Unapologetically sexual and full of comedy, New York City-based gay rapper Cazwell always knew he wanted to be in the spotlight. He started rapping as the only way he knew how to perform for people.
“I honestly just wanted to be on stage and I can’t sing,” says Cazwell, who performs at Baltimore Pride’s block party on Saturday, July 25 at 8:30 p.m.
He began rapping with his friend MC Crasta Yo over live music and from there the duo went on to rap over beats. Cazwell eventually went on to pursue a solo rap career, releasing three studio albums to date.
“It wasn’t like I had anything political to say and it wasn’t about making a hit or even knowing how to arrange a song. It was just about having fun and before I knew it, I didn’t really know how to do anything else.”
His performance at Baltimore Pride is one Cazwell, 36, is looking forward to. He feels Baltimore is a city that’s unlike others in terms of its residents’ love of music and partying.
“Baltimore is a real music city and there’s none of, ‘Is my name on the list?’ mentality. They can appreciate new music they haven’t heard before that’s good.”
Cazwell’s music is well known in the gay community, especially for being overtly sexual and comedic. His single “Ice Cream Truck,” a song he describes as being, “about a boy having a crush on a boy and it being summer time,” was a popular music video on YouTube. The video, which features several men gyrating and licking ice cream, has attracted more than 4 million views.
Another single, “I Seen Beyoncé at Burger King,” has garnered a million views on YouTube. The song infuses humorous lyrics over a catchy beat. Cazwell has always found himself intrigued by being sexual, confident and funny at the same time. He says Missy Elliott was a huge influence.
Being both openly gay and a rapper is a combination Cazwell recognizes as being uncommon. He says it has both helped and hindered him.
“When it comes to mainstream hip hop, there’s so much traffic in that lane that I think it’s harder to get attention and being gay didn’t help,” Cazwell says. “However, if I had a super gay video and something that gay guys wanted to see more of, then at least I would have that crowd to feel it. If anything, being gay has helped me.”