Exclusive Video Premiere: Rapper Maurico Pays Tribute to Nashville With "City Come Alive"


Mauricio photographed in 2014.

Many different styles flow in the musical waters of Nashville, and today we shine the spotlight on up-and-coming hip-hop artist Maurico, who releases his debut EP, I Am Maurico, this week.

Billboard has the exclusive premiere of his brand-new video for the single "City Come Alive." Watch it below:

Maurico tells Billboard he's very proud of his Music City roots. "I am from Nashville, which is where I was born and raised. This is always home. You get off the plane at Nashville International, and the air and the atmosphere changes."

And the rapper is he's likewise proud to show that the musical scene in Nashville extends to many different genres, in addition to country. "A lot of people look at Nashville as just that one area, or sound, because that's what a lot of the ones that come out of here are in. But this is Music City. You've got rock artists, hip-hop artists, multiple genres of artists that are very good. I think it's time that somebody sees the other side of that and brings that full side to that -- and brings that full meaning to Music City."

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Maurico's music relies on live instrumentation as opposed to strictly programmed beats. "I think that is really important, because people have been saying that music is missing something," he admits. "The best songs are timeless, and I feel a lot of that has to do with the actual organic instruments. Live instruments bring that vibration and feel to the music, along with the vocals. I think that being more instrumental with what we do allows people to come into it better and feel it."

Signed to the Tennessee Recording Company, a label co-owned by Matchbox Twenty's Kyle Cook, Maurico says he really hadn't set out to obtain a deal. "I have a friend of mine named Michael Hill, who is also known as Kutty Blade. He's a barber: He's brushed shoulders with a lot of people in the industry, and does their hair. He happened to know a guy who worked next to Kyle's studio. Kyle had told him he was looking for a hip-hop artist to sign. Michael calls me and says, 'We've got a meeting we need to go to.'

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"At this point, I was in independent mode. I just wanted to freely create, and not have any rules. I really didn't know who he was. He asked me some questions, and he got some music out of me that I had sitting in my car. He heard it, and a couple of tracks struck his interest. He asked me to bring him something back for him to listen to. I said I would, and left. I almost didn't go back, but I figured, 'What can it hurt?'"

But it took some legwork for Cook to find him again. "I gave him a CD with no contact information on there or anything. He found a Twitter account I had that I never used or checked, but it was connected to my email. He reached out to me, and said he was interested in working with me. So I came in and we wrote the first song, 'Reckless and Dangerous.' He was testing me to see what my capabilities were. He would say, ' Can you sing this chorus?' We got in here, and I sung it. He said 'We need verses,' so I wrote two in about 15 minutes. A couple of months go by, and we created about four or five more songs. He calls me on my birthday and said he wanted to sign me. It was the best birthday present I ever got," he says fondly.

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He jokes about how glamorous the video making experience was for "City Come Alive": "We shot about four or five scenes, and by the time we got to the second one, they were putting cold cans of cold drink on my neck, and water bottles under my shirt, because I was drenched, and had all the makeup on me. They'd say, 'Do it again.'"

But Maurico isn't complaining. "I love doing the music, and I could have done it for another 12 hours. I would have been tired, but my mind would have allowed me to keep doing it."