Des Moines hip-hop artist Markaus has shared the music video for “Essence,” the first single from his new EP, “Burn The Boats.” The EP shares its name with a limited edition whiskey produced under Markaus’ Ziyad Rye brand.
The title of the EP comes from the Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula in 711 A.D. The story goes that commander Tariq ibn Ziyad ordered his troops to “burn the boats” to ensure their commitment. Markaus took inspiration from the story.
“The mentality that I’d face death before failure is something incredible,” he says. “This project is the most personal I’ve ever gotten. I’ve never shared some of the things I’m sharing on this album. It’s like sitting in on a therapy session.”
“Essence” is a perfect example of how personal Markaus gets on this new release, and he hopes others will find inspiration in his words.
“Despite the successes or whatever we experience, take a moment each day to address what your inner you is trying to say,” he says. “We have the tendency to ignore ourselves in exchange for the images society sets for us.”
Another song on the EP, “White Rye,” represents an intersection of two major things in Markaus’ life: his first white rye whiskey and his ongoing musical relationship with Ames-based guitarist and singer-songwriter King Wylde, who plays on the song.
"‘White Rye’ represents new beginnings to me,” says Markaus. “Something that’s perfect as it is but can still be improved. It’s also what started my whole journey into spirits, the first product I’ve ever released. Whiskey, like hip hop, can have complex flavors, aromas, and will make you move differently. This is, from our research, the first album/liquor combination ever, and we intend to continue innovating.”
“Burn The Boats” is available on most streaming services, and a download card is included with every bottle of Ziyad Burn The Boats whiskey. For his next project, Markaus will be releasing King Wylde’s solo debut on his own Media Fresh record label. The release will coincide with the opening of Ziyad’s new distillery and tasting room in Des Moines this fall.