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Cleveland-based rapper Tezo to bring campaign to Columbus

Tezo is scheduled to perform at Skully's Music-Diner at 8 p.m. Feb. 1.

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With the Florida Republican primaries Tuesday, Cleveland native Martez “Tezo” Little is saying “Tezo for Prezo” in his multi-city tour of Ohio to promote the release of his self-titled mix tape.

Tezo is scheduled to perform at Skully’s Music-Diner Wednesday. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Tezo separates himself from other rap artists by emphasizing the way he delivers his lyrics. Rather than comparing himself to other local rap artists, Tezo recognizes that, in the end, they are all rapping about the same thing.

“I see we all kind of go through the same things in life,” he said. “From women to family problems to financial problems … it’s just artists all around, they all inspire me.”

The 20-year-old rapper from Cleveland traces his first rap back to when he was in the fifth grade. Though Tezo said he cannot recall what the rap was about, he does remember that he wrote it with a group of friends.

Companionship and loyalty are two things that resonate with him today.

There is not a recurring theme in Tezo’s music, but he said he and his production and managing team have a motto that they try to live by.

“It’s called ‘Death before dishonor,'” Tezo said. “It’s like we look at Team Tezo as a family. We’re more than just a group or like a way of getting out of the hood. … We trust each other. … We’ve been working with each other for like around five or six years, so it’s all about loyalty,” he said.

Getting out of the hood, having surrogate family members and making a better life for oneself are common trends in a lot of rap stars’ lyrics.

Today, Tezo resides in Cleveland Heights, but he grew up in an area with high crime and violence he refers to as “the slums.”

“It’s really bad,” Tezo said. “It’s bad down there, but I kind of stayed away from it. My parents helped me. I was lucky to have good parents. They kept me away from all of that stuff.”

The old saying goes, “College is not for everyone.” Tezo said even though he has always wanted to go to college, it is not for him — at least not at this time.

“My mom and my dad always encouraged me to go to college. They still (ask) me to this day, ‘Oh, why are you not in school?'” Tezo said. “I’m going to make music, but I guess I would take classes, maybe like online classes, or a tutor or something like that. But actually going to school, and actually going to class, yeah, that’s dead.”

Tezo’s full-time job is trying to make it big in the music industry.

Tezo’s tour manager and public relations/multimedia representative, Patrick “Sam Famous” Belinson, calls the music business a “rat race.”

“We have a lot of different people we work with,” Belinson said. “Sometimes it is hard to get everybody’s schedule to line up and to get things ready when they need to be done. … The best is just the end result … seeing the fruits of your labor.”

Tezo said he is excited to perform in a big city like Columbus.

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $7. The show is for ages 18 and up.

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