There is a relentlessness to the ocean that can either be calming or troubling depending on your mental state. Doesn’t matter when you go or how long you sit there, the waves will be coming over and over and over again without fail. Brooklyn based rapper xoKeegan knows that all too well. He was born in Trinidad and mostly raised in Florida, the ocean has been an ever present force in his life. The reason he originally came to New York in fact was a scholarship to swim at Iona College. He also knows that the strongest swimmer can’t compete with a riptide. His new collaborative EP, fully produced by Jersey City producer DriveBy, sees a day in the life of a fictional Keegan that goes south. He is trying to make some bread to take his girl out to a fancy dinner when a loose associate tells him about a treasure on an island off the coast of Brooklyn. They get the loot, only for Keegan’s associate to ditch him on the island to face the tides on his own.
The project’s first single “Over and Over” is actually the EP’s closing track. On the track xoKeegan is coming to terms with his fate on the island for better or worse, as he watches the waves go by. ”Over and Over again, tides keep turning, eyes keep burning up. Fuck all these lies I keep learning, lately I don’t mind being nervous,” He raps over DriveBy’s entrancing loop. Driveby has been one of the most underrated producers in the underground for a minute now, and the sample he flipped for this track has a mantra like quality, sounding like it could have very well been taken from a record made by chanting Tibetan monks. x0Keegan’s voice finds harmony with the monks Driveby sampled, like they’re all searching for the same inner peace.
xoKeegan had this to say both about the track and the EP, which is due out October 18th:
Fate really brought me here. Life for me has often, if not always, mirrored the patterns of the tide. High and low, with the capacity for intense violence or potent calm. The water to me represents infinity, the variety of options it presents and the vastness it embodies. The lyrics to these songs, and this one in particular, were ripped from me with the strength of a deadly current. And the attempts to interfere were just as futile. Driveby produced the perfect basin to capture all out the outpour. The sentiments I discovered while recording were all wrapped up in submission. All facades awash like driftwood. Standing on the sand, just me, the moon, the stars and the crush of the ocean, I heard myself speak for the first time in a long time. The meanings are still underwater, perhaps where they belong, but their existence helps me stay afloat to swim another day.