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C-Rayz Walz
June 12, 2005 - Chop Suey - Seattle, WA
by Catherine Mun

The saying, “What you see is what you get” couldn’t have made more sense to me than it did on this night. They called it The Best Damn Rap Tour, featuring 4th Pyarmid, Karniege, Vast Aire, J-Live, and C-Rayz Walz; a group of emerging hip-hop artists in various spectrums and processes of launching their music careers.

When C-Rayz came out wearing a shirt displaying the front cover of his newest album, Year of the Beast, released just the day before, skepticism surfaced. It would have been a cute gesture if the tactic was used by someone else maybe, but since that wasn’t the case, moving on…
By now, the crowd had doubled in size, and an apparent wave had traveled from the back to the front. Underage boys surrounded the small stage and it became quite clear to me that the show’s protagonist had come out.

His performance of the tracks on his album like “First Words Worse," “Blackout” and “Pink” featured other artists present that night, including Cannibal Ox’s frontman, and 4th Pyramid.

With the subtle but familiar resemblances of Aesop Rock, C-Rayz annunciated every one of his words for Seattle to hear. With the boom-bap exchange of rhythms and beats and rhymes in his monologues, the flow of his words appeared inconsistent and choppy. His choice of words was taboo and awkward, and I didn’t find myself bellowing out too many “Oh’s!” (with my fist cupped around my mouth) after he would finish a stanza.

Discerning certain phrases of his lyrics was an experience in and of itself. In “Walk Through,” the collective batch of booming voices echoed throughout the room, “Walk through the ghetto/holding my dick…” During others, the message was more prevalent; “We’re black and we wanna be white…we’re white and we wanna be black…” In “Blackout,” his jokes about African American and Caucasians dreaming about changing races are apparent when he builds up his message on the corruption of racial labeling and classification. The envious nature of human beings wanting to categorize themselves as one type or the other was a clear message that was passionately expressed. 

I couldn’t help but think if maybe the words from “First Words Worse” were influenced by his emotional, or lack of emotional upbringing in the chaotic household he grew up in while living in the Bronx; “If somebody feeds you shi* sandwiches from the time you were a baby/by the time you’re six/ain’t nobody tell you that poo poo’s not good.” Frustration, anger, justification, it was all there. I saw it.

Performing around 12 songs that night, C-Rayz’s stop in Seattle appeared to be appreciated by many. You can see C-Rayz as a mentor assisting a wannabe’s dream to become an MC on MTV’s
Made, airing later this summer.