XXL's Scores

  • Music
For 307 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 67% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 28% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 73
Highest review score: 100 Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
Lowest review score: 40 BAYTL
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 0 out of 307
307 music reviews
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The end result is a body of work that pushes hip-hop in a bold new direction and puts Mr,. West back at the forefront of the culture once again.
    • XXL
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Every record is both complexly arranged and sonically fitting, foregrounding Kendrick's vivid lyricism and amazing control of cadence. There's not a single loophole.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Coloring Book, replete with a spiritual aura and talk with the man above, is a heavy contender for the best project released this year because it goes against the grain while still building upon hip-hop’s foundation.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Undeniably, Charity Starts At Home reminds why the rapper has been a darling of the underground for years.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    If their first album acted as the duo’s thesis statement, the two MCs laying out the blueprint to what they wanted to accomplish, then this second is a laser-focused execution of that idea, of never letting up and never sugar-coating their sound to fit into any particular lane. There won’t be another album that comes out this year that sounds anything like this one.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    At the end of the day, Common creates a great album with such a pertinent and topical purpose. If nothing else, it’s a strong snapshot of the happenings in America right now and the promise of what the country could become.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A concept album with an equally heavy focus on musicianship and rhymes, undun fantastically transports into the tragic narrative.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In the grand scheme of rap music, Killer Mike and El-P get more and more niche with each project they release together and this new album is no different. If this dynamic duo can keep their rebellious spirit alive without beating it to death, they’ll continue to thrive.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even without much mainstream appeal, K.R.I.T.’S relatability keeps it accessible, and ultimately, Cadillactica proves to be something the game barely knew it needed. Consider the gauntlet thrown.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The genius of Flying Lotus, which has been invariably present throughout his preceding releases, but most especially on You’re Dead!, is that he has an incredible ability to both illustrate and extract exceptional amounts of emotion, without saying much at all.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Wonder Years will be remembered with great fondness.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It is, simply, one of the best rap debuts of the year.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ultimately, Acid Rap’s biggest victory is living up to it’s own hype and Chance’s careful packaging of his artistry.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    For all its dabbling in the black arts, Surf does have a few missteps, but they are ephemeral at best.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Seeking peace of mind and understanding while speaking to the human condition, Kendrick drops poignant gems on the idiosyncrasies of life, as well as his own, over the rich production provided by his trusty platoon of boardsmen on untitled unmastered.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Skyzoo got himself a winner with this album.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While the self-assured MC is certainly gifted on the microphone, his boasts get a boost from the beatsmith’s production on songs like “Nobody,” as he guns for rap’s No. 1 spot. Likewise, Juxx’s spirited effort on the uplifting “You Can’t Stop Me” complements Polo’s uptempo production perfectly. It’s that balance that ultimately helps The eXXecution go off without a hitch.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    At times, he comes across as brilliantly unorthodox with flows, genre-crossing beats and meticulously honest lyrics but those unfamiliar with his outré style may be pushed even further away from the album’s peculiarity.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Whether Tech wants the bigger fame or not is unclear, but it’s safe to say the growth he displays here is one step nearer. He’s strange, he’s provocative, but the lesser shock value on this album marks it as his true debut to a larger audience.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The compilation is short--12 tracks--but if fans are looking for relentless lyrics in their R.A.P. Music, this ATL MC remains a Killer on the mic.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    PRhyme is the perfect alternative for listeners who are tired of juvenile lyriscim, mud sippers and unintelligible hooks.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With Yeezus clocking in at a short 40 minutes, Kanye achieves his goal of creating a stripped-down, minimalist project; there’s nothing extra or out of place here. More importantly, Kanye makes it abundantly clear that he’s still got a lot to say, and a lot of new ways to say it.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With the exception of a few fillers, Legends Never Die is a truly compelling entry in the two-decade discography of R.A. the Rugged Man.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    What makes this album so great is Statik’s ability to coagulate the old with the new.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Fashawn’s lyrical assaults are just as potent as his moving commentary and his core fans would like to hear more.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Prima Donna doesn’t have one single track that carries the project and this is obviously done on purpose. It’s an effort better experienced as a whole rather than its parts.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Old
    Brown displays real bravery in his willingness to merge the sacred with the profane, the independent with the arena-ready, the old with the new.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In his most recent solo endeavor, Control System, Soul craftily proves that he is indeed a potent weapon on a team full of heavy artillery.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    While HSC2 is a solid and enjoyable album, we hope that our favorite scientists will tinker with a slightly different, more exciting formula moving forward.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Truly, a thrilling upgrade of signature East Coast delivery in the new age and one of the best albums of the year to date.