Car crash and shooting left the Detroit rapper’s right arm injured, but he has fought through the pain and resumed his career.
CMC Guapo Recalls The Incident That Nearly Ended His Musical Career
CMC Guapo continues to pursue a career that was almost cut short following a wild incident involving an ex-girlfriend, a flipping car and a shot that hit him in the right arm. He lost all feeling in his arm, which sent the rapper into a deep depression.
But thanks to family, friends and other supporters, as well as strenuous rehab, he has regained full mobility in his arm, and become one of the bright spots on the Detroit rap scene. He also uses his platform to advocate for change in the foster care system that he once was a part of.
Zenger spoke with the resilient Motor City native about the release of his new single,“Paradise,” on Friday; the incident that changed his life forever; and why he’s so passionate about reforming the foster care system.
Percy Crawford interviewed CMC Guapo for Zenger.
Zenger: You pride yourself on showing off different styles in your music. On “Flight Mileage,” what style were you trying to display?
CMC Guapo: That’s one of my many styles. Detroit and the Bay Area have a similar sound, so that was my replica of a Detroit style. But some people say it sounds like a West Coast track. That’s what I was aiming for.
Zenger: How did you make the transition from battle rapper to studio artist?
CMC Guapo: It was really easy for the most part because I always knew how to make songs. I really didn’t have to do too much other than getting some studio time. When I was battling, I was more so free styling.
Zenger: Tell us about the “Money Comes First Entertainment” movement.
CMC Guapo: It’s the label. It’s my homeboy team. It’s something that Charles Sisk had prior to me rapping, but I feel like I’m in good hands with him. He sees something in me. We had the same vision on where I want to be and where he sees me going. It’s a partnership.
Zenger: You will be dropping a new single, “Paradise,” on Friday. What can we expect from that one?
CMC Guapo: If you’re familiar with any of my sounds, it’s going to be something different. If you’re not familiar with me at all, this is what you’re going to get: A more Caribbean/reggae type of sound. It was my first time trying it, and I feel like I came out on top with it. It’s going to be vibrant. It’s going to make you want to dance. It’s up-tempo.
It’s for the ladies, so the ladies are going to love it. The men will love it too, because it gives you that dance vibe. When I played it and females heard it, I got a nice response. That was the end goal: to give the ladies something. Every song ain’t bashing. It’s just a feel-good song.
Zenger: It sounds like you took a risk to do something outside your norm.
CMC Guapo: It’s important for me to do that because I don’t wanna be put into a box. I want to be known as a versatile artist. I don’t feel like there is anything that I can’t do. With that being said, it’s important for me to let people who are my fans and people who aren’t familiar with me at all, know that you might not like the song you heard from me at first listen, but if you dive in and go a little deeper, you’re going to find something you like for sure.
Zenger: Is “Paradise” leading to an end-of-year project, or something we can look forward to early next year?
CMC Guapo: The project will come out in early 2022. I’m actually finishing up getting the songs mixed and mastered right now. Towards the end of January, I should have the project ready.
Zenger: You have been at this music thing for a while. What have you learned the most about yourself?
CMC Guapo: That I have more patience that I actually thought I had. I learned the resiliency that I have in myself because this is something that you can easily quit. I’ve been at it for a while. It’s starting to pick up now, but it was slow. I am still seeing progression. I saw a lot through music that I wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise, traveling wise and different cultural experiences that I had being that I was the rapper in certain places. Just the doors that it has opened up for me, I appreciate the journey.
Zenger: You had an accident that nearly forced you to give up your career. You were in a car rear-ended by a female you were involved with or used to be involved with. In turn, the car flipped and your driver’s gun went off shooting you through your hand or arm. Could you detail that incident?
CMC Guapo: Yeah, at one point I thought it was over for me. … At one point in time, I didn’t have control of my right hand. I wasn’t able to move it at all. I went through… I want to say a depression stage. I went through the thoughts of, who wants to hear a handicapped rapper? We live in a world where everyone trolls. I didn’t think that the world would accept me or actually listen to me because I had an actual physical defect that they could noticeably point out and see. It was hard at first, but I got through it.
I was still living. That was my motivation. I didn’t know when I was getting my hand back, but I was motivated to do it. Today, I got full access of my hand. I’m missing feeling in a couple of my fingers, but I still have mobility in my hand, and I’m making the best out of my situation. I can clinch a microphone, but I do have nerve damage, so my hand is always tingling and throbbing.
I have been in pain since day one, but I just fight through it. It’s never going away. I’m going to die with this pain in my hand, so I might as well try to make the best of it. Once I got mobility in my hand, that was the blessing. I traded the pain for the pleasure of actually rapping again. It’s a gift and a curse.
In terms of the incident itself, I had went out one night, it went totally wrong. I was with a girl, and she was hitting the back of the car that I was in. The car ended up flipping over, and a gun went off and shot me in the artery. I went through multiple therapy sessions. I went through a lot actually to get my arm back. I broke my wrist in the process too. So, not only did I get shot in my arm, I broke my wrist, so my whole right arm had no use for a long time.
I’m ambidextrous now. I know how to write with my left hand. I had to learn to do a lot of things with my left hand. My left arm is stronger than my right arm, which wasn’t the case. It was an adjustment, but I had support around me from my family. I got fan support. People were reaching out to me, and as I started progressing, I saw that people still rocked with me regardless if I was handicapped or not. That didn’t change me as a person. Once I got that confidence back in myself, I went back for it, and I’m here where I am today.
Zenger: You message is more than just music. You grew up in the foster care system, and you are now advocating for change within the system. I definitely wanted to get your take on your experience and things that need to be altered.
CMC Guapo: Actually, bruh, my actual experience wasn’t that bad. I went from a great situation into bad by leaving. I don’t want to say bad like it was the worse situation, but I went from a rich family where I was raised by a predominantly white family, to go back to the neighborhood in which my parents was raised in, and to grow up like my parents did. That was my experience, but from people that I have known and things that I have seen, I know that a lot of kids aren’t as lucky as I was to have that type of family.
Once they get in the system they get lost in it, they get mistreated and abused because it’s about the money. It’s not even about actually helping the child. The next generation is our hope. Not only because of that, it’s a child and they are innocent to a certain extent. I feel like an adult shouldn’t knock the purity out of a child.
I would like to see that element leave, and I would also like to see the actual money by the government produced for that child, be for that child. I wanna see children get put into homes where they actually care about the child, and it’s not just about the money. I want them to know that, even though it is an embarrassing situation to some people, you’re not different or less, you just had to go through a different walk of life.
Zenger: You’re currently working on some events that will give foster kids some care packages. Would you also like to do some public speaking? Because that message you just told me, should definitely be heard.
CMC Guapo: Yeah, most definitely. That’s the whole point of living is learning and then teaching somebody else. I want to make sure that if someone sees what I’m doing, and they think I’m cool for whatever reason, this is what I had to go through, too. So, even if it’s embarrassing at some point, next time you will be telling your story and empowering somebody else. You take the bumps and the bruises because one day, it’s going to be some brighter days. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.
Edited by Matthew B. Hall and Judith Isacoff