TEXARKANA — Local rapper Young Kazz won't let his lack of eyesight keep him from sharing his musical visions, which he'll do online at his live streaming show, "Quarantine Vibes: Live From Inside."
Hosted at artist platform MyAfton.com at 10:30 p.m. Monday, the show will highlight his rapping talents and thoughtful lyrics, helping everyone kick off the work week the right way. Kazz, real name Cazzie Kirk Jr., has a brand new record out, too, and the title encapsulates his attitude with a play on words: "Visionary with No Vision."
Kazz recorded the album at his studio space in Atlanta, Texas, and just released it in May on his Braille Music Group.
"It's been a project that I've been trying to put together for a while," he said. He started the process about five years ago, recording songs and putting them in the vault. "I didn't know how it was going to come together at first."
He thought it might become a string of singles to see how the buzz built, he said. "It became to where I had to kind of pick and choose the songs that I knew I was going to end up putting on a project," Kazz said. With a lot of good work, he had to be selective.
"Not to boast or brag or anything, but we were putting out a lot of dope material," Kazz said.
When you've got that much work out, you have to do something with it, he believes. He put out a rushed hard copy, found himself displeased, then went back into the studio to re-record and switch things around. Now, Young Kazz is happier with the final product.
"Once I decided I was going to repackage it and do it a little bit different, I wanted to organize the tracks that I wanted to go on the album. I knew that whatever number of songs I put on it, they all had to kind of tell a story," Kazz said. "Everything had to go with the title of the album."
"Visionary with No Vision" reflects the idea that when he's performing and putting out these tracks, people aren't expecting this from someone who hasn't seen anything, he explained. "That's the wow factor," Kazz said. "That's what kind of gets everybody, you know, wanting to listen to the music more."
Hence, he's able to tell his story and relate how he sees life. "As artists that's what we've got to do. We want to keep our fans coming back for more. We've got to tell the stories," he said. It's about staying true to himself.
"I know for a fact I had never killed nobody, I had never sold no drugs or nothing like that, so I've got to rap about what I know. That might not be popular to everybody, but there's a message in it. It's me, it's original. There is a story," Young Kazz said.
He's been excited by music for a long time, falling in love with the piano at age 4 or 5. Taking lessons with a teacher who, he says, insisted on trying to get him to read music. That didn't go well, so he taught himself on the keyboards. He learned how to put beats together and learned production. He played instruments in band.
"When I actually started rapping, I was probably like 14 or 15," Kazz recalled. He's now 32, and put out a self-titled album years ago.
He's traveled elsewhere to perform at venues and clubs around the wider region to build up a fan base. He sees it as an investment. He's performed via such productions as Coast 2 Coast Live and Miami Live, and at venues in Houston, Austin, Dallas and elsewhere.
"You've got to always make yourself available to be at the place to be so people can see who you are," Kazz said, adding, "You're out here grinding, trying to get the world to know who you are."
Now, you can catch Young Kazz online from the comfort of your own home at his MyAfton.com page on Monday night. Afton Shows allows artists to reach their fans during the coronavirus pandemic, Kazz said.
(Tickets are $5 for the live streaming show. For more info and to get tickets for access to the "Quarantine Vibes: Live From Inside" show, visit https://myafton.com/YoungKazz.)