Cassidy: Second Chances

posted September 18, 2007 12:00:00 AM CDT | 50 comments

The clouds seemed closer than what they were, while laying on the ground versus what they did while standing. That famous light somehow seeped through the clouds and created a whole new perspective and vision. DMX couldnt have been lying when he spoke on the days of being Earl and coming close to death.

The Lord probably gave him a sign.

A sign to slow down or possibly even change his entire lifestyle.

That same sign hit Tupac, Kanye West and even Mason Betha. Sometimes its too late and sometimes you get a second chance.

Cassidy got his second chance. Now the infamous emcee known for his lyricism and freestyles is now using his experiences as a wake-up call. The Philly native plans to take advantage of every moment, in every rhyme and conquer his quest as being one of the best emcees of all time.

Cassidy spent some time with to reflect on his career, to talk about his new album B.A.R.S., the future of Philadelphia and his dedicated walk toward that shining light.

Oh yeah, he also has an opinion on Homosexuality and Lil Wayne.

HipHopDX: Youve been through a lot. What do you think it is about these mishaps or close to death experiences that makes you stronger, or these in jail experiences that bring these emcees to a higher level?
: I cant really speak for anybody else. As far as myself and my relationship with God, a lot of things I think people take for granted. I was comfortable being without nothing and built on my relationship with God. Im not taking it for granted. The message that I was putting out there before was all about riding around in cars and getting dressed, but now if you talk to my friends and family, Im no longer taking it for granted. I know that there are things that I need to do. Im more focused. My mind is a little bit more mature because of what I experienced.

HipHopDX: Cool. Why do you think its so important for people to know who Cassidy is outside of the booth and punch-lines?
: I wanted to be an artist that was similar to a Tupac. People just didnt respect him for the music that he made, but the person that he was. He used to go through a lot of situations that affected him in his real life. People used to ride with him through that. I feel like Im that type of artist. Not to have that type of ending that Tupac had, but to add the same type of impact over Hip Hop and over the people that like Hip Hop. I feel as though I can be that type of person because not only am I talented, (or able to come up with good music) Im also a person who people who should be following or living their life like - in certain situations. Not all the way round, but in certain situations. They shouldnt be following the cats that theyre used to following. I feel as though I bring that to the table. When I do that its gonna be what its gone be.

HipHopDX: Similar to Tupac, youve been on the grind and really got it in. Word of mouth says you did over 50 tracks. How long did it take you, minus the accident, to complete this album and what was your motivation?
Cassidy: I started the album before I got in the accident. When I first got out of jail, I went to Arizona for a couple of months and started working on my album. When I came back to New York to mix a couple songs down and get a couple features, thats when I got into the accident. That pushed me back another five or six months. As I went through the young stages of recovery of the accident, I kept focus in the studio and started recording new records. Thats how I was able to have a bunch of records, too. I was working for a long period of time. If I didnt go through the accident, the album probably would have been out already. Yet, it would have prevented me from having as many songs on this album. You know what Im sayin?

HipHopDX: You think your visions changed for the album, after you got in the car accident?
: Definitely. Im more mature; Im growing as a man and growing as an individual on top of that. Im getting more experience when it comes to making music. I used to a be a battle/mixtape/punchline type of rapper. I never was a real artist in regards to making songs. Now I learned how to do that and I learned a formula and now its become easy. Ive been practicing at it and Im bringing that to the table on this album. I can now bring in and talk about a lot of issues that I never talked about before, like the accident or going to jail. A lot of other people experienced it or had people around them that experienced it. So when I talk about people on the streets, people getting shot or the court system or how crooked the cops is, its a better chance that people are going to believe me. People know that Im in the same positions that theyre in and I went through some of the same things that theyre going through now. Opposed to a person who grew up in the suburbs who were fortunate their whole lives and never went through it, and still talking it. Thats not realistic to me or to other people. Thats whats gonna separate this album from any album period, not just my own.

HipHopDX: You were saying you really never got into making songs. I would compare you to a Canibus (lyrically). Both of you have bars for days. Line for line, how important do you think it is to have lyrics right now in Hip Hop. Do you think it even matters, as far as reaching a level of success?
: Back in the day, I use to look up to cats like Nas and Canibus. I remember people use to even say I sounded like Canibus when I first started rhyming. I used to love the style that he had and they way he use to get at it. Thats the type of rappers I use to hang around and thats the type of rapper that I wanted to be. Its definitely important for me to be lyrical and to keep it coming with those punchlines. Its important for me to step it up each time. I dont feel as though every artist looked up to Canibus or the lyrical dudes. I believe that some artists looked up to dudes for their just bounces, or dudes with just flows, or dudes who had little crazy voices. For the fact that I used to look up to cats like Canibus, I really go hard with my bars. I feel as though certain dudes should go hard with their bars and certain dudes dont. Everybody has different talents and everybody aint gone be able to do same thing. I dont want to hear all lyrical songs either. Sometimes I just want to have fun, dance and party. I dont even want to focus on lyrics, rather the mood and the way that the music is making me feel. Then, at times I do want to hear somebody spit it and talk greasy too. Thats what were missing, right now. People say that Hip Hop is dead but I dont feel like Hip Hop is dead. I just feel as though being creative as a spitter and as being a real lyricist and coming up with creative (original) topics is dead.

HipHopDX: Aside from yourself, if you could pick anybody in the industry right now who is the epitome of Hip Hop or represents it well, who would you pick and why?
: Um, its really hard to say. I dont feel like theres an all around artist that represents Hip Hop all the way around. The person, who is the closest in doing that right now, is T.I. Its still kind of hard to do it right now because in order to be one of the best or be the epitome of rap, you have be a all around rapper (similar to a Tupac, a Biggie Smalls or even a Jay-Z in his prime). They could do anything. They could get on a female song (talking to the ladies), they could have Top 40 songs, underground songs and the best lyricist out at the time and still shine on the song. Thats what an artist is and thats the epitome of a rapper. I dont feel as though that theres an artist that can do that. There might be some artist that are lyrical but when it comes time to jump on a song with one of those down south dudes, that got bounce and make a hit, they cant do that. They can air it out on a mixtape or on the radio, but they cant make a hit. They dont have swag, they cant change their tone of voice, they sound the same every rap or they sound too different, nerdy or theyre not believable. Just so many grounds and so many artist and all of them got different talents and none of them is close to being perfectlike B.I.G., like Pac or like Jay-Z was.

HipHopDX: Lets talk about the mixtape. You talk about cats kissing their daddies and how you really dont get down like that. Let me know, how you feel about LilWayne and what hes doing right now in Hip Hop.
: I feel as though Lil Wayne is getting a lot of respect right now because, hes one of the few artist thats really going hard and putting out a lot of music and jumping on everything. The game is so watered down that theres no competition, he seems like he sticking out and hes the best. This is because nobodys really doing it. If a bunch a dudes were doing it and going hard, then there would be more competition and I dont feel as though hed be considered to be as good as he is. I say that because he was out for years and years doing his thing and before I went to jail, he never had a reputation as being a spitter or even a rapper. He must have gotten focused and I definitely respect him and thats why, before I went to jail, I put him on my Im a Hustla album. I like whats hes doing, I like how he sounds and I think hes real lyrical (sometimes) and plus he still has the down south bounce. I like him.

At the same time, I dont feel like you should be kissing a man regardless of what you do, how many songs you on, how many remixes you do or regardless of how talented you are. Especially, when thats not your real biological dad. If it was, you still shouldnt kiss him on his mouth - on his head, maybe on his cheek. It wasnt one time. I can see if you didnt see your pops after twenty years and then you see him and you might kiss him one time or something. I would understand a little more. But man, thats how yall greet each other or even depart? By kissing? I dont think thats needed. I dont feel, as an artist thats suppose to be considered as one of the best rappers out right now, that he should be sending that type of message to kids. It might be kids coming up thinking that they can do it. I dont think anybody in the streets would ever approve of anything like that... never. I cant believe how people in the industry can find out something like that and just accept it and just take it.

Theres no standard anymore niggas can get locked up for anything now, niggas can get accused of this and that and when people find out thats it actually true, they just act like it never even happened and just keep it moving. Oh, when you find out that this person is a faggot, its just like aiight. Its like they never heard the information. I dont understand that. Me, being the real nigga that I am, is just say whats on my mind. Not to start any beef, but I just like to say what I feel.

HipHopDX: Back in the day you had a battle with Freeway. This kind of brought you to the forefront for a lot of people. You recently did a track with Beanie Siegel. How important has it become for you and other Philly rappers to get together and represent Philly?
: Most definitely its important. Thats the reason why when people criticize the southern market, all you can think is that they really do stick together and support each other. Thats what I think these Philly artist need to do. We need to stick together and support each other and start to make quality music (instead of trying so hard to be an individual and being separate). Thats why its hard for Philly to unite. I think thats whats wrong with Philly now. Not just from a rap perspective but even in the streets. The legendary street dudes, the hustlers, the cats from the neighborhood - theyre doing the same thing. If we connect and try to get bread together and come together a little bit more than well eliminate a lot problems. People will make more money and people will find themselves a bit happier. Once they see that, theyll believe in change. But its gonna take time.

HipHopDX: Word of mouth, on the album there are a couple of collaborations. If this album is indeed a reflection of who you are, than why is there so many features?
: I dont really have a lot of feature on the album. It wasnt like it was people on my songs, helping me do, what people like me for. There was no other spitters helping me spit or helping me make a better songs. That wasnt even the case. On a lot of the songs, I was (even) responsible for writing the songs and even telling the artist what direction to go in to. I just heard myself doing songs with them. You know what Im sayin? I felt as though at times I went crazy. Thats what the situation was, you know what Im sayin?

HipHopDX: Anything you want to say to the readers or anything you think I may have left out?
: I mean, its always time for us to talk again so you can never leave anything out. This is my thing, keep God first and stay focused, man. Just keep putting in work. All the people that are out there supporting me, I wanna say thank you and I appreciate it.

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