Casino ATX interview
Updated: Sep 12, 2022
I am grateful to have had time to sit down with the Rapper, Writer, Producer, One Half of SupaSino, and creator of Nerdy McFly TV CasinoAtx. We discussed a variety of topics ranging from his past works, view of the current Austin scene of hip hop, past names of great artists, and the spices that flavor his Street nerd style of rap that reaches a wide audience. There is a rich history of the hip-hop scene that CasinoAtx has played a part in as well as grew up with for a hot minute. If you are looking to see someone who is keeping up with the changing scene. CasinoAtx plays regular shows here in Austin with the College of Hip hop Knowledge label, the Supasino crew, and by himself on stages in Austin and across texas. Be sure to stay tuned for events and locations listed below I began tuning onto his music back in 2018 and was humbled to have some time to ask this old-school cat some questions about the game. He is a skilled lyricist that deserves a listen. I recommend his songs All About The Dollar Bill, Black Republicans, and Do the Math which features CasinoATX & Dat Boy Supa.
Check out his past work on youtube, and come out to his shows coming out in Dallas locally now.
Without further ado, here is our interview
Ethan - Where did the name the Partyville Mayor come from?
CasinoAtx - I've always loved to party and have a good time, so when I got heavy into making music I gravitated to making party music. Going back from my breakthrough single "Game Time" to my current single "Poppin" I'm known to get the party started. So when I hit the stage the crowd knows it's time to get on their feet and have a good time.
Ethan - In today's Hip-Hop climate where every rapper is expected to be tough, how do you feel about putting out an album called "The Street Nerd"?
CasinoAtx- Growing up in Austin was a weird amalgamation of things. Austin has always been a weird town, with lots of nerd elements all around. Tons of comic book stores, and old movie theaters where you could catch the kung-fu movie matinees. I grew up in North and Northeast Austin though, so I was also immersed in all the hood parts of Austin. So I feel I walk the line between Street and Nerd. More than that though I wanna show up-and-coming Hip-Hop kids that even if you were brought up in the streets, there's nothing wrong with embracing your nerdy or smart side. Being hood doesn't mean you gotta be dumb, or just hard all the time. That gets tiring. Nerd out, and have some fun.
Ethan- How did you discover the college of Hip-Hop Knowledge or join?
Casino Atx- I first heard of Big Mic and Akademics from just being out in the local music scene. A year or two before I took my break from the music they had started making quite a lot of noise. I was out of the music scene from 2015 to late 2020. The first project I worked on was with my partner Dat Boy Supa, and he suggested we talk with CHHK about helping us distribute the album. From there after spending some time with Big Mic and J-Sun I came to admire their business acumen, and we began discussing me coming into the label. We made things official in early 2021.
Ethan - How did you discover your talent for rap and lyricism through the beat? Where did you start?
Casino Atx- My grandmother got me into music when I was young. She put me in piano lessons and guitar lessons. So I’ve always had a love for music. Rapping came in much later when I was in high school. I was living in California at the time, and it was sort of a challenge. A lot of people said they liked it and said I should keep at it. I ended up moving back to Austin later that year and was going to Reagan HS. That’s where I met Nook, Anastasia, and DaShade to name a few. There was a LOT of talent at that school during my time there. Over time I became one of Nook’s hype men, and haven’t looked back ever since.
Ethan- Who or what has assisted in the creation of your flow style and writing style?
CasinoAtx- Working with Nook and his mother is where I probably learned all of the basics. I knew about music structure from knowing how to play music already. As far as counting bars, measures all that stuff. Writing through and how to perform is what I learned during my time with Nook. We would do writing exercises with dictionaries and thesauruses. Literally, grab random words from them, and have to write raps with them. This is what pushed me to always flex my vocabulary as much as possible in my raps. So I push myself to use words you wouldn’t normally hear in rap music.
As far as the flow, that’s something that just came naturally over time. I started like most rappers emulating my favorites. So at that time, I was influenced heavily by Ice Cube, 8-Ball and MJG, UGK, and Too Short. Later my tastes grew and changed, and I started to come into my own, as far as flow goes.
Ethan- Where are you going next, what is the future of Austin Rap you have seen and want to live in your dream?
Casino Atx- I plan to travel as much as possible performing all over. Take my music out to as many markets as possible, and maintain a career as an FT professional musician. I’d also like to grow my show Nerdy McFly more, and create more shows and visual content. Write books and even D&D campaigns. Yes, I play D&D and create campaigns that I play with some friends of mine. I am a real-life Street Nerd. Loud and proud.
The future of Austin’s rap scene is extremely prosperous. Austin has always had a wealth of talent in regard to Rap music. Sadly it’s always been overshadowed, underfed, and uncultivated. I’ve been here long enough to see the peaks and valleys, and there have for sure been some times that our scene was on the verge of exploding. What’s different right now is the fact that there are more movers and shakers here, shining some light on the scene. Secondly, with music now being a lot more independent again, it’s creating lanes for labels like us (CHHK) to form partnerships with the larger entities for promo, while also keeping creative control and ownership. So it’s a matter of time before an act from Austin hits it big on the national and worldwide scene, 1-2 years would be my guess.
Ethan- How do you want to inspire the next generation of artists wanting to be on stage, to be MCs?
Casino Atx- By getting up there and doing our things on a professional level. Not trying to come across as conceited but I know for a fact I’ve influenced a fair amount of rappers here out of Austin, from my work over the years. I was also inspired by seeing local talent do their thing. I’ve been blessed to see some amazing acts perform, record, produce and just hustle. All of it was inspiring, and this is what will inspire the next generation of MCs here.
Ethan- What Comics Inspired you to rise to your position of power in music and grab the mic like a slang blade?
Casino Atx- In my early years I was a huge X-Men fan. This is probably why I was always in a lot of groups. From Black Hands to Gutta Gang, and The Fraternity, I’ve spearheaded a lot of rap collectives. I love bringing together varied talents (mutant powers) and forging them into a powerhouse team. As I got older I started reading the darker more tortured characters like Spawn, Batman, Sandman, and one of my all-time favorite series was The Mask. It is almost nothing like the silly Jim Carrey movie or the horror sequel. The Mask comic book is way darker and extremely violent. Multiple people wear The Mask throughout each volume and wield that power differently based on their psyche. So later on I started diving into the various sides of myself, and opening a window for my listeners to not only learn about my life, but learn the ugly sides of it, and my thoughts on it. Exposing the dark tortured side, but usually in a funny way.
Ethan- What do you see in the crossover of more street nerds entering hip-hop from Cunning Linguist, Tyler the creator, the underachievers, and to Mf doom?
Casino Atx- I love it!!! It reminds me of the rap scene from 92-94. There were a lot of various styles of rap all through the market. You still had a lot of conscious or political rap thriving (Public Enemy, The Coup to name a few). You had melodic trippy hippy rap (PM Dawn). Then off-the-wall throwback beatnik rap with Digable Planets. Those last two could for sure be considered “Nerd” rap in some respects. For a long time, Rap fell into this cliched area of hard, thug, drug dealer, super gangsta realm. Since Rap is still predominantly black, it gave the impression that that was all black American life was like, which is very far from the truth.
Ethan- How has this changed the tough-guy look of the Rap scene for you and the larger audience that has taken interest in this crossover from the style of the beat to lyrics in your opinion?
CasinoAtx- Hood life, Trap music, Gangsta music, whatever you wanna call it will always be there. I don’t have a problem with that, because it is a part of the black experience overall. I am happy though to see a more varied offering of rap music because it shows how multilayered black Americans and Hip-Hop overall really are. Also, who says tough guys aren’t smart, or nerdy in their ways? Hip-Hop has become global also, so more and more people, are wanting to get involved, and they are bringing their style to it. I say the more the merrier because it will extend Hip-Hops shelf life, and create more lanes for everyone to eat.
Ethan- What old show, comic series, old samurai flick or anime would you like to use in your work to show your nerdier side?
Casino Atx- I’ve finished up two albums from January 2021 to right now. The third project I plan to work on is going to be extremely influenced by old Kung-Fu movies, and 90’s and early 00’s anime. To name a few the original Ninja Scroll movie. As well as Fist of the North Star. Movies would be Drunken Master from Jackie Chan and several other early Jackie Chan movies. It is heavily influenced though by Donnie Yen’s Ip Man. This is in my top 5 kung-fu movies of all time, and I found Ip Man’s real-life story to be fascinating.
Ethan- Do you have any old movie recommendations for the young bucks out there that need some fast lessons of wise words?
CasinoAtx- So many great movies…... if you like Gangsta movies, but want something a little different and off the wall check out Miller’s Crossing. It’s gangsta through and through, but very smart, and unique. I’d also recommend Fargo. The Thing is one of my all-time favorite horror movies. Just want some silly fun, with lots of Quotables I’d recommend Big Trouble in Little China or The Last Dragon... Bruce Leroy was the goat!
Ethan- What have you seen in the amalgamation of Austin as you grow in this changing environment for artists? How did you thrive during the toughest year for most artists in the past two years of the pandemic?
Casino Atx- I increased my output of videos and internet content. Since I couldn’t get people to come out to shows to buy merch, and make money from live performances, I had to bring my show into their homes. So I made way more videos than I ever had before, and made sure they were creative and fun, to increase re-watch value. Then I also launched Nerdy McFly and a lot of varied merch.
Ethan-What stages past and present have you had the pleasure to enjoy the best memories in Austin?
Casino Atx- Personally my favorite years of Austin Hip-Hop were 05-09. I had arguably my biggest hit to date. Poppin did recently surpass Game Time number-wise, but I think Game Time connected with people more. My group Gutta Gang had gone on a 235 show run from 06-07. There were also a lot of groups and acts making noise at that time. Basswood Lane, Carnival Beats (same guys who produced all of Swisha House’s hits during those years), C.O.D. (who later became LOEGz), Rapid Ric and the What It Dew Family, DJ Grip and so many other DJ’s here were all over the major local radio stations, and were playing locals music regularly. During this time I performed everywhere, including the Frank Erwin Center. The biggest show I did during that time was at the Travis County expo center. We opened up for Lil John and the building was sold out. Had to be close to 10K people there. I get goosebumps even today thinking about it.
Ethan- How have you surprised yourself as an artist pushing yourself to create your style?
CasinoAtx- The fact I’m still doing it and getting great responses is what I find most surprising, and inspiring. Also, the fact that so many people are now starting to catch the metaphors and nerd references I pepper throughout my music makes me want to lean more into that nerdy side of myself.
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an interview with: CasinoATX