Chicago has proven to be a haven for budding talent. 25-year-old XVRHLDY, real name Xavier Holliday, is an artists that is beginning to turn heads. XVRHLDY is determined to change the misconceptions and stereotypes associated with Chi-town, as well as, spread good vibes throughout his community. As he prepares for his forthcoming EP Need To Know II: Luna, which happens to be a follow up to his last project Need To Know, XVRHLDY has already begun working on his debut album. The album is expected to hit stores in the summer, while his new EP will be available in February. Need To Know II: Luna will feature collaborations with Joey Purp, Stunt Taylor, Supa Bwe, super producer Pete Rock, and more. With his latest single “Black Alabaster” already creating a buzz, find out what else he has cooking up in The Break.—Morgan Murrell
Name: Xavier Holliday aka XVRHLDY
Hometown: Born in Oak Park, raised in Chicago
I grew up listening to: A lot of punk rock like Fallout Boy, Panic! At The Disco and a lot of soul music like Frankie Beverly and Maze, the Stylistics, so I would definitely say a lot of punk rock and soul music. Oh and don’t let me forget salsa music. I listened and still listen to Héctor Lavoe.
Most people don’t know I: I really love pizza. Pizza is my drug. You could ask my mom, like ever since I was born I’ve been eating pizza. So since it’s my drug, I just want everybody to get high off it. I actually started this campaign called #PizzaFam. People, well it started with girls, so girls would send me pictures of them either eating pizza or doing something creative with pizza and ultimately I plan to post those pictures on my social networking accounts and randomly select three people that each month that participated in it to send free pizza to. I really appreciate the support I get from people so even though it’s a small gesture, it’s my way of showing that I care and appreciate the people who support me.
When I’m in New York my favorite pizza is margherita pizza and when I’m in Chicago, I would probably say sausage or pepperoni and I’ve got to have my pepperoni under the cheese. If it’s on top, I won’t eat it. I’m clearly bias because I live here, but I used to live in New York too, so I can honestly say Chicago has the best pizza.
My style’s been compared to: I’ve been told my style reminds people of André 3000, actually a lot of people have told me that. I take it as a compliment, because I super fucks with André but I don’t think I sound like anybody. I don’t listen to people to try and emulate them or anything like that. Just by the kind of productions I’m using on my album, like the sounds that we put out, I’m just excited for everyone to hear the stuff my producer and I have been working on and to do more stuff with him. I’m working with this producer from New York, his name is DADRAS, and he’s one of the best out there right now. We put out innovative, theatrical, ratchet music. It sounds like a weird combination but once my album comes out, you’ll definitely understand why I chose those words.
My standout records and/or moments to date have been: Personally, my standout record was a Speaker Knocker freestyle, it’s on my SoundCloud, it’s over his beat “Lonely.” It was kind of weird when I wrote it, because it was my first time hearing his song “Lonely” and while I was listening to the beat, I found out that he had recently died of unknown causes. So, I wasn’t sure if I should even put the song out…like this man just died and I didn’t want to be disrespectful. I asked a few people if I should put it out and they said, “yeah” so that’s what I did. It’s crazy how many flows are on that record. That song has the most views on my SoundCloud to this day.
I have this video that I shot/co-directed on the west side of Chicago that means a lot to me, it’s called “Chrome.” It’s basically just a realization of what we have to deal with in Chicago and what it’s like to grow up here. What’s crazy is that the girl in the video got killed a month or so after the video was shot.
Then of course my new record “Black Alabaster” featuring my homie Saba and NoName Gypsy, she’s really, really, really good. Right now it’s doing decent numbers but I know for sure it’s going to do a lot more.
For the future, my next video is honestly groundbreaking and earth-shattering because I directed it and what I directed in the video has never been done. That sh*t was fun. It called “The Root” and it’s off of my last project [Need To Know]. I’m really excited about it. We just have to find the right place to premiere it, because what I have in the video has never been done. It’s a short film and it’s just super crazy. This is something you’ll remember for a long time after you watch it, that’s all I can really say.
My goal in hip-hop is: One goal of mine is to blur the stigmas people associate with hip-hop artists. Like certain people already have this idea of what a hip-hop artist should look like and what a hip-hop artist should sound like, so my job is to just get rid of all of that. So that’s one goal. Also, I’m a firm believer that influence is more important than income, because right now I love money…everybody loves money and what it can do for them, but it you’re rich and you don’t have influence to do anything positive with it then it doesn’t really matter. Nobody cares. That just makes you a rich dumbass. If you can actually influence people and put the money to good use, then you’re actually doing something. That’s what I’ve been preaching to my homies too, because influence is going to be more important in the long run.
I’m going to be the next: I’m going to be the next Xavier Holliday. I’m here to f**k up all understandings and to flood earth with pizza.
Standouts: “Black Alabaster” featuring Saba and NoName Gypsy
“Lonely (Speaker Knocker Freestyle)”