An enigmatic artist based out of Dallas, Texas, Stxxr is a young talent with a focused passion for RnB and hip-hop. Surfacing on Soundcloud and YouTube from the relative unknown, Stxxr has recently release what we believe is his debut album, the twelve-track mix that is ‘Astrxxm’.
Featuring a revolving door of producers, with credits going out to the likes of Ocean Beats, NOXX, Horus, Yondo, IAVI, and more, ‘Astrxxm’ is a melting pot of ideas, sounds, and styles, bringing together fresh new directions with timeless artistic arrangements to present our first true look at Stxxr as an artist.
Opening with ‘Gone’, the album initially sets a subdued, almost ambient tone, building an atmosphere through delicate layering of beats and textures, before the vocals kick in with their own strained melody. Initially, it’s hard to get into the vocals of ‘Gone’, and even with some shaping and skilful production, it’s still hard to see past the rough edges of Stxxr’s singing. The saving grace though is that just as you’re about to turn away from the track, Stxxr’s vocals change into a hybrid of spoken work and rap verse, a for a brief shining moment you find yourself lost in the track. It’s a short lived, but powerful glimpse at what could be.
Following tentatively is ‘Mistic’, a track that excels for its instrumentals but once again runs heavily aground on the vocals. Moving forward, the patterns becomes all to clear, strong beats, light, layered instrumentals that flicker and glow brilliantly, and then subpar vocals that fight against the overall melody of each piece. ‘Vious’ is a step above, managing to find a place in which the vocals are almost hidden beneath light dancing tones, and ‘Sincerely, Stxxr’ elevates the album to higher rap planes, while closing numbers ‘Precious’ and ‘Grey’ bring some dedicated RnB and trap sounds to fore, ultimately giving two of the best performances of the album.
It’s an album that’s sadly, well, underwhelming. Each track has its own character and charms, but that only ever really extends to the instrumentals and backing, and all magic or escapism is instantly lost when Stxxr’s vocals charge into the spotlight. What ‘Astrxxm’ does bring is vibrant glimpses of greatness throughout, sprinkling the tone-deaf space with little glimmers and hope, building all the while until ‘Grey’ comes to blow you away. In the end though ‘Astrxxm’ offers plenty of potential, constantly hinting at big things, and constantly holding them just out of view.