C Ray Walz Jumps “In the Mix” (Exclusive Interview)
With upwards of 20 albums, 500-plus live performances worldwide, countless freestyle competition wins and even a role on MTV's hit reality show MADE under his belt, Bronx underground mainstay C-Rayz Walz has a lot to be proud of. Nonetheless, with those lofty highs have come with a few lows—including the recent legal troubles the briefly landed him in an Indiana jail.
Thus, on his latest street release (and first free full-length), the emcee invites fans to don A.B.E. (All Blvck Everything) as he holds a funeral for all the negative influences that have affected his personal and professional life in the past, and opens the book on a fresh phase of his career. Featuring 20 original cuts considered by the artist to be “...the best music of my life,” the Dub MD-presented set is set to hit the 'net in the imminent future.
In the exclusive, five-question interview below, C-Rayz Walz steps into the Booth to discuss his exceptional productivity in the midst of his struggles with the law, how his much-vaunted freestyle abilities will play into his latest project, and whether his personal rebirth has led to any changes in his artistic process.
You’ve been out of the spotlight dealing with legal troubles for the past few years, creating an incredible amount of work (14 full albums) in the meantime. What drove you to be so productive?
I felt like Beatrice Kiddo...buried alive and instead of dying I chose to do the point strike over and over until I was able to rise from my grave. My grave was jail, being [imprisoned] in Indiana and away from NY. My point strike was working out, creating 14 albums and learning a new level of tranquility through patience. I love hip-hop and my love for the culture will always be one of the most powerful forces in my life.
You’ve said that your upcoming album All Black Everything represents a funeral, the death of your “old ways”. More specifically, what parts of you have passed away?
I have deceased the desire to compare myself to any one else's level of success, fame and wealth. I have deceased accepting relationships of any kind with people who do share my vision, determination, positive outlook and respect for forward movement and self growth, minus harsh judgment of self and others.
Similarly, are there parts of you, musically or personally, that have been born or re-born?
I amaze myself that among all the fashion trends and rhyme/ rap styles that are out here I am still original and focused on the Universal ingredients that make me the only me I can be. My rhymes are doper and more pensive, humorous and street than they have ever been before. In hip-hop originality is the master element and I have mastered my artistry.
You’re widely known as a freestyle champ; how do your freestyle abilities translate to the recoding of a project like All Black Everything?
Freestyle is an extension of myself and is present in every rhyme and musical aspect of my composing routine. My recording process is more focused now instead of containing many parts of different wholes. I am RAYZer blade sharp and I create classic verses with or without pens.
Last words? Shout outs? Confessions?
I used to be mad that I wasn't monetarily rich (to the naked eye) or famously receiving tons of press, but I now can truly appreciate LEGENDARY status. Most people aren't legendary until they are dead. I am a Legend and I'm still here, Still growing, still developing styles and concepts, working w/ new and old artists. I'm not jaded or old in any sense of the description. My entire discography (17 Albums & counting) will soon be available on www.crayzwalz.com.
SunCycle Ent. is about to take off this summer w/ my artist Freddie Bunz, M.E.R.C. Versus, Ra-Grim, Klu Sheisty, DEFCON & Dialect (from Australia). I am releasing books, movies and video InfoRayz. If you ain't up on Abraham Inc. have a look.
Be on the lookout for the album FEEL ME, totally produced by Sallam Said. It's another classic. Shout out to my Brother Rex Rose on everything for having my back during the special time I faced in Indiana. I am C-Rayz Walz. I am the best me That I have ever been!
All Blvck Everything.....We ready for yo wake!