The Break Presents: Mario Judah

The Break Presents: Mario Judah


Sometimes, you just have to follow your interests. Back in 2017, Mario Judah began making beats at his home in Atlanta, working with artists to build up his name and experience. By January 2020, he was jaded and tired of collaborating with acts who weren’t as dedicated as he was, so he took the next step and became an artist himself.

Mario’s friends urged him to release his music for months, but he didn’t budge until this past June. That’s when he finally dropped “Crush,” a song he says he unloaded because the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic made him embrace the moment. Best described as equal parts trap rap and hard rock, Mario combines the content of a rapper and the wailing vocal approach of a rockstar with modern 808s.

The combo worked quickly, but “Crush” was just the beginning, because his next song, “Die Very Rough,” was even bigger. The approach on this one is similar to “Crush,” except Mario adds some theater kid energy to the rock influences. The song went viral on social media, which led to 26 million Spotify streams, and an invite to perform at a Rolling Loud stream event back in October. Taking advantage of the moment, Judah went viral again, this time for doing a cover of DaBaby and Roddy Ricch’s “Rockstar” and delivering it like an actual…well, rockstar.

Comedian Druski reposted a video of Mario’s performance and also conducted a hilarious interview with the rapper. These two events only led to increased exposure for Mario.

After all of this, Judah became a social media star. Earlier this month, he used that attention to try to get something plenty of rap fans are waiting for: Playboi Carti‘s Whole Lotta Red album. To do so, he dropped “Bih Yah,” a purposeful Carti imitation song designed to push the Carti into action. That song also took off, racking up 4 million YouTube views in a little over two weeks.

Judah soon followed up by delivering a Whole Lotta Red project of his own about two weeks ago. The four-song project is filled with songs like “Bih Yah,” and he’s prepared to unleash a sequel if Carti doesn’t drop WLR. With Carti’s Whole Lotta Red dropping this Friday, Judah plans to ease off the gas and return to his original sound, satisfied with the album he was seeking being on the verge of release.

Now very chill and enjoying his success, Mario Judah got on the phone with XXL for this week’s edition of The Break.

Age: 21

Hometown: Atlanta

I grew up listening to: “Chief Keef, Migos, Young Thug, Earth Wind & Fire, Heatwave, Michael Jackson, a lot of good music.”

My style’s been compared to: “People compare me to rock bands. It’s fire, they compare me to Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin, Five Finger Death Punch. A couple of those actually are my favorite bands; Avenged Sevenfold, System of a Down. They really compare me to real bands, which is very fire. People have said like a, raspy Ozzy Osbourne type of vibe. It’s amazing, getting compared to legends.”

I’m going to blow up because: “It’s just new. It’s never been done before, it’s refreshing, I’m just glad that I’m able to cultivate it and bring it to the world and people enjoy it. I’m so appreciative that the world accepted me for not being the same ol’ rapper who talks about this and that. I didn’t have to come out saying ‘Fuck the nigga bih/Pull up with a stick.’ I came out looking entirely different, on some rockstar shit, and people accepted it. You know how this shit is, it’s all a trend, rappers gotta do stuff like other people.”

My standout records to date have been: “‘Die Very Rough,’ for sure, right now. it was the one that took me off, and people are really loving the Whole Lotta Red joint that I did. I’m glad they are loving and appreciating it, I just really want Carti to drop his album, like we all want him to drop his album, in the end. It’s all trying to get him to drop.”

My standout moments to date have been: “No bullshit, today is the biggest moment. Each day I’m elevating, each day I’m moving forward, each day someone new is finding out about me and becoming a fan of me. At this very second. Speaking to you right now, even being able to have an opportunity to speak with XXL, I love you guys’ platform. Every day I’m moving, tomorrow is gonna be the next biggest day for me.”

Most people don’t know: “That I’m Black.”

I’m going to be the next: “Modern day rockstar.”

Follow Mario Judah on SoundCloud and Instagram.

Standouts:

“Crush”

“Die Very Rough”

“Bih Yah”

Whole Lotta Red

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