A native of Baltimore, the city depicted as an urban Thunderdome on The Wire, King Los boasts plenty of street cred and metaphoric rap battle scars. A veteran of the grind since 1999, Los was recently re-signed to Sean “Diddy” Comb’s Bad Boy Records after being dumped by the label back in 2008. Yet getting dropped by Diddy was the best thing that could have happened to Los. Once independent, he cranked out the mixtapes and freestyles that built his fan-base. This year’s Becoming King mixtape is Los’ latest gambit in rap’s game of thrones, a full-on assault on the mainstream. With his grainy, raspy voice, Los is a fire-spitting rhymer, dynamically shifting from a blindingly rapid flow to Wale-esque poetry and the smooth baby-maker cadences of J. Cole. Yet Los’ focus on a commercial breakthrough exacts a price. He slavishly mimics the styles of mainstream rappers like Drake, bleaching out his own personality. The word is that forthcoming mix Zero Gravity II brings Los back to his roots with heavy freestyle dropping. If so, it would be a welcome return. Los is at his best when he concentrates less on becoming king and more on being himself.