When it comes to putting in the work to become a successful independent rapper and entrepreneur, Las Vegas’ Dizzy Wright is no fluke.
Since 2011, he's put out a project every year and in 2013 he was named a XXL Freshman after winning the “People’s Choice” category. He's extended a helping a hand to Logic, Joey Bada$$, and French Montana, among others, hopping on tracks with them.
On the business side of things, Wright is becoming just as formidable. In 2015, he became one of the youngest rappers to enter the cannabis market with his two-time High Times Cannabis Cup award-winning strain, Dizzy OG. Three years later, he opened Still Movin, a premium apparel store located on the Las Vegas strip. The success of Still Movin led to Wright taking the store to Tucson, AZ where he opened a new location, with plans to possibly expand the business across the country.
This week, Wright is currently on a 38-city tour in support of his latest studio album Nobody Cares, Work Harder. The tour comes after Wright hit the road with Tech N9ne and dropped an EP earlier this year. “This is how it’s always been,” he tells Billboard. “[I’m] really getting out here working and hitting as many spots as I can and just spreading the name.”
Billboard spoke more with Dizzy Wright about his future plans, going on tour, his close relationship with independent pioneer Tech N9ne, his journey through the independent circuit and more. Check it out below.
With your businesses and the time you’ve put in as an independent artist, how would you describe that journey from when your first started to where you’re at now?
I would say that planting seeds and building good relationships is a real fucking thing. The journey has taught me that. It taught me not to burn any bridges, be impeccable, stay solid and build good relationships. You water them with hard work and all that will grow. I'm living proof of that. I got my own weed strains and my own clothing store. It didn't start out like this. I had to build good relationships and let it manifest into other things.
What are some of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur?
Balance. You have people around you that will be solid but maybe don't know how to articulate themselves in the right way. You want to put people on and put people in places but those people might not know how to work that place fully. Finding balance and being able to teach the game but then having a thin line between not allowing somebody to mess up what you got going on. So building the team that actually represents the movement, you have to make sure you're a leader and keep n—-s in line. It's a task at times because it be little things that could have be done a little better. You can come at your people all crazy about it or you could find player ways to let them know how to do it better to keep your team strong.
What's stressful about touring?
I would just say finding the right balance between the tour life and reality with your family at home, your kids, and just being involved. I feel like I have an obligation to play my part even when I'm not home. So that might be the only real pressure that I be feeling where it's like finding the right balance so I can really be everything in both areas.
What are some of the most intimidating cities to perform in?
There isn't a place that's intimidating to me but I will say there are places where you can feel their expectations are a little higher. That would be like New York, Atlanta, California. These places really breed a lot of artists and they're used to legendary people coming out of their city. So they want to see what you can bring to the table.
Nobody Cares, Work Harder is a motivational album. What was the overall message you were getting across to your listeners?
I wanted to put out solutions and good energy. Just good music that people felt like they could apply to their life. Instead of telling people how to be or what's the better way to be, I’m just finding things that they can apply to themselves in different ways. I’m trying to do that without coming off too preachy or like a know it all. It's just some genuine game.
On the album you linked up with Tech N9ne, who you’ve worked with before. What sort of relationship do you have?
I love Tech, he's the big homie. Ever since he met me he's always embraced me, letting me know he dig my style and everything I was bringing to the game. I'm just inspired by him and I look up to him as an artist, a businessman and as a man. I realize that a lot of people will try to do things to stand out and a lot of people will do things that's natural to them but different to somebody else. He's always down to work with me.
You were just on tour with Tech not to long ago. What was it like seeing the Strange Music brand in action?
It was fire, bro. They were tripping on us about the smoking shit, you know? I was really trying to blow it down and they wouldn't let me [do] how I normally do. But it was worth getting the game that I got watching that Strange Music machine move like that. Like this dude is independent? This shit is crazy. I was watching all that and how much effort they put into reaching their fans and keeping their fans involved and making them a family. It's really a movement and so cool to see that every stop on the tour.
When Nipsey passed you wrote on Facebook that he was a big inspiration for your clothing store. What have you learned from his life and career?
I was watching how he was moving and how he was trying to buy his block. I had heard about the stories of how they tried to kick him out of the lot and he bought the whole thing instead. I've always had a deep amount of respect for Nipsey because before anybody ever knew my name I had went to one of his shows with Jay Rock back in the day. A fight broke out between the crips and the bloods and shit went down. I was a little salty about it because I wasn't on the gangbanging shit so to get pressed by the gangbangers made me mad. Go press somebody that's actually in that shit. [Laughs].
But I’m outside and Nip came down. This was before he had the store and he was just selling the Crenshaw hoodies out the back of the whip. I asked for one and he told me it was $60 which I didn't have. I let him know and he laughed and gave me and the homies hoodies. He gave up $300 to give us hoodies. I always wanted to be like that. Somebody that like if a little n—a don't got it, I can lace them. Just giving that love back. When we talked to each other later in life and I told him to the story, he was kind of tripping about it because he was like you never know who you're helping out. It's mind-blowing. I have love for my people and Nip played a big role in that.
— Dizzy Wright (@DizzyWright) May 16, 2019
You’ve been playing this independent game for awhile. How do you view major labels and the artists who strive for that push?
I realize that labels look for puppets. There will always be puppets. Not everybody will be able to do it the independent way because they don't want to work like that. Nobody wants to take that slow grind. They want to get popping now. For those artists who want that quick success where they take it to where they want to and turn it into what they want, that's on them. I learn not to bash them dudes anymore. We're all different. If you're trying to sustain longevity, [then] putting your faith in the hands of the people looking for the puppets is probably not the best thing to do.
How do you feel about some of the artists who have turned to antics as a marketing plan?
Sometimes, I look at what people are doing to stay on the charts and I just think I'm never going to be popping. [Laughs]. It's over for me, I can't keep up with the antics. I just saw Lil Pump smoking a blunt by a gas pump. Like n—a what are you doing? I would never be the type of person to do shit like that. The gas pump probably wasn't working but I know people are probably trolling and having fun. All I know is I'm just not like that.
It's always been about the music and the relationship with the fans for me. I see what people do to get popular and it just doesn't last to me. None of it is longevity to me. It's like you're hot for the moment and people are talking about you and then they don't give a shit about you. I would feel shitty if I went all the way to the top and I could perform in arenas and next thing you know I couldn't tour at all because people only fuck with me for being a weirdo. I don't know if popularity is as cool as people try to make it out to be but I guess it depends on the type of person you are.
There are some rappers with the crazy antics who are still relevant though.
It always runs out. I don't know anybody that's with the fugazi, except maybe 50 Cent. But 50 put in that real work. These cats don't even put in real work. It's amazing to me. No real good album, just a popping single and now they think they're it. I thought people would learn a lot from the Tekashi 6ix9ine because we seen the rise and the fall but like I said we're all different and everything is accepted in a different way.
Dizzy’s tour will be at Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas on June 8th, the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles on June 9th and the House of Blues in San Diego on June 13th.