Written by: Matt Harvey (@MattheMajor)
The first time Xantana floundered into the Chicago music scene, he was still discovering himself as an artist. He began by experimenting with different flows and sounds, hitting the wall with as many styles as he could conjure up in hopes that one would stick. This period of artistic uncertainty is clearly audible in his first two singles, “FWM” (featuring Roosevelt the Titan), and “Want it All”.
The tracks, however solid, display two distinct approaches to hip-hop music. “FWM” is heavy-handed in its embrace of backpacker lyricism and a wiry instrumental produced by Dixie Hype. “Want it All” is moreso hook driven with an intense, slow-paced style of production by Glassic. In 2015, the only thing Brandon Macc knew for certain was that he wanted to be an artist.
In the pursuit of his definition of artistry, he took a break from putting out new music, focusing on the refinement of his craft. When he returned to the scene fully reimagined under the moniker Xantana, he was ready to start making waves. On his first project Saiyan EP had already become more defined and by Xantana’s first collab project, How it Go EP with MeloMutt, his confidence in his art had reached an all time high. In a comment to Prime Fortune, he described that exact feeling as the inspiration behind his latest single, “Wake Up”.
“At the time I was feeling like I was on top of the world and was starting to accomplish a lot of the goals I [had] set for myself so you can definitely hear the confidence in the song.”
It is not an exaggeration to say that Xantana’s optimism on “Wake Up” is hard to miss as he raps “I know that I’m gon’ ball I’m gon’ shine/ If I stay on my grind, I know that I’m gon’ be fine” over what is inarguably the most high energy instrumental choice that he has appeared on. When asked about the production process of the record he had this to say:
“I came across the Young Taylor beat and Instantly started working on it. I finished it the same day I got it and went to record it the next night with Joint at AON studios.”
Though Young Taylor’s production drives home the motif of the record, it is Xantana’s writing that truly shines on the song. The lyrics make the track feel clear, and that evasion of cloudiness is what makes the song digestible. He detailed exactly what it took for him to get that feeling out in his own words,
“My writing process usually starts with a freestyle,” he began, “I’ll Listen to the beat over and over while I freestyle to try and come up with different flows that’ll match the beat. The chorus is always the first thing that comes to me then, from there, verses start flowing.”
Xantana described his feelings about the track prior to its release as indicative of the same confidence that inspired the record, adding “...once I got it done I knew it was going to be something everybody was [going to] rock with.”
Xantana felt that the decision to team up with Optic Visuals for the music video was a no-brainer, as the two had been in talks to collaborate for some time. Within a day of completing the recording of the record, the video was shot. Xantana wasn’t afraid to bolster the result of the collaboration with Optic Visuals, commenting,
“With it being my first video I’m happy with the outcome and definitely [will] be dropping more visuals.”
Check out the video for “Wake Up” on Youtube, or stream the song here via SoundCloud