Meet XtG – a rapper from Huddersfield who’s daring to push the boundaries of UK Hip Hop, & turn convention on its head.
XtG is one in a handful of rappers from West Yorkshire; he’s easily distinguished by his broad accent and playful use of regional slurs. But, there’s more to this Yorkshire rapper than meets the eye.
Underneath the denim jacket and faded jeans lies a humble storyteller, who’s out to pull UK Hip Hop in an entirely new direction.
However, XtG is not what you’d call a conventional UK rap artist. He’s fluent in wordplay & his lyrics are rich in a certain rawness that you rarely find in Hip Hop. It’s almost like by listening, you’ve been given inside access to his inner thoughts.
Look beneath his natty dress, & you’ll see that XtG isn’t just a rapper to watch, but also a breath of fresh air.
Ever since I first heard G-Unit in the noughties ‘poppin them thangs’, the idea of becoming a rapper had always been floating around the back of my mind. But, it was only when I entered the ‘working world’ that I realised it was the way to go; being slouched behind a desk, bossing a computer about for £10/ hour, is SO not me. Although it did make me realise the value of time.
I think someone famous once said (I can’t remember who) that “life is a ONE time affair. If we’re only here for so long, then what exactly do we have to lose by chasing our dreams?… Nothing.” A point that altered my entire perspective on life & generally had me thinking, “Why not? Why shouldn’t I become a Yorkshire rapper? What exactly is there to lose??”
Looking back, that quote was actually a double lesson. Not only did it teach me the power of time, but also the power behind the written word.
Like a car – START – STOP – START – STOP – START – you get the gist.
As much as I’d love to be, I’m not a rapper who can just sit down and ‘bash a song out’ in a day. My process is a tad more, long winded. I do most writing in my car, not because it’s comfy (it isn’t), but because it fits perfectly around my creative process. See, my mind’s like a sink with a dripping tap.
When I’m not writing a pool of ideas form in my head. Then after so long I’ve got to pull the plug & spill them out onto paper. An hour or so of this brain drain later & you can bet my mind’s running on empty. Still, it’s nothing a 10 -15 minute drive can’t sort.
So yeah – I’m not what you’d call your conventional lyricist.
Right, this is a tricky one, but…
If I had to choose anyone, I’d throw myself in at the deep end and battle Eminem (gulp). Being a long-time fan of Mr Mathers, it’d be a privilege to spray a 32 in his presence. Saying that though, the real reason I’d pick Slim Shady is because he’s also someone I’d like to learn from.
I’m not sure how Huddersfield compares to Detroit, but it’d certainly be good to find out.
Only when I was forced to – lol.
In fact, music was one of the first subjects I couldn’t wait to drop. Why?! Well, that all comes back to the creative process. See, at the time I didn’t even know existed. I guess it’s that creative quirk that school system is yet to touch on (eyebrows raise). Therefore for young me, music was far more of a headache than a joy.
Skip forward to today though & everything’s the complete reverse. You’ll rarely find me without my iPod or darting off mid-convo to write down a snippet of wordplay.
How times change, eh.
Reminder by Lloyd Banks (part of his F.N.O. mixtape).
Take a listen and it should become pretty obvious why this track spurs me on to do an extra rep in the gym. It’s a reminder not to settle or confide to the norm (much as the title suggests). In fact, the whole EP has a similar vibe & if you ask me, is a great all-round choice for any gym fanatic.
PS/ If you’re reading this PLK, hats off to you… sorry, flat caps.
I keep an eye out for a couple of things when collaborating, but at the same time, I am very open minded. Here’s just a couple of my top picks…
Puzzled? Don’t be.
See, as much as I respect the streetwear of others UK rappers, (personally) it’s just not my style. I suppose you could say I’m slightly more edgy in that respect; really diggin’ vintage garms ATM!! Point being that, I don’t want to be known as ‘that rapper’ who changed his self image just to be accepted.
So yeah, this is the way I dress – like it or lump it.
CLUE: XtG is essentially a caricature of the everyday me. Black jeans and a denim jacket are hands down my favourite things to wear. I’ve worn the same chain for over 5 years, love a pair of circular shades in the summer and even sport the odd flat cap as a nod to my roots as a West Yorkie.
Think you’ve spotted me around Hudds? Let me know @theofficialxtg
Personally I think Hudds gets a bad rep, but I suppose you’d expect me to say that being a rapper from Huddersfield. Although, if you look at this Yorkshire town through the eyes of a videographer, it is hard to see why.
There’s such a wide variety of scenery. Now, (spoiler alert) it’s not necessarily the most scenic or regal, but it’s definitely some of the most kooky, and albeit a bit random. But you know what, I like that, and so it seems do videographers. I’m yet to come across one who’s come to Hudds & got bored looking for a backdrop.
Really then, to pick a favourite isn’t easy. Although I do have one, but I’m not going to reveal that card until I’ve filmed there myself. Let’s just say that if Ed Sheeran decides to do a remix of Castle On The Hill, then Hudds should be his first port of call.
Give me the opp to change 1 thing about the music industry & it’d be this…
To stop artists from all genres (but especially rappers) from putting on a façade, just ‘because it pays’. I say so because it’s not healthy!
Build your entire career around a false image of yourself & if you ask me, it’s a sure way to wind up unhappy. Yes, it may be the way to get ‘mega dough’ and have 1000s of gals screaming your name, but all that’s meaningless if they’re fans of the person you’re trying to be, and not who you truly are.
A right mix of vibes, genres and artists.
So as you’d expect, the first lot of CDs you pull out will probably be your typical Hip Hop classics – LPs by G-Unit, Eminem, Biggie, that sort of thing. But if you rummage that bit deeper, you’ll realise just how broad my music taste really is. For instance, I’m a die hard fan of Westlife, Lionel Richie & Frank Sinatra, just as I also have a secret fetish for Madonna & Britney Spears.
But then again, having a Dad who’s a 90s Pop-fanatic & a Grandad who’s up on every classic crooner in the book, meant that a mashup like this was bound to happen.
Don’t be fooled – this isn’t some sort of sleazy sales platform or online flex. In fact, you’re the reason it’s here.
See, what with social media being SO overcrowded these days, I know just how hard it is to stay upto speed with you favourite MCs. Even the most dedicated fans can get a bit… lost. Hence this website, which I like to think of as my private corner of the internet.
A place where you can keep up to speed with everything XtG, all in a matter of clicks, be that my latest music videos, PR features or just new merch (COMING SOON!) So yeah, I guess there’s not much else to say apart from…
“Thank me later & be sure to bookmark this URL”!!
Come again? (giggles)
No rapper should fear me. The only person I’m competing against is myself.
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