By Samuel Stevens
Release Date: April 24, 2020
Genre: Alternative Hip-Hop, Alternative Rock, Post-Hardcore
Label: Hopeless Records
The Atlanta, Georgia hip-hop artist, Clayton Roney, more famously known as Lil Xtra has returned with his genre bending third album, Taking Up Space. Roney is often referred to as “the La Dispute of emo rap” with a passion for music as a form of self-expression and healing. While using music as his outlet, he continues to share personal experiences through his songs. Lil Xtra is representing a new generation of musicians and fans who were raised knowing no genre-boundary lines. Roney cites artists Juice WRLD, Blink-182, A Day To Remember, and Post Malone as his main musical inspirations. Lil Xtra has rightfully claimed his seat amongst his SoundCloud equals in the likes of similar artists, guardin and nothing,nowhere. Taking Up Space was completely written, produced, and recorded by Clayton Roney in his hometown of Atlanta.
Taking Up Space opens with the melodic track, “Hive,” which leaves you with just a taste of what the album offers by mixing genres throughout the track. “Hive” touches on the subject of being pushed out of a circle of peers and being bullied. “But I’m just your project / You’ll beat me unconscious / Make sure I know I’m better off in the ground / I’ll long for the casket / I’ll put on the mask when you say / Hey you know that no one wants you around right?”
The lead single, “Under The Weather,” tackles mental illness from the perspectives of both the people who suffer as well as the loved ones who are around them. “Cause I just need some time to feel better / I’m bent and too broken / Falling under the pressure / But I think we’ll be fine / Keep it together / It feels like we’re dying / We’re just under the weather.”
The fourth track on Taking Up Space, “HXHXHX,” takes a drastic shift in tone and is indisputably the heaviest track on the record, showcasing Roney’s post-hardcore talents. A song that can’t be argued draws solely from Roney’s heavier influences in his music inspirations. Other tracks on the album such as “Hive,” “Under The Weather,” “Alive” -as well as a few others- take elements from this influence as well.
While Taking Up Space is primarily an emo rap album front to back, it’s also no secret it draws elements from several genres all over the musical spectrum and uses elements of these influences throughout the album. The tracks “Alive” and “Wasted In Paris” mostly from hip-hop, while tracks like “Home” and “Normal” are essentially just Clayton and an acoustic guitar. Lil Xtra has found a way to put his own stamp on the emo rap genre, with his latest release, Taking Up Space.