Capolow is here to put on for Oakland, through and through. Born and raised in the Bay Area, the West Coast rapper tells a story of an artist who came up from the ghetto and turned his life around for the better. Growing up and falling victim to his environment meant engaging in everything from pimping to gang violence, but music would be his ticket out.
Now, the “Drip” rapper tells his story by pushing positivity and motivation through his rhymes, while showcasing his unique, one-of-a-kind persona. He describes himself as “an energetic, to myself, observant young n*gga. Everybody who knows who I am, knows I grew up in East Oakland.”
“Ay Ay!” Capolow has his city backing him up, and he’ll never forget his roots. Coming up as a member of rap group Trill Youngins with his childhood friends, the 23-year-old is now ready to take over the rap game as a solo artist. From the streets to the studio, Capolow found his way to Cinematic Records and doesn’t plan to stop until he gets to the top. Additionally, he’s a father who’d do anything for his kids.
Flaunt caught up with Capolow at a video shoot with fellow Baydestrian Kamaiyah, for one of the songs off their upcoming project, Oakland Nights.
Being from East Oakland, what was that like growing up?
Being from East Oakland was rough, but it’s a lot of culture and love. I couldn’t see myself 100% moving away from it without coming back. It’s too much love. It’s crazy living out there. Like any other city, there’s gang violence, going to jail, all types of shit. Besides the violence, it’s love fasho.
Bring us back to the Trill Youngins days.
They’re my dawgs, my brothers. There were 5 of us: Mitche, Clear It Out, Lay Em Down, Sonnie, and myself. We started rapping as a group in 2013. We really took it on one, set a stamp for us in the Bay Area. We still fuck with it too, we’re still brothers. But right now, we’re focused on our own music — until we figure out the next tape as a group, which will be coming soon.
What was Capolow like then? I know you have a crazy story.
Growing up in East Oakland was a lot of obstacles for me, being broke trying to get money or just being young and dumb. I went to jail at age 18, ended up having to serve a year. They gave me a felony for a gun with an illegal round. I got off of probation 2 weeks ago. My background is crazy from all the miscellaneous shit I was doing as a young n*gga. Going to jail was the lifestyle I was living.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned from behind bars?
It took a while for me to learn my lesson because I kept going back. After my fourth time going to jail, it was an eye-opener. “Damn, you keep going back to jail. You need to change something.” The fourth time, I kept seeing the same people in jail. The same police officers and getting treated like a dog, opened my eyes. Also having my kids out without their dad while I’m in jail.
How old are your kids?
My kids are 3 and 2. The last time I went to jail, my son was 6 months. My daughter was just conceived. It opened my eyes because I was in jail again and my daughter’s about to be born, I realized I can’t keep doing this shit.
At what point did you realize music could be a career?
After I made “Highway Robbery,” that’s when Oakland really started to fuck with me heavy. It was fun when we recorded with Trill Youngins but as a solo artist, with the feedback I’m getting from the streets, it’s time to start taking my music serious. Time to stop going to jail, start making some legal money.
“Drip” is at over 2.1M views on Youtube, did you think it would blow up like this?
I knew “Drip” was going to do what I did. When I record, I have a strong feeling for what my hits are going to be. I even critique myself like “oh nah, this song trash.” I knew “Drip” would be one of the ones because I did acapella and put it on Instagram before I even recorded the song. I was getting hella feedback on the acapella version so I knew once I recorded this, it’d take off.
Best memory from the video shoot?
Shit, the block party. I threw a block party at the “Drip” video shoot in my hood on 96th and Birch in East Oakland. That was memorable, having the hood out with no altercations. Everyone’s having a good time enjoying themselves.
You just released “Drop That Bag,” who or what inspired this one?
Mr. Trackz made the beat. That day, I was riding home from the studio. As soon as I got the beat, I started freestyling in the car. The beat took me away. I really wasn’t inspired by a female, it’s shit I’ve been going through in my life. Growing up broke, wanting a female or a rich bitch to drop that bag on me. That’s how I was feeling, wanting a rich bitch to drop that bag. [laughs]
What’s your relationship like with Shoreline Mafia?
They cool people, real n*ggas. Knowing that they fuck with me as an artist and as a person, I fuck with them as artists and as people. We have the same mutual respect for each other, it was all love.
How did y’all tap in?
We tapped in on Instagram. Ohgeesy said he fucked with my song “Vomit,” I told him I felt the same way. He came out to San Francisco on tour, invited me on stage. They let me do 3 songs.
The crowd was wildin’ fasho, it was turnt up.
What is your hometown presence like compared to elsewhere?
I got a lot of love for my city. It’s getting hectic moving around. Everybody stops me like “Capolow!! Aye Aye.” It’s cool, but now I have to watch my surroundings. Motherfuckas be catching me out of Oakland like “damn, you’re moving like a regular n*gga.” I still feel like a regular n*gga. [laughs] Versus LA, LA’s already hella big with hella artists so they’re not really in front of everyone’s face like “hey, how ya doing”?” I do get a lot of stares, so I know people know who I am. There’s people out here fucking with my music. I keep a different vibe everywhere I go.
Would you ever move out of Oakland?
I’ll fasho move out of Oakland, but not too far. Probably in the middle of LA and the middle of Oakland so I can go from point A to point B. I’ma have my kids with me. Once I get to a bigger level, I’ll move to LA, Atlanta, or New York. Right now, I’m going to be close to my hometown.
What’s one thing you want fans to get from Room 304?
Welcome to my life. Everything you’re hearing is what I go through, from the good to the bad, from the treacherous to the heavenly all of it.
Talk about linking with Yungeen Ace on “Cross Me.”
I linked up with him through the label, Cinematic. He’s a solid n*gga. As soon as we linked up, we clicked. He fucks with me, I fuck with him, just from the vibe. He didn’t know my songs, I know a couple of his so I was a fan. For him to tell me that I’m lit and he’s a fan of me now, for us to do a song is all love. Everything’s a vibe.
How did Shipes find you?
He said one of his favorite songs was ”Oh Shit.” How he found me? I don’t know. Shipes how you found me? You gotta let the world know. [laughs]
How much gas you smoking in a day?
I damn near smoke a QP a day. Fucking with me, I roll back to back. Besides working and having to shoot videos, I smoke heavy.
What are some goals for yourself at this point of your career?
To really be more consistent and drop more visuals. I’m really trying to drop more tapes for my fans instead of dropping hella singles. I’m trying to be hella consistent with my videos. If I’m dropping a tape, I need at least 8 videos.
How would you describe your drip?
What I have on right now is a little Mariachi drip I put on for the video. Other than that, I’d describe my drip as high fashion. White tee, the pants have to be high fashion, the shoes have to be high fashion. Shirt can be a regular white tee, I don’t trip off the tee. But everything else has to be high fashion.
Anything else you’d like to let us know?
It’s Capolow304, Aye Aye! My tape Kid Next Door drops sometime soon so be on the lookout. Stream “Drop That Bag,” everywhere on all platforms.