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Standout Track: “I Got Doe,” a heavy and hazy rap treatise on commerce, purity, and death. Long burdened by Southern efficiency and Northern charm, D.C. hip-hop has struggled to find its own aesthetic, but “Doe” beatsmith AB the Producer breaks down the city’s natural go-go pocket into its rawest elements and rebuilds them around synth-heavy beats. Instead of riding the drums, X.O. adapts his flow to the rhythm of AB’s hard piano to unnerving effect.
Musical Motivation: The almighty dollar. The song’s titular refrain plays with typical hip-hop materialism, but X.O. dismantles its clichés by looking inwardly and claiming to have kept his soul. “That was the worm on the hook,” X.O. says. ”Materialistic shit sells, [but] you don’t have to lower your standards to get money.” The track continues with more baits and switches, as the 24-year-old Petworth-raised MC boasts about weed smoke and hood credibility while implicating individuals and the government for their less than noble monetary pursuits: “Hell has a face/America is its ski mask.”
Capitol Gains: “I Got Doe” is the lead single from X.O.’s forthcoming Capitalism, a loose concept record based on similar themes. Here, he spirals wordplay off in as many different directions as possible. “Capital is money, we earn capital,” he riffs. “Coincide that with the Nation’s Capitol, I’m from D.C., so the Capitol-is-him. Capitalize or capital lies.”