Cazwell wants to make America femme again
As a gay hip hop artist, Cazwell is breaking down all types of barriers — and not just because his visuals are full of half-naked hot men.
Yet that’s not all he has to offer. Releasing his new single “Loose Wrist” off of his fourth studio album “Snow Cone,” he takes shots at Trump’s stance on the LGBT community.
Check out our Q&A with Cazwell and listen to his new single below.
Tell me a little about yourself. Where did you grow up?
Well I come from a Polish-American family. I grew up originally in New England in the Boston area and moved to New York early 2000s. I got my start there and lived there for about 16 years. Then I moved to LA about a year ago.
How was it growing up with a Polish background?
It was good, real Catholic family. Really good and fattening food. I would travel a lot between Worcester and a place called Peabody. It has a high Polish population and also the Boston area. So if you hear an accent, a lot of people assume its New York because I lived there, but it’s actually from New England.
Were people receptive to your unique style of music when you first started?
No, not at all! When I first started I was in a gay rap group. I actually rapped with a lesbian. It was kind of like a fag-dyke rap duo and we called ourselves Morplay. When we started, we couldn’t even get gay gigs because there was no connection between gay people and hip hop. We couldn’t even get gay pride because they only booked divas and drag queens you know? It wasn’t until I became solo and the internet became a way to get your music and videos out. That’s when I took off as a gay artist.
Who were some of your music and style icons growing up?
I would say Björk, Michael Jackson, and Missy Elliot. I paid attention to early Sean John when Diddy first started his line. And Gaultier; he was a big inspiration to me. He used really sexy guys when he started his men’s line and just did really unusual things that I wasn’t used to seeing. Like he did a line that were all computer parts. Oh, and definitely Alexander McQueen was big for me too. McQueen had a men’s hip-hop line in the early 2000s with a lot of down jackets and things like that so that was a big turn-on for me. Something about him is just so sinister. Like I just wanted to be able to afford his clothes.
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You mentioned that Gaultier had many sexy men featured in his line, which you have as well in your videos like Loose Wrist. What encouraged you to write the song?
Well I wanted to do a song that would be a gay pride anthem. I wanted to take some things that are usually seen as weak an try to make them powerful. I know when a lot of people describe gay men, at least when I was a kid, they’d be like, “Oh, he has loose wrists.” It’s just like a stereotype that I wanted to turn into a positive so I thought it was a good title track for the song. I also wanted to hit things from when guys on Grindr give you a fake picture to what’s going on politically. That’s why I touch on the White House a little bit too. I try to have a dose of humor in everything I do too. I can’t help it but I also wanted it to be some sense of gay pride. I wanted it to be anthemic.
I couldn’t help but notice your lace getups in the video. Will you be rocking any of those this summer or was it just for the video?
Oh my God, yes! I have one in every pair and I’m wearing matching Speedos under it. You will definitely find me on the streets of New York or LA wearing this out. It’s super cute! I love pastel and I was actually inspired because the original look for the video was supposed to be velour jogging suits but I couldn’t find the right ribbing material. So I slept on it and thought to do a lace short and collared button up because I like that style for the summer anyways. When we were shooting, I actually thought it was quite conservative compared to my other videos. Like, usually I have guys in jock straps and Speedos. So yeah, some people are passionate about how much they love it as well as how much they hate it but that’s what fashion does.
What does femme mean to you?
Actually the slogan “Make America Femme Again” comes from this guy named Hey Rooney and he does illustrations. I’ve worked with him before on merchandise and I thought it was a great slogan to end the hook on for “Loose Wrists.” So femme means to me that you might have a hairy chest and a beard but you’ll put on some high heels and work it! I for one, do not know how to work pair of heels but I have tried a couple of times. I mean, I’m not even good at walking on my tippy toes so high heels aren’t really for me. Even more than just femme pride, it was a way to fight back against Donald Trump and his slogan (Make America Great Again). It was a way to instill a sense of gay pride in a slogan that originally came from a chump like him.
Speaking of gay pride, will you be attending the festivities for the upcoming weekend?
Yeah! I’m going to being San Francisco, I have gigs all weekend long. I’ll be doing the Denver pride that’s coming up. I have a bunch of prides happening this summer, it’s such a busy time for gay artists. Definitely my favorite time to play and there’s always a receptive audience. I just played Kalamazoo’s pride. I thought that was Egypt or something but it’s in Michigan. It was so great because it’s such a small town but they have a huge gay pride and before that I went to Iowa’s. It’s so interesting to go to these areas and see how their community treats gay people. Some of these towns don’t even celebrate it and you’ll see how that really effects the gay people because they have less opportunity to be out and proud. So it’s really important for me to play pride and that every gay person feels that they have a pride to connect with.
Definitely, so what would you claim as your favorite experience of all time?
I had a really great pride in San Francisco last year when I played at Oasis. I always feel the love when I go to California but during pride I just felt super appreciated by the crowd. The love was just so tangible. Especially because the city has been through so much. It’s such a gay mecca and a place for gay artists to feel that they can grow.
So it’s time to get a little personal and veer into the dating realm. Tell me about the weirdest date you’ve ever been on?
God, they’re all so f*cking weird. Well I think the weirdest date I went on was with this guy that I thought was normal. Like he didn’t ask me about my music or anything. Yet the ENTIRE time he wanted to take selfies and Instagram Live to let all his friends know he was out with me at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. I just felt it was really weird that he was getting social media involved right away. So I go back home and found out that this guy was a vlogger and he was trying to document his “Date with Cazwell.” Like, that’s really fucked up. So yeah, never seen him again!
Well other than that situation, what are your other biggest turn offs and turn ons when dating?
I like guys with jobsss. I think my biggest turn on is someone whose creative but also using their creativity. I just like other artists. Probably not someone involved with music, but I really like visual artists. So if I meet someone they’re into the arts, makes movies, or something like that it’s a real turn on to me. Brown eyes and darker skin is a plus. Guys who take care of themselves. Oh, and definitely a sense of humor! Like if you’re super cute and you make me laugh I’m going to want to marry.
So where’s the craziest place you’ve ever had sex? And where is a bizarre place you’d like to have sex?
I think the craziest place I have ever had sex was in a DJ booth! That was a long time ago in New York on Avenue A. Besides that I would like to have sex in one of those things you play in as a kid! I forgot what it called but the inflatable rooms, I always wanted to have sex in one of those. Like you have to walk in through a clown’s mouth and there’s a moon or something like that. It crazy, some people say hot tub, but that’s sounds a little too messy to me.
You mentioned that you like guys who are into the arts. Do you think that if you weren’t in the music industry, would visual arts be a path you would’ve embarked on?
If I wasn’t involved with music I’d like to direct music videos or be involved in fashion design. Specifically for men. I’m really into menswear so I have my hands involved in everything I do when it come to my music videos. Even in my video “Get My Money Back” all the guys are shirtless in shorts while wearing monkey hats and tails. I was up all night sewing all of it myself. I’m really passionate about my videos and fashion so I’m very hands on. I could never hire a stylist and just let them do what they want.
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Well since we’re in the midst of summer, do you have any anthems you’ll have on replay?
My anthem is definitely “Loose Wrists,” duh!! But I like the new Fifth Harmony track with Gucci Mane, “Down.” “House Work” by Jack Jones too! It came out like last year but everyone’s just now picking it up.
Do you have any go-to summer beauty and health products you want us to know about?
Thanks for asking! I’m really into vitamin C. It’s so important. Usually when you buy vitamin C with ferulic acid its super expensive but there’s a company called Timeless, you must check them out. They’re online and they have a 20% Vitamin C E Ferulic Acid serum. I use it every day on my face, neck, and hands. It’s proven to work. Sometimes vitamin C can lose its potency if it’s exposed to light or oxygen, so they make it when you order. It’s really great but besides that I stick to sunblock that’s SPF 30 or higher.
What are some weird facts about you? Or some weird habits you have?
Let’s see. Well, I have to take a nap every 6-8 hours. Even if it’s just for 20 minutes, I must nap. I’m obsessed with pink flamingoes and Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies! Like I’m going to have to stay away from them if I’m going to get my stomach flat. A side note from that — if I’m going to take a nap I have to sleep on my back with my arms folded because gravity will pull your face down, A. And B, you won’t have pillow wrinkles on your face. Like you spend third of your life sleeping, so gotta do it right.
You’re obviously breaking barriers in the music industry being a male rapper who identifies with the LGBT+ community. What do you hope to accomplish in your upcoming years?
Well I just started my new record label called SNOWCONE Records. “Loose Wrists” is the first single off of that. I hope to work with more out gay artist while creating a space and a platform where they can release music, get some type of publicity behind it, and actually get heard. That’s my main focus right now.