Kenneth Martins II always had a way with words. As a child growing up in Texas City, his dream of one day becoming a rapper has now come to fruition with the release of his debut CD “Long Time Coming.”
Martins II, who goes by the moniker Bubba Luv, has been rapping since 1995 when he was a freshman at La Marque High School. Classified as an advanced student in the Gifted and Talented program, he credits that part of his education as to why he has the gift of lyricism.
Having gone through several road blocks such as incarceration, addiction to PCP, and the loss of family and friends through death, the CD tells the stories of how Martins II — through persistence and determination — has persevered and came out on the other side of what seemed like despair all around him.
“I couldn’t find it in me to give up on my dream,” Martins II said. “I’ve been a part of three groups, had a bad experience with a local label and pretty much everything happened that should’ve made me want to give up on music as a whole — but I didn’t. Getting this CD out has been therapeutic for me. It was harder for me to record than it was for me to write it; but in the end, it was worth it.”
With the death of his brother in 2011 and his mother in 2012, Martins II also had to deal with the death of one of his cousins, Antonio Pedro “Skwolla” Martins IV, who also appears on the album on three tracks. The track, “Longliveskwolla” is a tribute to Martins IV, who was killed tragically in 2015.
Throughout the entire CD, Martins II takes the listener on a ride through storytelling with words and catchy beats that give you a peek into his life while growing up in Texas City. He wrote about what he experienced, put it to a melody, and set it to music, which in some songs on the CD is explicit in nature.
“Writing about my experiences is just me,” Martins II said. “I speak from experience because I’ve been down those particular roads in life. Now that I’m back on the right track, I feel that I can talk about how I changed those negatives to positive ones. I can tell them (kids) all the negative stuff, but then I can also show them where it’ll get you if you don’t do positive things to better your life. You can walk away from wrong, addictions, etc. Some of the people I rap about on the CD were influential in my life and I knew how to take what would apply to my life from them instead of trying to walk in their footsteps. I mean, yes, I did do some of those bad things, but I learned from it as well. Being away from that lifestyle allowed me to see that I didn’t want to be in that situation and it allowed me to look at things differently. I’d rather talk about it than live it.”
Now 36, Martins II, who is a barber by profession at Deuces Barber Shop in La Marque, is a father to two sons, one of which (Kenneth Martins III) is also featured on the CD. The independently distributed CD was released Nov. 18 on Martins II’s 3MG label (started in 2009) and was produced by Platinumized Productions.
Other rappers such as Trayvon “TrayVez” Nichols, Ronnie “Big Ron” Rollins, Clyde “B.Jigga” Bruton and Houston-based rapper ESG are also featured on “Long Time Coming.” Martins II also has worked with mainstream artists such as Slim Thug and Big Hawk’s the Grit Boys on various projects.
“With songs like ‘Hoodstars,’ ‘Won’t Give Up’ and ‘Pitch Black,’ which are true demonstrations of storytelling, listeners can get a real visual (without a video) of what this artist is conveying,” said Terrance J. Lawrence, who has been managing Martins II since 2015. “Music in the 80s and 90s had a great story in the songs and ‘Long Time Coming’ has great chapters of overcoming adversity. He has a story that young people should hear and will hopefully encourage them to chase their dreams. Bubba Luv is a person that knows how to stay focused on his vision. This project was financed through hard work, dedication and a lot of determination.”
The CD can be purchased at online music streaming sites such as iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon Music and Google Music, just to name a few. Copies also are available at Deuces Barber Shop, 199-B Vauthier Road, in La Marque. For information, contact Martins II, 409-392-7269.
“I just wanted a chance to tell my story as far as what I went through to get here, which wasn’t easy,” Martins II said. “Rapping is a talent God gave me and I’m learning everyday on how to use it. I believe my CD is a breath of fresh air because it’s not just rap. I’m actually telling a story. This is real life, nonfiction; I put my heart and soul into this CD and if you really like music then this is something you really need to hear.”