ARN: How did you come up with a stage name?
CC: It’s actually a name that evolved over time and throughout my life. A lot of people think the name “Capo Corleone” means I’m in the mafia but really it’s the complete opposite.
I have Italian & Sicilian ancestry through my grandmother. She played a major role in my upbringing because she helped raise me while my parents worked to put food on the table. A lot of my family including her died very young throughout my childhood. When she passed, I really wanted to carry the torch for that side of my heritage but really didn’t know how, other than repping my heritage and learning Italian.
When I moved to San Francisco and started pushing my music, one of my best friends and the first person to put me in a studio started calling me “Capo” and the name stuck. For those who don’t know Italian, “Capo” is Italian for boss. Shout out to my brother Cuddie by the way. It wasn’t until I realized that a lot of rappers were trying to call themselves “Capo” that I added the Corleone part to it to stand out. That part I definitely took from my favorite movies obviously being The Godfather. That’s how the name “Capo Corleone” was born.
ARN: Why did you first start making music?
CC: I had a really tough childhood. I had probably been to more funerals than I had birthdays by the age of 16 and really the only outlet I had was a pen and a pad. I wrote about my feelings and the struggles I was going through and it eventually became a habit. It got to the point where I would never take notes in school, I would just write raps because I had so much shit in my heart that hurt. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else other than how I felt inside. Everything else took a back seat. Music was my therapy, that’s ultimately why I started.
ARN: Who would you say inspired you the most, as an artist?
CC: Snoop Dogg & Nate Dogg without a doubt. I loved how cool Snoop would sound on a track. I modeled a lot of my raps early on with his flow. And any time Nate would start singing, man forget about it. Anything I was going through at the time would instantly be erased. The whole G-Funk era was extremely inspiring to who I became as an artist and they really were the first sounds that made me want to become a rapper. That whole era can’t be touched by any generation of Hip-Hop in my opinion.
ARN: Take me through your creative process.
CC: I don’t really have a set process on how I make music. Whether I’m in the studio having fun or a couple of drinks or whether I’m going through something emotionally – it has to be a feeling for me as an artist. As an executive producer, I like to create a feeling for an artist I work with – I want to hear that emotion through the wire. I feel setting a cookie cutter approach to making music has no heart.
ARN: What’s the best advice you ever received?
CC: Don’t take criticism from people you would never take advice from. A lot of people want to give advice to an artist on what they should do or what they shouldn’t do. It’s like, ok Bob… you work at Walmart. No shade there, but people should know their place.
ARN: What is still your biggest challenge?
CC: Knowing when to work with someone and when not to. I love making music so much that sometimes I’ll commit to something with an artist without asking them the real hard questions like: How bad do you want this? Are you ready to invest into your career or this project with me? A lot of times I’ll get caught up in the moment for the love of it and forget that my time is priceless and I need to be more selfish with it if this person doesn’t see the big picture.
ARN: Are you religious? If yes, what is your religion?
CC: I don’t really know. I think something created us but is that “God”? I was raised in a Christian/Catholic household so I was definitely taught those ideals. The hardest hours I’ve had in my life I prayed – but I think those prayers were just a way to get out things that were heavy on my mind- similar to when I was a kid first writing raps. As far as religions are concerned, I am not entirely convinced that it’s the way to worship. I think they all have something to gain from controlling us but they all have beautiful and meaningful teachings. If you believe in something bigger, you should worship on your own terms and not be divided by whether you’re Catholic or Jewish or whatever. Take the morals of the teachings and that’s it. We should recognize that and not get caught up with what set of beliefs you ride for.
ARN: What would you have done differently if you knew then what you know now?
CC: Believe in myself more. I should have steered away from people who didn’t have my goals in mind. Diverging from that path was hard for me to come back from but I don’t regret any of it – because I am who I am today because of it.
ARN: What are you focusing your time on now?
CC: I have a really dope project I’m planning on releasing December or January with some solid features on it. I’m definitely going to be dropping some singles for this project in the coming months. A lot of people I really respect helped me make this thing a possibility and I’m extremely excited to share it.
ARN: How do you currently feel about the state of Hip-Hop in general?
CC: I think we’re in the Bronze Age of Hip-Hop. I feel with every art form we have cycles. The Golden Age, The Silver Age and the Bronze Age. I feel from the inception in the 80’s to mid 90’s we had the best Hip Hop coming out. I feel like the game is more poppy and watered down now, which is cool if you’re into it – but it’s just not what I love Hip-Hop for. I miss real emcees spitting bars as a norm. I will say however, it’s going to take dope artists like Kendrick or J. Cole to cycle us back to the golden age again. I’m really hopeful and I try to do my part as a rapper to represent the part of Hip-Hop I love the most.
ARN: What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered?
CC: To be remembered as a mogul not just a rapper. I’m not interested in being caught up in this to be famous. I really love what I do and I think being involved in the business side of the industry is paramount to your longevity and relevancy in music. Guys like Jay-Z, Dr. Dre and Diddy are icons to me. They showed me that path. I think as a musician, your career has a certain elasticity to it and when you’re not selling as many records as the younger guys – it’s a wrap. I’m going to make music till the day I die whether I’m behind the scenes or the front man. That’s the respect I want behind my legacy and that’s what I want to be remembered for; my love of the game.