Los Angeles-based, Brooklyn-raised rapper Crown's journey into hip-hop is at once familiar and very unique. Born in Brooklyn, he moved with his family to Panama, where they lived for four years. He returned to his hometown in New York by the time he was a teenager, and at the age of 18, he enlisted in the United States Air Force to ensure he didn't fall victim to the street life that was so prevalent around him. He spent the next nine years serving his country in Iraq and living on bases across the globe.
Upon returning home, he settled in California and began pursing his passion for rap music. Crown and his band The M.O.B just released their EP Love My People last month. The record details Crown's beginnings in Brooklyn, his respect for his brothers and sisters in uniform, the plight of the poor and homeless, and other societal issues such as violence and corruption. His message isn't always so serious, however. He doesn't forget to toast the good life. His message is one of positivity and unity, and his sound is as diverse as his life experience. Whether you're hearing horns or pianos, banjos or drums, choir chants or acoustic guitars, his music isn't defined by a particular genre. He's able to accomplish this with the help of The M.O.B, which is made up of talented musicians who have appeared on records by Outkast, TLC, Justin Timberlake, Björk, Stevie Wonder, Dr. Dre, and Tina Turner.
Crown shared with Music Times an incredible behind-the-scenes video where he visits his old Brooklyn neighborhood to retrace his roots. The powerful clip illustrates how Crown's history has influenced his work.
"The [video] takes a journey into my beginnings in my hometown of Brooklyn NY," Crown told Music Times exclusively. "This is my first return in two years, so the experience of performing for agencies as well and Manhattan night spots in front of childhood friends and family was an amazing feeling. Meshing Venice sounds with my NYC roots was my first test to see if the sound was ready. NY being Hip Hop's birthplace was something I felt was necessary to introduce this new sound to. This clip will take you through my personal struggle where I reflect on where I came from and where I am now in music. It's a story that captures the essence of what I'm all about and what I bring to the music landscape. Crossing genres and creating a new wave for the future of hip-hop music. My debut EP All Rise will be released in February, and viewing this clip you will see where the content blends from my beginnings to my present day music."
Watch the short film below, and let us know what you think in the comments section!