CMC Guapo recalls incident that nearly ended his music career

CMC Guapo

*CMC Guapo continues to pursue a career that was nearly cut short following a wild incident involving an ex-girlfriend, an overturned car and a gunshot that hit his right arm. He lost all sensation in his arm, which sent the rapper into a deep depression.

But thanks to his family, friends and other supporters, as well as intense rehab, he regained full mobility in his arm and became one of the highlights of the Detroit rap scene. He also uses his platform to advocate for change in the foster care system he was once 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 is so passionate about reforming the foster care system.

Percy Crawford interviewed CMC Guapo for Zenger.

zenger: You are proud to show different styles in your music. On “Flight Mileage”, what style were you trying to show?

Percy Crawford interviewed CMC Guapo for Zenger. (Heidi Malone/Zenger)

CMC Guapo: It’s one of my many styles. Detroit and the Bay Area sound similar, so this was my replica of a Detroit style. But some people say it looks like a piece of the west coast. That’s what I was aiming for.

zenger: How did you go from combat 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 much other than spend time in the studio. When I was fighting, I was more of a freestyle.

zenger: Tell us about the “Money Comes First Entertainment” movement.

CMC Guapo: It’s the label. It’s my team of friends. It’s something Charles Sisk had before I rapped, 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 release a new single, “Paradise”, on Friday. What can we expect from this one?

CMC Guapo: If you know one of my sounds, it will be something different. If you don’t know me at all, here’s what you’re going to get: A more Caribbean/reggae sound. It was my first time trying it, and I feel like I came out on top. It’s going to be vibrant. It will make you want to dance. It’s up tempo.

It’s for ladies, so ladies will love it. Men will love it too, because it gives you that dance vibe. When I played it and the women heard it, I got a good response. It was the ultimate goal: to give something to the ladies. Every song is not bashing. It’s just a feel-good song.

zenger: Sounds like you took a risk by doing something outside of your standards.

CMC Guapo: It’s important for me to do this because I don’t want to be put in a box. I want to be recognized as a versatile artist. I don’t feel like there’s anything I can’t do. That being said, it’s important to me to let people who are my fans and people who don’t know me at all know that you might not like the song you heard from me the first time you listened , but if you dive into it and go a little deeper, you’ll definitely find something you like.

zenger: Does “Paradise” lead to a year-end project, or something we can look forward to early next year?

CMC Guapo: The project will be released in early 2022. I’m finishing mixing and mastering the songs right now. By the end of January, I should have the project ready.

zenger: You’ve been into this music thing for a while. What have you learned the most about yourself?

CMC Guapo: That I have more patience than I thought. I learned the resilience I have inside of me because it’s something you can easily leave behind. I’ve been there for a while. It’s starting to pick up now, but it was slow. I always see progress. I’ve seen a lot of things through music that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to see, traveling wisely and different cultural experiences that I’ve had given that I was the rapper in some places. Just the doors he opened for me, I’m enjoying the journey.

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Detroit rapper CMC Guapo’s latest single is “Paradise.” (Courtesy of MCC Guapo)

zenger: You had an accident that almost forced you to give up your career. You were in a car hit by a woman you were involved with or used to be involved with. In turn, the car flipped over and your driver’s gun exploded shooting you through your hand or arm. Could you detail this incident?

CMC Guapo: Yeah, at some point I thought it was over for me. …At one point, I lost control of my right hand. I couldn’t move it at all. I went through… I mean a phase of depression. I went through the thoughts of, who wants to hear a disabled rapper? We live in a world where everyone trolls. I didn’t think the world would accept me or really listen to me because I had an actual physical flaw that they could notice and noticeably see. It was hard at first, but I managed to get through it.

I was still alive. It was my motivation. I didn’t know when I was going to get my hand back, but I was motivated to do it. Today I had full access to my hand. I’m missing sensation in a few fingers, but I still have mobility in my hand and I’m making the most of my situation. I can pick up a microphone, but I have nerve damage, so my hand is still tingling and throbbing.

I’ve been in pain since day one, but I’m fighting through it. It never goes away. I’m gonna die with this pain in my hand, so might as well try to make the most of it. Once I had mobility in my hand, it was a blessing. I traded the pain for the pleasure of rapping again. It is a gift and a curse.

As for the incident itself, I was out one night, it went totally wrong. I was with a girl, and she was hitting the back of the car I was in. The car ended up overturning, and a gunshot went off and shot me in the artery. I went through several therapy sessions. I actually went through a lot to get my arm back. I also broke my wrist in the process. So not only did I get shot in the arm, but I broke my wrist, so my whole right arm was out of use for a long time.

I am ambidextrous now. I can write with the 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 was not the case. It was an adjustment, but I had support around me from my family. I have fan support. People reached out to me, and as I progressed, I saw that people continued to support me, whether I was disabled or not. It didn’t change me as a person. Once I regained that self-confidence, I went back to it and I am where I am today.

zenger: Your message is more than just music. You grew up in the foster care system and are now advocating for change within the system. I really wanted to hear your thoughts on your experience and things that need to be changed.

CMC Guapo: Actually, bruh, my actual experience wasn’t that bad. I went from a good situation to a bad one when I left. I don’t mean bad as if it was the worst situation, but I came from a wealthy family where I was raised by a predominantly white family, back to the neighborhood where my parents grew up and to grow up like my parents did. That was my experience, but from people I’ve known and things I’ve seen, I know a lot of kids aren’t as lucky as I am to have that type of family.

Once they get into the system, they get lost in it, they’re mistreated and abused because it’s all about the money. It’s not even about actually helping the child. The next generation is our hope. Not only because of that, he’s a child and they’re innocent to some degree. I feel like an adult shouldn’t destroy a child’s purity.

I would like to see this element go, and I would also like to see the real money produced by the government for this child be for this child. I want to see children placed in homes where they actually care about the child, and it’s not just about the money. I want them to know that while it’s an embarrassing situation for some people, you’re no different or less, you just had to go through a different life.

zenger: You are currently working on events that will provide care packages for foster children. Would you also like to do some public speaking? Because this message that you have just told me should certainly be heard.

CMC Guapo: Yes, most definitely. That’s the whole point of living is learning and then teaching someone else. I want to make sure that if someone sees what I do, and they think I’m cool for whatever reason, that’s what I had to go through too. So even if it’s embarrassing at one point, the next time you’ll be telling your story and empowering someone else. You take the bumps and the bruises because someday the days will be better. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.

Edited by Matthew B. Hall and Judith Isacoff

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