On Friday, January 27th, singer and songwriter Quinn XCII (pronounced Quinn ninety-two) released his fifth studio album, The People’s Champ. The album features 12 tracks and collaborations with artists Chelsea Cutler, Big Sean, Adrian Cota and AJR. The album stays true to everything fans love about Quinn XCII while introducing a new depth and vulnerability to the artist's roster. Quinn explained in an Instagram post that “making an album is one of the most rewarding, heartbreaking, disorienting, and exciting experiences that an artist can go through''. He adds, “the fact that this is the fifth time I’ve done this is really crazy to me”.
Quinn XCII, born Mikael Temroski in Detroit, released his first EP, Change of Scenery in 2015, which racked up millions of online streams and sent him on the path to stardom. Today, Quinn XCII is best known for his hit singles “Another Day in Paradise,” “Straightjacket” and “Stacy.” Despite instant online success, Quinn XCII never lost touch with his Midwest roots and garnered many fans thanks to his humble spirit and ‘man of the people’ attitude, hence the title The People’s Champ.
The People’s Champ tackles themes of mental health, life in the spotlight and friendship. In Quinn’s usual style, the song melodies remain upbeat and groovy, taking inspiration from reggae, funk and motown genres. The multi-talented artist has mastered the art of creating feel-good music while keeping his lyrics impactful and relatable.
The album is cohesive and flows nicely from track to track without becoming repetitive and predictable. The album starts with the song “Bartender.” Upon first listen, the song is incredibly ‘vibey’ and fun to listen to. With a more careful ear, listeners realize the song tackles a heavier theme of unhealthy coping mechanisms through alcohol. Quinn sings “Bartender take my money / Pour me something that's sunny / Steal my pain take it from me.” The album also features positive lyrics that reflect on love and friendship, as shown in the song “Common” featuring Big Sean. Quinn reflects on what it’s like to find a friendship that feels meant to be in the lyrics, “You, you and me / Go together so perfectly / And this don’t happen often / We got so much in common.”
The third and most shocking track on the album is “Black Porsche”. This song takes on a darker, more alternative feel than the rest of the album. In this song, Quinn XCII reflects on the guilt that came with his success and the troubles of life in the public eye. He even goes as far as to say, “Barely recognized but when I am I hate it / Sometimes throw on ‘Stacy’ wish I never made it”. This is referring to the artist's hit single which remained on the Billboard charts for weeks in 2019.
My personal favorite off the album is “FOMO.” This song is incredibly catchy, lively and relatable. As a college student the ‘fear of missing out’ is a frequent occurrence. Whether you can’t go out with your friends because of school work or you are missing your friends from home, I think we have all had FOMO at some point in our lives. Quinn’s lyrics capture this feeling perfectly by joking, “Don’t do cool shit without me / Don’t go make new memories / Try and act a little sad until you come back / I’m begging you please.”
The People’s Champ is a hit among UMD students so far.
“I really like the song ‘Too Late’ because I connected to the themes of life moving fast and the uncertainty that comes with growing up. I also love that it is a collaboration with AJR because I have seen them in concert twice,” said freshman criminology major Lindsay Fisher.
“I love the overall positive feel of the album, it is especially good to listen to in these winter months when things can feel a little gloomy,” said freshman chemical engineering major, Hannah Ellenbogen.
Quinn XCII stated on Instagram that he hopes his album helps people realize it is important to not put unnecessary pressure on yourself and that “you are your own People’s Champ”.