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Will Schube still can’t believe Larry David got Salman Rushdie to say ‘fatwa sex’ on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Bruiser Wolf cherishes his victories. He relishes his underdog status because he’s been one all his life: from trying out for arena football to owning a small business with six mouths to feed at home. As a rapper, he’s a Motor City E-40 raised on Iceberg Slim. Though the flow may be nice and the delivery funny, beneath the surface lies the residue of a lifetime of trauma and struggle.

You might have first heard it on “Mama Was a Dopefiend,” the powerful closing track from his 2021 debut, Dope Game Stupid: “Momma was a dopefiend/ I used to dream, she kept her nose clean / I needed somebody to console me / Got me thinking that the whole world owe me.” The tales of addiction continue on his latest LP, My Story Got Stories. Take a look at “Dope Boy,” where he raps: “I wonder if they can tell I’m a dope boy / My first toy was a scale, I had no choice.” On LP2, though, the moments of heartache and depression are offset by a picture of a rapper humbled by his success, eager to be thankful for his blessings, and an appetite to be the best.

Like Dope Game Stupid, My Story Got Stories was forged from tragedy. During the recording of his debut as Bruiser Wolf, his mom passed. “She was a beautiful person,” he explains. While recording My Story, he lost his pops — his right hand man, the person in his corner whether he was struggling as Big Wolf or touring with Danny Brown’s Bruiser Brigade. These two losses inform both albums, no matter how cold the one-liners. “There’s so much wisdom going into this that people don’t even know,” Wolf adds.

Bruiser infuses a generosity into everything he does, whether that’s recording a verse or answering questions for an interview. At one point during our talk, he speaks glowingly about his six children, noting that his eldest is into music and his youngest is into basketball. None are following him into his first love of football — a sport he spent much of his adult life playing and coaching — but that doesn’t matter. “I don’t like forcing kids into nothing. They got to go off their passion,” he says.

“If you believe in it, you can do anything,” Wolf explains. It‘s something he teaches his children every day, whether by offering advice to them or as they watch his career grow as he enters the age that most rappers explore different creative pursuits. With My Story Got Stories, he’s created both a champagne toast to his success and something that announces his arrival as one of the most original rappers working.

At the moment, Wolf is thrilled with where he’s at, but resting now would do a disservice to himself and the things he’s told his children. “Nobody believed in me. Nobody gave me a chance, gave a f*ck how cold the bars were,” he recalls about his early days in the game. “That’s where it all comes from. I’m hungry, but I’m happy.”

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