King Los is not merely a young rapper on the verge, cultivating buzz and working with Diddy's record label. He's also a Ravens fan — in his words, a "humongous" one.
So while many a weekend musician has slung together tributes inspired by Baltimore's playoff run, the anthem Los released Wednesday is already turning heads in hip-hop circles, generating tens of thousands of hits and raising the possibility that Charm City might have claim to its own "Black and Yellow," the Pittsburgh anthem Wiz Khalifa topped the charts with in 2010.
As soon as the Ravens beat the Patriots and he knew his team was New Orleans-bound, Los, who grew up Carlos Coleman in the Liberty Heights and Garrison areas of West Baltimore, was compelled to create, he said Thursday.
"It was a big moment for sports and this city and I definitely felt it was necessary," he said. "I was like: All right man, time to represent, let's go."
Producer J. Oliver, whose real name is Jeffery Robinson Jr., created the track in a whirlwind four-hour session after the championship game. He sent it to Los, who'd locked down lyrics by Monday.
Los says he wants listeners to be inspired, for the team and the city as a whole.
"There's a triumphant factor here," he says. "We're a pretty tough town. We take a lot of criticism and we're known for a lot of things. But to be known for being a champion and just the tenacity of Ray Lewis.
"I made it about anyone who comes from the bottom. Everybody counted you out and then there they are, at the Super Bowl."
"Came from the bottom. Great to be a champ. Did it on our own nobody gave us a chance," he sings. "No matter the odds, keep God in the circle, now every time it rain we turn the whole world purple."
It's a stirring song, building from the delicate tinkling of a finger on a piano key to a thumping rap beat with bold lines. Los works in players such as Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin and Ray Rice, and dedicates the song, titled "Purple Reign," to Ray Lewis and to Baltimore.
Los doesn't miss a Ravens game, even when he's on the West Coast, which is a lot these days. He's found a Ravens bar in Los Angeles, and when he's in Baltimore, he heads to his uncle's house to hole up in his man cave, where there's a projection screen and loads of snacks.
Los' own favorite line in his song: "The Ravens should let me play center the way I'm snappin on these lines."
By Thursday afternoon, the song was the fourth-most-popular on the national hip-hop site Hot New Hip-Hop.
Ki Ki Brown, a personality with local radio station 92Q, loves the song, and thinks it "speaks from the pulse of Baltimore to the heart of Baltimore."
And, perhaps most notably, famed New York disc jockey Funkmaster Flex gave a shout-out to his more than 800,000 Twitter followers.
J. Oliver and Los, meanwhile, were working it behind the scenes, knowing the song would go into hyperdrive with one mention from any of the Ravens players.
In recent weeks, it's been amply proven that a song doesn't need a music industry pedigree to go viral in Baltimore, with everyone hyped and ready to hear anything that will ratchet their fervor even higher.
Homemade songs that have made the rounds include "Bring on Brady," a take on Carly Rae Jepsen's hit "Call Me Maybe," by a Salisbury man, his father and his wife. There was also old-school Baltimore radio favorites, the Breakfast Flakes — Troy Johnson and Marc Clarke. A singer from Rockville named Meredith Seidel put out "Purple Sunday." Mullyman, another rapper, has one, also called "Purple Reign," that borrows from the old Prince song "Purple Rain."
And that's just a handful. YouTube overflows with them.