Capital Steez: Underappreciated

Section Editor: Amari McCain

Courtney Everald Dewar Jr., also known as Capital Steez, is one of the most underappreciated rappers of this generation, if not of all time. His amazing flow, lyrical prose and eye for purity is unbelievably underrated, and his circle of influence is comparable to some of the greatest of all time. He is known for his outward thinking and spiritual thoughts and beliefs. His political ideas also helped him gain a small following, but he never got to broadcast his views the way he wanted to. He was constantly overshadowed by his peers and he had trouble getting any exposure. As if this isn’t tragic enough, his unexpected suicide on Christmas Eve in 2013 ended what could’ve been an era. A Progressive Era.

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Mural in Brooklyn, New York with condolences to Steez/ via flickr

Capital STEEZ started rapping when he was very young, but he didn’t try to turn it into a career until  he turned 16, when he formed a group called The 3rd Kind with a friend. Later in high school, he and another producer formed a group called Pro Era, short for The Progressive Era. This group was also home to Brooklyn rappers Joey Bada$$ and Dirty Sanchez. This group grew, but it didn’t get any real attention until Steez and Joey released “Survival Tactics.” This song became almost an underground rap anthem, as their raw lyricism, crisp punchlines and fast paced flow really gained them some attention. Although Steez had the more lyrical verse, and was a better rapper overall, Joey got more national attention than he did. That same year, Steez released his album AmeriKKKan Korruption, which got very little play compared to Joey.

I went around Woodstock and asked some people if they knew who Steez was. They were all very similar. WHS freshman Trestan Parker said, “I don’t know who that is, like I’ve actually never heard of him and I listen to a lot of hip hop.” I also asked a few other students, who all said either, “Who is that?”, or, “I have no idea who that is”. This comes to show that even some hip hop fans don’t have a clue who he is, and that he is very underrated.

Some people credit Steez’s lack of popularity to his beliefs. His unorthodox stance on religion often was considered “weird” or “crazy.” He was obsessed with the number 47, as it represented perfect balance, and he believed he was an indigo child (someone that possesses supernatural traits). He also believed the world would end in 2047, and he would come back then and reveal himself as a god. People credited this to schizophrenia, drug use, and depression, but Steez believed all this to be true. This led to his suicide on December 24, 2012. He was 19 years old when he died jumping off a rooftop.Whether by coincidence or a deeper motive, the date 12/24/12 adds up to 47.

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47, a common symbol associated with Pro Era and Capital Steez/via flickr

Steez deserves much more credit in the hip hop community. He started the Beast Coast movement, which is what inspired many Brooklyn/Flatbush rap artists to come out. His influence reaches to multiple genres and artists, such as A$AP Mob, Flatbush Zombies, and of course, Pro Era. He has also inspired many young emcees to practice a more lyrical style of rap versus a trap rap. His influence is recognized only by the people he has influenced personally, when everybody that calls themselves a hip hop fan should appreciate what Capital Steez brought to the rap game.

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