Crew Cuts: Meet Detroit’s New Dark-Rap Collective CaptWolf

Out of the Detroit Metro area is emerging rap collective CaptWolf, whose last mixtape they described as “an end-of-the-summer tape by a group of young men trying to expand the city’s sonic palette.” With nods to the rowdy post-00’s rap of the West Coast, all have made-up names out of a dystopian comic book. For example, most of the production, mixing, and mastering is handled by “Swoozydolphin”; melodies are often by “Groovy Armani” and there are bars by “Novakain” and “Young Sui.” There are other members, too, like Lex the Radical, “the spiritual center of the group,” and the Captain himself, all of whom dish on each other’s best qualities in the following edition of Crew Cuts, shot by Detroit native Trotter.

Watch the video version of Crew Cuts, with Illegal Civilization.

captwolf-swoozy-dolphinSwoozyDolphin

Capt
I met Swoozy like my sophomore year of high school on this college tour. Though he officially joined CW in 2015, Swoozy put us on as far as this official music [thing] goes. Bro is a media overlord. Most people get to see is him just DJing while we on stage fooling, but he’s also the media frontman. On the production tip, I feel like everyone can identify a Swoozy beat and it’s gonna be tough for people to successfully rip him off. Second-prettiest in the group.

Groovy
Swoozy doesn’t really show a lot of emotion but you can feel everything he’s going through by listening to his beats, which I why I think he’s as great as they come. He’s an encyclopedia, so his urge to learn new things is inspiring, and his go-getter mentality keep us on our toes. It’s pretty easy to be around him, especially driving with him on the road cause his music taste is insane. Really calm and collected.

Nova
The waviest dude I know. Responsible for most of the “CaptWolf sound.” Always calm and collected, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him super pressed about anything. He’s our frontman when it comes to the business side of things, but he literally does it all when it’s time to make music. In my opinion, he’s one of the greatest producers of our generation. We wouldn’t be where we are today without Swoozy Goat.

Lex
I met Torin when he DJ’d for me and Captain’s first show in, like, 2012. The first thing I learned about him is that he really don’t [care] about trends whatsoever, and that’s what I respect the most. Just sticking to a sound that he knows is different but it’s true to who he isI think that’s what the industry needs more of these days. The move-maker of CW, fasho. He’s super versatile from the business and artist standpoint. Him and Urban Surf are responsible for a lot of the success we’ve had so far and he’s completely reinvented our sound into something that I think will stick with people for a long time. Nightwing.

Sui
Met Swoozy through Eli, when he deejayed CaptWolf’s first ever performance. Only a few were lucky enough to witness, but I still got the concert tee on ice. What’s crazy is how things came full circle. Easily the best producer in the city, soon to be all time. When you hear a Swoozydolphin beat you know it’s his and that no one else could have made it. I’ve definitely had the most fun rapping on his beats. He blends sounds so well and that shits wild. The legendary Liquor Store Pizza Party tape isn’t possible without him and these are facts. That tape will be a classic when it’s all said and done, if it isn’t already. He might be the only dude on Joy Rd. in a pair of Birks. He’s definitely got his own swag.

captwolfLexTheRadical

Swoozy
Lex brought me into CaptWolf. Him, Sui, and da Captain were the originals and they had helly bars so I had to be involved. Lex is kinda like the spiritual center of the group. And he can freestyle for days.

Groovy
In my opinion, the most passionate in CaptWolf; you should see this dude’s face when he comes up with a catchy hook or beat on the fly. His energy is just really good to be around at all times cause when you’re down he’s up. Competitor is an understatement: he knows his worth and isn’t shy to let that be known. It’s cool to have a friend like that, someone who is very expressive and charismatic.

Capt
Lex was the competition I needed in this rapping [thing], forreal. Like, when mahd first introduced us and we made our first CaptWolf track, I was like, I can’t let this man pull away from me. We stayed tryna outrap each other, and that’s why those highschool tapes are so cold. His flow switch crazy and ravioli.mane my favorite producer outright. Bro stopped just rapping and started making music with GREEN and made me step my cookies up, though that’s always been the case. And he goes nutty when freestyling so it’s really just bad news.

Nova
You know, I used to think I was the coldest rapper I knew… Then one day groovy introduced me to Lex. LexTheRadical is what the game needs! Untouched when it comes to bars and flow. Me and him will be in the studio for hours and hours working on one track to make every single detail perfect. His passion for this music is definitely undefinable and unbreakable. He really sets the bar and hasn’t even hit his prime yet… That’s scary.

Sui
Dawg… bars. Bars for days. Bars for yo whole life, and then some. Go listen to “ALL CAPS” and tell me who can outrap him. [And] he’s been doing it since before then. Quotables on quotables. On top of that, he’s versatile as [anything]. He’s probably the most level-headed member of the group, always calm and willing to help with anything. Been my mans since freshman year of high school and seeing him grow has been crazy. Could’ve gone to the League in lacrosse and football. I remember he made this one-handed catch on the first day of tryouts, on some Calvin Johnson/ Georgia Tech [tip], had me sick. He’s got the juice and you can hear it every track.

CaptWolf GroovyArmaniGroovy Armani

Swoozy
Groovy Gaye. Also a former pro skater. Also stays hungry. Don’t let him near a Wendy’s 4 for 4.

Capt
The R&B sensation. Him and Swoozy keep us on this Urban Surf [tip]. Rapper-turned-one-man-boy-band. Most suitable CaptWolf artist for the “Netflix and Chill” playlist. I first heard “House Party” and “1986” after listening to The Outsider and I was like, “Who the [–] this man think he is?”

Nova
I’ve known this man since before we even thought of doing this music [thing]. We went from rap battles off them Def Jam Rapstar beats to headlining at Third Man Records. Blows my mind just thinking about it. Groovy’s CWs designated hitter when it comes to the vocals. You’ve never heard anything like Groovy’s music and I’m truly honored to watch him grow as an artist.

Lex
I remember sitting in The Outsider recording sessions and just thinking, like, “Damn, people not gonna know what to do when this drops.” The day he dropped it also happened to be the day of the Mike Brown verdict. It was playing in the background when the announcement of the decision was about to be made and at that exact moment his song “Attitude Era” came on … and gave me real-life chills. Great songwriter, he does a great job of turning feelings into words. The smoothest on the CW squad. Always been a team player, super supportive of all his friends and great collaborator in the stu’.

Sui
Yo auntie and yo wife bouta be banging Groovy Armani in a few years, so you might as well get hip now. He’s perfectly merged rap with R&B and it’s only getting better. He was a sponsored skater at one point but now he’s fooling on the vocals. Fasho has the smoothest sound in CaptWolf. Been homies since we were like 10, growing up on Healy St. just boolin creating stories I’ll never forget. Still can’t see me on the court tho.

Capt
The pretty boy, super laid back. Always there to make you laugh off the most random things. Silly, but has the full player aesthetic and someone you wanna be around all the timethis is why his bars are so great and clever.

 

CaptainThe Captain

Swoozy
Young, grimy [dude]. The Captain, ’cause he the first half of CaptWolf. Probably the most slept-on. Got bangers.

Nova
When you fuse pretty boy with grime, you get The Captain. He’s the king of subtleties. Stays spittin’ the most intelligent bars with ease. It’s always a smooth time with Capt. Don’t challenge this man, he’ll out-smoke you and out-rap you.

Lex
I formally met Capt through Sui in high school. We also played football together so we kinda knew of each other. It was crazy in the way that we started rapping together cuz we got cool super fast and was just like fuck it we finna be a rap duo and change the game. From spitting off laptop mic and dropping singles on facebook to doing interviews like this it’s crazy just to think how young we were when we started doing this. On the music tip this man has had bars since the day we started rapping together. Also goes nutty off the chop and screws. He’s always hungry to hop in the booth. Don’t get him mad tho it’s a scary sight. The hulk. Oh and if you need a crispy line up hit him up!

Sui
My oldest friend in CaptWolf, and the uncle of the group. Been my [dude] since before skinny jeans. Got the most gutta sound and grimiest bars in the group by far, and MFB definitely proves that. I remember when he started rapping in 8th grade, trappin’ off the LG Rumor, recording the YouTube vids. Only person I’ve ever heard do an MF DOOM beat justice other than DOOM himself. His shirts be young as hell though.

GLCW-KainNovakain

Groovy
Dude’s been one of my best friends since 8th grade. His energy, since I’ve known him, has always been super positive. He tends to brush [things] off and keep it moving. Hilarious and assertive, you can really see it when he performs, and how he interacts with the crowd and how they love him. Just being around him, you know you’re in for a good time.

Swoozy
The owner of the East Stu and makes bangers. Be getting all the shows litty. Has an alter ego, the Novaman. Super wavy.

Capt
East Stu keeps me going forreal. Kain got the technical skills to let the group do what we need to sonically and he does so much on the computer it’s crazy. I play his part on CaptWolf tracks and they always ask me who’s rapping. If it’s a banger it prolly was made at his crib. Kain got that energy, too, that’s why I love doing tracks with him, especially live performances.  

Lex
Honestly the most talented artist I’ve met. He can kill a verse with ease and now that he’s fooling on the boards it’s even crazier. He definitely has the charisma when it comes to being on stage and really knows how to control a crowd. Plus his voice sits on the track perfectly … No, like, think about it though: half the time I play our stuff, people always ask, “Who is that?” when his verses come on and I just be like, “That’s my boy ‘Kain.” He really has a deep passion for music, not just as a rapper but as a producer and engineer. At the end of the day he just wants to do music for the rest of his life and I feel like he’ll do it until his damn ears fall off. And even then he might still find a way to make a hot beat. Definitely the go-to man if you tryna make a banger. Thor!

Sui
The Nova Man. Some of the hardest hitting beats I’ve ever heard came from this man’s speakers. Might have the best stage presence in CaptWolf. I mean, he be up there cutting up. You can really tell he’s having the time of his life and the crowd receives it well. Don’t try to cook this man, though, ’cause
 he will flame yo a– quickly. Him and Groovy be having me crying off the roast sessions. Honestly, I don’t think anyone records more than him. Every time I fall through he has something new for me to hear, whether it’s a beat or a track. He literally lives in the stu’.

SuiYoung Sui

Groovy
Sui is very expressive when it comes to something he’s passionate about, which makes him the backbone of the CaptWolf fam. Could’ve been in the league if he worked on his left hand. Known him since I was 10 making YouTube clips in our backyard just on some silly [tip], not easy to please and if he don’t trust you, he don’t trust you, but if he does, you’ve got a great friend in your corner..

Swoozy
Great lyricist and artist. Backbone of CaptWolf since the beginning and the main contributor to the aesthetic. Conceives the best merch and artwork.

Nova
The most natural-born-spitter I know. Best punchlines in the squad and the best fits. Put him on any track, he’ll have your favorite verse. There’s no CaptWolf without Sui. Also, he kills it with the graphic design—have you seen our logo??

Lex
The most passionate in CW. This man was with us in the trenches way, way back. I’m talking after-school and lunchtable battles. Nobody wanted [to mess] with me and Capt, but they definitely wanted no parts of Sui. He’s the definition of a real friend; he’ll go to war with you and stop you if you ’bout to leave the crib looking a walking roast. Most natural spitter I’ve met and his ability to come up with punchlines on the fly is amazing to me. Without Sui there’s no CW. Nick Fury.

Capt
Sui my day-one, was with me when I wrote that very first rap, when I was trying to win YouTube rap competitions, everything. He introduced me to Lex and sparked the beginning of CaptWolf. Been in the “booth” with us since we were off the laptop mic and audacity, before we met ‘Kain and Swoozy.  He’s our primary design and art man, and stepped into the official rap game fooling on Pizza Party. He’s a hotboy forever tryna scrap somebody. The Berry Gordy of the group, forreal.

Images: TROTTER

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