As the sounds of roaring crowds and Jhené Aiko’s intoxicating vocals resonate throughout the overcast sky draping Chicago’s Grant Park, 23-year-old Chris Marshall seems calmly composed despite it being just an hour until his set at Lollapalooza: “I’m a DJ, I make some music, and uhh, people get turnt,” he remarks when asked to give a brief synopsis on what he does for a living. The young Texas producer, perhaps better known as his bass-dropping, pizza-hurling ‘crunkstep’ moniker Crizzly, exudes an ambiguous disposition that immediately captures the attention of surrounding press reporters and photographers. Decked out in an icy blue-tinted rolex, shades, and of course his signature gold chain, one sees the arrogant splendor of a rap star yet receives the humble demeanor of a young buddha (that has perhaps listened to a little too much French Montana).
Fresh from touring all summer with the Vans Warped tour, Chris is ecstatic on the experience: “I love Warped. There are some older cats there but the majority of the crowd is young. People aren’t doing drugs, they’re eating pizza instead. It’s just a better atmosphere. People are there for the music, that’s the best part.” From embarking on a co-headlining tour with dubstep pioneer Figure last year to playing at some of the biggest venues in the US, Chris is certainly no stranger to the live setting. Bringing unprecedented raw energy at breakneck speed through effortless mixing, Crizzly has proven again and again that his hip-hop infused sets are a precious commodity and a one-of-a-kind experience within the world of dance music.
That being said, the young producer isn’t shy about what he brings to every performance: “If you’re a girl, you’re probably gonna break a nail. If you’re a dude, you’re probably going to get punched in the face. That’s what you should expect. If you get anything less you’re not doing it right.” The turn up is real indeed, and perhaps one of the prominent factors for Crizzly’s success in bringing the ruckus is “Crunkstep,” his own self-proclaimed genre that’s defined his music since the very beginning: “[Crunkstep] is a mixture, a blend if you will, of hip-hop, dubstep, and really anything bass oriented. It doesn’t matter what the tempo is, it doesn’t matter how it exactly sounds, it’s just my style and what I bring to the table.”
From high-octane remixes of artists ranging from Jay-Z, Excision, A$AP Rocky, Rihanna, and countless others, it only takes a few tracks to catch on to Marshall’s contrived amalgamation of genres. And thanks to this hip-hop infused curation, Crizzly’s musical style transcends any cookie-cutter classification: “One of the main reasons for why I created [crunkstep] was because, fuck genres. I would rather people associate my music with a brand that defines me. It could be fucking ‘Pizza Shit’ or ‘Pizza-cheese-step,’ for all I care.”
While Carnage is busy downing Chipotle burritos, Crizzly’s calling comes in more of an oven-baked form – Pizza: “My friends and I just started posting pizza memes back and forth, and started hash tagging it. From there people just started to fuck with it and now all of the sudden I’m the pizza guy. But fuck it, I love pizza. It’s true, I can’t deny it.” What initially started as a joke, Marshall’s ‘#Pizzagang’ trademark has completely taken over his act, prevalent in tweets, photos, and even live shows: “I love to throw out pizza at my sets. Some people be hungry you feel me? If you’re raging you’re gonna need those carbs.”
Perhaps what makes Chris and his music so appealing is this nonchalant, playful yet straightforward attitude. While countless DJ’s take themselves too seriously donning masks and throwing pretentious temper-tantrums, Chris is too busy tossing out baked cheesy goodness to fans and dropping the hardest dubstep and trap records the world has to offer: “I just like giving back to the people. It’s all about pizza, it’s all about good vibes.” Straight and to the point, Chris is the pizza delivery boy of crunkstep that will deliver it fresh to your front doorstep and awaiting eardrums without fail.
Support Crizzly and his music below and stay tuned for his newest release featuring a “notable rapper from the Houston area” soon. With that, Chris leaves Run the Trap and Crizzly fans with the words “Fuck shit up.” – Max Chung (@CRWNSmusic)