Chuck Inglish

Your Stylist's Favorite Artist.

Breaker of Bread, Ribs, and $100 Bills.

Kings Dead

Nearly a year has passed since the collective formerly known as The Dean’s List were a part of your audio experience. The group endured plenty during that hiatus – receiving harsh criticisms from some on account of their pronounced musical growth, spurring a controversial name change while MC/songwriter Sonny Shotz was attacked overseas and his jaw severely broken. Producer Alex Mendoza and Sonny Shotz felt that a rebirth was needed in order to return to doing what they love…and in that time they’ve found the inspiration they needed for their re-introduction as Kings Dead.

When The Dean’s List first arrived on the scene, the intent wasn’t to lean on the connotation of “college rap.” Their moniker arguably suggested some degree of fraternity, though anyone who pressed play on their debut EP Undeclared or the smash follow-up, The Drive In would know that their music surpassed the mere halls of colleges across the country. In the period of less than two years, the group charted on Billboard, sold out shows nationwide, and toured the world. It was a fulfilling two years, to say the least. However, the group was quickly evolving beyond their brand. “We were in a box almost,” producer Alex Mendoza recalls. “So we changed our name.” In addition, the group parted ways with long time friend and co-producer Mik Beats, leaving Mendoza and Sonny to regroup and rebrand on their own. With the plan being to begin working overseas on their first project as the newly formed “Kings Dead,” their next hurdle arrived quite unexpectedly.

Just as Sonny arrived in Spain to link with Mendoza in the studio and begin working on their next project, he was violently attacked, leaving his jaw broken in two places. Sonny returned to Tampa, FL to have emergency surgery and recover with his family while Mendoza stayed in Spain and worked on musical production. The two would exchange lyrics and music over email without ever actually recording the completed songs. It was difficult, for sure…but the process allowed Kings Dead to develop the two vital components in their music separately, re-defining a musical synergy more than they ever had before. “I think it made me a lot more comfortable with my writing and saying things how I want to say them,” explains Sonny. It enabled me to really focus more on the storytelling aspect of things, just looking at music from a whole different perspective.” Alex continues, “Before, we would always have control over our music, but now we have experience to go with it. It mean’s a lot for what we create.”

Upon the duo reuniting in January 2013 the energy in the studio seemed magical. Sonny initially recorded with his mouth wired shut, but once he was unwired, the real preparation for their return began. “When we finally came together in the studio, it was just like a weight off of our shoulders,” Sonny says, “There was no more emailing back and forth, and we were finally able to just be in the same room, be creative and focus.”

Producer Alex Mendoza explains the meaning behind Kings Dead:

“It’s the death of a movement that’s been rejuvenated into a different movement,” he explains. “We were playing with Kid Cudi in front of 10,000 people, performing alongside acts like Calvin Harris, Wiz Khalifa, Lupe Fiasco & Wale in front of 5-7000 people. We were doing these big shows, and it was great. But that had to die for us to be able to really flourish into a whole new situation and create the music we wanted to create.”

That new focus has culminated into what will be their next project, Revenge Of the Beast.

The forthcoming album from Kings Dead represents a new day for Alex Mendoza and Sonny Shotz. The music is sharper and more focused, while still fluidly crossing over genres and maintaining the purity of what the Boston based duo is all about. “It’s just like all of the musical influences and experiences that we’ve had to this point have culminated into an album…it has no boundaries” explains Sonny, while Alex adds that it’s “Genre bending urban crossover music to the fullest extent.”

While previous projects took them several months, this outpouring of emotions on record only took a few weeks to create. Perhaps months of frustration from not being able to record together for the first time in years allowed the two to deliver in a way they never thought they could as The Dean’s List.

Alex Mendoza and Sonny Shotz had to destroy in order to rebuild, with the result leading them to becoming Kings Dead. With Revenge Of the Beast on the horizon, their fans and contemporaries will understand that Kings Dead have reincarnated and their music is like never before. Get ready.

$14.00 - $16.00


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