All eyes are on King Mez. The North Carolina MC has been building his buzz with his four mixtapes including last year’s acclaimed Long Live the King. But he’s not new to the game—he’s been doing this since the age of nine. He grew up around music (his father had a beat machine in the house).
“I had a karaoke machine that I used to record on and I would take the tapes to school when I was in sixth grade,” Mez says in an interview with “Next Up” presented by McDonald’s.
He’s come a long way since rapping on karaoke machines. He can currently be heard on Dr. Dre’s final album Compton as well as The Game’s The Documentary 2.5, but he’s most excited about his next project. “My new music is something I’m really excited about,” he says.
His friend, producer Dawaun Parker, introduced him to Dr. Dre and the rest is history. Mez worked with the hip-hop legend for 11 months and wrote 13 out of 16 songs for Compton. “The whole experience was amazing, it was life-changing,” he recalls. “It really changed my perspective of music, it changed my perspective of myself, and of my talent. To be accepted by somebody of that caliber who thinks I’m extraordinarily talented, that’s crazy.”
It was a full circle moment for Mez—the first CD he bought was The Chronic 2001. “Next thing you know, I’m working on [Dre’s] next album, which was his last album.”
The 25-year-old studied engineering in college, but music came calling. “I don’t even think music is my God-given talent. I think it’s more like problem solving,” he explains. “I’m really good at math and science and stuff, and I was always like, if I want to know something, I’ll figure it out. I just happened to love music and that’s what it ended up becoming.”
Learn more about the hip-hop phenomenon and watch his performances of “Heart Drive” and “Morris” for “Next Up.”