As he chomps on a chicken bone and sifts through potato salad, Cassidy appears ready for anything. The Philadelphia reared rapper stormed on the scene with his 2004 album, Split Personality. He followed it up with the hit “I’m a Hustla” in 2005, but then things changed. Over the next two years, the rapper struggled with the types of experiences that great songs and stories are made of.
Cas was charged with murder and weapons possession after an incident that occurred in Philadelphia. The following year, he was convicted of lesser charges and spent eight months in prison for his involvement.
Seven months after his release, he was in a serious car crash that resulted in a fractured skull and broken bones in the face. He eventually reached a turning point in 2007, when he released B.A.R.S. The Barry Adrian Reese Story which featured what may be his biggest hit to date, “Drink and My Two Step.”
Currently recording music for his new mixtape, Cassidy took time out to talk with ro about his uphill battle, why he hates major labels and why he signed with Carmelo Anthony. –david rozzell
You were a central figure in the freestyle battle rap era that started around 2001. How does it feel to be an integral figure in such a big era?
I love hip-hop…. I just always wanted to prove that I was better than another rapper. I remember I got on this radio competition in Philly called The Cipher hosted by this DJ named Zulu. I [won] for months at a time. I became a personality, but nobody knew what I looked like. So I started battling dudes face-to-face.
In the 10 years you’ve been in the game, what’s changed?
The focus and direction of artists — it’s bigger than it’s ever been. … People [are] making business music as opposed to making good music.
What’s up with the partnership with Carmelo [Anthony]?
That’s my partner — we got a label together. … People were trying to come at his for years with projects, and I just came in the right way.
You’ve said before that you didn’t want a deal because all labels are just alike. Do you still feel that way?
Yeah, I don’t want a deal right now. I’d rather have my freedom without people over me telling me what to do. If you was ever in the industry, you’d know what I mean.