B. Wize is Larry Guidry, Jr., Kansas City-based hip-hop artist, speaker and mental health advocate. As an artist, B. Wize's music is inspired by everyone from Eminem to Otis Redding to Luciano Pavarotti. As co-founder of The College Takeover Tour, B. Wize's mission is to "promote suicide awareness and stop the stigma of mental illness" through outreach to college campuses. Enjoy our interview with the artist about all these different aspects of his work and more.
Describe a typical day in your life. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
First being a father, husband, provider and then an artist there aren't enough hours in the day to juggle but all those things get me out of bed to be the best me everyday. On a funnier note, I'm awaken by a one-year old laugh, cry or smile saying "dada".
Delve into your creative process. What inspires you? What gets you through creative blocks?
Everything inspires me but especially trauma and suffering. One of the reasons I started music as therapy. With that being said I really don't have creative blocks because the pull from a dark place and tell stories of what happened and what could be. I know there are people that can relate to that and that's where I become the most inspired.
You have previously described some of your music, like your song “Hard Day’s Night”, as inspired by your mental health work. What can you tell us about The College Takeover Tour? How did this initiative start? How would you like this program to grow?
CTOT started as a mission to target the college opened minded demographic to persuade a movement of mental wellness and encourage self-care. Two hip-hop artists, including myself, had a goal to not only use our music as a "trauma to triumph" stanza but maximize the opportunity to show people that hip-hop is not all about guns, drugs, and strippers. CTOT has a long term plan to use the platforms such as TV/film, radio, and music to engage thinkers to break the stereotype of mental illness and learn to invest in themselves and in other people.
Talk about your musical/lyrical influences.
2. Lupe Fiasco
3. Andre 3000
Also, Otis Redding, Lady Gaga and my all time favorite opera singer, Luciano Pavarotti. Im also a big fan of film score and a huge fan of Hans Zimmer who conducted films such as Batman and Inception.
All these artists are free thinkers not afraid to be exactly what the universe has called them to be. They are not only unique creatively but have left a trail for trailblazers such as myself to follow an example.
What new music are you currently raving about?
True statement I don't really listen to anyone new, constantly Im currently working on a project specially for the city but from time to time ill listen to Kevin Gates or J.Cole. Kanye West has peaked my interest with his new album so many ill take a listen to that.
B. Wize's film recommendations:
1. Lord of the Rings trilogy: Greatest trilogy ever. Silver lining is that we ignore the most significance which can be the smallest things that can save the world. Salute Froto Baggins
2. Dirty Harry. Clint Eastwood was the first white gangsta that I saw.
3. 2 Guns for Sister Sarah. Classic- enough said
4. Hangover Part I. Reminds me a lot of my college years part 1
5. Hangover Part II. Reminds me a lot of my college years part 2