On Sunday night (Oct. 1), the city of Las Vegas was severely crippled after the deadliest mass shooting in United States history took place at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. With at least 59 people dead and 527 injured, local residents are still in shock after witnessing the horiffic bloodbath in their own backyard.
With celebrities and artists showering the city with prayers and love, Las Vegas native and rap star, Dizzy Wright, remains dumbfounded by the recent string of events. “It’s just a lot of unanswered questions right now. You guys know as much as we do. There were no motives. He was just a regular dude. I can’t even believe it,” Wright tells Billboard regarding the shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock.
Despite his feelings currently entangled in a messy web of emotions, the “Can’t Trust ‘Em” MC has done his part to aid the city by donating fruit and water to those in dire need. The burgeoning rap star was fortunate enough to evade the shooting on Sunday night after turning down dinner at the Mandalay Bay resort, the place where Paddock stayed and opened fire from his 32nd floor suite.
Billboard spoke to Wright about the Las Vegas massacre, how he first found out, the atmosphere in Vegas in the days after the shooting, and why he believes Paddock should be labeled a “terrorist” after his destructive attack.
First off, is everybody on your side ok? Did you have family or friends that attended the festival on Sunday night?
Yeah, man. All my family is cool, man. My friends are cool. Everybody is cool. It’s all love.
Where were you when the entire shooting took place?
I was at home. I have a studio in my basement and yeah, I was just chilling in the studio.
How did you first hear about the shooting?
Social media. I jumped on social media and just seen it. I turned on the news and it was crazy.
What was your initial reaction when you first found out, especially with this taking place in your backyard and hometown of Vegas?
What’s crazy is my initial reaction was like, “Wow,” because one of my friends was trying to get me to come to Mandalay Bay for dinner for the last three nights. I had to go back and look at the texts ’cause I didn’t really want to leave the studio these last couple of days because I just didn’t really wanna leave the studio. That’s why I didn’t wanna go out or anything. My friend asked me if I wanted to go to Mandalay Bay at around 8 o’clock. I was just like, “Damn, I probably would have been there.” I thought that was so crazy. So yeah, my first reaction was “Wow.”
With you being a native living over there, what’s been the vibe and atmosphere of the city since Sunday?
The city has really been coming together and definitely helping out. The city announced that they needed a lot of blood, so a lot of people went out and was donating blood. The lines were wrapped around for like a couple of blocks. So me and my boys went out and got water and fruit to donate for the people that was out there. Everybody is just trying to come together and do what they can to help in whatever way that they can. It’s cool.
You’re an artist, but obviously a civilian first. With that being said, are you worried about changing your regular routine moving forward — in terms of where you hang out — after what transpired on Sunday?
Not yet. No. There will be some changes that are going to happen, but nah, not really. I went out there and was just trying to do whatever I can. We went right over to the area and I think it was an unfortunate situation… A lot of people were from out of town, but there were a lot of locals there and there were a few different hotels where there was commotion and stuff when everything was happening. It’s just a lot of unanswered questions right now. You guys know as much as we do. There were no motives. He was just a regular dude. I can’t even believe it.
A lot of people thought that there was only one shooter.
Here’s my problem. This is the biggest mass shooting in American history and they’re not even calling him a terrorist. They’re saying he snapped and that he’s mentally [ill]. For me, you reverse that on anybody else and they’re going to turn that into something completely different. It’s upsetting to see how that’s how it’s being portrayed as because you don’t know if this was an attack from our own people or if there’s still people out there that’s willing to attack and we don’t know about it.
We just kind of have to wait and see if anything else happens, or you just gotta believe that there’s people out there that are mentally ill enough to get a whole bunch of military guns and shoot up a festival and kill a whole bunch of people for no fucking reason at all. Then, you gotta ask yourself how is that happening? What works to even fucking help people? What drives people to even do things like that? How do you get that mentally ill? Because it’s different when you harm somebody that harmed you, you know what I’m saying?
I don’t approve of any violence, but sometimes you understand people’s motives. In a sense, the little chick that grows up and is abused her whole life and then one day, she fucking stabs that guy in the face, that’s how she responded and reacted, but you know what the motive was. But to shoot up a festival for no reason and to be just walking around with a whole bunch of military guns, come on, man, come on.
Do you feel enough has been done so far do help the city of Vegas recover?
To be honest, the only thing that I wanted to see is the families get those doctor bills taken care of because you can send prayers to Vegas all you want, but that don’t pay for those doctor bills. I just hope that the families don’t get hit over the head for something that they didn’t know was going to happen to them. It’s really more about than just sending thoughts and love to the families, man. There was a lady that came out with her husband just for the festival and he was killed. She gotta go back home without her husband. Just stuff like that, we gotta send high vibrations her way because that’s really important in this moment right now.