Musician Profile: TwoCrown King aims to bring a unique voice to hip-hop

Ty Davis

Breaking into the music industry is an uphill battle, but TwoCrown King’s passion is driving him to make his mark in the hip-hop scene.

Though he began his rapping pursuits only a year ago, Zach Campbell’s love and fascination of hip-hop has been cultivating for years.

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Campbell, known by his stage name TwoCrown King, had friends that helped introduce him to the world of hip-hop with rappers like J. Cole while they were in high school. Campbell said Cole’s song “No Role Modelz” remains one of his favorites to this day.

By the end of high school, Campbell says he was fully immersed in the world of hip-hop, actively finding new artists and styles every week. Despite this love of hip-hop, however, Campbell did not originally intend on pursuing music.

 

Originally from Fort Collins, Zach Campbell has been making music on SoundCloud for about a year. (Asia Kalcevic | The Collegian)

Campbell’s fate changed when he received a concussion while playing rugby at Montana State University. The concussion lasted 20 weeks and left him unable to drive or go to school.

“It seemed like my life was on a specific path, and then it wasn’t there anymore,” Campbell said. “So I had to really figure out what I wanted to do.”

With sports no longer an option and so much time for Campbell to contemplate what to do with his life, he turned back to music.

While recovering from his concussion, Campbell passed time by listening to music and watching interviews with his favorite artists. 

Campbell said artists that inspire him include Jon Bellion, J. Cole and JID. Instead of emulating other artists’ styles, though, he draws from their storytelling, how they express their experiences and why they do it.

He really enjoys making music, and I think you can tell that he’s passionate about it.” –Emma Ernst, Campbell’s girlfriend

Campbell said he also looks up to the hip-hop group 88rising, specifically members Joji and Rich Brian. He said he admires their ability to push past barriers and gain Asian representation in the hip-hop genre. 88rising’s impact on opening up the doors for Asian American artists and bringing a host of new experiences, styles and ways of making hip-hop helped Campbell form his own identity within the genre.

While many have been supportive of his work, Campbell says that not everyone views his inclusion favorably.

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“Some people are a little weird about it for sure,” Campbell said. “Then some people also take it as a bad thing and feel like there can only be one Asian rapper. (They) end up calling me a Rich Brian wannabe. I feel like if you listen to our music, it doesn’t sound anything alike.”

But regardless of the detractors, Campbell says his friends and family have been more than supportive of his decision. Campbell said his father doesn’t miss an opportunity to show off his music.

“He really enjoys making music, and I think you can tell that he’s passionate about it,” said Emma Ernst, Campbell’s girlfriend. “He’s not doing it for fame or to get rich; it’s something he genuinely enjoys doing.”

Like his inspirations, Campbell says he taps into his current mood and life events when trying to create music. This creates music that ranges from songs with moody, dark atmospheres to over-the-top flex tracks.

“I’ve vibed with him while he’s wrote songs and recorded,” said Campbell’s friend Carter Edgerly. “I’ve always seen how hard he works at (his music) and how he’s turned it into something really special.” 

Having released two EPs in a year, Campbell hopes to build a solid repertoire for himself so he can have a full set when he begins to perform live. He has his eyes on venues like Hodi’s Half Note and the Aggie Theatre, as well as many smaller venues in the Denver area.

“Once I get comfortable (to) start doing that side of things, I’m going to be essentially playing anywhere I can,” Campbell said.

Ty Davis can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @TyDavisACW.