By Jay Rich
Hip-HopVibe.com Staff Writer
Every day, people overcome something to get going with their day, regardless of who they are. What matters is how they go about doing it, not what holds them back. With Azrael Dicaprio, he is fighting more than the average.
Azrael Dicaprio has Cerebral Palsy, but that doesn’t define him. He also has a talent that has allowed him to become a rapper. Once people hear his music, Dicaprio is confident that his bars are what will define him, at least in the music industry.
Despite such a busy schedule, Azrael Dicaprio took time out to speak with Hip-HopVibe.com for an On The Rise interview. This man is hard at work, promoting The White Rose Project, which he filled the team in about. He also spoke on his disease and being a father.
Read the entire interview below:
So you have the new project out right now The White Rose Project how it feels to have something new out after some time? It’s actually a bit surreal for me. Mainly, because anyone who knows my story, knows I had pretty much walked away from music once I knew my daughter was on the way. I really locked in to being a father and dedicated all of my time to doing what I had to do to ensure she was taken care of, and because music isn’t my main source of income, I made the sacrifice. But my wife encouraged me to get back to creating just for my own peace of mind. I really just put the project out to make it easily accessible for people who followed my music already. But there’s been a REALLY positive response to it from people just discovering me as well, so that’s been encouraging.
Yeah one of the main things in music is it’s all about consistency, is this something you plan on doing throughout the rest of 2020? Most definitely. There’s a deluxe version of the project that’s on the way. There was a collaboration in the works with a few of my brothers that couldn’t get finished due to the Coronavirus pandemic and there were visuals that I had scheduled to shoot but once the shutdown happen, l just called an audible. Put the project out as is, and stay consistent by trying to create content through guerrilla promotion techniques. I’m not in a rush to hit a certain number or certain goal so I’m just enjoying the process right now. But there will definitely be much more coming in terms of work. Both for this project and others.
The White Rose Project is kind of like an introduction to Azrael Dicaprio. For those that don’t know your history, you went by Death DaVinci, why the name change? Yeah, I put out four projects under Death DaVinci (three solo, one collaboration with Mo The General) so there’s definitely an attachment to the name. The name was something I came up with in college because I always wanted to kill cyphers but be able to paint pictures with my words, so the name was indicative of who I strive to be artistically. But I’m not the same person I was in college and I’m far removed from that time in my life. My sister Fenyx would always call me Azrael anyway (Azrael is the name of the angel of Death in some Islamic and Jewish scriptures), so when I wanted to get away from calling myself Death, Azrael was the natural selection because it means the same but sounds more poetic. But if you know, you know lol. Plus, again it really was just about personal growth.
The majority of the project is produced by Dre Flow, when I did my research. I’ve always felt the best projects come when an artist uses a main producer or two because they know their sound. What it’s like working with Dre Flow? First off, I want to give a shout out to my brother Dre Flow. That’s been my homie since we were 15 years old. Any project I’ve put out, he’s been directly involved in. My Cerebral Assassin project, The Mona Lisa Masterpiece, he handles a bulk of if not all of it. Dre is very much the Premier to my Guru. The Dr. Dre to my Snoop or Eminem. My sound is very much attributed to the chemistry we have not just as artists but as friends. It’s as much his project as it is mine.
The same could be said for DJ Fes One, who did None of Us Are Free. He’s stationed out of Seattle but we’ve worked together on every project I’ve put out. He split duties with Dre Flow on my collab project with Mo The General and has placements on every project I have. So there’s chemistry with both of these brothers and if I’m being candid, if they weren’t involved, I’m probably not putting anything out.
You have quite a story, for example you have Cerebral Palsy yet you don’t let that deter you from getting up and making the music, what keeps you pushing hard day to day? If I’m being honest, my cerebral palsy is the reason I even started doing music. Music gave me a voice when I thought my “disability” defined me. It’s actually part of the reason this project is seeing the light of day. When I stopped doing music, I no longer had a way to cope with the anxiety that comes with living with it. So the art is very much a part of my mental health. But aside from music, there’s my wife and daughter. That inspiration to keep moving forward and not letting CP define me comes from not wanting to let them down. When I started to feel like I was, I knew it was just anxiety and that it was time to start creating again just so I could get back to my true self. For anyone interested, there’s an older song/video called Hearsay where I address my cp and how it affects my music. It’s on my YouTube channel.
The song “Raye of Light” is one of the more personal and stand out tracks on “The White Rose Project”, being a father now, married, it a new stage in your life, what made you go that route? I’ve been with my wife for a decade now. For the longest time, we didn’t want kids. We enjoyed traveling too much lol. But things change. At a point, we started thinking about it and planning for it. Once my daughter was here, it was a joy I couldn’t put into words. I wanted to give my daughter something tangible and let her know how much she means to me so I wrote that record around the time she was turning one. Now that she’s older, she’s aware that she’s on that song and while she doesn’t know exactly what I’m saying, she knows that it’s me and she’s aware that her laugh is at the beginning of the song so she plays it a lot just to hear that. She’s only 2 and it’s really entertaining to see how she reacts to it. If nothing else comes from this project, that makes it worth it.
“Eyes of Isis,” with Serena Green and B’lush, is nice, along with Whiterose, collabs are always good if they fit and make sense, give fans insight on these records? Serena Green is a childhood friend of mine. I’ve known her since I was maybe 11 years old. She’s a writer/poet/author so when I was writing Eyes of Isis, I sent her the lyrics and she was really moved by them. I asked her to see if she could write a piece that I could use as an intro because I thought it was important that a strong, black woman speak to Black womanhood before I even said a word and boy, did she deliver. So thank you to her.
As for B’lush, who actually sings the chorus, she’s another close friend of mine. I met her at a video shoot for my brother Rob Stashiz. Her and I just clicked and we’ve been friends ever since. She’s another one who fits the strong, proud, black woman and because we always wanted to work together, I sent her the record and let her write whatever came to her. She came up from Atlanta to deliver that hook and even with a hoarse voice, she gave me excellence. I couldn’t be happier with how that came out. I’m glad it’s getting some positive feedback. Not for me but for these beautiful queens who gave of themselves so that I could properly pay homage to Black women.
The other collaborations are with Jimmy Bones (who is my label mate at Raw Deal Squad Entertainment and my little brother). He’s on “The Burden of Being King (B.B. King)”. I asked him to get on it because I knew he’d sound great on that song and that he’d bring something to it that I’m not capable of, at least not to that level. He manages to do harmonies really well and is completely an asset to my camp.
The other one (Runtime Error) is interesting because Fenyx isn’t an artist. She’s capable of singing and rapping and has done both on projects for me in the past. But this one is more so a reflection of our friendship. She’s very much a therapist for me and has been for about 15 years now lol. The track is meant to be a therapy session so I wrote some dialogue and she simply read it in a way that was natural to her but also professional.
So to your point, all of these collaborations fit because they aren’t forced. Each collaboration is true to my relationship with my collaborators either artistically or personally.
Your an avid rap fan like man we at HHV see, who are some of your dream collabs one day? There’s a few. Redman, Eminem, Black Thought, Royce, Ghostface, Griselda are probably my dream MCs to work with. But then there are singers like Jessie Reyes, Gary Clark, Jr., H.E.R. that I just really admire artistically. Production wise is probably where most of my dream collabs reside. Preemo and Dr Dre are my 1A and 1B all-time producers. Just Blaze is high up there too. Pete Rock, Justice League, RZA, Daringer, Havoc, Alchemist…I could go on forever. I’m just an admirer of the culture. No matter what the lane.
The project overall has been getting noticed, but what’s next up to keep the momentum going? Any new follows ups after this. The next thing on the agenda is finishing this record called “The Nation” with Mo The General, Curtessy, I-Know Brasco, Rob Stashiz and Li’l Stash. That’s the record that couldn’t get finished because of covid but it’s almost done. So it’ll be out REALLY soon. Once the social distancing thing eases up, I’ll lock in and finish the visuals. Raye of Light and The Ballad of Detroit Red are the first ones you’ll see.
There’s also a follow-up EP coming but I won’t rush it. But the work won’t stop.
Follow Hip-HopVibe.com on Twitter @HipHopVibe1.