Kwayzar the Seer (also known as Stanley Jerry Hoffman) is 83 years old and he’s only been in the rap game for a short while. However, the video for his single “I Can Still Do It” became an overnight viral hit and drove up the sales of his album “The Cyberhood,” a “futurist” mix of utopian inspired hip hop, dubstep and rockabilly style ballads.
“A lot of people tell me that I’d have a hell of a time being my age now and having it go over well and being accepted by a large number of kids or adults or whatever you want to call them,” Kwazyar said. “But it worked out the other way. I have been extremely well accepted by everyone that I’ve ever appeared before and performed before. They love me. They really do. They look at me, age disappears.”
On the surface, Kwayzar The Seer’s music might not sound very different from that segment of hip hop that celebrates fiscal negligence, sexual promiscuity and females with disproportional erogenous zones. That’s part of the magic of Kwayzar’s music. He may touch on those themes in his songs but he doesn’t just parrot the rapper status quo. He uses his unique perspective to put a new spin on the spirit of the sound that never takes itself too seriously . He doesn’t placate his thoughts or words to the overexposed 18-to-34-year-old demographic either. In fact, that’s really the secret to his sudden success.
“I like rap because it’s freedom. Really, I really enjoy it,” he said. “Pop songs are good but when you reach a certain age and you start doing pop numbers, you’re not going to be a pop singer anymore.”
Kwayzar, a stand-up comedian, musician and song writer who resides in Southern California, has been a showman and a performer all of his life dating back to his audition to be one of Hal Roach’s “Little Rascals” in 1932.
Rap music was a perfect fit for his persona. He said he wanted to bring something not-so-serious to rap music that still reveled in its angry, rebellious spirit. It all started years ago after his longtime comedy partner burned him when the two went out on the road together. They won a shot to audition for The Ed Sullivan Show but he cut Stanley out of their act. He returned to California to refocus his goals and vent his anger.
“I liked listening to Ice Cube and a couple of the early guys. Eminem wasn’t around then really, but it was Ice Cube and NWA. They were a great big influence on my thinking,” he said. “It was an angry form. They were really angry and that’s exactly what I was.”
His first real attempt at rap also came from a place of anger, but one that’s infinitely familiar to any computer used who has had to call “Tech Support” (which is to say, everyone). He had a horrible experience with a never-ending Packard Bell help line call that never fixed his problem. He said rather than write an angry letter on an old typewriter that no one at Packard-Bell would ever read, he decided to vent about it through poetry instead and read them at local coffee houses.
“It was the guys who came up to me after the show and said you ought to become a rapper and that’s what happened,” he said. “I became a rapper. For better or worse, I got stuck with it.”
His natural love of and gift for writing poetry also seemed like a perfect fit for a budding rap artist, he said.
“It made a little sense,” he said. “I liked the freedom of rap because it gave you freedom to express your thoughts and your feelings without really trying to rhyme anything in a strict form like songwriting was. So, I liked that so that’s the kind of poetry I started writing. I still hadn’t done rap then but I was going down and I was headlining shows in these coffee houses in the city of Long Beach. There was no money. I used to get a latte for my labor.”
His coffee house fans suggested he put a beat to his poetry and funny perspectives and Stanley became Kwayzar the Seer. Kwayzar said he likes the outlet that rap musicians provide but the genre takes itself too seriously. He wanted to record music that had an edge but didn’t skate along it through the entire album.
“They don’t really do many funny things,” he said. “I have very seldom heard a funny rap number. Boy, I mean they’re mean. They go after something, they cut their throat when they rap about them or a subject: police, drugs, dope, girls, women, hoes. It’s mean.”
Of course, Kwayzar doesn’t shy away from subjects like sex and women in his music, particularly in his most famous single to date “I Can Still Do It.” However, he takes those themes and makes them his own, drawing on his perspective as a “health nut” who looks at 80 but talks and moves like he’s 20, he said.
“Sneak a peak at my physique, you’re gonna shriek, Cause I’m a health freak, pilates and yoga, Ginko baloba, parsley, broccoli, Puffing on my magic weed flax seed, 500 grams a day of horny goat weed, So I can give the girls all the wood they need.”
He said he also wanted his music to be original and funny but he didn’t want to lay into the punchline. He wanted his music to sound just as natural as the next million-dollar rap artist without losing the quirks and themes that make him so unique. He also recently branched out into more political territory with his “Vote of a Lifetime,” a lyrical endorsement of President Barack Obama.
“It worked out actually where the funny stuff in the rap part of writing the song came out of getting into the idea of what I was talking about,” he said. “That’s where the funniness was. It wasn’t so much getting to a punch line. It was just getting into it and around it and all that.”
His YouTube channel and his Twitter and Facebook page gave him a huge, nationwide audience and a new platform for his unique talent and voice. Still, he said he loves to perform live because he lives to show generations young and old that he can indeed “still do it.”