Summer of '83 in Houston TX an illegal immigrant mother of Mexican descent gave birth to Mexican/American born Keith Corona. Not long after his birth however, the mother of three returned to her native Michoacan like she had done previously with her oldest son and stayed til Keith was to start school. Wishing to educate their boys in the country they were born in, she and their father took advantage of a job opportunity they were offered in the smaller city of Austin, TX and immigrated North again crossing the Rio Grande with both boys in a canoe. The trip would mark the two for the rest of their lives. In 1986 immigration reform was passed by president Ronald Reagen and both parents qualified to become legal residents earning their permanent stay in the United States.
They moved to the 78745 area in South Austin and worked minimum wage down the road at a Furr's Cafeteria. Saturday mornings were routinely spent doing house chores while Mexican greats such as Los Bukis, Los Yonics, Los Tigres Del Norte, and Bronco played as loud as the neighbors could tolerate. Annual summer visits to Michoacan consisted of attending local concerts. Rural small towns in Mexico provide little entertainment besides quinceañeras, weddings, and funerals. In all three events locals congregate and music is provided by local musicians. Keith would watch the band members for hours and later imitate them for his aunts and uncles at his grandparent's house. Flipping jalapeño cans found in neighborhood garbage dumps upside down and beating on them with sticks as if they were drums, he and his younger cousin pretended to be their own cover band. Including a guitar made of a stick with a jalapeño can lid nailed to it and a rubber band to pluck over the can lid as if it were a guitar, the two didn't allow being poor to stop them from dreaming.
Growing up back in the states in what Keith calls "the MTV era" his older brother exposed him to rap in the late 80's. Listing MCs such as Ice T, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and The D.O.C. as early influences he would later discover the Geto Boys, UGK, 8ball & MJG, Triple 6 Mafia, TRU, DJ Screw and the Screwed Up Click through his brother as well and would begin considering rapping. Drawn in by the raw realities of life spoken about in hip hop he found a similarity to early Mexican influences Los Tigres Del Norte who spoke about the struggles of life as an immigrant pretty often.
In 4th grade he recorded himself rapping over Ice T's lyrics to "I'm Yo Pusha" on cassette tape and in 6th grade recorded himself and a friend rapping over Bone Thugs N Harmony's lyrics to "E. 1999" on video tape. His freshman year was spent predominantly listening to DJ Screw tapes with neighborhood friends and dabbling with freestyles. New Year's Eve '98 they started a freestyle crew, naming it Str8 Off Tha Deck Productions and recording their first tape of mostly all freestyles over instrumentals taken from maxi singles. They would go on to record over 50+ tapes and become the place to be for a freestyle session and smoke out on the Southside. Underground staples such as Dok Holiday, JadaKada, and Will Hustle of Set 4 Life, Tha Juan and Lil D of the Kriminals, Recap, and the late great JES 1 all made appearances on Str8 Off The Deck tapes.
His junior year he met a Bosnian immigrant named Igor who sold instrumental CDs and could get his tapes on to CD as requested by friends who were fans. He also met Trampia who offered him affordable studio time in his home studio and started recording solo material. After seeing no one but JES 1 was serious about materializing a group album he took the best of the group's recordings from tapes and combined them with solo tracks putting it out as their CD debut "Checkmate". Winning his junior year talent show with the lead single "Polos N Nikes" and shooting a music video which his high school funded for a second single "All Eyez On Me" Keith showed he was serious about his talent and wasn't just a dreamer anymore.
Today he claims to have hundreds of songs he's recorded since high school but will never put out due to outgrowing the subject matter. He's grown 100% comfortable in his songwriting though and plans to put out more new music than ever. He grew confident after hearing his 10 track collaboration EST. IN 78745 with Starvin Arden. The project blueprinted a starving artist's struggles to break into the music scene and detailed the duo's everyday footsteps. Feeling he had found his niche he quickly got his debut solo album written up. 2014 was kicked off with an impressive performance during Free Week in his hometown of Austin at The Mohawk. Still in partnership with high school friend Igor, now known as Da Bosnian, he and label mate Krypol Haze also rocked 4 shows during the week of SXSW 2014 including an official showcase at Red 7. Following, he was invited to participate in the city wide SXSW Cares benefit raising money for the victims of a fatal crash which happened during SXSW 2014. Thanks to the story line created for the music video to "Hands In The Sky" which he dedicated to the working class he was called by The University Of Texas' Social Justice Action Council to perform and share his inspiration behind his music. Not long after The University Of Texas' Speak Up! Speak Out! Project also invited him to speak to at risk youth in East Austin in effort to motivate them through music. Attempting to give the other side of the leaf's story and be the voice of the voiceless for all who have it a bit harder than the average, Keith Corona has accepted his differences and found strength in them