Dizzy Wright Outlines What It Means To Put Las Vegas On The Map, New EP
Exclusive: Funk Volume's own opens up about how his label has allowed him succeed by ultimately getting out of the way.
A good message can only go so far unless it's paired with the right beat, just as a harsh bit of reality goes down a bit easier with a slight dose of comedy. This is a dynamic Dizzy Wright understands well, and he crafts his music with the same intent: keeping his sound club-ready at times without forgoing a worthwhile message. This time out, Don Miguel Ruiz's book The Four Agreements served as his primary inspiration, and his newest EP, named after the book, aims to pass on the knowledge he picked up.
Though only in his early twenties, Wright approaches the game with the perceptive insight of a seasoned vet. That's because he's been at it for over a decade, having started at the age of eight in a Rap group called DaFuture. His mother was a promoter in the industry and taught him all about what - and what not - to do as an artist, yet all that coaching grew a bit bothersome for Wright over time. He eventually wanted out, understanding that the robotic nature of making it in the major label system was not for him. Last November, Funk Volume approached him, and with a clearer perspective on how he wanted to present himself and his music, he didn't hesitate to jump on board.
Wright spent his Thanksgiving this year in Australia eating McDonald's. He may have wanted to be at home with his young daughter, enjoying a huge spread of turkey and stuffing in a warm home, but fulfilling his role as provider meant touring, even during the holidays. Such is the Funk Volume mantra, and Dizzy doesn't take it lightly, nor does he complain. He knows it took years to get in a position to tour the world - his goal this year was to tour the East Coast - and he doesn't plan on stopping the momentum now.
HipHopDX caught up with Dizzy by phone right earlier this month when he was back in Vegas, and he let us know what listeners can expect from him on his latest EP. He also opened up a bit about how his childhood experience with Rap almost made him ditch the profession altogether and explained how he, and the city of Las Vegas, are enjoying every step of his success.
HipHopDX: Tell me a bit about what fans can expect from your First Agreement EP.
Dizzy Wright: The First Agreement is pretty much my end of the year package. Basically, I read a book called The Four Agreements. I pretty much applied that book to my life. I wanted to do more than just mention it, so I'm breaking down each agreement and just making a project around it. It's pretty much [about] being impeccable with your word, speaking with integrity, only saying the shit that you mean - just getting people to be honest and real and bringing the realness back to music.
DX: In a previous interview with Bootleg Kev about seven months back, you said you try to keep your music varied because you still try to cater to that club sound since you worked for a bit as a promoter. However, as your answer just explains, you also like to keep your content rather conscious. Are you still approaching your releases from that same perspective, that you're speaking on the first agreement but you've got something for everybody?
Dizzy Wright: Yeah, I've got a little something for everybody. Transitions are really important to me now. Now, I'm kind of understanding the fan base that I want to create for myself after being on the road for so long. I maintain my regular sound but I definitely was able to branch out and try something new without it being a complete shock. I defintiely kept it all Dizzy Wright, but I'm understanding my music and myself a little more. I think that I'm putting it together even better than before.
DX: So it sounds like on this EP, you're trying to be that inspiration that you hope will translate down to your audience. Is that a notion you've held since the start of your career or has it really taken off since coming into contact with The Four Agreements? Is your goal now to really try and give back through your music and show people how to become better people in the process?
Dizzy Wright: Well, that's always been the initial goal, to just be an inspiration and be a role model and a true leader. I'm just finding out creative ways to talk about it and be about it. On the album, I'm also being impeccable. It's not like I'm just telling everybody with every song "Be impeccable with your word. You need to be real, be honest." It's just me doing it myself, and with it being in the project, I can just explain to kids what I'm doing. It's really based around being yourself, man, and just creating that Heaven on Earth, understanding everything around you and not really being clueless and making assumptions, shit like that.
I'm getting older, and I guess I'm just getting better with my words. I'm still growing as an artist, but I also want it to be fun, man. There's a thin line between being corny and being over-the top. Some people have a dope message but they come across as too corny, or they're over your head. Being that I understand that, and [since I'm] young and still feel like I connect with the younger crowd and the older crowd, [I'm] just making it cool and fun to be real and be honest and impeccable.
DX: I definitely get that vibe from you, specifically from your your "Can't Trust Em" music video, where you've got a skit that bookends the video. It provides a real light-hearted counterpoint to the video, which itself is pretty serious.
Dizzy Wright: Right. That's definitley what it's about, man, just finding the balance between having fun and still talking about something. I understand that we want to have fun, we want to be turned up. We just want that kind of sound, so I want to be able to incorporate all that for the fans but also grow with it. I feel that a lot of my younger fans are gonna grow up with me and a lot of my older fans are gonna watch me grow up. Being honest and just being a student to life, period. That's just what I'm really about right now.
DX: Moving forward, I did want to offer some congratulations. You've been signed to Funk Volume for a year now.
Dizzy Wright: Thank you, man.
DX: What is it that you really feel you get from Funk Volume that you don't think you'd be able to get with a major? How do you feel supported in the way that helps you best succeed in the way you want to as an artist?
Dizzy Wright: It's very hands-on, man. I'm not dealing with a lot of people. When it comes down to Dizzy Wright and what Dizzy Wright wants to do, it's about what Dizzy Wright wants to do. It's no bullshit.
Funk Volume created a platform for niggas like me to really come and shine, and the harder you work, the more it will show. They created that platform where I was able to drop an album and then just hit the road and just completely start working on my fans. It's win or lose -- you make them love you or you make them hate you. If they fuck with you, it'll grow and it'll continue to grow because they've created that platform of loyalty, loyal fans and loyal supporters. It's not just people that hear your shit and like your shit. It's people that support your shit, that hear your shit and tell somebody about you, and when you come to town, they telling all they friends because they want them to see you live because they think [you're] dope.
DX: That's a great point you make there. There's a difference between being able to build a buzz and having people checking your stuff on YouTube, but it's another thing to get people out to your shows, asking for your autograph and buying your record.
Dizzy Wright: Oh, definitely man. Some of these dudes that have been big can't sell out shows like we selling out shows, man. They can team up with somebody and get it poppin', but with Funk Volume, [we're] creating. I'm headlining my own tour this year. I'm still at a very small scale, so for me to headline my own tour and just be able to be so active, it lets you know where it can go. Hopsin has done everything a major label artist has done. He's pretty much kicking all the doors down [by] working hard and staying true to the game, staying true to your fans and focusing on your craft.
DX: You've essentially been rapping since you were eight years old. Was rapping something you knew you wanted to do even at that age, or was that something your mom, who was a promoter, wanted to do, which later led do you enjoying it? How did that start?
Dizzy Wright: It wasn't something that I was too interested in doing. [With] my mom being in the industry, she had that major label feel to how she did things. Growing up, it was always "Don't hold the peace sign up," "Don't do this, you don't want nobody to think you're a part of no gang," "Wear this, wear that." I know she just wanted the best for us, but when it started becoming unnatural, that's when I started hating it. That happening so young to me, it gave me an understanding at an early age of what major labels pretty much do to you, because that's what she was prepping me for. That's why I became very distant from my mom, because I felt like she was making me be somebody I wasn't.
Growing up like that definitely made me like this. It made me just want to be myself and not feel like I have act like that to be part of the game. The strictness, I guess you could say it worked, but it worked in a different way.
DX: Has she supported what you've been able to accomplish since?
Dizzy Wright: She's definitely my biggest supporter now. She was the first person to see it in me, and she pretty much prepped me. She prepped me to be a communicator. I used to be a youth reporter. I used to have to go to BET awards and summer jams and do interviews. Just like you interviewing me, I would interview other people: City High, St. Lunatics, Boyz II Men. Growing up, my mom prepped me for that.
We used to have to read books on the music industry. We used to have to read over questions and learn how to look each other in the eye and make somebody understand what you saying. [I did] all that at a super young age. She prepped me for this, you know, but just the direction that she was trying to take me, it wasn't working in the beginning, and I'm glad it didn't work because I probably would've tried to chase it that way if I didn't know [better].
At the time, I was just angry with how things were going. Now, I'm thankful for going through all of that, because when you get an understanding of yourself, it's a wrap. You can pretty much just be you. I love my mom. She's super supportive.
DX: How's life been since having your baby girl, man? How's life been transitioning?
Dizzy Wright: It's crazy. When I grew up, my mom worked a lot, and like I said, we got real distant. I didn't have a big family and my immediate family was kinda weird. Growing up, I really didn't really feel a part of nothing. Having my daughter, it pretty much was the beginning to that new family, that new life of creating something of my own and just really putting a lot of love and affection into that, being that father that I never had. That became all the motivation that I needed.
When my daughter came, it was like "Yo, it's either make this shit work or go get a job and make sure I can put food on the table." It really put that fire behind me to really make something happen. A lot of this shit, me just working hard, the best part about it is just really being able to be a provider and take care of my daughter, going Christmas shopping and shit like that, the little important things in life.
My daughter and my family are definitely everything to me. Now that I've created my own family, I can have my family be a part of this family and make it different than what it was, kind of set a new ground. I love it, man. I love being a daddy.
DX: Is it tough being on the road or does it really put things into perspective -- like you said, about really wanting to be a provider? What's it like for you, for example, being out in Australia for Thanksgiving?
Dizzy Wright: It sucks being on the road, but like I said, when you're able to be a provider, at least you're doing your part. My baby mom, she's great, but I know that if I wasn't able to help, things would be a lot harder than what they are. Even with me being on the road and her just holding the fort down, with being able to help with daycare and people helping around and just keeping that cycle all together, it's cool man. It's defnitely tough being away from [my daughter]. She's still in her growing stages. She's talking more and becoming more responsive. Now with technology, I'm able to FaceTime her and see her like I'm there every day.
DX: What does it mean for you to get the opportunity to bring some buzz to the Rap game in Vegas and chart unprecedented territory? What does it mean to be that watershed figure?
Dizzy Wright: It means a lot because everybody in this city seen where I came from. I didn't just pick this shit up and get a handout. People watched me grow. They watched me change my name. They watched me do 50 shows in the city last year to this year, [with] people begging me to come do a concert.
I remember when I was on 106 & Park's Wild-Out Wednesday, just the little things that I was doing, competitions that I was winning that I was getting a lot of love for. Now, just to be traveling the world, selling out concerts, crowd surfing and doing all of this crazy shit - people in the city got to watch that. Now they feel a part of something. Now they feel that I deserve it.
It means everything to me, man, because I know I worked extremely hard and I was more dedicated than everybody. I'mma have haters. There's gonna be people that don't like me or don't think I deserve it or whatever, but I know everybody in this city know who work the hardest to get to this position.
My intial goals were real small man: get the West Coast to fuck with me and later on to just go out further, as close as I could get to the East Coast. This year, I completely murdered it. I traveled the whole damn world reppin' Vegas. It's awesome for me, man. I definitely feel like I deserve everything. I'm trying to be the Jay-Z of this muthafucka. Sky's the limit for me.
DX: Is it hard building a following because of how heavily Vegas relies on tourism or do you think it helped spread your message?
Dizzy Wright: It's hard to build a fan base of support, but you can definitely get everybody to know who you are. That's what I did. I wasn't trying to sell anything to these people in Vegas at all. That's what every rapper was trying to do - everybody was trying to get money, sell they shit. Me, I was giving away all my music for free. I was spending all my money on getting shit printed up, and I was going to the parties and just giving them all away. I just wanted people to listen to the shit, check me out on YouTube, follow me on Twitter. I started going about it differently than what other people was doing. I didn't follow that same quick money scheme. It was really about the music.
This ain't the hardest I'm gonna be. I'm gonna grow. I'm gonna get harder. I'm warming up right now, because I'm learning too much. As soon as you start learning a lot and learning your voice and learning how to do more, you really just become a beast. I always knew that I wasn't at the level to be even called one of the best to come out of Vegas. I knew that I was gonna work for that.