ComplexCon returns to Long Beach Nov. 6 - 7 with hosts J. Balvin and Kristen Noel Crawley, performances by A$AP Rocky and Turnstile, and more shopping and drops.

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Tap in: @iamcuzzycapone
Essential listening: “The Weather”
Notable quotable: “We stay with the drama my niggas is riders/My city ain’t hot, my city on fire/Marathon Clothing we ain’t wearin’ no Prada/When the water get deep I can send the piranhas”

When Cuzzy Capone first met a teenage Nipsey Hussle on the streets of the Crenshaw District in the early 2000s, Cuz had been rapping for several years—having spent time around Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment and the Murder Inc. crew—and he was already knee-deep in the streets. He saw something in the aspiring rapper known at the time as Ermy. Not yet known as Nipsey Hussle, Ermias addressed Cuz as “big bro.”

Though his lyrics are firmly rooted in the West Coast lifestyle, Cuzzy’s inspiration includes legendary East Coast MCs from Jay, Biggie, and Nas to Mobb Deep, The Lox, and Dipset. A charter member of Nipsey’s Slauson Boyz collective as well as a steady presence on the Bullets Ain’t Got No Name mixtape series, he’s more recently connected with Wee Dogg for a new installment of the Cracc Babies mixtape series. “The shots go off, it sound like an opera,” Cuz spits on “Beat Street,” the lead single from the forthcoming Cracc Babies 3. “Slauson Boy gang we the real top shottas.”

“When we started off, Nip and his friends used to look up to me,” Cuzzy recalls. “I used to be in the room tellin’ stories about the rap game and they eyes would be big as fuck. And that shit turned all the way around to where I was lookin’ at my little brother like that. Shit is crazy.”