The Evolution of Music: with Hunter XO
By Theresa Salopek
One of the worst feelings is becoming bored by your daily listening music playlist and patiently waiting for some new music to drop that would bring a new experience of sound to your ears that you’ve never heard before. After listening to the same song or even the same style of music over and over, songs begin to lose originality and fade back into the other liked tracks on any ordinary playlist. Currently, it seems like this process is accelerating and happening at quicker rates than ever before. However, I believe there is hope within the evolution of music.
After listening through Hunter XO’s new mixtape titled King of No Castle, my ears felt an almost refreshing experience. Each track has a completely unique sound and style that plays along the lines of hip hop and pop, fusing new experimental beats and lyrics into these over popularized genres. Hunter XO refers to himself as a “multi-faceted artist” who likes to experiment and simply have fun when making music. The versatility of Hunter XO allows all types of people to enjoy his music and utilize the intense sounds he creates for escaping reality. The ability of Hunter XO as an artist to push boundaries keeps the tracks interesting and full of life because they are so real.
The first song off this mixtape that brought Hunter XO the desire to create high energy beats that make listeners want to disconnect from the harsh realities of the world for a moment is titled “Pop Right”. This track, my personal favorite off of King of No Castle, aims at pumping energy into listeners to allow them to experience that moment of first meeting someone whose energy engulfs you in fixation. He aims at creating this same experience in hopes that listeners will feel this connection with his music and experience something new, fresh, and exciting because it is exceptionally different.
Through his exposure to the music industry, Hunter XO has come to realize that the world of technology in 2020 has created this situation of extremely fast-moving media and entertainment which can be extremely overwhelming not just for producers, but for consumers as well. Although his lyrics hold strong messages, such as that found on “Chr0me”, the main purpose of the music produced by Hunter XO is to relax, unwind, and experience the feeling of finding a new song that sounds so different from the norm yet draws you in with familiar styles recognizable in the differing beats of each song. The duality that exists on this tape heightens reality to the point of forcing listeners to realize that music can be our personal remedy, quieting our minds in order to be able to organize our thoughts at a later time.
Another unique feature to this mixtape is the live tracks that appear toward the end of the project. These tracks are titled “Without U” and “Tired Eyes” and bring a subtle moment of raw transparency to the mixtape. Through these tracks, Hunter XO hopes fans will be able to see his growth and evolution as an artist on future mixtapes. Without vulnerability, there is no real possibility of connectivity which Hunter XO calls for on this project, King of No Castle. The castle in this title is meant to represent a figurative fortress that has control of one’s mind. In our world today, you can still be a king without being tied down to a castle.
Hunter XO not only connects with his fans and new listeners on his mixtape King of No Castle available on Audiomack, but he also does so through his social media accounts @xotheboi and his Twitch streaming account www.twitch.tv/hunterxo. The music industry and the gaming industry have been intertwined for longer than most people recognize. Think back to GTA car radio stations. Hunter XO says, “Growing up as a kid in Northwestern Canada, I may have never had such young exposure to these hit artists who eventually influenced me to start my career in music.” Now, younger generations of people are banking in on creating gaming streams with hip hop music synchronized to their game play. Hunter XO sees unimaginable numbers of opportunity within the world of music and gaming in the entertainment industry and hopes his music career can soon incorporate creating opportunities for young people via these platforms.