Italian-born MC Cesare is a veteran hip-hop artist from Detroit, MI. Specializing in the gangsta style, Cesare cites as main influences Scarface, DMX, C-Murder, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Nas, Jay-Z, and Easy E. His own style most resembles that of Tupac Shakur. Cesare is represented by the All For One Records music label. Having started making music at the age of five, Cesare’s rap has been described as “real, raw gangster music – real Italian mob stuff,” “the truth,” and “None of that fake fabricated bullsh-t.”
His Debut album, “Capo Di Tutti i Capi,” features such popular artists as Angelo, Spit Vishiss, Payroll Giovanni, Young Buck, Bizarre (D12), S.A. Calle Inmortal and Jigsaw, as well as production from super producer Helluva & performances by T-Money Green on bass and Duminie Deporres on guitar.
Asked to comment on the themes of his music, Cesare writes: “They vary. Some of my music is the about the truth of real gangster sh-t in Italy and how it really is – something these wannabe rappers know nothing about. It’s about my life, my experiences, my thoughts and my feelings. I’m inspired by the truth and telling it how it really is. I talk about real life, women, love, loyalty, respect and honor.”
Although born and raised in Detroit, Cesare has a purely Italian background, his parents coming from the cities of Pacentro and Napoli in the old country. This lends a more complex dimension to his sound other artists can’t emulate.
MC Cesare has said that he is “steadfast in delivering meaningful music in the hopes of restoring some substance.”
“Stay true to who you are,” says Cesare. “Don’t follow the crowds. Be yourself. Be a leader. Believe in yourself. Don’t get caught up in the hype and the bullsh-t. Majority of these cats be lying to you. Learn to separate the real from the fake. Stay alert and watch your surroundings 24/7. Keep yourself alive and live your life to the fullest.”
Cesare has performed in Detroit, Saginaw, Lansing, Pontiac, Mount Clemens, Kalamazoo, Flint, Grand Rapids, Port Huron, Highland Park, and Davison, MI, also Brooklyn, Jersey, and the Bronx in the Tri-State Area, as well as Malibu and Los Angeles in CA, not to mention venues in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, and internationally in Naples, Pacentro, Rome, Genoa, and Milan in Italy.
We got a chance to sit down with Cesare to get his story and talk some Hip-Hop.
A2HH: How would you describe your style?
Cesare: My style raw connected with truth. What I try to do with me being 100% Italian is be real. You hear everybody rap that gangsta shit mob shit, etc. but have no real connection to the Italian mob. As much as I possibly can without giving you too much I try to give you the rawest form of what Italian gangsta mafia mob shit really is like in the music. You hear these rappers use old mob bosses names for the sake of entertainment but really know shit about that life. I don’t’ just watch movies I’ve actually been around it, I see first-hand the real deal shit. So in my music I try to tell that story as real as I can. That’s where my music comes from.
A2HH: With all these different crews in Hip-Hop with mob and mafia in their name, do people in your culture find that offensive?
Cesare: I wouldn’t say offensive, they laugh at them. They think they’re a joke. No one in my world at all takes dudes like that serious. They can make a hard song talkin about I’ll do this I’ll do that. Everybody I know is laughin at them. Because we don’t believe the dudes are going to do all this hardcore shit if it comes down to it. I had to get the green light from some of the higher ups to even put out my music.
A2HH: Do you think for some rappers it’s coming from a place of admiration?
Cesare: I can see that. It’s one thing to admire it but respect the game and be honest. Don’t go out here acting like something you aren’t. You can try to be a character for sells and attention but if you aren’t that shit that shit is gonna come to you. I’m from Detroit, I used to do shows at hardcore places around the city where people lookin at me like “why are you here?”. I’d show up in a three piece suit with all my jewelry on with one guy with me, a 6’7 dude and that’s it. I’ve been tested a few times, but I backed my shit up. You’re going to get tested, it happens. Especially when you talk that shit, people are gonna see what’s up.
A2HH: How did you get your start?
Cesare: When I was 5 years old my parent bought an old school Casio keyboard. Since I got that I would play on it, make beats or whatever. In Kindergarten I went to a talent show and played a song that I made. No words, just music. All through elementary, middle school, and high school I would do talent shows and Hip-Hop became a part of that. That’s how I started really getting into music. When I was 14 I joined a group and we would freestyle everywhere, that’s how I got my skills up. When I was 15 & 16 I would go down to Highland Park and doing Rap Battles. That’s where I started building my music network. Started meeting producers, other emcees, and street people and just started learning the game. My first big show I did I was opening for Juvenile and I basically pushed my way into the show. Got with the promoters and just sold them on me ya know.
A2HH: Who handled the production on your album?
Cesare: I produced 7 songs on my album, Royal House Records produced my intro and outro, a couple of tracks from Ramadon, and Helluva produced the rest. Helluva produced T-Grizzley’s first album. He’s my favorite producer.
A2HH: Talk to us about some of the features on the album.
Cesare: I’ve got Young Buck on the album. The way that came together, two days before I was about to open up a show in Michigan that Buck was on I got this beat in the studio. The beat was hard so I recorded the song, I was going to sign the contracts for the show and I pulled up listening to the song. And I said just fuckin around “we should get Buck on this”. His people said we can make that happen, that’s how I got Buck on the album. I was literally joking, but it happened. Went to the studio the night after the show and recorded it. Angelo is my cousin and one of my best friend. We’ve been making music together since we were kids. He just has that soulful voice and can sing anything from Nate Dogg to Opera. Payroll Giovanni is somebody that I’ve been watching on the come up for a while. I love his music and his flow and respect his hustle. I knew we were going to collaborate I was just waiting for the right song. When I heard the Una Cosa Di Famiglia track I knew I wanted to put S.A.Calle Immortal and Payroll Giovanni on that track. A few members of D12 hit me after the Young Buck show so that’s how I got Bizarre on “Hello Detroit” and put Jigsaw on it as well. I met Spit Vishiss at a battle where he was demolishing this one dude. I met Kehoa at a show and heard her beautiful voice and knew that I had to get her on the album. Orkoh is in Jigsaw’s crew so we all run together. Legendary bass player Tony (T-Money) Green known for his work with Tupac, Dr. Dre, George Clinton, Five Special, Snoop Dogg, The Dramatics, , and Warren G played bass on my song Truth Hurts and Duminie Deporres played guitar on the same song. My engineer Science who mixes my songs introduced us. We were in the lab mixing down Rain Dance and I was talking to him about my song Truth Hurts. I asked him if he knew any dope bass players and guitar players for my song Truth Hurts a he was like yup I got you Ces. He made the introduction and the rest is history.
A2HH: What’s the next single you’re going to put out?
Cesare: I ask everybody I could and everybody went to “Rain Dance” I didn’t think that was the one but I’m always going to listen to the people so that’s how that came about.
A2HH: I love the intro.
Cesare: The intro is 100% the truth.
A2HH: Explain the title of the album.
Cesare: “Capo Di Tutti i Capi” translates into “Boss Of All Bosses” in Italian. You hear all these rappers using other Italian bosses names in their image and in their music I just seemed to be appropriate to make it clear that this is the bosses of all bosses perspective of that authentic life. In my rhymes I also refer to myself as Capo so it was perfect.
A2HH: Who are your top 5 emcees?
Cesare: 2Pac, Biggie, Scarface, DMX, and it would be a toss up between Styles P or Nas. I like music you can really relate to. Life stories in the music are important.
A2HH: We need Italian representation in Hip-Hop.
Cesare: You got rappers that rep different gangs, you got Puerto Rican rappers, you got Cuban rappers, you got Mexican rappers. They’re representin, with me I feel like somebody has to represent this Italian culture especially since so many in Hip-Hop has ripped from it. These kids gotta understand, you see the movies and you see the shit your hear on these records and it’s not as sweet as people think it is. I’m giving you the good side and the bad side. The bad side can be some scary shit. They’re a lot of reality to it.