XoC Divergent Timelines: Darker Paths

XoC Divergent Timelines: Darker Paths
For his third album, nerdcore rapper XoC sounds eerily like Sadat X, at times, but his focus is still on telling stories and writing concept-heavy songs. The two strongest are also the most personal. "Emergency Room" is the tale of an abusive stepfather, ending in a revenge fantasy, with the beat borrowed from Kanye's "Say You Will" - it's a great backdrop, with the heart monitor effect matching the emergency room raps and the background choir reinforcing the seriousness of the situation. While "A Letter to My Twin" tells a tragic tale, Bun-Z's soulful hook adds to the emotional weight of the song. X gets scientific on the self-produced "Flatland: An Nth Dimensional Story," with assistance from Klopfenpop and Ranger, for a battle between 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional beings as viewed with contempt by 4-dimensional beings. He gets philosophical on "Divergent Timelines" by theorizing over Xzibit's "Paparazzi" the possibility that life is a dream and gets political on both "Life of Lies" and "Break the Mold," the former with PixelDoom over a reggae-lite PixelDoom production that could have done with a better chorus and the latter an anti-stereotyping song featuring Whoremoans over a Project Zero 8-bit beat. The most interesting song is "Mission Failure," which is the story of an astronaut trapped on a hostile world, but as the character gets closer to death, X's flow becomes increasingly anxious and splintered. As only the third song on the album, it might be a little early to get experimental, and along with second track "Feel's Good Remix," on which guest rapper Wyr's swaggerific verse is marred by a low quality mic, it should have been left to later in the album, appearing only after a few other songs drew in the listener. Still, XoC has finally come into his own with Divergent Timelines, proving his potential to go much further than one free digital album followed by another. (Independent)