Cxnshus (pronounced as “conscious”) is an up and coming rapper hailing from Baltimore City. Now the outlook of the small city ‘showcases’ drugs, violence and other negativity and stereotypes, will trick outsiders into believing that this is all the city has to offer. It is simply not true. Therefore in social media and what people see painted on the news, is that all of Baltimore artists share the same story and they’re like any other rap artist out here. I can’t say the same for Cxnshus.
His music sheds light on deeper issues in the Black community and other topics that are taboo such as depression, suicide, and unemployment. Cxnshus’ latest project, The Vault is a rarity in content, especially coming from a twenty-something millennial living in the modern day of social media, hence fake reality and Instagram filters. So let’s take a ride inside this vault and see what Cxnshus exposes.
Honestly, the opener, “Wake Up” is a wake up call for him and his peers. “They tell me catch up/ boy you better catch up/ You could be dead tomorrow/so you better keep your vest up,” he raps, which almost sounds like some sort of warning. A warning that is later addressed in his follow-up track, “Nightmares.”
“Nightmares” is probably the most raw track of the Baltimore native. Cxnshus talks about suffering in silence for four years at the most. What he suffers could be carrying the weigh on his shoulders and/or having his younger siblings look up to him for guidance. In his personal life expands to the fake friends that promise him loyalty and the heartbreaks, either way his song is definitely his testimony.
There’s a lot of themes in The Vault including growing pains, fear of failure, death, and coming of age. All themes are deeply explored in the tracks “Stained Glass,” “Never Sleep,” “Believe,” and “Sunday Dinner.” Despite the difference in production–some are uptempo beats and one that could be placed as a R&B joint– the message is still the same. He raps about the passing of his father, being unemployed, and still feeling like a lost soul. Overall, Cxnshus runs from his demons, represents his struggles as a young man and still chooses perseverance.
There’s still victory at the end of the tunnel. Tracks like “King Cxnshus” shows a more upbeat Cxnshus as he raps, “I told my mother if I make it, I’ll be okay.” The dreams of making it as rapper haunts Cxnshus, along with many of his prior mistakes, but the definition of his success is different. As long as people hear his music and feel impacted by it, that’s success. It’s a start.
Toward the end of the project, the tenth track, “Pen Game” serves as the standout song. Cxnshus is the most literally, utilizing his metaphors and alliteration in his rhymes. He even speeds up the flow. Now he doesn’t sound like a Baltimore rapper, more like a mainstream rap artist, but his lyricism definitely outweighs what you hear on the radio. “Pen Game” is a watch-me-now-I-need-to-show-and-improve type of song. And Cxnshus has our attention from now on.
Stream the 13-track project below and give us your thoughts.
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