie itself to make it official, as him and fellow Crown City Entertainment artist Black lament over being ignored amidst an oversaturated music scene on the West Coast. On the ultra-nasty "We Could Do This Everyday", him and Rev offer indecent proposals to the ladies over a bubbly funk track with a hyperactive bassline. A standout is the introspective "3 Wishes", which finds XL contemplating the need for financial gain versus the need for mental & emotional stability. "I guess [money] really is the root of evil/ Because I want it no matter what it could do to people", he reflects.

Luckily, even when XL isn't behind the boards, his beat selection is superior. Mista Mil furnishes fun, bouncy tracks on "Kinda Faded" & "The Party's Almost Over"; DJ Glaze brings the traditional, laid back West Coast sound on the narrative "Wish I Never Cheated With U," and Bumpus provides the beat for one of the album's highpoints, "Cash Out" featuring Gr8 Dane & D'Zire. While the Bay continues to redefine itself with their "Hyphy" sound, tracks like "Cash Out" are a strong argument in favor of moving the Southern Cali sound towards the retro electro-funk style coveted by such West Coast veterans as DJ Quik & Big Saccs.

Ultimately, "100 Proof Music: The Alcothology" is one of those records that's destined to be slept on by the masses and felt by a chosen few. But it seems like XL is really learning to cater to his audience and is, at the same time, forging his sound as a recognizable element of the younger generation of the West Coast. "100 Proof"...'s only drawback is that it seems too much like a continuation of "Music 4 A Drunken Evening", picking up exactly where it left off instead of venturing into newer, less familiar territory. Knowing XL Middleton and his extensive body of work, however, I'm sure we're only one album away from witnessing this evolution. Until then, take "100 Proof"... for what it is - a great record with huge replay value that's definitely worth your hard-earned dollar.