Tupac Shakur

Better Dayz (Interscope/Amaru/Tha Row)

It was very difficult to choose one favorite album of all time. For me, it’s a tie between Better Dayz by Tupac Shakur and Hypnotize by System Of A Down.

Better Dayz by Tupac Shakur, has tracks that are versatile in style, yet vocally Tupac always maintained his signature presence and hardcore lyrics. I feel like he took the blend of these two aspects to create his distinctive style, which inspired me to do the same. I enjoy using different beats, adding in different techniques used in rap to create a unique sound.

For example, “Thugz Mansion” (Acoustic Remix) uses acoustic guitars in the beat.  “Street Fame” (Briss Remix) has a classical sounding piano riff in the beat. Both instruments were used in ways that were not as popular, at least in my opinion, in the rap scene at the time.  Tupac’s ability to use his same lyrics over remixed beats demonstrates how free the genre of hip hop was and has become.  I knew it would be the best genre for me to be a part of giving me the ability to have as much creative reign with my music as possible.


System of a Down’s album, Hypnotize, barely beat Mesmerize, because I feel the variety of high energy songs to low energy was a better balance in Hypnotize. From an idolizing aspect, System of a Down motivates me through their emotional lyrics, political activism, high energy, and comical vocals.  I am truly inspired by their passion to speak out and be not so much for themselves but for the world. They bring current events to light for everyone to understand, which spreads a positive message and awareness.

I believe all artists should be encouraged to speak up for their people, their issues and the importance of activism. “Soldier Side’s’” lyrics cuts deep into your soul by touching upon the topic of war and the sadness that it causes. “Hypnotize” is another one of my favorites, which talks about how the simple-minded are blind to a fake democracy.  It also talks about how the media and propaganda deceives us and make us believe we are totally free.

Yung Xavi’s “Make the Cut” single is out now.

LA Weekly