Uptown XO, born Jamaal Walton, is an American emcee who currently resides in Washington D.C.. He was born in the uptown section of the city, at Howard University Hospital in '85, to two musical parents. His father toured with Gil Scott-Heron, while his mother played with Richard Smallwood. XO is also closely related to singing legend David Ruffin, adding to his musical inheritance & repertoire. As a youth, growing up poor in a single parent household, getting evicted and moving from place to place, XO began expressing himself naturally thru music. In his early years he played piano and trumpet. In high school at age 16 he started performing at “open mics” on U Street. Frequently, he started attending an all age “open mic” called “Tru School” where he met Oddisee, yU, Slimcat, and Gadget, and started to make music with all of them.
It wasn’t long before he had a reputation on the streets as being a solid emcee even though he did not have material out. XO put out his first project Takeover in April 2007, and was introduced by Wale to Judah, and together they put out the Timeless EP, Takeover 2, with the help of Charles Keys, Us vs Them and Realmatic. That momentum helped in landing a deal with Kenny Burns of Studio 43 who at the time was helping develop and push a lot of artist out of the city such as Wale. Studio 43 and XO partnered up and put out Monumental and One. One. Ten.. Around that time, Oddisee formed the group Diamond District with Uptown XO, & yU, and together they put out an album titled In the Ruff, that they toured Europe and the US with. The album was critically acclaimed by many Hip Hop Heavyweights like De La Soul, Q-Tip, DJ Premier, Pete Rosenberg, and more.
In august 2011, XO put out his 8th solo project entitled Monumental 2, which was highlighted in the Dec. 2011 edition of Spin Magazine as one of the top 50 mix tapes of the year. From Monumental to In The Ruff , to his most recent solo work, The Color Grey, Uptown XO has solidified a reputation as a hardcore hometown spitter. His upcoming alum Colour de Grey , which is scheduled to be released in 2013, will only add layers of depth and nuance to the hardbody sound. Introspective, stylish and gritty, XO is a reflection of his environment. The kid that once lived above the famed Universal Madness boutique is now the one lacing DC with the latest and greatest in hardcore hip-hop.
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