Dizzy Wright Shares Early Funk Volume Memories & Plans A New Mixtape
Exclusive: Funk Volume's Dizzy Wright tells how he predicted landing the "XXL Freshman Class" cover, and how giving away hundreds of CDs helped build his fan base.
Las Vegas is known as an adult playground. When it comes to music, an image of The Sands’ marquee comes to mind packed with the biggest names of the time (the Rat Pack or Wayne Newton perhaps). Hip Hop is surprisingly not something closely associated with a city that hosts some of the top live shows every year. Vegas’ Hip Hop history is one that is thin and lacks precedent. Dizzy Wright could be one to change that.
Getting noticed in Sin City was a challenge for the Funk Volume signee. Wright says that his hometown is not one that has many opportunities to be heard.
“We wasn’t really getting no love because Vegas is known for copying everything California does,” he said. “We had to catch the Greyhound from Vegas…just that young grind and trying to be in front of people. And we would do anything to conjure up some money if we saw an opportunity for people to hear us.”
Wright’s mother was a promoter in the industry for years. He saw firsthand how the industry worked at a young age and decided that the indie route was the right choice for him.
“I’m happy, I’m creating music, I’m traveling the world, I’m a provider for my daughter; I’m good,” Dizzy said. “If you look around everybody who’s in a major label wants to be independent and then most of the people who are independent who aren’t making moves want to be with majors because they don’t got it. I got it!”
During the early days of Dizzy Wright’s association with Funk Volume, Hopsin didn’t have Wright change what he was doing, he just required him to turn out that music and begin a new era of hustle.
“They pretty much threw my ass in the studio and was like, ‘Little motherfucker, you better come out with that shit you been coming out with,’” Dizzy said.
HipHopDX recently spoke with Dizzy Wright about his young career, how he united with Hopsin and recently being featured on XXL’s Freshman Class cover.
Dizzy Wright Talks Parenthood & Personal Growth
HipHopDX: What’s been up recently with Dizzy Wright maybe not even musically?
Dizzy Wright: I’m a daddy man; I’ve been on my daddy shit. I’m about to go on tour, so I’ve just been spending a lot of time with my daughter—teaching her how to spell her name. That’s pretty much what I’ve been on, rehearsing for touring and shooting music videos. It’s either like working on my craft or taking care of my daughter.
DX: You put out a lot of music videos, and obviously you’ve got your Funk Volume compadres in a lot of them, whether it’s cameo or actually featured. With that high volume what is your goal? Are you just trying to get as much possible out to you fans?
Dizzy Wright: Uh yeah, just consistency, showing kids consistency and dedication. I just kind of want to motivate people, and I like creating and being talented. It’s a lot of songs I’ve done that I wished that I did videos for so people could have got a better understanding of what I never did. I’m not going to feel like that no more, you know? I want to just go through as much as I can in the time that I got and work hard.
DX: Recently you were on the cover of XXL for their Freshman Class cover. What went through your mind when you were selected, and how much did that actually matter to you?
Dizzy Wright: It meant everything to me, just because I’ve been following the XXL cover forever. I told my friends in 2010 that 2013 was going to be my year, so they like, “Woah” [laughs]. They like, “Woah, you really called that shit.” I just made myself believe something, and I really made it happen. So it just feels good to accomplish something that was completely out of my reach.
DX: Sure, because back in 2010 you were still kind of on the local scene, and that’s probably why your friends are so surprised that you jumped to the cover of XXL so quickly. How much do you think you’ve grown over those three years or even just over this last year?
Dizzy Wright: I’ve been growing in different aspects. My daughter will be two [years old] next month. So two years of being a father definitely has changed, and the 10 months before that the pregnancy changed me. So this year and then like last year traveling the world, changing and experiencing things I never thought I’d see—like outside the box things, outside of what I was thinking—it made me think above and beyond. I’ve just been accepting and learning a lot of shit, and I just feel like I’m going to be growing a lot.
DX: How much has seeing the world changed your context or put into context how much you want to accomplish in your career?
Dizzy Wright: Well it’s just cool meeting so many different people, but I tend to attract people who have real shit to talk about. Maybe it’s ‘cause of my music, I don’t know. But I tend to attract good, hard-working people. The shit that I talk about that I strive for people to be, I attract those people and they talk to me. Like in Germany, I’ll have a full-blown, real life conversation with people. That kind of stuff just lets me know that everybody in the world goes through things, and even places we go that we think are so beautiful…there’s still people there that go through real life shit and it’s been wild.
Funk Volume’s Influence On Dizzy Wright’s Career
DX: You recently dropped the video for “Still Movin’” and in it you say, “Independent livin’ and we still movin.’” You’ve always kind of been bent on taking the indie route. A part of that has to do with the experiences you and your mother had when she was heavily involved in the music industry. What exactly makes you want to take the indie route, and what would define being successful in you career?
Dizzy Wright: I mean, you want to be happy in what you’re doing in your life right?
Dizzy Wright: I want to be happy, extremely happy, not worried about things. I’m happy right now. I’m creating music, I’m traveling the world, I’m a provider for my daughter, I’m good. I don’t need all the extra stuff. That stuff will slowly come, and I’m cool with working for that stuff. I’m happy right now man. I worked to get here, but to make changes and to give myself to somebody else and possibly make me unhappy doesn’t make it worth it. If you look around, everybody who’s in a major label wants to be independent. And then most of the people who are independent who aren’t making moves want to be with majors because they don’t got it. I got it! I feel like I got it, and I’m going to work to be the best. I’m just happy where I’m at. So that’s kinda what keeps my 10 toes on the ground.
DX: How did you originally meet Hopsin and the others at Funk Volume and what sold you about them to be a part of that clique?
Dizzy Wright: I thought Hopsin was ill, and I thought Hopsin was a weirdo. I was like, “Ah, yeah I need to be around a weirdo [laughs].” Nah but definitely I thought I could fit in with what they had going on. But I also knew that I could stand out. If you put it all out on the table with the music, this is where I need to be, with Funk Volume. They could really spit. We’re not talking about those swag rappers or those guys who are known for having the flyest clothes. [We’re] talking about people coming up with good ass videos and rap hella good. That’s where I need to be, and the little instances that I have being fly and stuff like that will be better for me. It will be my thing instead of everybody’s thing, and that’s what attracted me to Funk Volume.
Nowadays, if you look at everybody’s crew, damn near everybody’s the same, and Funk Volume is a real-life variety. We don’t come from the same neighborhoods; we come from different parts of the world. So, I mean, this shit can be greatness, and I just really felt like I could fit in and stand out. Just coming across Hopsin, seeing him against us and just finding out that they was looking at me…and they thought I was super dope especially after how hard of a critic Hopsin is. He go at some heavy hitters. Like I’m a young cat from Vegas who just had a vision. And he go after people who been doing it much longer than me. So to gain that respect from the jump, it meant a lot, and it makes me want to go harder.
DX: As a young artist it seems like you’re experimenting a lot with the types of songs you want to do. You come off kind of somber in songs like “Fuck Your Opinion,” but then are less reflective in songs like “Hotel Stripper.” Are you still kind of trying to find your sound or trying to define yourself as an artist?
Dizzy Wright: Yeah, I guess you could say that. Just putting my projects out, I think I did a good job with kind of finding my sound. I still don’t think I’ve perfected it yet; I still feel like I’ve got a lot of work to do. But the thing is, most of my music is based off of emotion. So with a record like “Fuck Your Opinion”—where there was an emotion I felt—and I wrote the song off of that. Then you get the songs where like, I go to the clubs, [and] I love trap production. I love to turn up, and I still love to dance with girls. Like I don’t take anything away from that, so I’m not trying to make it like those people who do that kind of music ain’t Hip Hop. I’m not judging the kind of music people do. I feel like all music is Hip Hop, and you can have those kinds of sounds to be in every place that you want to be. I would love to be in the club when “Hotel Stripper” comes on, be able to nod my head to that and then be able to go to the car and hear the smooth shit that I got. I like to be all of that package.
DX: Did Hopsin ever give you any constructive criticism as an emcee or any advice on how to handle yourself when you first joined with Funk Volume?
Dizzy Wright: Nope. When I got with Funk Volume, they told me to get busy. They had faith in me as an artist, and they felt like can’t nobody do me better than me, ‘cause like nobody can do Hop better than Hop. So they pretty much threw my ass in the studio and was like, “Little motherfucker, you better come out with that shit you been coming out with [laughs],” you know? And like that’s pretty much what happened. The most insight that I got from Funk Volume—as far as just bettering myself as an artist—is through concerts. I’ve seen Hop perform, and I was like, “Woah, this motherfucker is next level.” I’m just talking about being a real emcee, taking your lyrics out the song, rapping that shit, hearing the hard beats and jumping up and down like going super hard, putting on a show not trying to be fly but trying to sweat. I got that from Funk Volume, that energy.
I had to figure out how to balance my show out to fuck with these niggas, because my show was already so slowed down. I literally would get on stage and talk that shit, ‘cause I got to a point where I was upset about where Hip Hop was. People would go to shows, and everybody would sound alike and I was like, “How do these motherfuckers not know that they all sound alike?” That shit pisses me off. So I would get up on stage, and I would literally rap over beats like not giving a damn. So when I got with Funk Volume, I had to figure out how to convert that to energy, be able to still do what I do and provide the same kind of energy that they bring. That’s the one thing that everybody in Funk Volume has in common is the energy that we bring to the shows. Everybody goes hard. You don’t have anyone that goes up there and just be spitting that shit and just walk around. We go up there and bust our ass; we go hard. So they started giving me insight on my shows. SwizZz started talking to me like making sure my songs are mastered, so at the shows it sounds better. SwizZz told me I should work on my adlibs a little more and just bring out certain things. So little things they just threw out there for me to do and run with. It was never nothing serious, but they just wanted me to be better.
Dizzy Wright Says, “Fans Are Everything”
DX: In 2010 you won Fan Favorite at Blaze The Stage. Obviously you got voted on by fans to be on the XXL Freshmen Class cover this year. You also talk about your fans a lot in different songs. How much do they mean to your artistry and what affect do they have on you?
Dizzy Wright: Man, the fans are everything. My fans just make me feel like…make me feel special. They make me feel great, and just getting out there, interacting, talking to them, signing autographs, smoking weed with them and them telling me how I motivated them to do something. With them knowing all the songs…I mean just me being on stage, looking in the crowd and them motherfuckers rapping the lyrics with more passion than my ass [laughs]. They feel me, and they understand me. And that feeling is like…they make me feel great—like legendary and not just talking that bullshit. I still got a lot of shit that I got to learn and educate myself on that I’m going to feed the world with. But they see that I know how to talk about it, and it kind of attaches itself to me. I love my fans, ‘cause they cool man. I don’t have any outrageously wild fans man. I be telling them to be cool as shit, and they be being cool, so it’s like a big ass circle of cool people.
DX: You recently dropped the song “Maintain” with Joey Bada$$ what kind of reaction did you get from that?
Dizzy Wright: Yeah I got that real good Hip Hop love from that because it’s like some West Coast/East Coast shit. We in a new day and age in Hip Hop and East Coast and West Coast really was beefin’ at one point in time. So Joey [Bada$$] just being so hot from the East Coast right now and me being hot from the West Coast, it just seemed right. We brought back that feel good, set the mood Hip Hop. I think it’s great for Hip Hop especially right now.
DX: You started rapping when you were eight-years-old. Did you ever think your career would get to this point?
Dizzy Wright: I really didn’t know how my career was going to go. I knew what I wanted, and I knew what I had to do. But I didn’t really have anything in front of me to look at, because I really wasn’t looking at majors. I didn’t really know where my career was going to be, and I didn’t know of any independent labels that were out there. I wasn’t really even sure, man. I obviously didn’t even know. I was just like, “I’m going to make music and drop these videos for the homies, and just whatever happens, happens.” I was doing everything off of nothing; I wasn’t even trying to make any money. I didn’t want to sell nothing, [but] I didn’t want to push anybody away from even listening to my music. All I really wanted to do was listen to my music. I would literally come up with money, buy 100 CDs and go to the club and give them all away ‘cause those are my really early grinding stages. I just wanted everybody to feel me out, and people started to talk. So I didn’t have any primary vision or anything.
DX: You moved from Flint, Michigan to Las Vegas. Vegas hasn’t traditionally been a place with precedent in the higher lore of Hip Hop history. How hard was it for you to break out and get noticed in Sin City?
Dizzy Wright: Um, pretty difficult. I definitely had to take advantage of the competitions and not think that I was better than that shit ‘cause we wasn’t getting no love. We wasn’t really getting no love, because Vegas is known for copying everything California does. California comes up with some shit, and then a couple months later you come to Vegas, and these niggas try to make it’s sizzling. Then the Cali niggas is like, “These niggas is playin,’” and then you never get no love. So I was the first person to really step outside the box and not be following anything from anywhere else…just representing for the city.
I used to do jerking music back in the day, and I remember me and Moshie, we caught the Greyhound all the way down to the jerking event. We would just go in there, perform and then literally get on the bus. We had to catch the Greyhound from Vegas—just that young grind and just trying to be in front of people, and we would do anything to conjure up some money if we saw an opportunity for people to hear us. And then stuff like “106 & Park” Wild Out Wednesday–I did that and it was just a bunch of little competitions and shit. People was kind of like, “Okay, okay, alright, I see the nigga.”
DX: What’s next for Dizzy Wright coming up in the immediate future?
Dizzy Wright: I go on tour Monday with the Kottonmouth Kings on the Flight to Unite tour. I think we doing 29 cities in the U.S. starting in Arizona. I’m excited about that, because I did real well on my own tour. I dropped the album, and then had my own tour. It did well, and I know that my fan-base has grown a lot. I know I got a lot of new fans off the XXL shit, I’m going to be in front of a lot of new fans that don’t know me that just know the Kottonmouth Kings. So I feel like I get to go in front of my old fans, I get to get in front of these new fans and I get to get in front of these fans that don’t even know about me. I really get to benefit from this tour and then after that, after that tour I’m going to finish up this mixtape. I don’t have a date yet, but I’m not trying to be all weird about it. When the music is done, I’m just going to drop that shit, and I’m going to be doing videos for it and just work until I can’t work no more. And that’s what it’s going to be.