Q & A, By Issac Jimenez
YO! Youth Outlook
Betrayal, the not-so-free, unseen forces of nature, ancient peoples, love lost and the tragic relationship between a flower and a caterpillar are just some of the topics Xol-olanxinxo feels you should know about.
As one half of the group Of Mexican Descent (OMD), Xolo and his partner 2-Mex have been rocking shows around the world and have become part of the strong foundation making up the LA underground hip-hop scene. I recently got the chance to catch up with Xolo and find out what his spirits are telling him.
YO! Tell me about your early influences when you started rapping, who were the people that inspired you to develop your style?
Xolo: Some of my huge influences were Suicidal tendencies, Run DMC, LL Cool J, EPMD and Ice Cube, to an extent cause of the whole L.A. lifestyle. My whole underground family [was a huge influence] as well. The Good Life, Project Blowed, Shape Shifters. We all grew up together doing Hip Hop and I guess we inspired ourselves to continue and stick it out. That was part of the influence that kept me in this, to have a family that was strong with their views and stuck together.
Yo! What went into starting OMD with Alex [2-Mex]?
Xolo: This friend of mine used to get his hair cut by this guy named Gonzo, who was this local DJ. He was real popular in our neighborhood and he hooked up with 2-Mex. They were trying to start a crew and I was referred to them. We met up and we hit it off really good and we put the crew together. A friend of ours came up with the name. He was like, “Of Mexican Descent, that’s the name right there.” So we all agreed to it and it became us. That’s who we’ve been ever since and it has fit perfectly for everything we stand for.
YO! Tell me about your ancestry.
Xolo: As far as my heritage, its Tarahumara. Indigenous. We’re from Juarez, Mexico and certain regions of Jalisco. I basically come from the Mexican indigenous people in this region of the world. We represent the cultivation of land, the understanding of the galaxy and life. The balance of humanity and love. That’s what I genetically express. Those are the traits I’ve been blessed with and that’s what my heart knows and desires, so I express myself through my heritage. I’ve been blessed enough to inherit something as great as my Mayan ancestors who were doing things like cultivating vegetation, plants and trees. I say that to the fullest because they’re the people who brought corn to the earth, they brought sage to the earth and a lot of other beautiful plants that we use for food and medicine. That’s my heritage right there. I don’t just express it and live it, but tap into my genetic endowments and see what’s deep inside of me. It has been their since birth. I find from that expressing things [about my heritage] is where my biggest influence in music come from.
YO! Do you make a conscious effort to preserve your culture through your music?
Xolo: It’s like spiritual possession or some instinct that possesses me at the time. I don’t really have control over those two things. I am by nature, a musician. I come from a long family of musicians and I make music. But there is a point where I’m just possessed by this indigenous ghost who has things to say and I don’t really have control over where that’s gonna go, I just kinda let it flow.
YO! What’s the crowd reaction like these days when you go to new cities and people are just finding out about you?
Xolo: It’s pretty incredible because where we come from, we live in the belly of the beast, we live in Hollywood. We live in L.A., and most people go to L.A. chasing the silver screen dream. They’re all tapped out of reality. If you ever come to L.A. you’ll see the marketing structure is really based on image, materialism, consumption and youth consumption. Basically most people don’t look at the heart. Things like love and life, it’s not popular, it’s not the in thing. We go down there [L.A.] and express ourselves. What we do in L.A., it’s like a small group of people that really care about life. When we go out to different regions of the country, different cities and continents, people love what were saying and take to it like it’s the most incredible thing. That’s the beauty of the world. It’s like the world is awake and aware. It’s just where we live they keep this huge blanket over us to keep us sleeping, keep us warm, and tucked in so we don’t have to get out of bed.