Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Party scene: Rapper Cazwell

Brings his unique disco rap to Toronto

“You’re only something on the gay scene if you had a number one hit last week,” a cynical Rupert Everett recently told New York’s Village Voice.

Ru’, have you met Cazwell?

While the New York rapper’s addictive single “All Over Your Face” may not have hit number one — yet — it has received worldwide attention and acclaim thanks to the new YouTube world in which we live. Thanks to that song, Cazwell these days isn’t just something on the gay scene, he is the scene.

A buoyant ode to the disco classic “Is It All Over My Face” by Loose Joints, the playful video romp was uploaded to the popular website last summer and features NYC’s hottest club children: Sebrina Flawless, Raquel Reed, Kim Aviance and the transtastic Amanda Lepore, whose visage the rapper had tattooed on his arm before even becoming close friends with her. Now he’s writing songs for an upcoming Lepore release. “She’s the most interesting person I know and ever met,” he says. “So positive and content.”

Local hot child John Walke and New York nightlife impresario Daniel Nardicio bring Cazwell to Lüb lounge to perform on Fri, Feb 9, along with stateside drag sensation Sweetie. It’s part of Nardicio’s party tour.

Cazwell (he goes by his surname, his first is Luke) is excited about the gig. “I’ve had a lot of supportive e-mails from Toronto. People have even sent me beats to work with.” He’s also passionate about working his own brand of disco rap, declaring disco a genre made just for gays, one that, pre-AIDS, brought everybody together to celebrate. Its ongoing spirit fits his scene today. He’d prefer if you didn’t try to simplify his music by labelling him “the gay rapper.”

“People equate rap with hip hop and I don’t consider myself hip hop,” he says. “If I considered myself hip hop I probably couldn’t come out of the closet. And I don’t want to call myself gay rap because I think you’ll never get anywhere.”

Anywhere? “Hip hop won’t embrace gay people,” the Deee-Lite and Cyndi Lauper-inspired MC insists. “Those guys disrespect women. There’s no way they are going to respect gay guys. It has to do with the fear of the feminine. I would win respect faster by not trying. I’m trying to rap to disco and dance. If anyone’s going to do that, it’s a gay guy.

“Hip hop,” he adds, “is about what you can acquire and afford. My scene is about what you can create.” Easily the best example so far is his now infamous video for “All Over My Face” where Cazwell and his entourage dip themselves in glitter, taking their sweet time prepping for a night on the town. The MC accessorizes with guns spray-painted gold. He says for that club royalty-infused shoot he wanted the flavour of the 1970s, “where we had the freedom to dance and do the drugs we wanted to and get sex when we wanted to.”

Sex, not surprisingly coming from a gay man, is a key ingredient to Cazwell’s rap recipes. Although he says he doesn’t get laid as often as many would assume from his image, his testosterone-fuelled mini-CD Get Into It (available on iTunes) features salacious selections like the title track, “Watch My Mouth” and “Sex That I Need.”

Sexual scarcities aside, Cazwell relishes some unique fringe benefits to his rap star celebrity. “Funny, but I never busted a nut on someone’s face until that song came along. Now guys ask.”

There’s mud in your jaded eye, Rupert. Or something like it. Mind the sting.