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How MCM Raymond Took Over LA’s Street Sound Without Gang Affiliation

“Be yourself, people gonna respect you for you.”

Mz Free, wearing a green shirt and light blue jean jacket, poses in a red room with MCM Raymond. MCM Raymond is wearing a white Anti Social Social Club branded hoodie, white jeans and a black ski mask. He is standing with his arms crossed and shows off his grills.
Mz Free poses with MCM Raymond at LV Recording Studios (Mz Free).

In July, I had the opportunity to link up with 23-year-old rapper MCM Raymond. We met at LV Recording Studios Los Angeles, an intimate studio in a remote location. Upon arrival I was greeted by his manager, Play Maka, whom I previously met. MCM Raymond was very laid back and welcoming when I walked in. We sat down and talked one on one with no cameras before we began the interview. I wanted to get a sense of his aspirations and dreams — I could tell how passionate and serious he is about his music. This Friday, his EP Many Can’t Maintain is scheduled to drop. The first single, “Jimmy Choo,” has already been heating up the LA streets. 

MCM Raymond was born in Inglewood, California, but says he spent his time across the city of Los Angeles. He steered clear of getting involved in any of the street politics and gangbanging. “I was around it a lot, but I never got into it,” he explained. “It’s not good for me, you either in jail or dead,” he says. A lot of young LA rappers I have interviewed are in street gangs, due to the environment they grew up in. Street politics is a big influence in a lot of LA rapper music being released today.

Instead, he took an interest in music. He often spent time at the studio with his father as a child. “I was in the studio with my dad all the time, and I told him I want to produce,” he says. When he was 12 years old, his dad bought him his first desktop computer. But beat making did not come easy. ”It took me a long time. My dad just showed me my beats from a long time ago, trash,” he laughs. 

Despite the desire MCM Raymond had for producing, something kept calling him to the mic. He says his parents were supportive about his music at first, but later began to have doubts. “When I first was getting out, my parents was not messing with it,” he says. He used to ditch class in college to go to the studio. “I was tryna get out there with music, because that’s really what I wanted to do,” he says. MCM Raymond’s classmates at Santa Monica College encouraged him to pursue his dream. “I had a homie, he used to tell me like, bro you don’t even need to be here, you can really do something with this music,” he says.

MCM Raymond’s producing and rapping eventually began to take off. In 2019 he made the beat for his first rap single, “Neighborhood Hoochie,” and later the viral hit “In My City.” By never getting distracted by the gang culture of the area and always staying neutral, MCM Raymond has created his own sound. His saucy, smooth, sing-rap melodies have been anthems for many in the city. “I feel like my music stands out from everyone, it’s different, I feel like not too many people from LA are doing what I’m doing,” he says. Even with LA rap music having different sounds and new genres, MCM Raymond has broken barriers to create his own lane and fan base. Staying true to himself and his goals, he strives to inspire the younger generation. “Be yourself, people gonna respect you for you,” he says.  

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