For Baltimore City MC Los, the perseverance that got him his current record deal was developed long before he got into the rap game. As a 16-year-old high school student, Los, born Carlos Coleman, began writing poetry and literature to deal with the pain of losing his father to murder. At 18 he started rapping and set out on a journey full of hard luck and second chances, which ultimately led to his current deal with Bad Boy where he joins French Montana, Red Café and Machine Gun Kelly as the future of the legendary label.
“When my father passed away… I kind of stumbled into music while trying to find an outlet for the way I felt,” explains Los as he prepares to travel up the I 95 to New York to perform at the BET Music Matters showcase. It didn’t take long for people to take note of his talent, and soon those around him were encouraging the gifted wordsmith to seriously pursue rap. Eventually, he got with an indie label in Baltimore run by “some dudes that was getting major money in the town.”
Though he knew about his new business partners’ notorious reputation in the streets, he also knew he’d need financial backing to get his rap dreams off the ground. “They had the hustle down to a T and wanted to start a label,” explains Los of his impression of his new business partners. “I didn’t have their full background initially, but I kind of just liked what was goin’ on with ‘em.”
The move paid off at first. With the help of his new partners, Los was shooting videos, traveling to Miami and “doing it like a major label” as his profile continued to grow. It wasn’t long before someone took notice. “We were grinding to the point where we had the opportunity to be in front of Puff,” says Los of his first big shot. After wowing Sean “Diddy” Combs with a 10-minute freestyle, he earned the mogul’s full attention moving forward. In 2006, Los signed with Combs’s Bad Boy label and seemed to be on the fast track to making his rap dreams a reality.
But just as things seemed to be going perfectly for Los, tragedy struck yet again. His business partners’ legal troubles caught up with him and forced him to part ways with Diddy and return home.
“When we hooked up with Puff the first time, a lot of the street s**t came back to haunt us,” he explains. “Cats was getting locked up and a lot of stuff was going down back home, stuff I’d rather not go into detail on.”
With his homies locked up, Los adapted a strong Internet hustle and by the end of ’08, his superb “A Milli” freestyle had gone viral. In the years since, he has kept his name buzzing with a string of critically acclaimed mixtapes including 2008’s G5: Certified Fly and this year’s The Crown Ain’t Safe.
Two months ago, his story truly began to come full circle when he got a call from Bad Boy President Harve Pierre. “He basically let me know that they been seeing me. They paying attention and they like what they’re seeing.” A few days later, he got another call. This time, it was Puff.
After their initial deal didn’t work out, Los has found that their shared history has allowed him and Diddy to develop a tighter bond than when he had his first deal. “It was different before because it wasn’t as much of a personal relationship as it is now. Puff calls me, I talk to him. I go to his crib and we kick it. Now he’s more of a big brother than before. He tells you the things that just keep you on track.” Considering the legacy Puff has built with Bad Boy, Los still has a lot of hard work ahead. “Given the history, [being on Bad Boy] is just a prestigious and elite privilege. It’s an honor to be amongst the legendary and the unforgotten. I got big shoes to fill.”
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