Sometimes, you can’t force the hand of destiny. For years, King Los watched several of his rap peers leapfrog over him and release their debut albums before he ever had a chance to do the same. Despite the Baltimore native constantly being lauded for his immense talent, he was often forced to watch from the sidelines until his number was called.
In 2005, Los was signed to Bad Boy Records, but left after his deal fell through and went the independent route. Seven years later, he signed with Diddy once again with no debut album in sight. Rather than be entangled by the web of misfortune, King Los forged a lane unlike any other. By dropping a bevy of lyrically-charged mixtapes like The Crown Ain’t Safe, Becoming King and Zero Gravity II, fans gravitated toward him quicker than ever before. His increasing popularity allowed him to score a new deal with RCA Records in 2014, and finally have the opportunity to release his first album, God Money War, which arrives June 23.
On Thursday night (June 18), the rapper held an intimate listening session for his project at MSR Studios in the heart of Times Square in New York City. With Ciroc bottles on chill, the former Bad Boy artist unveiled his proverbial first born by playing a handful of tracks from the LP. With The Boombox in attendance, we jotted down some key things you should know about Los’ new album. Let’s just say, the man has something special in his hands. Check out 10 Things You Need to Know About King Los' God Money War Album.
King Los and Da Internz Are a Solid Team
Da Internz produced a bulk of the tracks on King Los’ debut album, God War Money, and the chemistry between the artist and the producers is off the chain. Their exuberance and ability to craft color production (yes, music can be heard in color) alongside Los’ cogent lyricism is a match made in heaven. Tracks like “Black Blood” and “Glory to the Lord” showcase their immaculate connection. What makes this pairing even more interesting is that initially, God War Money was supposed to be a joint mixtape between the two, according to Los. Luckily, the mixtape morphed into a full-fledged LP.
R. Kelly Gets Busy on the Mic
Who would have thought that all it took for R. Kelly to return to form was for Los to give him a call. The rapper laid out the skeleton for the record and allowed Kells to get busy. “Glory to the Lord” is honestly R. Kelly’s best guest appearance in quite some time. He effortlessly turns back the hands of time and reminds you that he can still get busy on the mic. "I street performed and I swear it was so motherf---in' cold outside (Glory to the Lord) / Just name it, it was somethin' I couldn't afford / Now I rock the kinda shit that ain't never hit stores / First thing I'ma say after every award (Glory to the Lord, glory to the Lord)," he sings.
King Los’ Baby Mama and Son Make Guest Appearances
Talk about a family affair. King Los nabs his baby mama Lola Monroe and son Brixton Royal for guest appearances on his debut album. Lola appears on “Balance,” while his son adorably recites the alphabet on “Little Black Boy.” According to Los, when he was recording “Little Black Boy,” his son was “on an alphabetic rampage” in the studio. This gave him the idea to add his son onto the track. Riley Curry, you might have some competition for most adorable kid, sweetheart.
Pharrell Compares a Certain Song to “Happy"
Even though Los admits that R. Kelly bodied him on “Glory to the Lord,” Pharrell gave him his stamp of approval and dubbed this record a banger. During the listening session, the rapper revealed that “Chanel Pharrell’ -- as he likes to call Skateboard P -- went so far as to call this record Los' version of “Happy."
Los Raps With a Sense of Purpose
Everybody knows that Los has bars. It’s no secret that he can eviscerate any potential foe bar for bar with little to no effort. But, on God Money War, he wanted to play the role of messenger and delve a bit deeper in contrast to past records. Songs like “War,” “Little Black Boy,” “God Money War” and “Ghetto” find him breaking free from his punchline heavy persona and morphing into a more conscious rapper.
J-Kwon Shows Up (Sort Of)
First off, the beat on "Blame It on the Money" knocks. Los has a penchant for dropping some hard-hitting punches, and he definitely does so on this track, but what’s jarring about this record is that his cadence on the hook is eerily similar to J-Kwon’s 2004 smash “Tipsy.” Coincidence? Maybe.
It's not surprising that Los writes his records, then rewrites them and so on. That’s what makes him such a potent wordsmith, but four times? That’s right, King Los has four different versions for his Ty-Dolla $ign-assisted song, “Can’t Fade Us,” which is produced by DJ Mustard and J Holt. “We needed to tone it down for radio,” Los says. The rapper and RCA Records were able to meet in the middle in terms of quality and making the record radio friendly. “I made four versions of this record just to show you that I listen. We met in the middle.”
“Black Blood” Has Crossover Potential
This nostalgic record has the ability to do some damage, if marketed correctly. J Holt spoon-feed Los a banger -- in terms of production -- and allows the Baltimore native to follow Nas' lead and ruminate on the beauty of being black. “It really feels like that song can crossover,” says Los. "It starts at the basics of just hip-hop, like it sounds like an old-school Nas song to me."
Kendrick Lamar Serves as an Inspiration
In a past interview, Kendrick Lamar applauded King Los for his efforts on his "Control Freestyle." The respect between the two rappers has always been mutual and King Los has always been in awe of Kendrick. In addition to delivering an empowering message on God Money War, you can hear K. Dot's influence, especially on the Marsha Ambrosius-supported effort "War." "But who else can bring the hood out / And tell them when they let God in, it brings the good out," he raps.
'3805 Bonner Rd.' Was the Original Album Title
Way before J.Cole surprised hip-hop fans with his third album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, Los wanted to name his debut album after his home address, 3805 Bonner Rd. Unfortunately for him, J. Cole beat him to the punch and dropped his album in December of 2014, forcing Los to go back to the drawing board and think of something new. The result: God Money War.