Viva La Revolucion (alternatively written as VLR) is the first studio album by Canadian rapper Ollie X. The 18-track album is set to be released in the summer of 2019 by Untitled Records Incorporation and LANDR distribution. The album guest feature Tyra Banks, Mc Coolz, Black Rogue and Nikko Neeks. production was handled by Ollie X.
The album title was given its name to reflect the tempestuous nature of the millennial century. From the album title and its brief inclusion, the main themes explored within VLR were passion, power struggles and cyclical emotions. The album portrays a unique perspective of X, sounding completely different from his “hype” contemporaries by utilizing a soulful conscious approach. Ollie X managed to create a substantial piece of work that’s requires wholesome consumption from start to finish rather than bite sized chunks.
The album commences with ‘Grief’ a meta contextual Hip Hop Jazz quartet trio. The perspective of this song reflects the impoverish environment Ollie X feels imprisoned within. Sonically, the quintessential song befits the opening song of the album as it explores race, violence and classicism within society. A Marxism approach is adopted by grief, underlying justice as a virtusitic representation of the bourgeois to erroneously treat different cases alike. The melody in Grief is wry, ironic and mournful to reflect the surreal environment created by mortal men. The opening lyrics immediately describe his criticism and frustration for current injustices within humanity,
“And what’s the exclusive, another dead brother oooh we never knew this? Surround us in violence till we become so clueless, so we start looking for clues less and start treasure shooting, & does Vladimir Putin really like poutine? And what the fucks war, what the fucks the third world really for, if we still reside on the earths very core?”
The song smoothly transitions into a no holds barred criticism to the present days inequities and injustices present within society. As the song progresses to a finale, the general consensus of Ollie X’s mood is fatigue and tiredness, he feels defeated by having to continue living within a circumstance he feels trapped within,
“I’m tired of working my ass off but getting petty cash, I’m tired of the pain and having to be getting trashed, I’m tired of the work my parents put in and didn’t slack, I’m tired the pension didn’t deliver jack, didn’t deliver scrap, even when all his life he worked hard and he broke his back, so now you understand why I’m a sadistic pessimistic , so close to clinching the artery that keeps me breathing and finally asleep with demons that have been reaching”.
The Descent of Adam
Customary to the biblical parable of Adam and Eve we are all familiar with. The descent of Adam explores the plummet of mortal man. As the parable goes, Adams insecurities and selfishness instigated the peril and birth of human kind. The descent of Adam navigates justice as a false premise for self-interest and circular reasoning with engrossing duality. Instead of boisterous drums and enigmatic drop, the chorus are poised as soulful request to an omnipotent character,
“Please don’t hurt me now, they don’t love me now, please don’t let me down, please don’t hurt me now”.
Ollie X told Hearty Entertainment, “The older I get, the more intense my Déjà vu seems to be. I’m finally learning lessons that were constantly repeated and drilled to me in my younger days. I just didn’t get it then, you see. I remember when my mum used to say we are born alone as a result we will die alone. I genuinely used to perceive that as a kind of threat how foolish I was”.
The first half of the descent of Adam explores feelings of solitary and uneasiness within the protagonist. The song contextually balances between two cycling emotion. In this song, Ollie X portrays two different perspectives and reasoning’s for Adam’s pitfall. The dissonance and change of tempo encapsulate the progressive emotions experienced by the protagonist – from hate to love, from love to rejection, rejection to acceptance. The Descent of Adam, captures the fragility of human nature, as it follows Adam on his reconciliation mission to his origins.
“I’m riding by self I’m moving solo, they tryna kick it but I don’t see a dojo & I really don’t need them no more. Tryna give me a ring, better give it Frodo. Cause they weren’t there when I was going loco & Black mail never see the postal! & What do you mean, they tryna show me strength when I couldn’t bench this pain of mine, and my family’s my biggest kryptonite”.
In his second verse Ollie X portrays his yearning for solitary due to distrust and frustration. His emotions evolve from anguish to annoyance, as a result he feels he decides to take matters into his own hands,
“I’m finding my style while they mining my route but I’m tryna show them what I’m really about!”
In the Descent of Adam, the protagonist was ready to commit distasteful acts for the right reasons during his low moments, “Just to make it right & doing wrongs for major rights”. On his lonesome journey, he comes to the realization he cannot do it on his own. His emotions cycles back to insecurity and reverts to the omnipotence character for reconciliation. He presented to the omnipotent character reasons as to why he went astray. He thought his worldly interests and family ties were more significant but concludes they must have also been created by the same omnipotent character. As he tries to comprehend these gargantuan thoughts, he starts to spiral and descend
“I’m hoping my shoulders can weather these droughts & weather these doubts, while I’m fighting these bouts. And my heads in the clouds, & I know the demons on the prowl, making sure ill be down and be out. But I’m tryna disfigure these sounds but my thoughts spinning round & my insecurities starting to browse…”.
“Scream 4 PEACE”
Akin to Curtis Mayfield ‘There’s no place like America today’, Scream for Peace explores secular issues in society such as systematic racism and police brutality. The protagonist illustrates his restlessness and frustration in a slow jazz infused song, by negotiating peace as a weapon of redemptive power against the industry.
Ollie X, cynicism and raspy undertone accentuated his innermost turmoil in Scream for Peace, by giving listeners a glimpse of the uncomfortable reality he feels encaged within. The production of the song is rich, with smooth intervening soulful textures and vocal layering from the vocalist Tyra. The opening verse encapsulate the contradiction of Ollie X well-wishing vs his current reality. This homophonic bon mot coupled against cascading trumpet evoke an eerie sensation making scream for peace a primary synecdoche for VLR contextual message.
“I was rapping just to better kids, rapping just to build a bridge, rapping for a couple now the couples have a couple kids, what the fuck is this?”. This track needs to be reviewed in context of the album as they serve as problematic injustices evident around world. The metathetic wordplay on the word Peace “But right now I Scream for Peace, I Scream for Peace while you treat me like a piece of meat, it must appease, how I scream for peace, still never peace, I say this in pieces before the rest in peace’s”.
“They Can’t Stop Me”
Inspired by the prominent boxing movie, Rocky. Ollie X decide to embody the resilience of Rocky Balbao to rebuff helpless during times of struggle “It’s your right to listen to your gut, it ain’t nobody’s right to say no after you earned the right to be where you want to be and do what you want to do! ”
Ollie X recently posted, “Sometimes, during times of stark despondency and discouragement, you know when life decides to throw the fast ball a little faster than expected, I listen to they can’t stop me. It helps me get in the zone and realign my energies. P.s don’t listen to this song in boxing robes”.
A post-apocalyptic, song that manages to capture the stylistic element of our era without sacrificing tangible content in the process. During the occurrence of a major revolution, the narrator is aware dishevel and turmoil will occur. Naturally, deindividuation occurs during rioting and looting but the narrator is remaining personally accountable for the disorder in this scenario.
“Who gon stop me and Jesse Run it”// Aint nobody can stop me when I’m charging, aint nobody can stop me with my dark skin, aint nobody can stop me never sorry”.
“403 North East”
Based on the true story of 2014 Calgary stabbing, Ollie X recollects how he returns home and narrowly avoids the house party in the Brentwood Calgary neighborhood.
“And I was supposed to go that house party, come in supply a few of Bacardi, but I couldn’t drive because Coolz took my car keys, knew I was drunk because its cold outside and Im still wearing khakis….”.
A neutral anecdote is conscientiously presented by the artist, highlighting his viewpoints as a series of diary entries ,
“I won’t lie I was livid, how it all happened had me sickened, it wasn’t like he was a bad kid and murder was business, but liquor has your making bad decisions”.
Ollie X returns to Calgary expecting to release steam from the arduous semester, only to discover the news of the unfortunate incident that recently transpired. In true Socratic fashion, Ollie X feels like he knows nothing and is perplexed at the constant suffering around him. 403 serves a mementos for the tragedy that occurred in Calgary.
“It’s a tearful tale kids died in that part of the night, it wasn’t because the kids weren’t brought up right, heard that happened in my city, tears fell outta my eyes, stuck couldn’t look away from the TV screen mesmerized”.
In ancient Greek mythology, Hector was proclaimed to be the greatest fighter for Troy during the Trojan War. During the 10th year of the war, the Greeks had the Trojans cornered and Hector is aware of his peril.
“Alas! the gods have lured me on to my destruction. … death is now indeed exceedingly near at hand and there is no way out of it. My doom has come upon me; let me not then die ingloriously and without a struggle but let me first do some great things that shall be told among men hereafter”.
Hectors Defense explores hope when all seems lost, the protagonist must invariably use his strength to protect those dear to him regardless of how bleak the situation appears.
“Pray we made it, pray we breaking braces, with the right angle see adjacent, but I’m tryna duck the masons, tryna be amazing tryna figure mazes, and with the corn starch we see you Satan…”.
The powerful chorus mimics his wife Andromache dismay at Hector for dying and leaving her and his son alone at the hands of the victor Achilles. Shortly, before the Trojan counter attack Andromache intercepts and pleads with Hector not to go beyond the gate but Hector replies it is his duty to protect her. As Andromache watches a triumphant Achilles drag Hectors lifeless body in front of the gate of Troy, the lyrics optimize her dismay at she questions Hectors in the sky
“Outside, you said rely on me. Down side, you said you’ll stand by me (x2). Would you believe me if I said I was okay? Would you believe me if I said I was afraid? Would you believe me if I said I had some shame, if you don’t believe then to me it’s all the same. Outside you said rely on me, down side you said you’ll stand by me”.
Coined after the famous story of Eurydice’s death in the underworld, Orpheus scream covertly explores the finality of death and suicide
“The time and our essence seem low, cause you die by a desert eagle won’t see a sequel and the blood on these summer trees they won’t let me be, they won’t let me sleep, what the fuck is this? I wonder if I rest in peace tryna find my consciousness as the son of Eve”.
Ollie X, intrinsically deliberates death and makes numerous references to Orpheus following Eurydice to the grave after discovering her dead body,
“I wonder if I rest in peace, like I how rest these beats, but then death won’t let me be, and the sky will beam tryna scream I’m a lion king, don’t string no violins, don’t think we stand at ease when the pastors preach, and I’m at your speech, and I’m snapping rapping frantically, on the edge of insanity”.
Contrary to Plato’s symposium, Orpheus is ready to die to be with his loved one but he ponders his life and mistakes for an entirety of a second,
“So I’m tryna go apply these steps or I’m finding help or I find ill find myself, or fine ill fine myself, in my final health, tryna see how the heavens felt, and I’m down criticize myself”.
If they can’t stop me was an anarchic turn up, surely Vantage Point fit into the sequel as a dreary Sunday afternoon hangover. Vantage Point, describes a thwarted character growing up and coming of age over a colorful drum pattern and a series of harmonized melodies. Ollie X is rapping from his perspective through a series of journal entries by enlisting the things he learnt along his personal journey,
“Can you see it, you still don’t see it? Government supply the blocks, all the ammunition’s, tryna subtract our lives, different gang divisions, just young boys gone from time, it’s a shame the money in heaven he couldn’t add it with him, instead these blocks full of these addicts in them”.
As the song progresses, Ollie X explores allegoric representations of the judicial system “I look into another’s eyes and I see fear start to materialize, but where fighting the wrong people, the oppressed causing a riot amongst our own people, deeming us as evil, but the hood never got atomic bombs, eradicating masses of people, even future pupils”.
The protagonist feels modern day justice is highly misrepresented and impaired as sovereign individuals can avoid being judged when they sit on the panel. In addition, the character is cognizant exposing these regimes will further drive him to isolation. The bitter sweet truth alongside the voice intonation in Vantage Point makes us feel cold then warm, as the world is threatening to collapse around us.
“If I could wear my heart on my sleeve, would you say you never knew me? If I could wear my heart on my sleeve, would you disclose you never knew, a repudiation from cruelty, tryna couple the beast with beauty”.
“Rebels Of Gallieo”
Rebels serves as an aberration to disorder and panic by promoting equanimity within individuals during times of chaos. The song featuring Black Rouge, Nikko Neeks & MC Coolz, can be characterized by its insurgence and distaste for current politics. The production handled by B MAC is stylistically ominous, ushering millennial’s to cultivate together and abolish contemporary legislation that promote inequities and injustices. In the intro, we can hear interpolated excerpts from Marley to set to tone of the song.
“Its not about what you understand, its about long it takes you to grow, because what you IS what you IS, from the begging to end.”
The validity and deepness of the song doesn’t have a bearing on its replay value. A dynamic chorus accompanied with a stimulating and provocative message of growth and rebellion is evident in Rebels,
“Pronouns and verbs are what made a pro now, give them the low down, been moving so fast I really couldn’t slow down”.
“Dreams of getting gold, Steve Austin Stone cold, think before you move…”
Rebels is politically unflinching and soulfully passionate as Ollie X featuring ROUGIES CLIQUE look to step to the forefront and lead the coup with impactful punchlines and accenting lyrics.
According to Oxford Dictionary a moan can be described as a ,” long, low sound made by a person expressing physical or mental suffering or sexual pleasure”. The word play on the word matrimony, signifies the ceremony of two couples can be expressed as an act of mental suffering or emotional ecstasy. The play on love becomes exemplified with a Nina Simone snippet,
“Everybody is half demon, everybody avoids everybody, all over the place, in most situations most all the time, I know. I am one of those everybody’s”.
The carefully curated lyrics coupled with the chilling interlude sets the tone for Matrim-Moan as an orchestral theater forlove and pain.The soul jazz infused song describes the bittersweet tales of trail and tribulations of love and relationships.
“Together for life till death do us apart, but I know that part of death do us apart is playing on your thoughts, but I say Baby from the day we where born, we gotta be strong and we gotta keep it moving along, and this will sanctify our bond and I know I might seem Armstrong…”.
The fragility and indomitability of love are explored within Matrim-Moan as the protagonist reveals his worldly attachments “But guess who forever be the judge to pass to me on, to see if I can make it to the afterlife, but if all I get is you and that’s my sacrifice, I still wont amass dislike…”
“If You Want Me too”
After the acclaimed Rougies Clique break up, Ollie X succulently explains his impassioned rebirth in an open cathartic spiritual manner. The song vibrantly discusses the metamorphosis of change and separation as Ollie discusses breaking away from his early successes, experimenting and developing his own personal sound and trying to remain incognito the spotlight. If You Want Me Too, serves as a personal liberation from Ollie X fighting himself and engaging in self-love.
“Im thinking its back, the feelings we had, I’m stuck in the past, I’m watching you pass, but I’m holding my heart and I’m chocking that’s all, and this feeling this love, its eating me up its killing my gut, it’s really too much…”.
If You Want Me Too is an amalgamation of soul, funk and hip hop where we witness Ollie X experience an elect number of emotions – unbridled joy, disappointments and admonishments.
Ollie X told Hearty Entertainment Radio, “In this album, I didn’t want to hide anything -my scars, my angst, my jubilations, they are all congested into VLR. If you want me too was probably one of the hardest songs I’ve ever written, it took me a while to materialize words onto paper because I had unknowingly bottled all these feelings up. I guess that’s my version of therapy”.
As the song progresses to a finale, the mantra of the watercolor smith becomes an intoxicating exploration of Ollie X relinquishing perfection and embracing how to live in the present moment.
“Cause I’m bad this, always make mistakes, on the interstate, taking risks. Cut my wrist, aint really promised shit. Better make these hits better make them hear, better make them gear better face your fears, see them in my rear gotta be prepared”.
One of the four Islamic Archangels, the English translation of Israfil is the ‘Burning One’. Israfil, is depicted as the Angel of music, whose responsibility for blowing the trumpet before Armageddon to announce the Day of Resurrection.
“And the trumpet shall be blown, so all those that are in the heavens and all those that are in the earth shall swoon, except him whom Allah will; then it shall be blown again, then they shall stand up awaiting.” — Qur’an, 39.68.
Israfil’s Trumpet is a vivid desperation of Ollie X trying to hold together his loved one during swimming terror. The interpolating parenthetical verse displaced a fore body aura of boundless gloom as Ollie X proclaims his will to survive with her regardless of the conditions.
“Don’t tell me you gon cry a river, don’t me I’m gonna fire pistols, don’t tell me I’m gonna fire missiles because I know they aint minor issues. And ill be standing right there with you, blow it away, yeah hear the bell whistles, and I’m tryna elevate but ill take the stares with you. I understand its fruity but I’m just tryna pear with you, if you’re an animal ill probably bear with you”.
It appears the protagonist is trying to bring forth a plea of fidelity to avoid getting blown away, “You say you hate yourself well I hate me too, and lying too you makes me wanna break a tooth, and makes me wanna plague the booth, and makes wanna pray with you. Stay home baby, never play away from you”.
“Knights of Paine”
Knights of Paine, is a gentle orchestral song of Ollie X conquest to enlightenment. The title of the song is a fine dichotomy between the influential activist Thomas Paine ‘Common Sense’ and the nights Ollie X spent trying not to destroy himself. As the song begins, we are immediately presented with the challenges experienced by the author.
“See I tried to sire the bond of depression in me, but it’s questioning me. My vessels making a vessel of me and my body’s becoming my enemy, tryna see through my debris, through the ocean breeze. And Midas touch and Midas bluff, don’t charge me remind me what (x3), tryna figure how our minds be stuck, the irony club. And man, they banished us, I would’ve gave my arm to be with Lannister’s, tryna be worthy of Excalibur”.
In the second verse, Ollie X immaculately expresses the sinister nature of depression with skating flows and cordial strings. The anguish witnessed by Ollie X and the isolation he created trying to accomplish mastery is starting to have its toil on him.
“My mind be testing it values question, and pain be housing tenants. The flat depression of pain, and splat blow his brain thinking witnesses won’t be the same. I’m living in this human realm, I’m tryna prove my self, tryna que myself and improve myself but honestly, I abuse myself. I bruise my health tryna get these belts. Im screaming in louder decibels, with hopes you will hear me well”.
The cascading keys coupled with the astringent chords and compelling subject matter serves as a testament how asymptotic our humanistic emotions can become. As Ollie X is thrown deeper into the depths of the abys, we experience confessional junctures of the protagonist trying to remain afloat and proceed forward.
“What’s mine and what’s life, and while people fixated on stop signs. And I aint saying say this is lost time, so better watch mine before the clock dies. And I don’t wanna see the sun skies and sunrises. So, son rise, its all right! But we are tryna say its all Black pride, and fuck with me, it will be black panther scratch guys, my thoughts pass by, these pasts nights I nearly past life, and nearly close to being in the past life”.
Colin Kap, is named after the culturally influential NFL quarter and Nike’s campaign model Colin Kaepernick. Colin Kaepernick became a national figurehead ofcontroversy in 2016 for kneeling during the national anthem of the United States of America. Due to the athlete political standpoint, the sporting world ostracized Colin Kaepernick from playing American Football and he is currently under free agency.
Ollie X posted, “I think Colin Kaepernick is our millennials version Muhamad Ali. People forget, he really didn’t have to do what he did! He could’ve turned a blind eye to the shooting and killings like the rest of US did while he counts his COOL millions, yet he decided to create a campaign for racial injustices and overly patriotic rituals. Let either give him a hand or some space!”
Colin Kap, is a song that urges individuals especially those who are oppressed, to do the right thing despite how difficult or sensitive the situation appears. As many African American are brutally killed by the police, COLIN KAP explores the racial injustice highlight by the social activist and athlete Colin Kaepernick
“I pray tryna save my nieces, we cut links like Jesus Pieces, never pray for leases, better move strategic, better show your CV. I’ll be beastly boy. And they really need me boy, but I move with poise barely making noise, yet what else do they really want from me. I already gone and gave my spleen that’s why I’m part machine. I part the stream of the guys tryna be bossing me”
The chorus emulate the thoughts transpiring though the mind of Colin Kaepernick as he was receiving negative flak from all angles, due to his peaceful protests.
“I don’t know where my mind being going yeah, if the time is stolen yeah, if they ride ride on me yeah, if they say that it’s not my year, if they say I aint switching gears (x2)”.
Millennial’s, also known as Generation Y are the generational demographic cohort following Generation X from 1990’s to early 2000’s. Individual’s born within this time frame are often praised for their familiarity with technology, media and digital communication. Millennial’s, is a song about the great economic recession and its long-term economic and social damage to young people.
Homecoming, is a neo-soul, jazz track featuring vocalist Tyra. The song is the last track on VLR exploring the disassociation between the idealized life and the African-American reality of the world. Ollie X feels a civic responsiblity to advocate for the current perspective of young African-American men. The chorus of Homecoming reflect the thematic expression of VLR.
“Dont cry and let me go, Dont cry and kill me slow, don’t die and break our oath, don’t cry my people no (x2)”
Homecoming is a penultimate track of gratitude to the individuals who inspired Ollie X to complete VLR. The neo-soul track is encompassive of wistful strings, angelic choirs and relatable emotion as Ollie X delves deep into his own psyche.
“Avoiding demon cruses, while I’m writing deep cut verses, I might need the bandages, barely a boy but life made a man of him. I’m hoping my mama never see embarrassment, I pray I fly my siblings to Sydney and change environments. I won’t sigh I inspire them, I won’t lie I die for them, before the dividends, before coincidence, before police and them, before we see the end, before the Michael Phelps and swimming outta depth”.