I had the opportunity to see Columbus emcee Senseless a couple years back at the inaugural 2×2 Hip-Hop Festival in Ohio. Senseless controls the mic with ease weaving in and out of tempos while carrying melodies and flowing over beats. Let me not get it twisted though Senseless is a veteran in hip-hop working with a slew of artists to get his point across. I got a chance to talk to Senseless about his latest EP, Columbus hip-hop and more.
Dead End Hip Hop: For those who still don’t know who is Senseless?
Senseless: Senseless is an emcee from Columbus, Ohio.
DEHH: How did you get into hip-hop and what inspired you to pick up the mic?
Senseless: Really started getting into hip-hop at age 10, by 13 I wanted to emcee myself, & by 17 I really realized I could do it & not be half bad.
Being introduced to the Rhymesayers/Def Jux era early on too, I was as KRS-ONE would say, “able to express joy & anger at the same time.” Always looks at Rhymesayers, for example, in a way where Rhymesayers might look at something like Boogie Down Productions.
Hearing records like Shadows On The Sun, Labor Days, The Cold Vein, The Many Faces Of Oliver Hart & so many more, & going back & checking out Eyedea & so many others at Scribble Jam, I was just like “I gotta do this too.”
DEHH: Tell me a bit about coming up in hip-hop in Ohio?
Senseless: Coming up in hip-hop in Ohio, in Columbus specifically, has been an experience to say the least. The artists we have here that have long been established are very understanding of the grind that is entertainment in the Midwest, so we are lucky to have them. You definitely gotta search out the opportunity, as you do anywhere else, and there isn’t as much money for shows here as there are in busier markets from what I understand, but we love what we do here, and while that is a clichés cliché, we rap our ass off & do our best to represent hip-hop. You really gotta cut your teeth here because that is more/less all we got.
DEHH: How did the idea for the “Yeah, Whatvever” EP come about?
Senseless: I was with Beardo one night after a show, we were driving to get food or something, and he said to me something along the lines of, “you listen but will still do your own thing, like you’re not afraid to fail whether it’s for better or worse. You take it & be like, ‘yeah, whatever.'” So that was me showing him I was listening, but still doing my own thing haha.
DEHH: How did you link up with Bombeardo, Beats Rockwell and J.Rawls for the project?
Senseless: Bom & I have been doing work together for a few years now, he has definitely been a big help – he’s the one that introduced me to Rawls too. & Rawls did a beat on my last record, which actually is a long story… He did a Beat-A-Week series a few years ago where he, put out a beat a week, & was going to make an EP out of his favorite submissions with each beat. While that EP never came out, it was my first chance to introduce my writing to his jazzy style of production, which I love. Finally, with Beats Rockwell, I have just been seeing him out for the past few years at different events, rapping together & talking about music, and one day he sent me a beat & said, “I made this with you in mind man, definitely need you to have this,” & I was just on it, thus creating what would later be known to us as “Be Like This.”
DEHH: Your flow on “Yeah, Whatever” is more than just spitting bars, more than just trying to rip a beat, you’re carrying melodies, singing a bit and everything in between, how do you approach a beat and how do you determine where you’re emceeing versus singing?
Senseless: Always been a “beats writes the raps” kind of guy, and coming from freestyling & just trying to rap on whatever is spinning for you at the moment, I apply that to my writing in that I just try to come up with whatever I can in that specific instant – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but just write the crap out of it & hope it works out lol. Plus, hip-hop has always had emcees that sing, so that puts me back in my bag when it comes to my less than stellar singing – to me soul & conviction can beat out technical ability & makes the listener commiserate with ya on a level that is like, “this guy isn’t Marvin Gaye or anyone like that by any means, but he’s trying & I like that.” It is fun, vocally, to just try to change it up throughout a song though, keep it fresh, but I can’t ever call it when it’s comes to when & where, it’s just a feeling & I go with my gut.
DEHH: What do you want people to walk away from “Yeah, Whatever” with?
Senseless: “Yeah, Whatever” is about prioritizing, about saying “Yeah, Whatever” to any outside noise, saying you are what you are & not another person’s perception of you. Putting yourself out there regardless of what people think because your time & energy is much better spent on things that are constructive & positive. It is easy to be flustered when it feels like life is coming at you all at once, but just breathe, say “Yeah, Whatever,” & keep it moving.
DEHH: I got a chance to see you at the 2×2 Festival a couple years back, what was that experience like? And how important do you feel the festival was to Ohio and Ohio Hip-Hop?
Senseless: I feel like, especially this last year, that 2×2 is a staple for us here in Ohio, and, hopefully something that permeates throughout the Midwest & maybe even further… Who knows. Definitely like Christmas though when it’s time that festival rolls around.
DEHH: Now I’ve told some other people, but I’m gonna tell you too I’m lightweight expecting a full-length from you here in 2018. What’s on your schedule for this upcoming year?
Senseless: I have a couple things I’d like to accomplish this year, completing a full-length is definitely one of them, going on tour is definitely one of them, and getting in the studio to do live versions with a band of some of my favorite songs I’ve done & rereleasing some stuff that way. Those are just the top of the list, but the list goes on & on & on for sure. Just wanna stay creative & do some more collaborating with different people, & ultimately just be consistent in anything that I do.
Thanks for the time Sto, this has been a pleasure.