King Colosus rose from the streets of Carol City to malls all over America when he signed a groundbreaking independent distribution deal in 2008 for his solo rap debut.
But before his album was ever shrink-wrapped and stocked on the shelves at Best Buy, his lyrics echoed through the rec rooms of South Florida prisons.
Today, he and his Dade Fire conglomerate work with former Kansas City Chiefs running back Thomas Jones and the School for Audio Engineering, while consistently grinding out indie releases.
We here at Crossfade caught up with the never-sleeping artist to talk about his past, murders in Miami, and what the future holds.
Crossfade: How has your music changed over time?
King Colosus: When it all started, it was about how I'm a hood nigga. Now it's still street but more about street awareness, bringing certain things to light. I don't just wanna talk about the regular bullshit.
I wanna talk about the security guard who shot my homeboy in the back on the way to his car. He had no gun or nothing, and this racist-ass shit happens on the regular.
My condolences. What happened with that?
He was in the parking lot at The Lexx. I guess he had a verbal altercation, and this nigga the security guard shot him in the back seven times in broad daylight, at 6 o'clock in the afternoon, and saw no time.
This type of shit go on on the regular. There's like a million Trayvons, but not all get blown up. There's no publicity because of the politics. The TV don't talk about it unless they benefit from it financially. Same old shit.
I still got club shit about fucking bitches and smoking weed, but I'm trying to do more shining light and bringing attention to shit that gets ignored out here.
So, you started off rapping on a little karaoke machine right?
Yeah man back in 6th grade I had a small little karaoke machine and a microphone. I used to skip school every other day, and it got me kicked out, but at the time it was good. I had my little crew that I rapped with and that eventually led me to engineering my own shit.
What was your next move?
The first professional studio I rapped in was Studio B in Carol City and shit. It was great. I learned a lot about recording, and started mixing, and mastering, but it was getting expensive for a nigga 15, 16 years old to keep paying for studio time like that.
What was your first real song?
I had this song "Take Em Thangs Off," and it was pretty much about niggas flossing jewelry and spending all they money on that instead of giving back to the community, and it was basically about how if they go in the wrong hood they have to take off they chains or some nigga gon' rob yo fuck ass.
Yeah that's what I was on at that time,and that was the first song I did in the studio that I not only recorded, but I wrote, produced, and mixed my own song. And I was just impressed by what I accomplished.
You make beats too?
Yeah, I had a little MPC and a Yamaha keyboard. I didn't know nothing about Midi or anything, I was just trying to get these bitches out. And I remember thinking "I think I could do this shit the rest of my life."
What was your next milestone?
The next major milestone was my first mixtape. The mixtape game really put me on to the entrepreneur side of the music business. The studio work was creative but creating new releases taught me how to promote. I started Dade Fire and took my music on the road from Miami to Orlando, Texas, Atlanta....as far as like 2005-2006, the internet was here but not like now. All we really had was Myspace, you really had to get into the streets moreso for people to hear you.
You had a big song off there right?
Yeah, "Bring It Back" was really just a song about bringing it back to Miami. Ross wasnt really on yet. He was just another local artist really. Pitbull was just on the comeup. Miami was not really in the spotlight.
I dropped that song and that was the first time I got a whole lot of support form the city. It was on Video Mix everyday, that was my first music video
Oh shit, hell yeah, Video Mix...
Yeah, Video Mix used to get a lot of airplay in the prisons. Niggas would get out of jail like yo "We from the same hood, used to watch your video everyday when I was locked up..." It was like the Prison MTV. That was like a real good milestone.
What happened after that?
Off the whole street campaign I did for that I ended up signing a Koch Records distribution deal for my debut album "Ahead Of My Time." That was a national deal, and at the time I was like the first rapper from Miami to put out his own nationally distributed album. It was in Best Buy, Target, everywhere, all over America. That was unheard of unless you signed to Atlantic or Def Jam.
Distribution is like that real business side of the music business...
That's how you get paid. And not just that but I got to walk into a Best Buy in Vegas and see my album right there next to Lil Wayne. My whole brand came up, like, you don't have to be signed, you can look like a major on an independent level.
So then Koch imploded or some shit right?
Koch became E1 Music and I went back to my independent route and started working with Dre FIlms. His work got all over the internet and Worldstar and he had a real buzz going and then Ross picked him up and he signed with Maybach as a director.
Shit, there went your video guy...
I had no videographer, and I didn't wanna have to pay for one, so I started Dade Fire Films, and that took off. Now I'm doing music videos, docs for nightclubs, blogs, it's a whole other level. I was always so focused on music and the record label that I missed all these other forms of makin money.
Who you working with?
I'm doing my own music videos, and ones for other artists, a couple corporate clients like SAE, The School For Audio Engineering, Thomas Jones who was running back for the Kansas City Chiefs. He's got a record label, Independently Major Entertainment.
What'd you do for him?
Music video for his artist Blow. We just put his video on Worldstar and that shit had 8 million views in 2 days. That was a real good thing
What you got coming out next?
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Right now I got my new EP coming out July 15th. Last year I had King Shit 1.0, so now I'm doing King Shit 2.0. And a video for every song. At the end it's gonna be like a mini movie.
Where can people find out more?