Who is Yung Xavi
Rap-rock has a decades-long history, but the hybrid genre that includes Run DMC and Lil Uzi Vert has never seen an artist like Yung Xavi. The 19-year-old, Los Angeles based artist opens a vein on every song. His emotionally gripping lyrics and hooks are as powerful as they are catchy. Whether rapping or crooning, Xavi shares his pain so fans recognize their own. He chronicles his life’s difficulties over grinding guitar and trap drums, deftly fusing rock and rap. Even his most banging tracks offer a chance for catharsis.
To Jonathan, Yung Xavi’s forthcoming debut, is deeply personal and a remarkable addition to the rap-rock canon. Dedicated to his long-departed father, the album documents Xavi’s attempts to grieve and heal, an undercurrent of sadness coursing through its brightest moments. “Throughout my life, I’ve always wanted to talk to my dad about certain stuff,” Xavi says. “This album is me having the conversations that we weren't able to have.”
Born in Palm Springs, Xavi lost his father when he was just eight years old. His loving mother worked tirelessly to make up for their loss. A yoga instructor and health coach, she also passed on her athleticism and work ethic. Between piano and drums lessons, Xavi played countless sports (soccer, basketball, an equestrian and more) in the sweltering desert heat. Rock groups like System of a Down and rap icons like 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G.—all of whom his mother played for him—soundtracked his trips to practices and games. In the late 2000s, though, Xavi discovered mashups on YouTube. These disparate musical pairings became the foundation of his inter-genre fluency. “Listening to those remixes made me really open to all genres,” Xavi explains. “And I like to mix and mash up my music, too.”
By the time Xavi started his freshman year of high school, he was training to compete in the Olympic pentathlon. Then fate intervened. The natural and dedicated athlete fell during cross country practice, permanently damaging his knee. Without sports or his father’s guidance, Xavi was lost. He spiraled into a deep, drug-addled depression before checking himself into rehab at 15. Unfortunately, negative experiences there drove him to more pills and alcohol. After several frightening overdoses, his mother sent him to an out-of-state treatment facility.
Upon recovery, Xavi and his mom moved to Torrance in LA’s South Bay. He discovered Playboi Carti and Lil Uzi Vert during his final high school years and began rapping over self-made piano loops. Xavi soon outgrew the loops, though, and connected with local producers to create original songs. After he made his first video for his senior capstone project, his mother sent it to friends with music industry connections. Before long, Xavi devoted himself to making music. Xavi ultimately paired himself with esteemed Executive Producers Ruben Rodriguez and Nikki Bratcher, resulting in the powerful album To Jonathan.
To Jonathan, is the poignant result of Xavi’s devotion both in and out of the studio. On the numbed “Wit a Bottle,” he details the depths of his drug problem, one of several vices he used to cope with his father’s passing. Elsewhere, like on the somber, guitar-driven “Real Life,” he details his triumph over his addiction and his transition to music. Xavi can’t play To Jonathan for his father, but he hopes he’s listening.
“Music helped my dad cope with his life. I started making music to cope with what I was dealing with. If I make a song that the whole world is blasting, maybe he’ll hear it in heaven.”