Queer hip-hop artists existed since the rise of hip-hop in the early 1980s. One such artist, Cazwell, is a music veteran beginning his career as one half of the duo Morplay with female MC Crasta Yoknown. Since then, Cazwell amassed a significant fan base thanks to his risqué videos and the proliferation of social media.
A few of his popular hits like “Ice Cream Truck,” “No Selfie Control,” and “I Seen Beyoncé at Burger King” received between 200,000 to 4 million YouTube views each. Cazwell is multitalented, with DJ mixtapes, modeling gigs and an underwear design collection available online.
Cazwell will perform live at the Baltimore Pride Celebration on Saturday, July 25. Currently on his Summer of Ratchet Tour 2015, Gay Life interviewed Cazwell in anticipation of his upcoming performance.
How was performing for Nashville Pride Festival? I know the area is predominately known for its love of country music so I’m curious to hear about your experience.
I loved performing in Nashville. It was the first Pride I did after they made it legal for all gay marriage in the U.S. to be acknowledged, plus it was my birthday, so it was a special day! Yes, people of Nashville do love their country music, but gay pride is different and they are expected to get gay.
Have you traveled to Baltimore in the past? If not, what are you looking forward to seeing in the area besides performing for Pride?
Honestly, I’m just looking forward to performing in Baltimore! I really love the vibe in Baltimore, and Baltimore people are music people so they tend to really get down and have a good time.
Can you tell me more about your rehearsals. How long do you spend going over routines to prepare for a show?
Rehearsals? [Laughs] Well, I have dancers that I rehearse with all the time, but generally speaking, budgets seem restricted, so I can’t always fly dancers with me. I’m pretty uncontrived on stage, so I typically don’t have much of a rehearsal.
I don’t know if you’re aware, but your entire catalog is on TIDAL. As an artist, what is your opinion of streaming services?
I think Jay took a big chance, but who knows if it will pay off. I honestly think that TIDAL is just too expensive. Everyone wants the best quality sounding music, but no one wants to pay $20 for it when they can get it for free. And all the exclusive content eventually hits YouTube so people on a tight budget don’t really see the benefit.
You mentioned in an interview with Out & About Nashville your admiration for Azealia Banks. Are there any other current LGBTQ hip-hop artists you admire or you recommend listening to?
Yeah. Mykki Blanco is sick; so is Le1f! Everybody should check out Dai Burger and Cakes Da Killa. There’s a lot of great gay music out there right now.
Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies you wouldn’t mind sharing with us?
I’m pretty good at papier-mâché.
When are you releasing your next single? In other interviews, you mentioned possibly a video for “The Biscuit.”
Yes! There is a video for “The Biscuit” definitely coming out this summer. We’re just finishing up the final details of the video.
After your tour ends, what’s up next for you? More travel?
Well, I’m always touring. That’s never going to stop [laughs]. I’m just constantly dropping videos about every three months and working on some new songs. I’m also busy pushing my Ice Cream Truck underwear line that I created with Geoffrey Mac!
Baltimore Pride 2015Gay Life July 2015