Photo: Dizzy Garcia
A lot of young artists stepping into the whirlwind Dizzy Wright has in the past year — including a spot on XXL Magazine’s career-making Freshman Class designation in 2013 — would lose their minds in the process. But even at just 23 years old, this is old hat for the Las Vegas rapper, who has paid a lifetime’s worth of dues already.
Wright picked up the mic at just eight years old, spitting rhymes in a group with his brother and friend. And between his mom’s work promoting concerts and his stints as a youth reporter at shows like the BET Awards, a young Wright was rubbing shoulders with the likes of Tyrese and Boyz II Men.
But even more important was the creative guidance of his uncle Steven Howse, better known as Layzie Bone of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.
“Bone has always been my biggest influence. I’ve always been a fan of that harmonizing and that flow. You got a lot of flavor into one song, and that still affects me to this day,” Wright said. “I went back and listened to that because I hadn’t heard it in a while and was like, ‘Damn. They were really doing it.’”
But Wright’s life hasn’t necessarily been a charmed existence, at least not in the prototypical “hip-hop royalty” sense of the word. His family spent half a year in a homeless shelter, and he viewed the portraits of life and harsh realities firsthand during stints living in Michigan, Georgia, California and Las Vegas.
“A lot of my shit is about the struggle,” Wright said. “I just don’t want to be broke. I’m like everybody else; I’m just grinding, trying to make it work.”
It has been working better than ever as of late. He
unveiled his debut mixtape in 2010, tailed by three more in 2011 before
releasing his full-length studio debut, SmokeOut Conversations, on April 20, 2012.
with the likes of Childish Gambino and Joey Bada$$ followed, and the
coveted Freshman Class honor, marked as the magazine’s People’s Choice
winner, soon followed.
“It felt good,” Wright said of how he received the news. “I’m big
on fucking [with] the people that fuck with me, so it’s great to have
people have my back in something like that.”
from major labels flooded his inbox, but he has been more than content
to release his music through independent imprint Funk Volume (founded by
Tech N9ne cohort Hopsin), savoring the creative leeway to indulge his
soulful ’90s tendencies and more electrified trap-influenced tastes
“I’ve got a lot
of freedom. I don’t want to deal with a lot of shit,” Wright said. “I
just want to do my thing and make music, and I’m just much more
comfortable as an independent artist.”
The more humble undertaking hasn’t lowered his ceiling; his recently released State of Mind EP debuted at No. 5 on Billboard’s Top Rap Albums chart, and all eyes are on Wright as he preps what will become his sophomore studio effort.
want to do an album, but I got to do it right,” Wright said. “I don’t
know that the music compares … it’s just another Dizzy life.”