Black Cxsper

Prepare for the Blxck Cxsper cinematic, hip hop universe

An interview with the Montreal rapper and Trans Trenderz label founder about their self-titled concept album and the world they built around it.

Kyng Rose, who goes by the name Blxck Cxsper, has a welcoming aura. It’s the first thing I notice as we shake hands in Troisième Tasse, right on the edge of Montreal’s Gay Village district. Rose is rocking a black tank top and cargo shorts, with Neo-Traditional style tattoos on every arm, a couple of face piercings and short, almost buzz-cut blonde hair. They look like someone you could start a weird art-house project with just after meeting them. That’s their vibe.

“I just like to create and tell stories. Since really putting my all into this project, [Blxck Cxsper] I’ve become very open to different artistic mediums,” they say in a soft-spoken voice. 

Rose, who is non-binary, is originally from France, spending their childhood shifting from place to place until they arrived in Montreal around 12 years ago. They went to film school at Concordia and started making music under the moniker Lucas Charlie Rose, until shifting to Blxck Cxsper, somewhat of a superhero persona they created for their off-kilter brand of neo-soul trap music. 

Under Blxck Cxsper, Rose has just released their nine-song, self-titled debut album, BLXCK CXSPER. Rose also produced all of the music except the last track, “Ghost,” which they co-produced with a young producer named Time Stood Still. 

“I recently learned that he’s 17 years old and was like ‘Damn,’” Rose laughs. “I think the album is going to be his first feature, which is cool ‘cause he’s super talented.”

BLXCK CXSPER is a concept album that musically takes inspiration from U.K. drill, R&B and Parisian Afro-trap, while never feeling too off-brand for the Blxck Cxsper universe. 

“I grew up listening to music in France and that’s a very big thing to mix all the genres together. I grew up listening to things like Raï’n’B Fever, which is a collective of people from the Middle East featuring French hip hop artists,” Rose says.

Taking a bit of inspiration from popular comic book film franchises such as Marvel, Rose created an elaborate universe where humans born with superpowers are trained by an organization called the Legacy Foundation. The main character, Kylian, a trans person with an affinity for bending light, is recruited and learns that the Legacy Foundation has a habit of making certain heroes disappear — mainly the queer kids, trans heroes and “unmarketable” outcasts. 

Throughout the album, Kylian eventually confronts the Legacy Foundation in a series of hip hop vignettes, which ends up with the murder of their girlfriend, Hailey. Kylian retreats to the shadows and emerges as the anti-hero/vigilante Blxck Cxsper.

“When I make music, I see movies in my mind. I used to do a lot of activism and educate people on trans rights and transphobia and now I want to make people relate more to a story,” Rose says. “I also want to see more stories where we [trans people] are heroes and not just token heroes.”

The BLXCK CXSPER project — which should be called a multimedia piece — as it has a play (which debuted this year at Montreal Fringe), a 8-bit sidescroller videogame and album attached to it, is a way for Rose to talk about the realities of living as a trans person, but also make it feel empowering. 

“I find it more accessible to talk in metaphors, so that’s where the superhero power thing comes from,” Rose says. “People are oversaturated with activist content. I’ve lived that life and kind of burned out, but if you show them something that gets at their emotions going … that’s the goal to inspire change.”

Rose also started one of the world’s first DIY transgender labels, named Trans Trenderz, back in 2016. 

“At that time, we were not even in TV shows and there was no representation,” Rose says. “People were just starting to talk about trans people, but there was no opportunity. I met with record execs and label people and the more I talked with them, the more and more I realized that world was closed off for people like me.”

Rose is currently in the process pitching a Blxck Cxsper movie, and looking for other ways to expand their universe further. 

“My dream is to make a universe that’s big enough where other people feel inspired to create in it,” Rose says. “The MCU was missing something for me and there are so many one-dimensional characters out there. I want multi-dimensional stories that actually say something.” ■

Prepare for the Blxck Cxsper cinematic, hip hop universe

For more on Blxck Cxsper please visit their website.

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