This story was originally published on Aug. 9 and had been updated to reflect the release of Patrick’s new visual for “Lead Me On.”
Chris Patrick warned us that we wouldn’t consider him “just a rapper” after X-Files dropped on Aug. 10 — and he’s done just that.
The New Jersey native is much more than a narrative-driven lyricist, but a transparent, raw and emotive talent bred from the normal, everyday lives we all live.
In 2020, he was working as a member of Best Buy’s Geek Squad, as Patrick’s debut record From The Heart, Vol. 2 was his poetic, prosperous origin story — still channeling the hunger and tenacity found on “3AM” and “Tired” to his newest effort. Amid keeping his own secrets, or X-Files, under tight surveillance for quite some time, Chris has finally unlocked the classified tales his long-awaited sophomore LP evidently holds.
Touting a total of 14 tracks and featuring CXR labelmates in Noah, Dende as well as Billy Blunt, Patrick’s new album is largely about “the story and the sounds” he elicits throughout. Yet, the rising emcee’s refined versatility is the LP’s best trait — utilizing a slew of different sonic influences as he leans into his singing more than ever before. However, his bars are just as sharp — if not sharper — as well, flowing over the album with a multitude of cadences that cascade into each cut. No fluff or filler is found on X-Files. Each offering means more than the last, and some.
While Patrick continues to prove his lyricism is second to none in his space, it’s truly difficult to specify X-Files to a single sound. Ultimately, the album is all about “choices” and is a X-Factor for Patrick, asserting his arrival as hip-hop’s next Swiss Army knife.
“I want to call [X-Files] a rap album, but walk into it with an open mind. It’s not even the choice of rap on certain things, it’s the choice of sounds, the choice of how we depict things, the choice of how we tie it all together. It’s the choice of skits, it’s the choice of why we put certain tracks in a certain way. There’s a reemergence of old tracks that pop up — it’s like a Marvel movie. Go back and bump ‘From The Heart’ to really take everything in. Bump all the singles, try to figure out where and why we went with these. Know this, ‘X Files’ is going to really shake shit up.”Chris Patrick on ‘X-Files’
Previously leading in X-Files with bar-heavy cuts in “Gang Activity,” “Insane,” “Up Now” and his teaser EP Lost Files in June, Patrick’s project is set to lift the lyrical technician to widespread acclaim. The album’s fourth single “Lead Me On” (Aug. 3) is further proof of Patrick’s endlessly-adaptable skillset. As yet another soulful escapade about his toils with love, Patrick blissfully croons over the track’s somber guitar melodies and paradise vibes that transport listeners to a vacation spot they never want to leave.
What’s most impressive is Chris’ knack for seamlessly blending his vocals with love-torn quips over the “focus” he used to give a former flame. “I’m not who you say you want / Then why’d you lead me on so long?” he questions in the track, combatting his love interest’s excuse of mixed emotions amid a clear connection from Chris. His thoughts ooze into the meditative undertones of Erykah Officer’s sultry-sung verse, acting as the counterpart to Patrick’s wits end.
On other highlights like “Oasis,” “Snakes” and the Dende-assisted “Rooftops,” Patrick truly shines brighter than ever before — immersing both new and old listeners into differing yet enlightening sub-sections of his sound. With a dance record in “Fly Away,” tear-jerking flashbacks in “Scared” and guitar-driven love ballads in “Last Time,” no sound goes untouched on X-Files. It’s Patrick’s personality, perserverence and poise that continues to shape the story he’s penning for himself.
“I swear to God, I don’t think people are gonna call me a rapper anymore [when X-Files drops]… I know I get a lot of comparisons to a lot of these amazing rappers out here. My peers are distinguished and very, very good at what they do. So it’s nice to feel like I have my own identity and space in this whole landscape of hip-hop, just in general.”Chris Patrick to OGM
While X-Files is the moment Patrick and his fans have been long waiting for, it’s only just the beginning — biting at the bit to write new chapters for his ever-evolving narrative. “I’m excited to see what next year looks like,” he said. “I’ll be touring my ass off.”
Listen to “X-Files” below!