An interview with Cambridge artist Xadi on his new track, 'Time to Grow Up'

Image credit: Caitlin McCartney

On 20th March, Xadi, a third year material science student from Hounslow, West London, released his latest video, “Time To Grow Up,” an instrumental hip-hop commentary on postgraduate success. The video presents the pros and cons of pursuing a corporate job or following one’s creative passions—a debate visually manifest in two characters, a creative and an academic, both played by Xadi. This “double-consciousness” illuminates what it means to “grow-up” under the duress of high academic and career standards, as well as family and peer pressure. However, (spoiler alert!), the video ends at a draw between the two characters, leaving viewers to question the mere definition of “growing-up” as a matter of meeting expectations, or staying true to oneself. We were lucky enough to speak with Xadi about his latest release, and the argument behind it.

TCS: How did the initial idea for the song come about?

X: I think because it’s something that is on my mind a lot, especially in Cambridge where everyone is like, “Ah, I need to go and get internships.” I’ve never done an internship or anything like that, and I feel very much that if I did a job like consultancy, or something like that, my whole life I’d be thirsty for something else. So I feel that is an internal dilemma of mine that I just wanted to kinda rap about it.

TCS Would you say that each character is a side of you? Is one more so?

X: I definitely think that the creative one is more like me...People might say, “Oh, aren’t you gonna go get an internship, or find a job or something?,” and I think they’ve influenced me to have doubts about myself. They’ve probably created this corporate side, but I think that I’m definitely more of the other side of things.

TCS: How would you describe the music that you’re making?

X: I’d say it’s quite conscious...I struggle to write stuff where I’m not conveying a message, so I tend to write with a purpose...At the moment it’s the mellow stuff because I can get a message across. So yeah, I’d say introspective and conscious.

TCS: What was that creative process like in making “Time To Grow Up?”

X: I initially made this as a kind of poem... I performed it at this Cambridge University Hip-Hop Society event where half of me was normal, and then I’d put a hat on to symbolize the other half. I have two very different sides having this discussion in my head, so I was just like, “Let me put this on screen and have two of them arguing with one another.”

TCS: How do the instrumentals play with the narrative? Do they add to it?

X: They do. The beautiful thing about producing your own music is that you can tailor it so if you have a bit that you want to be really hard hitting, you can alter the instruments. I feel like it just supplements emotion in a really nice way.

TCS: It’s interesting too to have the visual aspect of it. Can you talk about that?

X: Every time I make a song I want to have a video for it, because I want to have a whole artistic experience almost and convey a message… I think that the song specifically really needed a video so that you could see the two characters clearly.

TCS: What advice do you have for people that are trapped in this “cage” of expectation and creativity that you discussed in your video?

X: I think people who are starting to live corporate lifestyles will continue to do it if they want to do it, and I have huge respect for that. But hopefully this song will help people that are having some doubts. Cambridge kind of pushes you into this mindset where you need to get internships, and if you get an internship and they offer you a job, you’re an idiot if you say no. So I think that people who are having slight doubts should just try and do both. The thing is that it doesn’t necessarily need to be a career, but I think it’s so important to leave time to express yourself in an artistic way if that sort of thing means a lot to you.

TCS: Is there anything that you want to leave us with?

X: I am really appreciative to anyone who is giving it a listen, because more than anything, it’s helping me loads as well. The people that are commenting have been like, “Follow what you want to do. Follow what you know inside you want to do.” And despite me being like, “Oh, I should do that,” having people say it makes it seem more realistic because you never really normally hear people say that.” The other thing is that I talk about my mom quite a lot in the song. The songs are meaningful for me because she can see how much she means to me through the music. I want to publicly say that I have all the respect in the world for this woman.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Stories

In this section

Across the site

Best of the Rest