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The time I met C Rayz Walz

So yeah, I spent the weekend overdoing it at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. I just pulled in off the road at 4:00 this morning, and I’m still tired as shit, so you’ll have to bear with me.

If you want to read about about the festival itself, including performances by the GZA, the Clipse, De La Soul, and a buncha indie rock groups no one ever heard of (and for good reason, in some case), feel free to check out the updates on my own site. I hadn’t planned on doing too much on Pitchfork here, but you know how it is. Sometimes you meet people out and you tell them you’re going to do a story on them for XXL, and then you don’t want to feel like a douche by turning around and not doing it. Which is actually what I do more often than not.

The first day of the festival, Friday evening, was part of this concert series called Don’t Look Back, in which groups perform their classic albums in their entirety. The headliner was Sonic Youth doing Daydream Nation (I know – who gives a shit?), but the opener was the GZA doing Liquid Swords – my favorite of the Wu solo albums. I had never seen the GZA play live before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but he put on a pretty killer performance.

Here’s a video I took of him and Killah Priest doing “4th Chamber.”

The day before, I had received an email from one of this site’s readers, a kid named AB, inviting me to the after party, featuring a performance by Cappadonna. The Don’t Look Back thing ended kinda early anyway, and I didn’t have shit else to do, so I figured what the fuck. The party was at this place called the Funky Buddha Lounge, which was about halfway in between the festival and the place where I was staying. If you’re from the Chi, then perhaps you’re familiar with it. It’s a tiny hole in the wall joint that caters to a fairly, shall we say, diverse hip-hop crowd.

When I walked in, I met up with AB and a team of the whitest chicks evar that he apparently travels around with. I wasn’t complaining or anything; I’m just saying. Also, I couldn’t help but notice that there seemed to be just as many rappers there as there were fans. Holy crap! The GZA, who’s kinda old, was there for a while sitting in a dark booth in a corner. Elsewhere, you could find the likes of Killah Priest, Dreddy Krueger, Bronze Nazareth, the Wisemen, this kid named M Eighty, and probably a bunch of other people.

There wasn’t a VIP section per se, but there was a couple of couches behind a velvet rope where there were some other presumably important people hanging out. AB, who was showing me around, asked me if I wanted to meet C Rayz Walz. Which is a weird question, if you think about it. I can’t claim to have ever sat around and thought to myself, “Self, you know who I’d like to meet? C Rayz Walz!” But at the same time, he is C Rayz Walz. At the very least, he might be able to teach me to rap like he did that kid Nile the Blizzard on MTV.

So I went over to meet C Rayz Walz. He was posted up on this couch, and on a coffee table in front of the couch were several different bottles of alcohol, including one of those ice buckets with a bottle of Moet in it, some bottles of shit that may have have been wine or sangria or some such, and a bottle of what was probably Hennessey. I thought about checking the bottle of Moet to see if it was the real deal, or if it was that White Star shit that will only run you about $40 a bottle, but I figured a) it wasn’t my bottle of champagne to be fucking with, and b) this is, after all, C Rayz Walz we’re talking about. I’m sure it was the most expensive Moet possible.

As if it wasn’t already obvious, it didn’t take me too long to realize that C Rayz was motherfucking lit! He went to give me one of those ghetto handshakes that black guys and ironic white kids like to share with one another, and I think we both kinda botched it. At least he had an excuse. The thing is, I think he was under the impression that it was his fault because he had been sitting there for a couple of hours trying to set a new world record in drinking, and of course I’m too much of an asshole to suggest otherwise.

Another weird exchange: I told him I was a big fan of his work, which I am, kinda, and then he asked me which albums of his I had, and I had to think about it for a bit. Here’s the thing: I’ve heard a couple of C Rayz Walz albums, and one of them I actually ran out and copped (using money) back when it came out. Granted I was buying all sorts of shit just because it was put out by Def Jux back then, but still. If I’m gonna spend upwards of $15 on something that’s supposed to be free anyway, I want credit for it, god damnit. Fortunately (for me), it turns out that Year of the Beast, which I reviewed on my own site when it came out a couple of years ago is still his last album.

Of course the other thing he’s done which I’m a big fan of is the episode of MTV’s MADE where he teaches the geeky son of the Jew who wrote the disco song “Funkytown” how to rap. When I mentioned this, he made it a point to note that he’s done a couple of follow-up episodes which will be airing on MTV as part of a MADE marathon on July 22nd, which I believe is a Sunday. He was really adamant that I note that these new episodes will be airing July 22nd, so I’ll go ahead and repeat it. From what I understand, him and Nile the Blizzard did a big performance in Times Square, which will be featured in one of the new episodes.

And that was pretty much it for my exchange with C Rayz Walz. The show was about to begin, he was too lit to carry on much of a conversation, and there were a few really, really smoking white chicks who were clamoring to get next to him, and I didn’t want to be accused of cock blocking or anything.

This morning I got an email from AB saying C Rayz left some CDs of his new shit to send me, and that he’s also interested in doing an interview. Apparently, he’s got lots of interesting stories to tell, including, and I quote: “His stories about freestyle battling a pre-crack DMX, almost robbing Biggie back in 94, getting BJs from Heather Hunter and how a coke-addicted El-P still owes him $200K.” I don’t know about the rest of you ‘bags, but if it’s cool with this site’s management, I think we should see about getting him his own guest blog here. Screw Joe Budden. Nullus.

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