Xilomen returns with Black Mamba PT. 1 - WXPN
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Xilomen | via facebook.com/xilomenmusic

Multifaceted Philadelphian Xilomen caught our ear last year with her debut project Gata Negra, an eight-song collection that showed off her skills not only as a vocalist and songwriter but a multi-instrumentalist and producer. Her latest project, Black Mamba P1. 1, dropped earlier this month via Temple University label Bell Tower Music, and it sees her flexing that versatility even further.

When the Chesapeake, Virginia-born artist first caught our ear, it was her contemporary take on late 90s soul and electronic music that grabbed us — reference points we made at the time were Erykah Badu and Sneaker Pimps, as well as the genre-defying Frank Ocean. On the new project, she pushed the boundaries solidly into the hip-hop and R&B zone.

The opening “General” is smooth and elegant, mixing up trap beats and bass bumps with soaring vocals and harmonies as she lyrically entreats listeners to soldier through their struggles and live their best lives, for themselves. “Do not get lost in the concept of time,” she sings. “It’s all a state of mind.”

Further down the track list, “Be Aware” sets a tone of windswept minimalism, and amid the haunting atmospherics, Xilomen spits about authenticity: “Is she real or is she fake / is this love or is this hate / don’t want to procreate if the bar’s not great.” It’s a theme that comes up again in the title track, with finds Xilomen flaunting her skill but also talking about the hard work it took to get to her point — hard work that’s still not done. Like she says, “Shit takes dedication.”

Listen to Black Mamba PT. 1 below; Xilomen just celebrated the release of the project at Pub Webb, but keep tabs on her Facebook page for info about upcoming live dates.

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