Rapzilla Freshmen Xavier Sorrow: How He Overcame Loss & Sought Mentorship to Reach His Potential
Xavier Sorrow, who was born and raised in Arizona took some time to sit down and share about being a Christian rap fanboy as well as future things on the horizon for his budding CHH career. Xavier has a unique sound that he’s constantly working on, but beyond that, it’s evident to me that he’s someone who really cares about pouring into others through his passions.
I feel so privileged to have this conversation with you today. I know it’s been a strange year for us all, but if you can think back that far, what was it like for you when you found out you were a Rapzilla freshman?
Well, I was running sound at my church. I was alone in the sound booth and saw Rapzilla had gone live to announce the freshmen that day. So I was alone but I was excited. This has been a goal of mine for some time. I remember growing up and seeing a bunch of people come up after being on some of the first freshmen lists – Andy, Xavier Omar (SPZRKT back then), and people like that. I grew up a huge CHH fan, so to be on this list I was freaking out.
And you don’t have a full-length album out yet, correct?
I have my debut project dropping this fall. I only have a couple of mixtapes and a bunch of singles I’ve dropped, and did a collaborative project with a local artist, Linga. We toured around Arizona doing a bunch of shows together. That’s my one project, but nothing that’s just my own.
I’ve noticed you’ve had features with a lot of notable artists, what’s that been like?
It’s been dope. The experience is good. One of the funny things is that I had a really good connection with Joey Vantes even back when he was Dorian Gray. He took me under his wing and mentored me and showed me how to do shows, how to connect with people. He was really a big inspiration to me as far as what it takes to be a CHH artist. It takes a lot of hard work. I reached out to him when I started thinking about taking my music seriously. I told him I wanted to really get into it. From that conversation, it kinda launched into what it is now.
At the same time, I was drawing inspiration from Ruslan. I thought it’d be really cool to get one of the people who have influenced me in my walk and in my early career on a track with me. The cool thing is that for one of my first big singles, I had Joey and Ruslan together with me on the same track. That really took off and it’s been amazing.
Talk more about your new album. You’ve been hinting at a new sound?
Yeah, it’s actually interesting because in the initial interview I did with Rapzilla about being a freshman I had planned to release a project called MDP. It is kind of like about the future, very Tron vibes, but it’s pop. Very different from anything I’ve put out. This project took a delay because there’s so much I want to go into as far as music. So I don’t know when I’ll drop that. I want to build up to that one now. So now what we’re doing is we’re taking cuts from that album and dropping smaller projects every year leading up to it.
The idea for each project starting with this first one is gonna be a movie concept. I’m a fan of going to movies, I’m a fan of Disney. It’s gonna be an 808s and Heartbreaks/Graduation type vibe but very poppy. I work with two producers from Arizona called ARCiTEC. They’ve worked with a lot of dope artists like .nobigdyl and Jon Keith. I consider them a powerhouse duo. Not well known but I love them to death.
Xavier Sorrow, is that your given name?
My real name is Xavier Hernandez, but my step dad’s last name was Sorrow. He was like the only father figure I had in my life. He was there when my dad wasn’t. So I kind of fell in love with being his son. In 2018 he passed away from suicide. It was a big thing that really affected my entire family. It was really hard to go through. But I just appreciated all the moments that he was there.
He really had a heart for people who were broken. People who didn’t feel like they had anyone to talk to. For me, with respect to my dad, I ended up taking his last name. That’s why I’m Xavier Sorrow. Plus a lot of my music is about situations and circumstances that were sad to me. These were moments that I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone about that I could put in a song. For me this is therapeutic. It’s something that helps me get through life. But it also helps me connect with people on an emotional level that I don’t think I would have been able to do any other way. I’ve seen God use me through that and in those situations.
It’s good that you feel like you have a voice and an avenue where you feel like you can keep pressing on that stuff and people are receptive, they like it.
Yeah, I’m super appreciative today. I’m appreciative of all the other Rapzilla Freshman. I’ve gotten to collaborate with and design for a lot of them. Like Seni, he’s super dope. It’s cool to see others grow and to have a mutual love for other artists. We’re all in different states and it seems like we’re so far from each other, but the internet can connect us like this.
Last year I probably did like 30 different features, so it’s been dope to connect with all of these artists. For me, it was about taking things outside of my comfort zone. Because growing up in the CHH community as a fanboy, I had to start to pave my own way. There was a point when I had to realize that I’m not Social Club, the world already has them.
I want to take some time to be intentional about my music because the world hasn’t heard my sound or my story. It’s been great to get out there and let myself be influenced by others as I continue to grow. I love this community, I will always love the rappers and singers. I love what CHH stands for and seeing what God’s doing through it all. It’s already done a lot for me.
It’s great to hear how you’re growing in your craft and gleaning things from other artists. What would you hope a younger artist could glean from you?
Honestly? Speak from your heart. Don’t try to be anyone else. Pull from others and continue to learn. For me, I’m a fanboy of Kanye West and Jon Bellion. I have gone down the rabbit hole of watching their videos, their behind the scenes footage, took notes, and tried to learn from that. I admire their creative process. So if someone were to pull from me? I’d love to be an artist who is sharing what I do and how I do it on a level where others can pull from that as well and grow on their own likewise.