Defacto Thezpian is a rapper/MC from none other than Durham, North Carolina. Thezpian, a self proclaimed “actor that raps” is anything but theatric when you get some one-on-one time with him. His down-to-earth allowed us to effortlessly flow through conversation as we casually coasted through the intersection of music & life.
Quirktastic: The first thing I noticed about you was, your alias as “The Schnozy Rapper” could you explain what schnozy means?
Defacto Thezpian: I would but that’d be too easy, give me your best guess at what you think it means.
Q: *chuckles* why did I have a feeling you’d ask me this…when I hear the word schnozy, i think it’s a play on the word snazzy, context clues are telling me it’s your way of saying something has flavor. (sidenote: i did a lot of more rambling regarding it’s roots in jazz colloquialism, but I’ll spare y’all the details).
DT: *laughs* yeaah i see where you were going – i wasn’t thinking too much about jazz but, schnozy is just my word for cool. if i think it’s dope i’d call it schnozy
Q: I knew this on some level but the words didn’t come out right. Besides Durham being your home, what can you tell me about Bull City? I’ve been hearing some good things about its art scene.
DT: I’d say Durham is the culture hub of NC, I’d like to think it’s the Harlem of NC. I’m also from up north – Jersey to be exact but my musical roots are definitely in Durham. As an artist I’d have to say Durham is the greatest place to be.
Photo courtesy of Mark Maya
Q: Your cadence & flow is one of a kind, almost challenging to get into but I like that, how’d you develop its level of intricacy?
DT: My process is simple – I write how i’d want someone to flow on it every time.
Quirktastic: Naah, there’s gotta be more to it than that – how long have you been working on perfecting it?
DT: Well, my ultimate rap goal is to master every kind of flow. A faster cadence is challenging for rappes because we have to stay on beat and get some dope lyrics in the flow/ It took years. I started trying to rap fast my 1st year out high school
Q: That makes sense, so in other words – practice makes perfect….
DT: *chuckles* Basically.
Q: When did you decide to take your music career serious?
DT: January 19, 2013. It was my first headlining show. Had the entire venue packed just off my 1st mixtape. The turnout was overwhelming, I almost shed a few G tears *laughs*. The audience’s receptiveness + the owner’s encouragement had me thinking I had something strong going on.
Q:Sounds like a fairytale to me. Now that.you’ve been working on your career for a few years, how’s it been keeping the work-life balance on track?
DT: Life always comes first ‘cause it’s mad unpredictable – it comes at you crazy. So, I try to keep my personal life as orderly as possible. How you behave outside of “work spaces” is crucial in this industry. Talent isn’t all what you need to gain people’s respect. At the same time, you can’t forget to live life, can’t be serious all the time so it’s definitely a balancing act.
Photo courtesy of DefactoThezpian.com
Q: That’s real, do you mind sharing any times when your work-life balance was off?
DT: The struggle was real when I first started my career. The initial struggles included not having a DJ for any of my shows and being my own manager. I had to scout venues & be my own booking agent. I had multiple roles to play. Things got overwhelming at times but, I expected to have the startup kinks.
Q: Well, it’s a good thing you had a background in theatre so playing all those roles weren’t too out of your comfort zone *chuckles*
DT: *laughs* Exactly, it’s all about the finesse. I’ve also overcome being homeless, dealing with shady producers, and having no car or job. Even with all that going on, I was still tryna get booked for shows, still writing. The dedication never ended because the truth is, everybody’s going through something and it’s up to you to make sure you push through.
Q: I just wanna say, you’re speaking to my spirit right now! I appreciate hearing stories like yours – they help me put life in perspective. Understanding my life’s struggles aren’t the end all be all is something I’m learning as a 20 year-old.
DT: Word? Glad I could be of service, you still have time but, the sooner you solidify that lesson…the better. Unfortunately the world won’t stop because your life has a few hiccups.
Q: You’re so right, it takes a confident person to push through the madness life sends their way, how did you develop that characteristic?
DT: Being the class clown & my background in theatre helped tremendously. I was never the one to shy away from the spotlight. If I didn’t back down from challenges in high school there was no way I’d allow myself to fall off when it came to my career in music.
Photo courtesy of Mark Maya
Q: This conversation is doing a lot for me, I want to say thanks for your wise words, seriously – it means a lot. The “deep” part of our talk is over, you did pretty well on the hotseat! *laughs*
DT: *laughs* No problem at all, I have the tendency to ramble *chuckles* I hope you’re able to take all what I’ve said and apply it to your life.
Q: Whaaa? No doubt about that. A’ight so back to Burgandyskylines, it’s your latest mixtape & this is the second project you put out since your 2 year hiatus, how are you feeling?
DT: Everything went how it was supposed to go, I recorded all the songs in a month. I felt like I should’ve popped a bottle or something…the journey to get here was rough. After my music was withheld from me for two years, there was no telling what I had to face next.
Q:Yeah, I know you were relieved everything went so smooth.
DT: Absolutely, all the hard work & perseverance paid off.
Q: Our time together is coming to an end and from your music & this conversation I can tell your personality is extremely vibrant. So I gotta ask, what do you think makes you quirky?
DT: *laughs* Uhh, quirky? hmm…I like to put strawberry jelly on vanilla bean ice cream.
Q: No way, you know they have syrup for that right?
DT: I know, and I’m always made fun of for that. Don’t knock it ‘till you try it – I promise it’s a lot better than the runny syrup.
Q: Okay, okay you got it! One last thing, any advice for budding artists developing their craft?
DT: Focus on yourself. Comparison is inevitable because the industry is saturated. Understand thatdeveloping your craft & your brand will help you develop your character. Once you learn what to prioritize & how much you need to persevere – the confidence comes naturally, you’ll be in good shape to take on anything.
Stream BurgundySkylines here.
Don’t forget to keep up with Defacto on Instagram.
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