Xl Middleton

Based out of Pasadena, California, producer/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Matthew Hudgins began prolific work as XL Middleton in the early 2000s. Leaning heavily on the influence of icons of West Coast funk and hip-hop as well as hints of Deep South rap, Hudgins developed a laid-back, sometimes blues-tinged style with lots of melody and upbeat production. He formed his own label, Crown City Entertainment, and immediately began releasing his own albums, beginning when he was still a part of the rap clique Crown City Kings, and performing under different monikers before settling on XL Middleton. His 2004 album, Music 4 a Drunken Evening, included the G-funk-indebted hit “Feel So West Coast,” and he quickly found himself frequently touring and releasing albums in Japan, where his California sound caught on just as strongly as it had in his homeland. Playing keyboards on his own tracks became a signature of his sound, and his playing graced the hooks of albums such as 2007’s Barliament Drunkadelic and 2012’s Bright Lights Palm Trees. In 2013 he launched the MoFunk label with friend Eddy Funkster, first issuing some limited-edition funk 7″s and later releasing his 2015 album, Tap Water, on the imprint. Shortly afterwards he rebranded his Crown City Entertainment label as Cavi Sounds, using the label as an outlet for some of his various aliases. In 2017 he released the full-length Things Are Happening.