Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music has released records by Common, John Legend, Big Sean, Pusha T, and Kid Cudi just to name a few. Now largely unknown Chicago-based rapper/singer HXLT has joined the ranks among these heavy hitters. He’s been touted as “a fighter, a formidable rapper, a director, and a great entertainer.” And while those descriptors may be true, HXLT’s self-titled debut is a major disappointment.
HXLT opens with a poor attempt to build upon Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” and is followed by blandly written, produced, and performed tracks riddled with samples seemingly ripped from a ProducerLoops.com stock library. It’s difficult to understand how any of these songs can be considered even slightly imaginative. What’s especially frustrating about a single like “Guitar” is not even how off-key HXLT stretches vocally (as he does with many of his other tracks), but the fact that (his cousin) Mano (producer of The Weeknd’s “The Hills”) actually worked on it. Trite instrumentation and production aside, tragically cliché lyrics like “I want to rock ’n’ roll your face off” and “I am over you and all your crap uh uh oh / Your love has turned into a trap uh uh oh” are plentiful throughout the LP and impossible to get past. It kind of makes you forget what G.O.O.D. music actually sounds like.