Known mainly by one name, Cazwell continues to pump out the beats to clever wording. Instead of staying in the closet like many of his peers, this talented wordsmith came out in a big way with controversial gay rhymes. His song "Ice Cream Truck" struck big at the gay bars, thanks to an unforgettable video. He continues that trend with the recent video for current single "Downtown."
Always making statements about the current state of the world from "No Selfie Control" to "I Seen Beyonce at Burger King," much like fellow rapper Pitbull, he follows the trends of society.
Windy City called him before arriving in Chicago for a performance at Pride Fest weekend.
Windy City Times: Hey, Cazwell. How have you been?
Cazwell: I'm okay. How about you?
WCT: The weather is rainy today. Hopefully, it's sunny by the time you arrive.
C: It better be. I will turn back around!
WCT: I saw on Twitter you went to Jurassic World. Did you like it?
C: It was good. I can't believe what movies are PG-13 now. Those dinosaurs would be scary for a 13-year-old. It has the stereotypical Hollywood setup but I thought it was really entertaining.
WCT: The direction of your latest album, Hard 2 B Fresh, really heads into electronic music. What inspired it?
C: I really want to make songs that you can play on a dance floor. The concept of that is constantly changing. A few years ago you wouldn't think of rappers for dance music like EDM or 120 beats per minute. I prefer to DJ for more of a hip hop classic crowd. I like to play a twerk or trap track. All of the songs really excite me for different reasons.
I worked with really great producers on my album. All of my songs I test on the dance floor, too. I guess my music has some kind of party vibe. I think Missy Elliott is my biggest influence when I produce a song.
WCT: You should work with Timbaland.
C: Yeah; he is the Mozart of this generation.
WCT: Did you watch the TV show Empire, which he did the music for?
C: I did watch Empire but then I broke up with my boyfriend who I used to watch it with all the time. I didn't feel like watching it after that. I probably missed the last five episodes so I have no idea how it ended. I will get back into it.
WCT: With your new music, I like "The Biscuit" the best.
C: I just made a video for it about six weeks ago. We are editing it and making special effects for it. There is a lot of work to do. We will probably drop it around gay Pride the latest.
I like the song, too, and hope people like it. It is a song that you can play and people may not have heard it before but they love it right away.
WCT: With the "Downtown" video, you have Boomer Banks and Amanda Lepore in it. Are either of them coming with you to Pride Fest?
C: They are on their own tours, honey. Boomer always has some event and Amanda is in Ibiza or something. [Laughs] I wish I could just throw them in my tour bus or something but I can't. I do tour with Amanda at times. I used to tour with her a lot more. I think we have a gig in Montreal next month.
WCT: You are pushing the videos to be even more sexualized like "Downtown."
C: I shot that video with one of my interns. These kids are, like, 20 years old and they are very Tumblr-inspired. Some of it came from gay Tumblr art we had found that we wanted to recreate but make it our own. Everything from making out with Brian Nieh, where we are eating ice cream, and Boomer Banks with a pizza, these are all things we had seen and wanted to incorporate into the video but wanted to make different. I love the video.
WCT: Did you watch the cartoon Chozen on Fox, about the gay rapper?
C: Yes. I wasn't offended by it but I felt what made the cartoon interesting was that he was gay. Once you got over that there wasn't anything interesting about it. He reminded me a lot of Dipper in a lot of ways. The makers of that cartoon were the same ones from HBO's True Detective. They licensed one of my songs. I could see how they were slightly influenced by me. What did you think?
WCT: I interviewed the producers and asked them about Big Dipper but they claimed that they heard about him after the show was made. Who knows? Everyone is influenced by artists around them.
C: Totally. Especially now things happen so quickly.
WCT: What are your plans after Chicago?
C: I am trying to drop a video every 10 weeks but make a quality video. I don't want there to be too much distance between videos so people stop booking shows. I want to have gigs throughout the year. I want to continuously drop work so people see what I am doing because I am really proud of it. I'm a huge fan of my work, let me tell you! [Laughs]
I am working on posting my Ice Cream Truck underwear line as soon as possible. I just got a shipment of underwear made so I want to get that out there.
WCT: You should bring some of this underwear and throw it out into the crowd at Pride Fest.
C: No; I am not giving that shit away for free. It's expensive! I am looking forward to playing there. I have performed at Hydrate and Scarlet plus Milwaukee PrideFest, but not this. I think it will be awesome!
Catch Cazwell at Chicago Pride Fest Main Stage on 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 21. For the current line up and schedule, visit www.northalsted.com . Look for Cazwell's rhymes and undies at cazwell.com .