Interview: Dizzy Wright Takes Us Along on His “Growing Process”

“A little something to clear my mental/Four Agreements on my Kindle,” raps Dizzy Wright, whose lyrics on past projects like The First Agreement EP and The Golden Age pull influence from the wisdom inscribed in Ruiz’s guide to personal freedom.

For example, on the track “State of Mind,” he spits, “When you learn how much you’re worth you’ll stop giving out discounts.” The positivity-preaching spitter bypasses conventional rap stereotypes by killing people with kindness and love rather than with violence.

His music career is a long time coming: he’s been writing rhymes since grade school. Then, four years ago, his daughter was born, which shifted his priorities in a major way. As a young father in hip-hop, he had to sacrifice some of the perks of the rapper lifestyle, but it resulted in both personal and artistic growth.

The Funk Volume rapper recently announced that his forthcoming album, The Growing Process, is headed our way. Shortly after, he’ll be hitting the road for a nationwide tour.

You had The First Agreement EP, which carried themes from that book, The Four Agreements. Does this new project take inspiration from anything you’ve been reading?
Yeah, actually. This one takes a lot of inspiration from the second agreement of that book, which is “not taking anything personally.” So by inviting all my listeners into my growing process, they’re gonna judge me and they’re gonna try to tell me what I should like and what I should be doing—but I’m not going to take anything personally. I kept that in mind while I was creating the project.

You have some big names on there, like Big KRIT, TechN9ne, Krayzie Bone—people you really look up to. What was it like to have worked with them?
It’s beautiful. When I first started this out, I thought that you’d have to pay a lot of money to get these big artists on your music, but as you work you cross paths with artists that like what you’re doing. I wanted to be able to bring those people who support me on and you know, throw some game and put some gems out there.

You’re hitting the road a few days after your album drops. What’s been one of your most memorable moments from touring?
I met a fan who had my lyrics tatted all down his back. It’s kinda crazy when you put some words together and someone puts it on their body.

How does that feel?
I know what it’s like to be inspired by something. I mean, I have Bob Marley’s face tatted on me.

I know that your daughter recently turned four. How did having a daughter shape not only your music, but also your perspective on life in general?
It’s changed a lot. It took me away from the homie life. Some kids have that problem, being taken away from their homie lives, and that’s why they won’t be in their kids’ lives. They’ll choose the night life over family. But it kinda separated me from all the drama, it gave me a different kinda space to not even worry about things. I think that helped me work on me a lot more. But I also started becoming a different man raising this little girl. I also just had my son too, who’s three months now, and the difference between when I first got her and now is really crazy. I was scared when I first had my daughter, I didn’t even realize how scared I was, and everything was with caution. And now, after doing it, you just kinda know what you’re doing, so it’s really cool.

I know she’s young, but what does she think of your music?
She loves it. I have her on my new album. I brought her into the studio and talked with her; we talked about her brother when he was about to be born; I wanted to talk with her before he was born so we had that little daddy/daughter thing.

What kind of message are you trying to spread with your music?
“Peace, love, positivity,” if I had to choose words.

Where does that positive energy come from? Was there a particular person or experience that instilled that in you, or have you always been that way?
I think I’ve been inspired by people who I’ve seen go through things and overcome them in a positive way, versus people who went through things and allowed it to shape the type of people they became. I watch people go through things and then become a different person altogether, and then I watch people kill people with kindness. It makes me choose my path little easier.

For someone who’s in a less fortunate situation right now, what advice would you give them to keep their spirits up and their head high?
I know everybody’s not spiritual, but I have to say: praying. I was taught how to pray at a young age, and I’d pray about situations I was going through. But I know that people stray away from talking to someone they have a hard time believing in. But I think if people try, that’s a great starting point.

Have you had a defining moment in your career when music allowed you to be somewhere or meet someone where you looked around and had to pinch yourself?
We met the Bounty Hunter today and he knew me! He wanted a picture with me! I was like, “What!?” But yeah, that happens a lot for me because I exceeded my expectations a long time ago. The Funk Volume took me to Iceland, and kids were banging on the windows of our car like we were the Jackson 5. I was like, “Is this real!?”

A lot of emerging rappers look up to you as someone they aspire to be like. What’s one lesson that you’ve learned that you wish you knew when you started?
I would say: don’t focus on what the next man is doing. Be inspired by it, but you have to walk your own path. I think a lot of kids are trying to be the next somebody, but you don’t want to take somebody’s position; you want to create a whole new position that ain’t been seen. I’m trying to help create leaders.

Are you working on anything else right now? I saw that you have something with Logic coming out.
I had to apologize to him because they blew it up so much on Twitter. We’re definitely going to do the project and tour with it, but I have a pretty full schedule this year. We’ll start working on it soon; hopefully we can do it maybe next year, but it’s definitely going to happen.

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