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Yellow Springs resident Kylle Harewood, otherwise known as X the Detective, recently launched a hip-hop night at the Gulch Saloon — a community-oriented night of beats and wordsmithery for listeners and lyricists alike. (Photo by Reilly Dixon)

X the Detective brings beats, unity to The Gulch Saloon

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A rhythmic detective has emerged in Yellow Springs, solving musical mysteries and bringing people together through the power of hip-hop.

Kylle Harewood, known by his musical moniker X the Detective, has turned a simple beat machine into a community-building force, with his Wednesday night sessions at The Gulch Saloon becoming a haven for freestylers and hip-hop enthusiasts.

The narrative of X the Detective’s musical odyssey unfolds like a gripping novel.

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“Everyone calls me X the Detective because I detect the beat like a detective from another perspective,” Harewood told the News in a recent interview.

Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Harewood recounted his epic trek to Yellow Springs: “I was on a mission to walk to Denver [Colorado] for peace, inspired by my friend Lawrence Wright, aka MC Mix-O’s call for action.”

According to Harewood, his friend Mix-O wanted to walk as a demonstration of peace and had hoped for a large turnout to accompany him on the trip. In the end, only Harewood joined him on the journey, and the two set off for Denver in September of 2016.

On the way to Denver, however, the duo discovered the village of Yellow Springs and made some great friends. Although he never made it to Denver, Harewood’s journey took him to other places, including Atlanta, where he cared for his dying father.

In 2019, he found himself back in Yellow Springs. This time, he came armed with a beat machine that he’d purchased with some of the money he inherited after his father’s death. Eventually, Harewood started taking his beat machine every day to the back patio of the Gulch with a little speaker.

“I started playing beats, and people were bothered for like a minute. But for every two people that were bothered, 10 minutes later, it was like six people that wanted me to keep playing beats,” he said. “For almost two years, I braved all seasons, making people freestyle and spreading hip-hop vibes.”

However, not everyone was a fan of X the Detective’s beats booming through the streets.

“Somebody kept calling the cops, complaining about my music being loud,” he said. “The last summer that just passed, I was not able to play my beats out on the back patio at all — but that didn’t deter me. Around September when the opportunity arose to play indoors, I seized it.”

And seize it, he did. Earlier this year, Steve Edington, the owner of the Gulch, agreed to set X the Detective up on Wednesdays from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Attendance was sparse at first: Harewood said the first four Wednesday nights only had an average of three people in the audience.

“I honestly felt like people were trying to boycott me or something — I thought maybe people didn’t want to hear my music in the Gulch,” Harewood said. “But after that, oh my goodness, it turned into something better than I could imagine.”

What started as a modest gathering blossomed into “What It Wednesdays With X the Detective,” a weekly hip-hop extravaganza, with Harewood featuring guest performers, freestyle sets and “fostering unity through hip-hop,” he said.

But Harewood’s musical journey didn’t begin with the weekly performances in the Gulch. He said he’s made music with hip-hop musicians and producers Bronze Nazareth, Timbo King and Killarmy, who are affiliated with well-known groups Wu-Tang Clan and Dipset. He also traveled to Bulgaria, the U.K., the Netherlands and Egypt, making beats along the way.

“I worked to flood the streets overseas with my music and beats in hopes that it would come back to me in America — that was my theory back when Facebook first came out,” Harewood said.

With a beat tape dropping every month on SoundCloud, and a solo album titled “X the Detective Give Us Free” in the works, X the Detective is poised to expand his musical reach. All the voices on the new solo album will sound very different, he said — but they’ll all be his voice.

“So I’m really making a group album,” he said, with his patented high-energy laugh.

Harewood also plans to revive a podcast he started in that past, which he said delved into real-life stories and experiences.

“The subject matter was a bunch of different stuff like molestation, roughing it in the streets and seeing killings — entirely true stuff that happened to me,” he said.

Harewood’s impact extends beyond his own endeavors, as he contributes to initiatives like The Foundry Theater Open Project and the Yellow Springs chapter of Flipping Beat Club.

In hip-hop, “flipping” is when the DJ or record producer takes a sample selection, slices it up or deconstructs it, and then reconstructs it, rearranging the slices into a new beat. The Flipping Beat Club brings producers together from different states, flipping samples and forging connections. 

“It’s a platform for collaboration and recognition.” Harewood said. “There are about eight strong hip-hop producers here in Yellow Springs that were brought together to form the Yellow Springs chapter of Flipping Beat Club. We all flipping the same samples. Each team gets 30 to 40 minutes of playtime. Everyone gets their play in, and all the producers get their recognition.”

As X the Detective looks towards the future, his vision is clear: “I’m hoping for a prosperous musical future, not just for myself, but for everyone here. Yellow Springs has the potential to become a recognized hub of musical talent.”


One Response to “X the Detective brings beats, unity to The Gulch Saloon”

  1. Poe Pie Penny Whistle says:

    very good

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