Marcus Collazo, also known by his stage name, Kxng Charisma, will release his second rap album, “House 10/23,” this spring. Collazo, a sophomore communications major, is dedicating the album to two important people in his life who died on the same day, Oct. 23, 2019. The album, which will be produced by Collazo’s independent company Blood Brothers Entertainment, will be available on all major music platforms soon.
Music is a family legacy for Collazo.
“My family has a long, long history, way beyond 50 years, in terms of music,” Collazo said. “My grandfather, he did black radio for 29 years in Philadelphia. . . .My dad and my uncles, they all became part of a really, really legendary underground hip hop group. So seeing them travel the world when I was really, really young, that made me want to go that route as well.”
Collazo’s father Mario and his Uncle Marcus were part of a duo called Outer Space. His uncle Vinny formed a group called Jedi Mind Tricks, and started the hip hop group Army of the Pharaohs. His younger brother, also named Mario, performs solo and with Kxng Charisma under the stage name Elemxnt.
“We spell things with x’s because we think we’re cool,” Collazo said.
Influenced by his family, Collazo began writing music at age 6 and recording at age 13. In addition to his father and uncles, his musical influences include Black Thought, Kool G Rap, Big Pun, KRS-One and Eminem.
“The people that really shaped me into the artist I am today are old-school artists, old school lyricists, that really pioneered a different level of lyricism in hip-hop,” Collazo said. “Those are the people that I’m most inspired by because I take lyrics more seriously than anything. It’s cliche but for me it’s bars over everything.”
Tariq Mines, Jr., a sophomore digital communications major, is a friend of Collazo’s who serves as a kind of “beta listener” for his new music. Mines thinks it is the blend of old and new styles that makes Kxng Charisma’s music unique.
“Nowadays, everybody sounds like a SoundCloud rapper, everybody sounds the same,” Mines said. “Marcus has a different top, a different type of music going over. I told him if he was born 20 years ago, and he was rapping like in the ’90s or early 2000s, he would have blown up by now.”
Kxng Charisma’s first album, “Dungeon with Serpents,” was well-received, according to Collazo. It contains his best-known song, “Focus,” as well as “Loyal,” featuring Elemxnt, “Dedicated,” featuring Fabreezy, and one of his personal favorites, “Kiss of Death.”
“It’s basically a song about a very, very triumphant moment that got me what I wanted and basically turned my life around in my freshman year of college,” Collazo said.
Collazo says his music is inspired by what’s going on in his life, and his new album, “House 10/23” definitely fits that description, as it is about the pain of loss.
“On Oct. 23, 2019, I suffered two losses in one day. My grandfather was in hospice care,” Collazo said. “As he was dying, I got a call from some of my friends up here that a great friend of ours, Deshawn Price, had also passed away in a car crash. I’m going to dedicate this next album to the loss of those two. . . very critical components to my life.”
Collazo hopes that this album, with its personal message and raw emotion, will help him build his fan base. He hopes to do more live performances like the one he recently did at Kung Fu Necktie in Philadelphia with Elemxnt and Fabreezy, opening for Elijah the Boy.
“He has talent. He got lyrics–his lyrics are something ridiculous, his flow is ridiculous,” Mines said. “I just went to his show last week and people came out for it.”
Collazo is using the skills he is learning as a communication major to get his music heard, from creating a presence on social media, to producing music videos. Although he gets frustrated by how difficult it is to become known within the music industry, it won’t stop him from making music.
“I like to be creative. My music is emotional music,” Collazo said. “What I’m most inspired by is when I’m going through things in real life that I can put into music.”
Follow Kxng Charisma on Instagram and SoundCloud