Xuitcasecity, comprised of Mike Gomes and Cam Young, recently released their debut EP INDXGO featuring standout hits 'Stay The Night' and 'Need Somebody.' But before the duo ever released a song, Mike and Cam's friendship started over a simple Facebook message.
“I decided to become a duo after failing as a solo artist,” says Cam. XUITCASECITY (pronounced like “suitcase”), a hip-hop pair comprised of Cam Young and Mike Gomes, formed out of failure. Cam had a falling out with a friend over a clothing brand of the same name. Once Mike and Cam joined to make music, they decided to keep the name XUITCASECITY, XCC for short.
“Cam actually messaged me on Facebook years back and I never responded,” says Mike. “I was making very particular sounding music.” After a while, Mike wanted to expand outside the usual rappers he used for his records and checked Cam out. “I was shocked he was making the same type of music I wanted to make,” says Mike. The two embarked as XCC soon after.
Mike and Cam both got lost in music from a young age. “I’ve seen videos of me dancing with my sister in the basement to songs my Dad would play by The Beatles,” says Mike. Cam also remembers the tunes his parents used to play around the house. He understood the significance of music early on. Experimenting with different genres at 16, Cam turned to rap as an outlet.
Like Cam, Mike also tested his sound in high school. After his Dad bought him an acoustic guitar, Mike mastered chords for two years before singing. “I got tired of playing the same thing and wanted to try vocals,” he says. As a sophomore, Mike lost love for baseball and turned to the mic. Rejecting the political decision making behind the sport, he left his longtime passion for music. Mike didn’t stick exclusively to hip-hop back then, but he jammed to Tha Carter III by Lil Wayne, and Nelly’s repertoire. “My influences are forever changing, but one person I’ll always look up to is Justin Timberlake,” says Mike. “He’s a class act.”
Also an athlete, Cam aspired to play professional football. He looked up to Barry Sanders and LaDainian Tomlinson. “I really thought I’d be playing football,” he says. Choosing the music path instead, Cam idolized the melodic style and fashion of Jay-Z, Biggie, and Cam’ron. Learning how to build a track, Cam’s own style took hold. “Once I figured out how to make a song with real structure and meaning, it came naturally,” he says.
Both college dropouts, Mike and Cam have haven’t suffered from a lack of higher education. No school meant more time to climb industry ranks. Before XCC, Mike studied music at St. Petersburg College for one semester. “I was taught a bunch of lessons I already figured out from years of watching YouTube videos and producing music,” he says. “Not to mention I hate school.” Cam tried the business path at University of South Florida. “School helped my overall critical thinking skills,” he says, “but it just wasn’t for me.”
Exchanging the classroom for the studio, Cam invents the lyrics and pieces together the song structure while Mike composes the melodies. “I’ve always heard melodies before the lyrics,” says Mike. He has imagined songs in the shower, playing PS4, and on the plane. For XCC, the skeleton always starts with the melody. The lyrics then creep into the song when Cam scats over the beat. “If I’m feeling the beat, I’ll scat in my head and start to formulate the words,” says Cam. They find the beats online to layer over the lead vocal melody.
On the rise, Mike and Cam are writing and recording everyday while trying to land a major tour. “We’re in a weird spot,” says Mike. With the track ‘Bout You’ and ‘Criminals’ racking up radio plays, and multiple songs reaching millions on Spotify, XCC sits poised to hit the tour scene.” On ‘Criminals,’ they speak on detrimental love. “The inspiration comes from loving someone who you know is not good for you,” says Mike. The track will appear on an EP dropping in August.
Outside the studio, Mike and Cam live separate lives. “I’m mostly a homebody,” says Cam. “I wake up, eat, workout, and figure out what I can work on.” Mike prefers a heavier nightlife. “I make music, play video games, drink, party, repeat,” he says. The two don’t hang out much away from music. Time apart creates balance. As they squeeze the most production out of time together, the schedule changes throughout the year. Label obligations and promotion make for fluctuating busy seasons. Within the industry, Mike and Cam deal with tedious tasks that fans don’t see. Interview questions get monotonous and record deals create chaos. “There’s a lot of shady characters, never knowing who you can fully trust,” says Mike. “Dealing with splits on every record, who gets what and who did what, causes problems.”
In a business dominated by glamour, XCC stays in a lane down to earth. The dollars that fans see flashed by many artists don’t always match the current state of affairs. “Rappers aren’t as rich as you think they are,” says Cam. “There’s a lot of fake flexing.”
More than just flashy personas, the XCC brand represents positivity and the unification of different genres. They incorporate elements of hip-hop, edm, pop, and other areas to spark a unique sound. Mike and Cam also design clothes under the XCC brand. Launching with basic hoodies, they will soon offer more involved apparel. “Our image will definitely be a dope, higher end street fashion,” says Mike.
Working to transform that image, Mike and Cam don’t hold back with expectations. “In five years I’d like to be flicking ashes off a yacht deck,” laughs Mike. “I hope by then I’ve traveled the world, touched many people’s lives, and created a space in music only me and Cam can live in.” Cam thinks just as boldly. “Five years from now I want to be touring, and working on TV and movies,” he says.
When the vision began, XUITCASECITY, a name inspired by the actual Suitcase City, came from the poverty-stricken area on the outskirts of Tampa. “Suitcase” describes the locals’ tendency to pack up and ditch the town. Cam spent years in that same town, between Interstate 275 and University of South Florida. Mike, also familiar with the area, grew up in nearby Safety Harbor. With a name fleeting in nature, XCC has no plans for a short-lived career. “We can show you better than we can tell you,” says Cam. “You’ll just have to stay tuned.”