It is no secret that Chicago is the home to some of the most talented and influential rappers of our time, including Common, Kanye West, and Chance the Rapper. For those looking for the next big thing, Xavier Holliday may fit the bill. Holliday was raised in Chicago and has numerous projects in collaboration with other Chicago artists such as NoName, Supa Bwe, and Joey Purp. Holliday’s past projects include the mix tapes “Need To Know,” “Need To Know II: Luna” and his latest EP “Breeze,” which came out this month.
“Breeze” tackles topics such as growth, spirituality, and overcoming fear. The first track, “Brain Waves,” starts with a relaxed melody as Holliday eases into the song with a cool-but-commanding tone of voice. “This is that revolution chill flow,” he raps, launching the down-to-earth track that branches into familiar rap territory — it’s a track about how talented he is and how his talent stems from being connected to a higher power. It’s refreshing, however, that Holliday is confident without being too arrogant; his vocalization of spirituality keeps him humble. The similarly spiritual but more-upbeat “Space Candy” begins as an ode to the spiritual aspects of women: “The woman is life/ the woman is proof,” Holliday raps.
“Wine and Cheese,” the third track on the EP, begins with a piano playing that continues throughout the track creating a classical ambiance. Holliday juxtaposes the classical piano with jarring lyrics: The track opens with the lines “Keys open doors mom told me that/ keys open doors gangsters told me that/ the world at tug of war with the evil versus good.” Holliday wants you to feel at ease as he expels these more serious parts of himself and his psyche.
The final track is “SuperNova” — easily the best on the album. This track is about, among other things, the permeating self-doubt we all feel in life. Holliday’s words almost feel like they are inside a universal human subconscious; his self-doubt is all of ours. As the tracks starts, the instrumentals are otherworldly and inherently contemplative. He says, “Wished upon a star/ she wished upon me instead/ and here’s what she said/ wish you rid yourself of fear/ because it’s all in your head/ be confident instead.” This is the kind of positive reinforcement anyone can use.