Every rapper is fueled by his or her personal ambitions, but becoming a success story also means putting your city on the map, and Dizzy Wright — who recently landed on XXL's Freshman cover — is doing just that for Las Vegas.
The 22-year-old has been rapping for almost a decade already, and after releasing his Free SmokeOut Conversations mixtape, debut album Smokeout Conversations and The First Agreement EP last year, he also clinched a 30-city headlining tour by landing a coveted spot on the XXL list as the "People's Champ."
"I think I kicked down the door — the big door," he told MTV News of paving the way for other rappers coming out of Las Vegas, where he says there's a very local hip-hop scene.
Dizzy got his start playing in teen clubs and hookah lounges back home, with the help of his mother, who was once a road manager for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, a group that had a major influence on him growing up. "I started rapping when I was really young, and my mom started out writing for me," he explained. "It was super positive, like way too positive. It was just different than the life we were actually living, but it was cool. It kind of kicked things off."
By the end of 11th grade, he was logging studio time at a friend's house and sharing those tracks on MySpace. "Then I started playing my music at parties, and when I [saw] the reaction that people had, [I thought] 'This is tight.' The first couple songs that I was doing, I rapped over Lupe's 'Paris, Tokyo,' Nas' 'One Mic' the Ying Yang Twins' 'Bedroom Boom,' but then I started coming across producers and the Jerkin' movement was real big.
"I lived in California for a little while, and I became a part of that culture," he continued. "So when I went back to Vegas, nobody was really on it, so I was like, 'I'm gonna be the first person to drop a Jerk song out here,' so that's pretty much what I did. I was throwing parties and making music just for the club scene, but I was putting out a different kind of music, real sh--."
At the end of 2011, Dizzy signed a deal with Hopsin's Funk Volume label and dropped plenty of music last year before hitting the road, explaining that he was inspired by all his travels and watching his daughter grow up.
This year got off to a great start when his fans voted him onto the XXL Freshman list. "It's a blessing," he said, of being included on the cover. "They pick nine people, and they allow one person to get voted on, and my fans [came] through for me. I built a cool fanbase inside of Las Vegas before I went out into the world, but being on the road definitely played in my favor. The fans are really the most important people and the ones who really support you. You do meet-and-greets, you shake hands, you take pictures, you sign autographs, and they remember that."
As he continues to gain more recognition, Dizzy hopes to shine the light on some fellow rappers from Las Vegas he thinks just "need the drive and dedication."
He recently dropped the video "Killem Wit Kindness" for a single that will appear on his upcoming, yet untitled mixtape.