Hailing from Queens, NY, rapper CEO Cleezy dropped his I Accept Your Apology album last month. Already tongues are wagging about it and DJs are spinning the songs from it on the radio. We had some questions and CEO Cleezy had the answers, so here is what went down during our Q&A session.
NFZ: Let’s get straight to it. I know this is a sensitive subject for most people, but one of the things that sets you apart from most artists out there releasing new records is that you’re also dealing with cancer. When where you diagnosed, how are you dealing with it and how has it affected your music?
CEO Cleezy: I was diagnosed in August, 2016, and when I found out I was devastated with the news of having the disease. But with my spiritual guidance and a good support team beside me I’ve learned to take a stand to the battle and fight the disease with every thing I got. I must tell you this dealing with cancer made me more determined and focused harder on my music treating every song like it’s my best work. I feel if an artist gives his best work, you can’t go wrong with no matter what you are doing. Even if it’s a different genre of music you can still make it happen if you have the will and determination.
NFZ: You were still working on I Accept Your Apology while undergoing chemotherapy. That had to be tough, so were there times you were just ready to pack it in, and if so, what kept you going?
CEO Cleezy: There were times that I was ready to give up because of the pain that I endured, but there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel and I focus on that light to get me through this battle with cancer! Sure there were days where I would be mad at the world and act like life shouldn’t had done this to me but, throwing a pity party with myself is really classified to me as a kiddy party. I can’t cry over spilled milk because the time and energy that I waste doing that, I can use that negative energy and turn it into positive energy and move forward in a more beneficial path towards life. At the end of the day I must say “will and determination to live a long prosperous life” is what kept me going.
NFZ: What’s the story behind the name CEO Cleezy and how did you get that tag?
CEO Cleezy: I got the name “Cleezy” from how classy I dress. People would see me and say “This guy is a sharp dresser, we should call him Cleezy” so, that’s how I got the tag. I’ve always looked at myself as a CEO so, I put the CEO in front of Cleezy and there you have it. Even up to this day when I still see some of the people who called me Cleezy it would always remind me where we were and what day it was when they started calling me Cleezy. I still get a kick out of how they came up with the name. I never knew that it would one day determine my whole out look far as appearances goes and as well as my image. I’m definitely impressed with the name and now I am going to carry out my legacy and show the world what CEO Cleezy is made of.
NFZ: Because of your record’s title, I Accept Your Apology, I have to ask if you believe the world owes you, or anyone else for that matter, an apology.
CEO Cleezy: I think the rap game nowadays owes me and real rappers who are lyrical and that take this seriously really owes us a huge apology! Simply because the rap music that’s coming out now is not real Hip Hop it’s just watered down mumbling of words on a ‘trap” beat. Now the point that I am getting across is that making good music consists of a positive and strong focus on showing and proving to the world or an audience that it was the determination on why this song is being recorded. When I learned the art of Hip Hop there was no turning back for me, once I knew what real Hip Hop was supposed to sound like and represent, it was over ! This is why it’s hard for me to accept this music nowadays coming from these artists because the music sounds like there is no passion in the songs, no structure, no blueprint on where the artist is leaving an influence for the Hip Hop culture. If I could talk to Hip Hop I would say “Hip Hop, you in danger, but however I’m here to save you so this is why I Accept Your Apology!
NFZ: Well with that being said, why not tell us more about what you think about the current state of hip-hop music and culture?
CEO Cleezy: I think Hip Hop really needs help and this is why I’m here to offer my
services and save the culture before it’s too late!. As I stated before, rap music is being “watered” down with mumbling words and no charisma. The Hip Hop industry seems like it’s just all about gimmicks and frauds that are willing to just give the fans whatever they want to give them, but it shouldn’t work that way. Hip Hop culture is about having the opportunity to show the culture what passion, struggle and determination is, not gibberish gimmicks and lame metaphors because it insults the integrity of the Hip Hop culture and what it stands for.
NFZ: Tell us a bit about the CEO Cleezy creative and recording process.
CEO Cleezy: Well for the record, I must let it be known that I don’t write any thing down on paper. It comes naturally. But at times I must say it is a real challenge for me to say the least. When I’m recording I can do a complete song most of the time in just 1 single session making no mistakes. The engineer gets mad at me every time because he figures that if I make a mistake that’s more money for him, but I beat him at his own game (lol). I often am amazed on how I start the session and the impact that I leave when I end the session. I’m very successful at what I do in the creative and recording process.
NFZ: What are your top 3 favorites from the 14 songs on your album and why?
CEO Cleezy: Fly Away – it’s a conscious song going deep into the listener’s mind trying to get the listener to imagine what is the average cost for struggle. Darling Nikki – it makes me feel like I’m talking directly in a woman’s ear influencing her to make a wise choice that if she comes with me, it will benefit her financially. Say Goodbye – showing the unappreciated women that life is short and it should not be taken for granted on the people around you because no one is promised additional time on this earth.
NFZ: What were the most difficult songs for you to write for I Accept Your Apology and the most difficult tracks to record?
CEO Cleezy: I had with fun all the songs. I had a discrepancy with Say Goodbye because every word was coming to me as I was performing live which made it a challenge for me to explore what I call “memory per second” meaning I had to quickly import and export lyrics to the microphone.
NFZ: Your new current album, I Accept Your Apology, has begun to get a lot attention on the radio. How does seeing your name on the charts feel?
CEO Cleezy: It’s like a life long dream finally coming true. I have no complaints on my future success, but every time I look at my name it sends chills down my spine. It’s sort of like a good feeling of “pre-accomplishments” meaning I’m almost there but just a few more steps forward and then I’m content to be where I’m at and the path that I’ve took. All my life I’ve dreamed of and endured this music passion of mine and I always said “if one day I can get the right support team to join me in my dreams, then I would surely make it happen”.
NFZ: I’ve been checking to see if you have any shows booked but have yet to find any dates scheduled. Are there health issues that have kept you off stage or other reasons?
CEO Cleezy: There are no health issues because I’m a strong individual. However, there are a couple of shows in the works as we speak but stay in tuned with me on my social media networks for up to date and the future status of any upcoming shows.
NFZ: What’s in the works for CEO Cleezy in the upcoming year?
CEO Cleezy: Tours and feature guest appearances on late night shows are in the works.
NFZ: What is something about you that your fans probably don’t know and would surprise them?
CEO Cleezy: I believe my fans would love to know that I don’t write anything down or use pen and paper. I can make a whole song up in my head and perform it on the spot with any mistakes! I love all genres of music except heavy metal.
NFZ: What’s the best way that people can keep up with and stay in touch with you and your music?