There are times when Lil Renzo takes a look at the hip-hop scene and wonders if it’s a young person’s game.
While, at 31, Lil Renzo isn’t old, he does bring nearly two decades of working in the music industry, chasing his dream of being an artist.
The Taos native is starting to get noticed with his social media presence – which can seem like a full-time job.
“Music has always been on the forefront of my life,” Lil Renzo says. “I started making music when I was 12. My father was a rapper. At the time, he would rap with his buddies. I got inspired to do it.”
After his father gave him the recording program FL Studio, Lil Renzo, born Lorenzo Espinoza, was on the path to create music.
In 2018, Lil Renzo put more time and energy into his music – and it’s made a difference.
On Facebook, he has amassed more than 79,000 followers. On TikTok, he has 84,500 followers with 174,5000 likes on his content.
On Spotify, his single, “New Mexico” has over 70,000 streams and has been viewed 100,000 on YouTube. The single has also been used as background music for more than 2,000 videos on TikTok. Actor Mario Lopez used the song in his video while filming in New Mexico.
But his online presence took off when he did a remix of a South Park Mexican song featuring Lil Rob.
“It’s got over a million views on Facebook,” he says. “It was crazy to see. Lil Rob even left a comment that he approved the remix. That gave me the confidence to keep moving forward.”
Lil Renzo was nominated for three New Mexico Hip-Hop Awards this year. The event was held at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe on Jan. 21.
He says that after all these years, he’s started to dip his toes into the live performance arena.
“I’ve had a little bit of stage fright,” he says. “I performed at the Lensic and it was cool to see everyone in the hip-hop community doing what they do.”
Lil Renzo has also been able to sustain himself as a full-time musician.
He works on beats and lyrics every day.
“Every job I’ve ever had, I’ve been doing music in the side,” he says. “I would rather struggle doing something that I love. I put my everything into it. I do everything on my own. I don’t have a label. I record all my music in my bedroom. I make my own beats. It’s an independent hustle.”
While he works on music daily, he also carves out time for his family – often clocking out at 5 p.m. each day and taking weekends off.
He wants to make sure to be the example to his daughter that she can accomplish anything.
“When you grow up in New Mexico, there’s not a lot of people to look up to in the hip-hop industry,” he says. “The people I look up to all have teams. I’m one person trying to make an impact.”
Lil Renzo’s inspiration comes from daily life. He feels like his lyrics are straight from his diary.
“Sometimes I feel like I can take on anything,” he says. “There are other days where I feel super down with stuff going on in the world. That’s all fair game when it comes to lyrics. I want listeners to connect to what’s going on in my life through the lyrics.”
As Lil Renzo continues to create music and content for his social media, he’s also preparing for his next show in Santa Rosa on April 8.
“It’s the first show I’ve actually booked myself,” he says. “I’m feeling more confident that I’m going to be able to sustain my career in music. It takes a lot of work and I’m doing it.”