“Arena-rock melodrama meets SoundCloud rap moodiness: ‘It’s Time to Rock,’ featuring the ethereal Tes X and the boisterous Mario Judah, is theatrical, hilarious and impressive.” – The New York Times
Run-DMC and Aerosmith. Public Enemy and Anthrax. Artists have been weaving rap and rock since the ‘80s, but no one’s brought the two genres together quite like 21-year-old Georgia phenom singer and producer Mario Judah, who has swiftly established himself as a bonafide, self-made Gen Z rockstar with his internet-savvy blend of hard rock, metal, and trap. “Die Very Rough,” the second song he ever released, became an online sensation that spent three weeks at #1 on the Spotify Viral 50 chart and has garnered 30 million plays across platforms. Given his paradigm-shifting, genre-bending aesthetic, Judah’s rapid success suggests that he isn’t a flash in the pan, but rather that he’s captured lightning in a bottle. Now, he’s on the warpath, intending to build on everything he’s accomplished in a few short months. “It’s time to destroy all,” he said in an October interview. “It’s time to destroy the enemies, crush all the enemies, kill it all, when Mario Judah walks in the door. It’s time.”
The son of a truck driver, Mario Judah attended military college and welding school before he obtained FL Studio and fell in love with producing at age 17. Urged by his friends, he started to put his own music as a solo artist in June 2020. He released five tracks in total between June and August 2020. His music feels like a primal scream; he makes two-minute powder kegs that combine colossal, self-produced beats with his inimitable, earth-shaking rock vocals. Though he is heavily influenced by Chief Keef, Young Thug, and Migos, he models his lyrical style, cadence, and formidable warble after bands like Breaking Benjamin, Five Finger Death Punch, and Pantera. His rendition of DaBaby and Roddy Ricch’s hit “ROCKSTAR” put his own gritty stamp on the song and proved that hip hop covers can be triumphs if performed with intent.
Judah became an internet phenomenon upon the release of “Die Very Rough” video in late September. It went viral on Twitter (2 million views in one day) and TikTok, in part because rap fans had never seen or heard anything like it; Judah got the meme treatment for his villainous look (spiked bracelets, chainlink necklaces, a corona of red hair) and sound. The success of “Die Very Rough” earned him a set at Rolling Loud, which he did not squander; he delivered an unforgettable performance (and interview with the Druski) wearing a grim reaper robe.
Judah has a sharp sense of humor and self-awareness. He claims he’s saving his money to buy all his rockstars a castle to rock out in, and he defines a rockstar as “a badass—someone who’s just unstoppable. A real rock star is just like someone who’s just impeccable in skill and doesn’t give a fuck. Somebody rad. Somebody crazy. Somebody like a superhero.” This doubles as a statement of Judah’s personal artistic values. With his music, he intentionally fosters an inclusive spirit by reaching out to young people going through rough patches in their own lives. There’s no denying it—Mario Judah is a modern day rockstar. And he’s doing it completely on his own terms.
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