Tejano Hip Hop Crooner | Song writer | U.S. Military Veteran
Carlton Zeus | Texas Hip Hop artist
Tejano Hip Hop, Alternative Hip Hop, R&B
ZEUS, KillSwitchZeus, Cavazos, El Mero Necio, Lebron Burgandy, General Doom Love
Big Sean, Tory Lanez, Machine Gun Kelly, Logic, Alessia Cara, Deftones, Schoolboy Q, Waka Flocka, Mayday Parade, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Offspring, Dustin Lynch, Cole Swindell
Humphrey Bogart, Selena Quintanilla, Andre 3000, Pharrell Williams, Jay-Z, Notrious BIG, Michael Jackson, Sublime, Queen, Stevie Wonder, El Groupo Mazz, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, Tupac Shakur, Vicente Fernandez
"When rapper Carlton Zeus breaks into “Volver, Volver” or name-drops Freddy Fender, ask yourself: Where else but San Antonio would someone combine all these elements?"
- Katy Vine, Texas Monthly Magazine
"His unique combo of Mexicano cumbia with modern hip-hop and rock beats are punctuated with vocals so smooth, they can only be described as seductive"
- Chris Conde, The San Antonio Current
"High energy performance"
- Paul MaGee, CEO, Global Groove Entertainment
"I don't care what he said.. I ain't never heard of em"
- Toby Keith, Country Music Singer/Songwriter
Tejano is more than music. For some, Tejano is a way of life. For Carlton Zeus, Tejano is where it all begins. Born Carlos Cavazos, Zeus grew up in Brownville, Texas, a bordertown known for what Zeus describes as “Tortillas and Trouble.”
“I grew up insulated by my culture. As a kid, I thought the world was Tejano,” said Zeus. ”It’s deeper than a genre for me. It’s ground zero. In high school, it felt like alot of us traded what we grew up on for whatever MTV told us the rest of the world was into. It was an ironic time for me. … Mexican kids calling other Mexican kids ‘mojaditos’ was a real thing.”
With college out of the question, Zeus helped a friend manage a commercial plaza right after high school. “I didn’t have a real plan after graduating. I just wanted to make music and the plaza thing fell in my lap,” Zeus remembers. “I made sure his tenants paid rent on time and he let me turn a suite into my own recording studio. Music was my obsession. I kept a lot of talented dudes around me. Sadly, their talents always came with a bad plot twist. Even honest, hardworking mentors I looked up to got caught up in it. It was just time to go. ”
Despite the young entrepreneur’s efforts, tragedy struck and doors to the studio would close after nine months of opening. For the first time, he shut the door to music to start over… Zeus walked into a Recruiting office to join the Air Force. “As a kid, I resented the military, I blamed the military for robbing me of a father figure. But Sometimes closure has a better sense of humor.”
According to his recruiter, female dental techs outnumbered males 10 to 1. It was a no brainer and he signed. Halfway through boot camp, he went to officially sign for his job and was informed he qualified for a position in Military Intelligence with Top Secret Clearance, working at NSA. It was an instant “no” after hearing tech school would last a year in Fort Huachuca, Arizona. On his way out, a random stranger in the hall stopped Zeus to say ”go back in there and take that job, you’ll remember me for the rest of your life.” He was right.
The Military would become life for Zeus. “Work hard, play hard” was the motto with an occasional relapse into music, freestyling over instrumentals in the barracks. “I’d drop like 97 bars, and Vallejos would sing the hooks.” It turned into a party every time.
“Vallejos was the one who convinced me to get back into music. He would plead with me over these drunk, deep conversations, ‘you’re made for it, what do you have to lose?’ We laughed about it, we fought about it.” Little did Zeus know that Vallejos struggled with depression, and that soon he would take his own life. “I was the one who found him,” said Zeus. “Of course I always go back and forth on what I could have done differently. So I took his advice. The best I could do is honor him.”
And honor SSgt Vallejos he did. Two studio albums later, Carlton Zeus released Nine Lives Three Wishes in 2014 and Three Strikes You’re In in 2017. Described as the bold combo of Tejano and Hip Hop, Zeus is inspired by a mix of genres including contemporary rap, 90s R&B. and South Texas Tejano.
After serving the Air Force, he took the show from barracks to house parties and started playing with a live band. Within the first year, show attendance had tripled. Live Nation independently booked show schedule by the end of 2012 and Zeus would share the stage with national acts including Big Sean, Tory Lanez, Logic, Deftones, School Boy Q, Imagine Dragons, and Maroon 5.
In 2018, Zeus joined BaseFEST, a touring music festival on America’s largest military bases, performing throughout California, Florida, and Texas. Sponsored by Anhesier Bush, Harley Davidson, and USAA, the music festival included rock and country artists like Dustin Lynch, Cole Swindell, Lee Brice, and The Offspring. “Live shows are like reenactments of what I see in my head when I write these songs. BaseFEST was one of the shows where it felt even bigger than what I ever imagined! My first show as Carlton Zeus was in my living room for 30 friends, next to a keg,” recalls Zeus. “Even then, I gave it my all like I was Freddie at Wembley Stadium.”
2020 brings with it Carlton Zeus’ highly-anticipated third album loaded with “Love, Heartbreak, and mostly Torta Poppers”. Producers on the album include El Dusty, Stevo Valdez (Maroon 5, Lil Wayne, MGK), and the multi-platinum Happy Perez (Ariana Grande, Miguel, Halsey, Juice WRLD, Lana Del Rey).
Upon release, a tour will follow in support of the album’s release. Additionally in 2020, Zeus is releasing a new documentary series telling the story of his life travels as a Tejano Hip Hop artist discovering his own category.
Press photos here
From Brazil to The Great Wall of China and all the way back to Texas. Thank ya'll for reppin your boy across planet earth.
Tag @CarltonZeus or #CarltonZeus