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Be specific... Washington rapper XO on the difference between a mix tape and an album

XOXO's new album "One. One. Ten." is available as a free download.

With the digital era allowing artists to take control of how they release their music, hip-hop fans have come upon something of a zen riddle: If a mix tape features all original raps and all original beats, is it still a mix tape?

Washington rapper XO doesn't think so. His latest release "One. One. Ten." is a superb collection of clear-headed rhymes and original tracks crafted by local producers. He proudly calls it an album -- and rightfully so. The closest resemblance it bears to the mix tapes of yore -- compilations where rappers spit over other rappers' beats -- is that you can download it for free.

Last week, Click Track spoke with XO about mix tapes, albums and his plans for the new year.

(XO's New Year's resolutions, after the jump.)

In 2010, what's the difference between a mix tape and an album -- or what people are calling "street albums?" Over the past few years, the distinction has really started to blur.

There's not really too much of a difference between a mix tape and an album. If you look at the examples that are out there... Mix tapes evolved from a thing for the DJs to show their skills and promote new music, into a thing where artists can put out music the way they want it to be put out. It’s evolved into that. Drake put out his mix tape and toured off his mix tape... It’s a type of evolution.

Was Drake's success with mix tapes an example you wanted to follow?

Well, ["One.One.Ten."] is an album, actually. All my joints is like albums. I ain't never considered them to be mix tapes, even though some people called them that. But I never made an issue out of it. This is all original beats. It’s like an album.

What can people expect from "One. One. Ten."?

It’s me going in, lyrically, on every track, trying to paint a picture on every track. I’m trying to bring a lot of the story telling... I got Oddissee on the production, AB The Producer and a guy named Soulful.

Were you trying to give the entire recording a unified sound?

Yeah, that’s 'cause that’s my family. Pharrell came out with the Clipse and they had a specific sound from that region, as far as production. Regional production can be crazy, from Pharrell to Timbaland to the stuff that comes out of New York, West Coast production... The production should reflect the culture. I want to keep it here so people can see this side of the culture.

"One. One. Ten." drops online on New Year's Day. Do you have any New Year's resolutions?

Keep grinding. Make more classics.

How about boring personal stuff like "eat more vegetables" or something?

Naw, just to keep banging out new music.

Watch the video for XO's "Do It."

By Chris Richards  |  January 4, 2010; 1:50 PM ET
Categories:  Be specific , Local news  | Tags: X.O.  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning click: Soundgarden reunites, Vampire Weekend streams new album
Next: Future days: A visit from Grandmaster Flash, Kanye tells stories and Nick Jonas hits the late night circuit


I would actually be happy to pay X.O. for these free downloadable opuses. They have become increasingly more awesome with each new one.

I thought I was going to have to/get to buy "One. One. Ten.", but was confused when it came out. Now I know the rest of the story! Thanks, Click Track!

Posted by: Lindemann777 | January 4, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

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