I frequently gush about Drake and Kanye West. Both rappers are incredibly divisive for several reasons. They relentlessly gerrymander genre boundaries to create stylized landscapes for their chronic over-sharing. They subvert established lanes in hip-hop identity, creating new archetypes in the process. They are self-aware enough to know they sound like douchebags but self-centered enough to proceed with the douchebaggery. They’re like great characters in a novel, warts and all.
So what to make of an MC like Kansas-bred XV, who headlines The Basement on Tuesday? He flaunts the requisite skills and style, but in the wake of his influences it’s hard not to see perfectly serviceable tracks like “Awesome” as strictly minor league.