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"You just don't become a leader in one year. You're prepped for it. When you're at your lowest—but you got that faith—that gives you motivation. And when you have that motivation, that's what makes you a leader," says Las Vegas native Dizzy Wright. Beyond his years at 22, Dizzy has been one of the first Sin City rappers to grab the spotlight and carry it across the globe.
"My mom kicked me out when I was 17," Dizzy reveals of the woman who both raised him and managed his career since childhood, "I was thrown out into the world." With a similar story to his inspiration, Tupac Shakur, he took to local clubs to build a network and fan-base by being both skilled and flashy. "I was all about getting people to know my name. I knew the vision, but I didn't know the gesture. You've got to live through this to get an understanding of it." Along the way, Wright says that life taught him to keep a tight circle and to be concerned with how his music sounded in venues just as much as the writing. That dichotomy of substance and swagger has made Dizzy Wright an independent charting sensation with three 2012 releases, SmokeOut Conversations (along with the 200,000 times downloaded promotional mixtape), as well as a follow-up EP, The First Agreement. In turn, the youngest member of Funk Volume has been one of the most active.
Although SmokeOut Conversations could be dismissed as just marijuana music, the inspiration behind the concept is deeply personal to Dizzy. The rapper asserts, "I didn't want people to perceive me as this weed rapper with a weed album." Instead, he admits that a key moment in creating the album came from his first encounter with his father. "I did a show in Detroit with Hopsin, and I got to meet my father for the first time. I was trying to figure out what he was gonna be like. He went to jail a couple months before I was born, and then he got out 20 years later." To buffer the circumstances, Dizzy and his Pops eased tensions with some help. "When I finally met him, all we did was smoke and talk." "We just got to do a lot of catchin' up, lotta talkin', and lotta smokin'." After his father traveled to several dates with the Funk Volume family, Dizzy left the experience with a title and theme for his debut album.
The independent album produced two multimillion-view videos on YouTube, "Solo Dolo" and "Can't Trust Em." Dizzy was specific in giving his expanding base both sides of his repertoire. The first was Dizzy's most personal record, while the second had, what he calls "that now-sound." Both resonated, and the rapper was able to go from "doing shows to doing concerts" in his relentless touring with label-mates. Reflecting, he notes, "I was just testing the waters." Ready to fully jump in, Wright promises of his forthcoming work, "My next album will be the biggest one to date. It'll be the perfect material for the fans, 'cause I understand everything a lot more."
Like his idol, Dizzy Wright embodies a do-for-self journey that's magnetized listeners with his natural charisma. Perhaps with a cloudy chorus or a bassline to make it digestible, he's leading a new charge. "'Pac's passion gives me passion. I don't wanna be just one of these niggas just talkin'." In life and in music, already he's saying much more.
During a time when New York is struggling to break new artists, an unlikely face, from an unlikely place, has emerged. Rochester, New York, native Emilio Rojas is just that: The fresh face New York needs to reclaim a place in the forefront of the Hip Hop genre. In 2005, Emilio received a phone call from a friend asking if he would like to move to New York. After selling everything he owned, he was living in Brooklyn the next day. Since then Emilio has distinguished himself by releasing several critically acclaimed mixtapes, and taken his place amongst the most anticipated of up and coming artists