Open Space: Cuz Lightyear
“There’s a thin line between documentation and glorification”
Cuz Lightyear dropped his new EP, WHAT UP CUZ, today on Mass Appeal Records. To formally introduce himself, the Atlanta-based MC appeared on our Open Space interview series.
Lightyear found an early supporter in Dungeon Fam alumnus Killer Mike, who appears on his recent single “Pots N Pans.” The Run the Jewels MC was first introduced to his music accidentally. The pair shared a studio engineer in common and Mike happened to walk into his place as he was playing back one of the freestyles Lightyear recorded within a room of other hungry local MCs.
But before Lightyear’s career could go anywhere, it was almost derailed by a “country boy” parole officer who tried to force him to ditch his music career. “He was just like, ‘You’re not doing no more of that rap music’,” Lightyear recalls.“Whatever you thought you were doing, you ain’t doing no more of that. You need to get you a job, you know, McDonalds or something.’”
Still he was undeterred. “I would just be low-key going around to studios, still recording and shit, but I can’t put music out or nothing,” he says.
To get around his P.O.’s watchful eye and persistent Googling, he changed his MC name from SL Jones to his current Cuz Lightyear moniker. He also decided to go on the road with Run the Jewels even though it was against the conditions of his parole, but he hid his identity by performing in a ski mask covered with gold spikes. It turned out he had some luck on his side, too.“If they would have called me in at any time, I would have been violated,” he says.
Check out the full Open Space interview above to hear Lightyear talk about lessons learned from Killer Mike’s late mother, his views on “glorification” in rap and more above. Stream the WHAT UP CUZ EP below or download a copy here.