SAN ANTONIO, TX – The lyrical depth found on the new EP from South Texas rapper Khalmplex certainly lives up to the promise of his name. With double entendres and witty wordplay, the six songs on “Ascend” weave a complex web – but that doesn’t mean it’s inaccessible. In fact, this up-and-coming artist from San Antonio said this is perhaps his most relatable project to date.
Khalmplex’s journey in music started at a young age but really took off at age 17 when he and his best friend were signed to a small label in San Antonio. He recalls getting in the booth and spitting a verse and the record execs telling him that his writing was too complex. He didn’t know any better – he was just trying to emulate his favorite rappers. When he threw out a second rap he’d written, they told him it was even more complex than the first one. Instead of walking away from that vibe however, it’s something that he’s embraced. His career has consisted of deeper songs that use words with double meanings and encourage listeners to consider a different point of view. He’s also known for his energy, and again, his name speaks toward that calm before the storm. That energy is put on full display with the six songs on his new EP “Ascend.”
“This is me trying to focus on the heavier side of music,” Khalmplex said. “There is a lot of double meanings in the stuff I do, and I wanted to push the idea of rising above what’s handed to you. Everyone born of poverty is beat up on and there’s an attitude of ‘this is what it’s got to be.’ But you can change your attitude and decide to rise above and be whatever you want to be.”
The project starts with the first of three skits featuring rising star Jackboy of Sniper Gang Entertainment, making way for the first single “Ascenion” which Khalmplex describes as a sample of what he’s feeling during this current time of history. He’s venting frustrations while also setting the stage for the rest of the EP. This makes way for “In Danger,” a song that examines the inner struggle of the age-old angel on one shoulder and demon on the other. He said people will often point out the flaws in your life and tell you that you’re in trouble. But with this song, he’s flipping that and saying, “I’m not in trouble, I am the trouble. I’m turning the disadvantage into an advantage.”
The third and fourth songs on the EP are the most transparent and personal to Khalmplex and were inspired by the recent loss of his older brother. Song three is called “11:11 (Be Great)” and song four is “Frank White.” The former features slower guitar riffs and auto tune vocals in soulful ways that help listeners feel the desperation many artists feel when their backs are against the wall.
“Sometimes it gets to the point where you ask yourself why you’re even doing this when everyone is against you,” he said. “My answer to myself was that I wanted to be great. I’m using the gifts I was given and the tools I was given to create something better than what I see in front of me. It’s basically me pushing back and saying I’m not doing this for nothing. The idea for the name of it came as I was struggling with the loss of my brother. I kept seeing repeating numbers everywhere – all ones or all threes. And I read something that said 11:11 is when God sends a calling to his angels. It’s time to get to work. The term for it is the call to the light keepers, and that’s something I wanted to embrace. It’s a song that leads directly into ‘Frank White,’ which was the name of a fictional character in the film ‘King of New York.’ In that story, someone is trying to take the reins and rise to the position of boss because they just lost their general. That’s what I’ve had to do since my brother passed. So this is a song of me announcing a position of power and calling all my people to follow me and I’ll take us where we need to be. It’s a heavy song, for sure, with more of a gothic Rap feel, but I think people will dig it. We shot a video for it and put a lot of work into. It’s more of a get-up-and-go type of song with a sense of empowerment than anything else.”
The project ends with the songs “Crime Stories” and “No Investors,” the first of which was done in collaboration with Houston Rapper Juan Gotti out of the SPM camp. “No Investors” finishes the EP with a challenge to the young people of the world to rise above their station in life and don’t complain about the hard things that have been handed to them. Instead of complaining, he said, get to work and don’t let anyone else tell you what you can be.
“Nobody can stop you and tell you no,” he said.
To listen to Khalmplex’s music or to follow him on social media, please visit: