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Montrose hip-hop artist Miggy C tells story of addiction, music and hope
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Founder of La Familia Music Group, EQ, (left) sits with Hip Hop artist Miggy C (right).

MONTROSE, Colo. At 20 years old, Miguel Cantu was trying to escape addiction … again. 

He was running away from homelessness in Denver, hoping to reconnect with his grandparents. In a Glenwood Springs convenience store, he took one more hit for the road, leaving his syringe on a diaper changing station in the bathroom. 

A mother and child were next in line. When the mother saw the syringe, she alerted the clerk, who called the police. Cantu had wandered to a fast food place next door — an easy catch for the officers who showed up. 

This wasn’t rock bottom for Cantu. He had already hit rock bottom. But this encounter with the police would lead to court-ordered rehab in California — and ultimately, to a lasting change in his trajectory. 

The Road to Miggy C

Hip-hop artist in Montrose shares story of recovery from addiction


“As someone who’s sober, what does life look like for you now?” asked Wes Anderson, a long-time acquaintance of Cantu, in a 2022 podcast interview.

With a dimpled grin shining with hope, Cantu said, “Life is … life is beautiful, today.”

Cantu, 24, is raising his 13-year-old sister. He is a full-time sales manager at Pine Country Trailers in Montrose. With his remaining hours, Cantu is a recording artist and performer. He goes by Miggy C inside and outside of the studio. 

Cantu recently performed for about 300 people at Meow Wolf in Denver with his friends from La Familia Music Group. It was a marked difference from the last time he was in Denver, homeless, flying signs asking for money he would use to purchase more heroin. 

Miggy C at Meow Wolf. Photo courtesy @Bishhop__.

Independence day

Cantu sincerely wanted a change in his life. The court saw this and offered him a chance to clean up in rehab instead of jail. They sent him to Los Angeles, a mecca for some well-known and successful rehabilitation programs.

Cantu quickly learned he could go to a nearby convenience store and purchase Kratom pills. Kratom in small doses is a mild stimulant like coffee. In higher doses, it can act as a sedative. With it in your blood, you’ll likely fail a drug test.

Remembering that time, Cantu said, “[Kratom] isn't my drug of choice, but I was so sick that I'm going to take whatever I can get … whatever I could do.” 

The folks at the rehab caught wind of what Cantu was doing. If he failed a test, then his court order would be broken, and he would be a fugitive. He was advised to leave and come back in 30 days — clean — and pick it back up from there. He was a Montrose kid in L.A., homeless.

Cantu said, “Being an addict, my first instinct was like, ‘Well, I just ruined that. Let's go get high.’” 

He had $60, and not a penny more. He bought a prepaid phone — not to make a phone call, but to use as collateral. He started snooping around and found someone who’d trade the phone for pot. He got high and contemplated his next move. 

Meanwhile, Cantu’s sponsor through Narcotics Anonymous was trying to track him down. A sponsor is someone dedicated to being there for addicts in rehabilitation when they feel they are slipping, and Cantu was slipping away.

“Where are you at?” asked Pops (Cantu’s sponsor) via a Facebook message. Cantu tried to reply hopefully, to be strong. “Don't worry about me. I'm fine. I'll figure it out,” he told Pops. 

Pops knew better. He rounded up other members of the support group, hopped in his minivan, and told Cantu to wait at the library where he had logged on to his social media account. He’d be there in five minutes. Some of Pop’s other sponsees circled the library ready to tackle Cantu if necessary. It wasn’t. Cantu joined them willingly. 

Cantu remembered, “The first thing they said is, ‘Do you know how to play spades?’” He didn’t. That night they taught him how to play the card game in a house that felt emotionally safe. 

“That night I got to witness firsthand what recovery looks like and how beautiful that is. And how simple it could truly be if I let it,” said Cantu. 

Cantu spent the night at Pops’ house. The next day was July 4, 2019. He calls that his clean day. Independence Day. He’s been clean ever since. 

Miguel Cantu presents his narcotics anonymous necklace

Life on life’s terms

Back in Montrose in 2020, Cantu was one year into living clean. He had a solid job. He was trusted. He was a part of his family and community. 

I always say life on life's terms is hard regardless … and I am not exempt from life on life's terms,” said Cantu.

Cantu was at work when he got the call. His mom was at home and she wasn’t moving. 

“I left and I don't know how fast I was going down Townsend [Ave.], but I know it wasn’t legal,” remembers Cantu.

By the time he arrived, his mom was being carried out on a stretcher. Cantu was screaming, begging her to come to. But, she never did. 

Cantu said, “With all the family went through, because of me being clean, I was able to be there and help … I was present. I was able to be there for everybody. And I let people be there for me, which is important too.”

Brother figure

Cantu’s dad was deported when he was 2 years old. When Cantu’s mom passed away, his then, 11-year-old sister was without a parent. 

Their grandparents have always been extremely supportive. But, feeling the uncertainty of old age, they didn’t feel like they could commit to being full-time caregivers to their granddaughter. Cantu decided to apply for full custody of his sister and to his astonishment, was able to do so.

It’s a difficult balance for Cantu to be both brother and father. He’s open with his sister about the path he’s been on. 

Cantu said, “It's hard because I think about what I went through and I try explaining it to her, and I know she won't fully grasp it, but I want her to learn from my mistakes.” 

He doesn’t want the fact that his story turned out successful to be justification for her to experiment in harmful ways.

“But at the same time, I can't do it for her. She's got to learn herself. I just hope that she'll take heed to what I say and know I say it out of love, not just trying to control her,” said Cantu.

Miguel Cantu's sister Aleyah sits at the EP release party at La Familia Music Group.

It’s all in La Familia

On East Main street in Montrose, there’s a storefront in a strip mall next to McDonald's. Inside there are T-shirts, sweatshirts, and stickers. A tag on one of the sweatshirts says in bold letters, “Keep Family Close, Family is First.” Below that are the letters ‘LFMG’ which stands for La Familia Music Group.

In the back of the shop is an actual sound-treated studio with all the tools to record and create music. And in the case of La Familia, that music is usually hip-hop and rap. 

Edgar Quiroz founded LFMG three years ago. He goes by “EQ” on and off the stage. E and Q are his initials, but the nickname is also a clever tip of the hat to one of his lifelong passions; EQing music; recording, mixing, and mastering.

Quiroz grew up in the ski town of Telluride. His mom worked in housekeeping and his dad in construction. His dad showed him he could make good money in construction and Quiroz did learn the trades. But, he was always pulled in another direction; music. Not just making music, being a rapper, but how to pull it all together; to capture and give shape to sounds.

Quiroz said, “Growing up, we never had a spot like this, like LFMG. We never really had the support even to begin with to create a spot like that.”

It was not easy for Quiroz to create a studio dedicated to the sounds of hip-hop in a place that is likely to misunderstand hip-hop culture. It would be much easier in Denver or L.A. But, that has never been the goal for Quiroz. He wants to bloom where he is planted. And he wants to provide fertile soil for others like himself who just need a microphone to sing into. 

He is a businessman and his business needs to provide for his family. But, he has a deep desire to help other people pursue their dreams. People like Cantu. 

“[I want to] help upcoming artists like myself, when I was young and wanted to pursue this and I wanted to be a rapper and everyone laughed at me because they're like, Really?” said Quiroz while chuckling, “I want it to be cool to say, Oh!, I'm from Western Colorado, I'm from Montrose, I'm from Grand Junction.”

Three years ago Quiroz was just starting to remodel the space that would become La Familia. He placed a sign in the window that said, “coming soon, recording studio.”

Cantu was in the drive-thru at McDonald’s and saw that coming soon sign, and knew exactly what his move would be.

La Familia Music Group storefront in Montrose.

Goals not dreams

“I don't like to look at my dreams as dreams anymore. I like to look at them as goals because a dream is more of a thought and a goal is more of a plan,” said Cantu, “And, I do plan on accomplishing my dreams.”

What is Cantu’s goal? “My main goal … is to do what I love and be able to provide while doing it,” He said. 

Cantu loves music. He loves writing words to beats. He loves communicating through song.

When asked what it will take to accomplish this goal, Cantu answered, “Working at this goal looks like constant hours in the studio. It looks like working a full-time job to provide for the necessities … not taking time off from making shirts, making CDs, making music, creating something that's cohesive, like an album, doing shows … doing all of that.”

“It wasn’t just by me”

In the summer of 2012, Wes Anderson, an Alabama native, answered the call to serve an internship as a youth sponsor in Montrose, Colorado. That is when he met a young Miguel Cantu. Cantu had the same dimpled grin he has now. He emanated a light-hearted spirit. But, Anderson could see the future that was in store for him.

“Unfortunately, he was already starting to get into some things that he probably shouldn't have been at that age and thought some things were cool that really weren't going to be good for him,” said Anderson, “and it was heartbreaking to see all the things that he went through from afar, being back in Alabama.”

There’s only so much a person can do. What Anderson did do is stay in touch with Cantu through the years; just checking in on him from time to time. 

Anderson creates a podcast called "In the Shed" with Wes Anderson. For reasons unknown, his biggest following is in India. His podcast is a light-hearted news show. But, sometimes he likes to dig deep and offer an interview with someone who’s got a helpful story to tell. He decided to check in with Cantu and asked him to lay it all out. And that’s just what Cantu did. 

The real truth is found in nuance, and Cantu’s story of addiction and recovery is full of it. Anderson’s podcast provided a platform for Cantu to explain things like how his single mom had special needs, how he knew by the time he was 11 he could easily manipulate his mom, and how he convinced his mom that smoking weed would be better for her than using pain pills. Cantu further explained how he sold the pain pills to get more weed, and how he started using the pills which ultimately lead him to heroin and homelessness. 

But, most importantly Cantu explains the piece-by-piece trail to recovery and what that looks like, and that it is possible. 

Anderson said, “It's easy to look at Miggy’s story and say that it is a story of redemption and it is, but his story is a story of agency and choice and discipline and tenacity.”

Reflecting on how far he’s come, Cantu said, “I have to stop thinking about it this way, but sometimes I think, I don't know if I deserve this, but I do. I do deserve it. I've worked hard, and I've come a long way for the things I have in life today. And it wasn't just by me.”

All along the way there have been people looking out for Cantu, from his grandparents to Quiroz to Pops in L.A. to Anderson in Alabama. He was never alone, but he had to be allowed to pass through the shadows by himself. 

“He's driven by hope. That's what's all over him,” said Anderson, “If you talk to him, if you spend time with him it’s contagious. He's just a difference-maker. I'm just proud of him. And I'm proud to know him.”

You can listen to Wes Anderson’s full interview with Cantu here.

To learn more about La Familia Music Group and Miggy C’s music, visit this link.

Cullen Purser is a multimedia journalist at Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach him at

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