C Rayz Walz is the sun cycle emcee. Born in the Bronx and son of a murdered drug kingpin, C Rayz Walz had an extremely hard life. Still, all through his struggle, he rhymed and rhymed well. His rhymes literally blew people’s minds. Like Canibus and Ras Kass, C Rayz Walz has intense and wild lyrics that go over people’s heads many times. Sometimes, they have double meanings. Sometimes, they are just plain ill. Unfortunately, some people pigeonhole him as a punch-line emcee. C Rayz Walz is so much more than that. He has a deep hunger to rock microphones. His deliveries and flows are energetic and confident. His voice is one of kind too.
Over the past years, C Rayz released a couple of independent albums like “The Prelude”, “Singular Plurals”, and “The Limelight”. Recently, he signed to Definitive Jux, an innovative label ran and own by El-P, formally of Company Flow. Def Jux has a cult like following and they release a myriad of eclectic music. From artists like Mr. Lif to S.A. Smash to Cannibal Ox to Murs to RjD2, Def Jux is the thinking man’s hip-hop label. Of course, it is the perfect home for C Rayz Walz, a thinking man’s emcee with a strong street credibility.
He appeared on “Battle for Asgard” from the Cannibal Ox album “The Cold Vein” and also on Aesop Rock’s “Labor Days” album. He is a member of a group called Stronghold with Breez Evahflowin (Blaze Battle and MTV’s DFX Champion). In 2003, C Rayz Walz released his first proper full length LP “Ravipops (The Substance)” on Definitive Jux.
“Ravipops” does not have the typical Def Jux producers but it still has the creative boom-bap beats and intricate arrangements. “Ravipops” is an album that hits you instantly as well as down the line. Some songs and lines smack you in the face while others seep into your brain and stay there, making the listener finally understand the track at a later time. “Ravipops” is an album filled with passion, soul, love, hate, and most of all strength. There’s a love for hip-hop in each and every line and beat. Producers include DJ Lord Ron, Belief, 4th Pyramid, Ste-lo, DJ Black Panther, DJ Etch A Sketch, and other up and coming talent. While most of the songs have just C Rayz on the solo tip, there are some guests and most of them are not well known like Natural K.A.W.S. and Killa Kal. The insane posse cut “The Line Up” is overflowing with talented well-respected independent hip-hop legends.
Produced by 4th Pyramid, “The Line Up” includes Wordsworth, J-Treds, Thirstin Howl III, Vast Aire, Breezely Brewin and MF Doom all on one song. It is an modern hip-hop classic. Other incredible tracks on “Ravipops” include “Guns & Butter”, “Protect My Family”, “Floe”, “The Essence”, “Camouflage”, “86”, “Elephant Guns”, and “Buck 80”. Even though “Ravipops” just came out, C Rayz Walz has a handful of future albums all ready in his brain.
On a warm evening in the Autumn of 2003, C Rayz Walz and I had an in depth conversation about music, drugs, crime, lyrics, hip-hop, the music industry, movies, family, and more. Even though C Rayz Walz has been rocking mics and has been doing his thing for a very long time, he is just getting started and has much more to accomplish. He will accomplish it too. Every rhyme he rocks is like a sunray that shoots through your head. It enters your ear and shoots directly into your brain, body, and soul. While the Earth revolves around the sun, true independent hip-hop lovers revolve around the sun cycle emcee. Let his light shine on you.
MVRemix: What goes on?
C-Rayz Walz: The sun cycle emcee is in full effect in this dire land!
MVRemix: Your new album is called ‘Ravipops (The Substance)’ Tell us about it? Who’s producing it? Who is on it?
C-Rayz Walz: The album ‘Ravipops’ is basically the culmination of the trilogy. The trilogy being, ‘The Prelude’ which is my first album that came out somewhere around 1999 or 2000. The follow-up to that album was ‘Singular Plurals’ which is basically a compilation of singles and collaborations I did that all came out on wax. It was my vinyl history. Then, I dropped ‘The Limelight’ about 2 or 3 months ago. It is an album dedicated to songs I like to perform out of a catalog of like 80 songs that had no definition or place to go. They were not going to be on my future albums later on in my career. I past that. ‘Ravipops’ is a culmination of all of those activities. I was kind of immature. I was just running around doing tracks and not doing hip-hop to pay bills. ‘Ravipops’ symbolizes the birth of my son Ravi. Being a young adult man and becoming a responsible father reflects into my music. I didn’t want to run around and do mad singles and sh*t just to pay the bills. Those days are far, few, and between right now. My career is important. I am focused on being a father. I focused on putting out music that is going to transcend my life and time. I can’t really transcend my life and time with battle raps and music that does not have depth to it. All of my music has extreme depth to it. Still, I am going to a higher place. ‘Ravipops’ is giving you a picture of who I am through a hip-hop standpoint. Street violence, street science, battle raps, club mentality, social commentary, historical values, spiritual journeys, old school throwback, rest in peace. You get all of that on ‘Ravipops’. I think that is something that a lot of hip-hop albums fail to do these days anyway. ‘Ravipops’ is like one of those albums that I used to love to always listen to. I wanted to get back.
MVRemix: The new album ‘Ravipops’ is on Def Jux but you do not have any of the typical Def Jux producers. Why?
C-Rayz Walz: All the producers on ‘Ravipops’ have been in my circle since the beginning. Black Panther, Sean One, DJ Lord Ron, Belief. I knew all of these producers for years. I just wanted them to be apart of this album. We dropped different singles here and there with various songs. I wanted them to experience a true album with me. As far as me not having production by RjD2 or El-P for that matter, I don’t know. We didn’t click on that page for this specific journey. I was already in full speed, picking out joints. El-P was actually helping me pick out beats and all of that. We actually did a song for the album. It was a dope joint called ‘Fantasia’ and it was about 4 and half minutes long. It was too long for the vinyl edition. For the time, the album would have been too long.
MVRemix: Do you have a favorite song on ‘Ravipops?
C-Rayz Walz: Really the whole album. The song that is ageless to me is ‘Dead Buffalos’. It’s ageless. I don’t think anybody will ever go there again the way that I went there on that whole concept. Nobody ever touches that.
MVRemix: What is the meaning behind the title ‘Ravipops (The Substance)’?
C-Rayz Walz: Well, my son is Ravi and his name means ‘the rising sun’. I am C Rayz, the sun cycle emcee. ‘Pops’ could mean a few things. ‘Pops’ is the gun or the impact of the slug to the target hit. ‘Pops’ could mean to throw-up or explode. Pop off on the scene. It’s the rising sun explosion. It’s the rising sun with accurate aim. In parenthesis, we have ‘The Substance’ as the subtitle, which is who I am literally. I really am ‘Ravipops’ and ‘Ravipops’ is what I’m doing. The substance of C Rayz Walz is what you get in the musical journey of ‘Ravipops’. All that album is non-fiction. There’s no jokes. No filler. Listen to album and you can know who I am. You can have a conversation with me based on those songs and be accurate to the bone marrow.
MVRemix: How and why did you get involved with Def Jux?
C-Rayz Walz: Me and El-P been fam for eons as far as the whole cycle of hip-hop in NYC. I was on the Cannibal Ox album and the Aesop Rock album. It was just meant to happen. You know what I’m saying? El-P saw me at various battles and at different open mics. I didn’t know about Company Flow when they were blowing up. I wasn’t really on the scene like that. I was running around on some crime wave sh*t. Me and El have been talking about this for maybe 2 years before that. I just watched him do his thing and he watched me do mine. He was like, ‘Yo! I’m ready to body it for 2003! We can do this!’.