Concert preview: Las Vegas rapper Dizzy Wright finds a balance

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive

Dizzy Wright kicks off his most recent EP, State of Mind, in clear-eyed fashion, rhyming, "That's why I picked up the yoga, put down the soda."

It's a surprising turn from a Las Vegas rapper who once released an album called Smokeout Conversations on April 20 (commonly referred to as 4/20, maaan) and whose catalog is littered with song titles - "Local Weed Man," "I Guess I'll Smoke," "Who Got the Chronic" - that combine into one thick, red-eye-inducing haze.

In a recent phone interview, Wright traced the shift, at least in part, to the 2011 birth of his daughter, saying, "I gotta be able to do for my daughter, and if I can't do for her, I can't do for nobody."

"[I'm] just focused on what's important and finding balance," he continued. "[It's] becoming a father [and] being an artist and a friend and son - everything. If you want to be there for everybody you've gotta find a balance."

Growing up, Wright found it impossible to maintain any tangible sense of stability. During his junior year, for one, the rapper attended six different high schools due to the family's constant moves.

"We never settled down anywhere [because] my mom was always trying to make something happen and make something out of nothing," he said. "Moving around a lot just frustrated me and made me not really trust anybody or want to make a lot of friends. It distanced me, if anything. I'd never let anyone see through that shell."

Even now he maintains some distance in both his private and public lives. Most of his good friends trace back to his high school years, and he tends to keep his guard up around, well, most everybody. "I trust nobody," he said matter-of-factly.

This mindset has carried over into Wright's jaundiced view of major labels (he's turned down offers from the likes of Def Jam), and increased his determination to traverse the independent route.

"Instead of them trying to … build my career for me I did it myself," he said. "I had a natural problem with pretending to be something I'm not. It didn't work for me then, and it damned sure wouldn't work for me now. You've got to be a man … and then you gotta go out and make other people believe it."

Skully's Music-Diner

7 p.m. Tuesday, May 13

1151 N. High St., Short North