By: Fredwill Hernandez
A little bit over a month after releasing the single titled “Domingo,” own his own [independent] music record label Mi Feria Music, Juan Martinez known artistically as Kilo, who hails from [Barrio La Colonia in] Oxnard, Ca. – returned with a Christmas anthem titled “Navidad en el Barrio,” featuring ex-lead vocalist of Banda La Bohemia de Oxnard California, Jose Cruz “El 5150,” who Kilo recently signed as a solo artist to his Mi Feria Music [Record] label.
“I come from humble beginnings, my parents are from Michoacán, Mexico. They came to this country as illegals [undocumented migrants] to work in the fields near my hometown of Oxnard, Ca. We settled in a barrio known as La Colonia where there’s a large concentration of Mexicans. Growing up as a kid I was listening to Regional Mexican music my father would play like Ramón Ayala y Sus Bravos Del Norte, or Vicente Fernandez, it wasn’t till I got a little older like around ten years old that I fell in love with rap,” explains Kilo, who wanted to rap and tell stories through his songs from a Mexican [Chicano] perspective, and who in 2007, “shot to fame” upon the release of his hit single “Lean Like A Cholo,” of his album Definition of an Ese, a record produced by his longtime collaborator Fingaz, which among other accolades, [also] debuted at the 93rd spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, eventually climbing to the 34 spot. “I’m still amazed at the numbers that record did, and more surprised that it is still being [banged and] bumped in the clubs. Till this day I still see a lot of engagement and traction on social media platforms like Tik Tok with that song. It’s interesting [to me] how a much younger generation [and demographic] is still being exposed to that record.”
Kilo along with [Jose] Cruz “El 5150” and Regional Mexican singer/songwriter Yanet Beltran [who Kilo met during this year’s Latin Grammy’s celebration in Las Vegas] performed “Navidad En El Barrio,” at South Gate Park, on Sun. -Dec. 11, 2022 as part of South Gate’s Christmas Parade celebration, where other Latin music artists by the likes of William Garza, Carmen Jara, Fusion Latina [Inc.], and Amy y Su Sonora also took the stage.
“I’ve been working on a lot of new music for my “upcoming album” titled Presidentes Muertos, Spanish for Dead Presidents, also featuring Snoop Dogg on the album’s title track,” also explained Kilo, who in the past has collaborated with likes of Nate Dogg, Cypress Hill, Snoop Dogg, and Regional Mexican banda singer/songwriter and actress Jenni Rivera, before [both] Nate Dogg and Jenni Rivera’s passing. “Now that El 5150 is signed [to me] as a solo artist to Mi Feria Music, also expect an upcoming solo project by him as Cruz Arrellano “El 5150“. During the Latin Grammy’s in [Las] Vegas, when [Yanet] Beltran and I met last month, we clicked and had an instant connection that we wrote a song together that same night.”