“In gay club culture, we create our own slang,” says Cazwell about his latest hip-hop dance track, “Helen Keller.” Drawing inspiration from the deaf and blind woman whose life is depicted in the stage play The Miracle Worker, the song is about a term the rapper made up for when a person ex-communicates someone from his or her life.
“If I ‘Helen Keller’ a person, it’s another way to say, ‘I can no longer see or hear the person,’ They’re dead to me. If I go out and they’re at the same club, I can’t be bothered.”
When he created the song, he says, he had a lot of pent-up aggression that he needed to get out. “I went through a break-up last year. I used this song as lyrical therapy,” he says.
“Helen Keller” is more lyric-based than Cazwell’s previous releases. It’s also a new sound: crunky with a ’90s house vibe and some trap elements mixed in, along with vocals from RuPaul’s Drag Race superstar Manila Luzon and the underground maven Roxy.
Cazwell shared more of his thoughts with us, as well:
Who was the last person you Helen Kellered?
My ex-boyfriend. I don’t talk to him anymore because he cheated and lied to my face too much.
Oh no. Has Cazwell become the gay Taylor Swift, writing about bad break-ups?
Uh, no. I don’t like to dwell too much on breakups, to tell you the truth. But for this last big break-up, I was particularly inspired to write. Not in a revengeful type of way, more like lyrical therapy.
Do you normally write lyrics to get your aggression out?
No. Normally I write lyrics because a beat inspires me or I come up with a theme or a hook I think is funny and I want to write a track around it.
What is something that is making you mad right now?
The lack of justice there has been for Islan Nettles, a transgender woman who was beaten [and later died from the injuries> in front of a police precinct in Harlem, N.Y. A … 20-year-old male [suspect”> spent only 10 hours in jail and has never been charged with murder. It’s a huge injustice, and I am part of the fight to have him charged. Nothing makes me more mad than injustice.
Would you agree hip hop has made leaps and bounds in its acceptance of homosexuality?
It’s definitely a sign of the times for gay people when the number one rap album of the year is by a straight rapper who is part of the political fight for gay rights. But I don’t think hip hop had much of a choice, to tell you the truth. It’s just moving with the times. For the most part, you can thank the Internet for forcing people to have an open mind toward homosexuality. Because of the Internet, I no longer need TV for people to see my music videos. And it’s not only me