“You could say it’ll be a Chroma summer”: Texas-based Chicano rap collective drops new single

Chroma, in a fish-eye lens, poses for the camera

Photo: Ashley Maldonado

The Texas-based rap collective Chroma — Bleu Santana, Polito and Kalid Abdul — is nothing if not endlessly inventive.

The willingness to venture in new directions with each release marks the group as one worth keeping up with, especially when the trio is on the verge, as it is now, of dropping a new project.

Chroma recently pulled the wraps off “It’s Crunch Time,” a track from the group’s forthcoming mixtape The Age of Starlight, complete with a retro-themed video.

“As a first-generation immigrant following a non-traditional path that is deemed super risky and irresponsible by older generations, we want to set the example that no matter where you come from or where you are right now, working hard for something you love can accomplish your wildest dreams,” Abdul said, in a statement, of “It’s Crunch Time.”

We recently sent Abdul a few questions via email about Starlight, and what lies ahead. Here are his responses, which have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

You guys have kept busy since 2019’s The Year of the Puma, including a handful of collaborations. Did any of those collaborations influence the making of The Age of Starlight?

“I think the main essence of Chroma is made truly through collaboration and it’s been truly a blessing to be in a scene with such talented artists that inspire us and influenced us in the creation of this mixtape. We went on a retreat with some of those artists in the summer of 2022 and made a bunch of songs for a whole week in the middle-of-nowhere Texas. There was crazy energy in each room, working with Pretty Boy Aaron, A-Wall, Ariel & The Culture, Zebra Troop & jerome.

“Beats playing all day, writing outside next to a stable and dogs running around the house was almost surreal. Just the enjoyment of each other’s company was an experience we’ll cherish forever truly. That week really shaped the way to us finding the sound of the album.”

What can fans expect overall from The Age of Starlight?

“Us in our rawest form. Showing a piece of us in the timeline of our lives and careers and bringing together all the colors and sounds that make us who we are. We always try to outdo ourselves and take us to the next level. But now that the music is done and mastered and we’ve gotten the chance to go back and listen, it really feels like we achieved just that.”

Does The Age of Starlight have a release date?

“We’re so excited to be talking about a release — it’s been years in the making — but we’ve got a few surprises for the rest of summer and will be dropping Starlight in the following months. You could say it’ll be a Chroma summer, ha-ha.”

Can you talk about the creation of the video for “It’s Crunch Time”? It unfolds almost like a mini movie.

“Growing up, I read The Giver in school and was always super inspired by it. And I’ve always wanted to bring a story like that in some shape or form to film.

“It was an arduous, but super gratifying, process we went through from storyboarding with Marvin Martinez (who directed and edited the video) to finding a spot to shoot the chase sequence and even the creation of those shots had us in the heat all day and giving us … physical tasks to get these shots in place.

“I always remember holding on to the Jeep for dear life as I was leaning out of it in the chase sequence just so I could peep my head in the shot.”

Chroma, MKN Coffee, The Crown and ALG at Dr. Jeckylls Beer Lab, Pantego. 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10.

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.