Bio: I’m Devo XO, a 19 year old artist, born and raised in Southern Maryland but I moved to Richmond, VA in 2015. Growing up I always wrote raps but when my junior year of high school came around, I started taking it seriously. Singles I dropped on SoundCloud early on got me a little buzz around school but as I kept going I got my name out there more and more. There’s still a long journey ahead of me but I’m locked in and ready to work!
Who are your top 5 Influences?:
Kid Cudi: Cudi’s music made me more comfortable with rapping about things like mental illness, suicide, etc. you know? The real life things we go through, I believe that lets the listener feel more connected to the artist and makes for a genuine, organic fan base.
Three 6 Mafia: By far my favorite rap group. I remember riding around with my pops when I little and that’s all he would play. Although my boom bap style differs a lot from the crunk sound, people like Lord Infamous and Project Pat influenced me to go the extra mile with my flows and rhyme schemes. I think rappers could learn a lot from them if they listen close. Three 6 also got me into using dark, eerie sounding beats that I love.
Rage Against the Machine: Along with hip hop I got a love for hard rock. Zach de la Rocha is the perfect combination of the two. The rebel sound and rugged guitar from Tom Morello drew me in and I’ve been hooked since then. I find it crazy, and unfortunate, how 20+ years later we’re still going through the same things Rage was talking about in the 90’s.
Kanye West: Ye is my spirit animal. Being bipolar myself I understand and feel the subject matter in his recent works and it’s undeniable that he’s one of the greatest to ever do it. Kanye has always been a standout artist and it takes strength and talent to still be here today. Legend.
Roc Marciano: I could go on all day about how Roc influences me. Musically and just how I operate on a day to day basis. I listen to an album of his and it makes me want to go harder with each and every verse I write. His sense of humor and wordplay make it an experience versus just something to just bop your head to. Stylistically speaking, he’s one of a kind and a true pioneer of the underground sound you hear now. His minimalistic approach shows you that less is more.
When are your new projects coming out?: After just dropping my debut project “What’s Understood Need Not Be Explained” I got right into the next tape. With this project I want to take a more conscious approach with the subject matter. I’ve met and talked to many artists and producers I hope to work with very soon. I expect to release it early 2021 but I’ll be rolling out singles to hold the fans over until then.
What helped get you into music?: I got into hip hop through beatboxing, my dad was a great beatboxer and you know every little boy wants to be like his pops so I followed suit. Also, my grandma put me onto the movie “Krush Groove” where I saw the pioneers of hop in action. Artists like LL Cool J, Run-DMC, The Beastie Boys taught me the basics. In the 4th grade is when I wrote my first rap. We had a project to do on the organ systems of the body, my group’s assignment was the digestive system and we had the options of making a poster, a skit or a song and I was drawn to the song idea. I wrote verses for everyone in my group and even though I was rhyming about the small intestine, it was dope. My teacher at the time and my grandma knew I had talent from then and I haven’t let up since.
What is one thing you would tell your fans?: If there’s anything I would like to tell my fans it’s that I do this for y’all and I can’t put into words how appreciative I am of each and every person that presses play on my music. The fans keep me going day in and day out and I plan to feed em well!
What are your biggest goals in 2021?: In 2021 I hope to be able to start doing shows around the city. COVID-19 put a halt to performances at majority of the local venues in Richmond but until I can get on stages I’m staying busy in the lab. The fans should expect more projects, collaborations, music videos and all of that good stuff to come in the next year.