Geno Five on Growing Up In Englewood, “The Feels” & Tips For Independent Artists

Geno Five on Growing Up In Englewood, “The Feels” & Tips For Independent Artists

Earlier this summer Englewood emcee Geno Five released his album “The Feels”. Now when the majority of us hear or think of the word “Feels” we immediately add an emotional component to it. Usually a sad one. With Geno Five’s “The Feels” though, I intentionally touches on the full range & spectrum of “Feels”. The sad times, the bad times, the horrible times, but he also places that same emphasis on times of triumph, success, anger and more. I had a chance to sit down with the Englewood emcee and really figure out his process while creating “The Feels”.

Dead End Hip Hop: For those who don’t know who is Geno Five?

Geno Five: Geno Five is the HipHop vibe dealer. “Conscious” but entertaining, “Lyrical” but not afraid to be melodic. I pride myself on witty wordplay, emotionally impactful lyrics and staying true to the technical art form of being an emcee. I’m really in my element on the more lyrically dense tracks but I never limit myself. I’m always trying new things to keep the listener’s mind stimulated and the songs sonically pleasant.

DEHH: Tell me about growing up in Englewood and your introduction to hip-hop?

Geno Five: Growing up in Englewood being the youngest of 7 kids and the only boy, I was an outcast from the start. People in my town mostly knew me for playing football but after I had fractured my back, I never stepped foot on a field again hahaha. I was about 13 when I was actually introduced to hiphop. No lie, I used to just listen to “The Gorillaz” and “The Black Eyed Peas” but I got put on to the song “4,3,2,1” by LL Cool J and I don’t think I’ve been the same since. It’s chock-full of lyrical icons who were the reason I wanted to pick up a mic in the first place.

DEHH: How did you transition from hip-hop fan to an artist, when did you know you were built to create records?

Geno Five: Although, “4,3,2,1” made me want to rap. I was way too shy to ever pursue it at age 13. Although I was writing lyrics at that time, rapping was just something that I had admired from afar. It wasn’t until I was 16 and got that spinal fracture when I decided to make this pursuit of a Hip Hop Artist. I was just kicking back at my friends house and we decided to make a song for “shits n gigs.” I put it out on FaceBook and wound up receiving a lot of positive feedback that would later motivate me to make more music on my own. Next thing I know, I have an entire mixtape out haha. I knew I was built for this when making music became therapeutic to me. Performing or seeing my creative visions come to life just gave me this unmatched contentment.

DEHH: Now when I saw the record was called “The Feels” I expected a sad, extremely personal album, however you gave us the full spectrum of emotional range, which is infinitely more clever, what was the idea behind “The Feels”?

Geno Five: The idea was exactly just that. A lot of this was written during a time when I would go through emotional rollercoasters on the daily. Even within an hour I would be going through hella different feelings. So I figured since I had all these different “feels” why not expand on them and turn them into songs. Also, I didn’t want to make one complete sad ass album lol. The goal was to have people refer to certain songs when they were feeling a certain way. In my head, I felt if there were a variety of moods in this album, it would make it less of an acquired taste and give it more general acceptance.

DEHH: What’s your favorite song on the album and why?

Geno Five: “We The Crew” takes the cake for me. It was the first song I wrote for the album. It had a relatable theme, it was catchy, the beat was fire and the entire feel of the song does a complete 180 . It goes from being about togetherness and loyalty to really scrutinizing the people you surround yourself with because they might not have your best interest at heart. You could be in a room full of people and still feel alone… ya know?

DEHH: You’ve been through some heartbreak and some trials, but my goodness I was blown away by your confidence not necessarily in your delivery, but in your “f*ck it, I’ll get it myself” attitude, can you speak on that a bit?

Geno Five: Hahaha, Thank you! Honestly man, I think there just comes a point in time where you’ve been let down so much and disappointed from depending on other people that you come to that realization. You know for a fact that nobody is going to ride for you like you do so it makes you start to really savor your solitude.

DEHH: Tell me about some of the challenges of being an independent artist and how you’ve tackled them thus far and what tips you’d give to independent cats looking to take it to the next level

Geno Five: Oh boy… where do i start? Uhhh time management, Finding a reliable group of people, marketing/rollout strategies, making people actually care about your artistry. I know a lot of people that think they just gotta make a “hit” song and then it’s all smooth sailing from there. In reality though, I feel you can make the hottest record, but if it’s not marketed/promoted well then….*shrugs*

As of late, I’ve just been trying to network everywhere I go and keep in mind of the resources that I do have as I build more connections. Advice to other independent artists? Take your time. I know sometimes people (myself included) just want to release their music to the public or they feel pressured because they see other locals dropping music so they feel they have to drop music ASAP. I think more artists should take their time and have a plan that goes beyond just “putting a song out” if that makes sense.

DEHH: The year is barely halfway over what can we expect from you for the rest of the year? Will we see you on the road?

Geno Five: DEFINITELY expect some visuals for a few songs on this album. Also, I do these rap videos on IG/Twitter called “#G5Freestyle “ where I rap for a minute over mainstream beats just for the lyrical exercise… so uhhh expect some of those too. I plan on releasing at least 3-5 more songs before the year ends but as of now my main focus is The Feels. A tour is definitely in the works, predominantly in the Tri-state area. Aside from that, you can still catch me at any open mic honing my performance skills or just showing support.

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