Ohio’s own Senseless dropped his “Yeah Whatever, EP” late last year and the visuals are coming in! The latest is “Mosey On In”. What I love about the “Yeah, Whatever” EP is Senseless dives deep into the funky & jazzy side of hip-hop and the video for “Mosey On In” gives into this as well.
The grind never stops when you’re trying to be an artist and despite being a veteran in this, the grind doesn’t stop for Ohio artist, Joey Aich either. In his latest single “Fundraiser” Aich taps Ohio artist Tieran Cline to produced a heater for your trunk on this Tuesday.
This single appears to come from an upcoming album coming from Aich called “If Money Grew On Trees”. Who knows what this holds, who knows what this will sound like, for now throw “Fundraiser” on and go get your money.
Chicago by way of Ohio emcee Pete Sayke teamed up with Indianapolis Lonegevity to create “Heaven Can Wait” a rare full-length project. Featuring heavyweights like Blueprint, Stik Figa and others. More importantly though Sayke tells a story of struggle, while making sure to relay the idea that we have to push on through these dark times. I had a chance to sit down with Sayke and talk his new album “Heaven Can Wait” his choice of leaving production to Lonegevity and more.
Dead End Hip Hop: For those who don’t know who is Pete Sayke?
Pete Sayke: Hmmm. That’s always a tough question. But a good one. Pete Sayke is an emcee born and raised in Cincinnati, but I’ve lived in Chicago for about ten years. As far as music goes, I love and respect lyricism and I value vulnerability in artists. In that way, I try to follow in the footsteps of some of my all-time favorites. When someone can be impressive lyrically, while still making it digestible, while somehow being able to bring the listener into his or her world/thoughts/emotions…that s*it is special! That’s what I try to do.
Beyond music, though, I’m mad normal. I have an amazing wife and we have a super cool dog and we live in a condo in a cool neighborhood. All that first world shit. It’s pretty great. I love my family and friends. I grew up playing basketball and baseball…then somehow ended up playing D1 volleyball in college. I’d say I’m semi-introverted, so it’s interesting that my passion is to create art and present it to the public for their enjoyment or displeasure haha. I guess there’s so much to say that I don’t really know what to say. Sorry for rambling.
DEHH: As someone who grew up in Cleveland, I’m always curious to others upbringing in Ohio, tell me about that
PS: Honestly, I kinda feel like Kendrick must have felt as a kid in Compton. Clearly, nowhere near as dangerous, though haha. But what I mean is, I had plenty of opportunities to get into some really fucked up situations, but I always chose the better path. So many kids I grew up with had gotten knocked up, locked up and/or killed before we had even reached 10th grade! I thank my parents for guiding me away from that shit, but also I give myself some credit for actually listening and learning from others’ mistakes.
Because of that, my childhood was pretty much consumed by sports and music. I grew up in a neighborhood called Silverton, which was a mixed bag of rich-poor-black-white kids. We would make our rounds to all the hoop courts and just hoop all day. Then when I wasn’t hooping, I was listening to or writing raps. I remember riding my bike to Everybody’s Records in Pleasant Ridge and buying maxi-singles so I could rap over the instrumentals. My first show ever, which I discuss on the title track for Heaven Can Wait, I rapped over OutKast’s Players Ball and that shit was tight!
DEHH: I’ve heard a lot of projects this year and I feel like a lot of them were EPs tell me about your choice to create a full-fledged LP
PS: You know what? I don’t think that’s ever really crossed my mind, honestly. I’ve just never made an EP before. But I’m open to it! I guess I just feel less restricted when I have more tracks to work with. It allows me to go to more places on a project and fully express myself. I’ve had some droughts in my career where I’d go a couple years before feeling inspired again. So when it comes, I guess I just want to let it all out before I lose it again. But I won’t lose it again! (knocks on wood).
DEHH: How did the idea of “Heaven Can Wait” come about?
PS: After having not written anything since my last album, Forever, my life had changed quite a bit. I got married and we bought a place. Some people who were in my life were no longer there. I was just a completely different man. Life was good. And I wanted to create a project that reflected that. “Life is so good that I can’t die anytime soon. Let me soak this in.” However, as I started the writing process, current events shifted my thinking. Yes, my personal life is good, but at the same time we are struggling and suffering as a society. We’re broken. A hateful portion of the country elected a clown. Cops are still killing us. Schools are being shut down. Religious fanatics are steering the wheel of politics. As someone whose art always reflects his own life and the ongoings surrounding him, I was compelled to touch on these things. So, it became more of a “There’s so much work to do…Heaven Can Wait…I have so much to accomplish on this planet…Heaven Can Wait…My life is good but there has to be a way for us to all live good lives together…Heaven Can Wait.”
DEHH: How did you and Lonegevity link up? Why did you choose to stick to one producer in crafting “Heaven Can Wait”?
PS: I met Lonegevity through one of my best friends, Maja 7th, back at Ball State. Over the years we became closer and closer and I always wanted to work with him. He’s a brilliant producer. I’ve told him that for years! I think he and I see music the same. I want to work with a producer who is rooted in soul, because soul is the most important element to me. But they also have to be daring and willing to push the envelope at times. He’s exactly that. He’s someone I will force to work with me for the rest of our lives haha. As for sticking with one producer, I just really like that approach. My whole college career I was in a group called KM2 and Maja 7th was the producer. Forever was a project I worked on with a producer named ThatKidMyself. I think I prefer it because we can be more connected and create something truly cohesive that way.
DEHH: You had a mixture of tracks, topics and vibes on this album, what was the process of making this like? What was your intention with this project?
PS: Like I touched on before, my music is guided by my life and OUR life as a people. And I don’t mean just black people. But humanity. We should all be connected. We’re in this mess because we’ve been disconnected for-fucking-ever! So like all of my projects, what I want people to get from Heaven Can Wait is what I want them to get from The Welfare, and The New Black, and our Grumpy Old Men albums and Forever. I want people to feel like they know me. You’ll get personal stories of triumph and failure. You’ll hear about my feelings on certain aspects our American culture. I want to cover all of these things but do it over dope beats and with dope bars! I mean, I don’t have all the answers, Sway! But I’ll always speak my mind and share my feelings.
DEHH: What do you want people who listen to “Heaven Can Wait” to walk away with?
PS: Man! I don’t know if there is a sole takeaway from the project other than the fact that this, like all of my albums, is a time capsule of sorts. It’s me sharing with you what I’m going through and you may be experiencing something similar. Aside from that, I guess I would like people to understand that I’m not a political emcee! I have always touched on society’s ills in previous projects, but only to a degree. Mostly, I just try to make dope, cohesive albums that reflect how I’m feeling at the time. I only say this because I don’t want people to box me in as the Political Rapper Guy and then be disappointed when I don’t run for mayor. But you can always trust and expect that I will speak my mind, share my life and do so with quality music.
DEHH: Now I know I’m probably jumping the gun but what can we expect from you in 2018? Will we see you on the road?
Well, I am in the beat selection process right now, so we just might see a new project in 2018! As for the road, I will be playing a festival but I’m not allowed to say until they’ve announced the lineup. I would love to play a few festivals, though! As a Cincinnati native, I obviously hit up Scribble Jam a few times and those were some of my favorite memories. I remember going up to Brother Ali after his performance in like 2000-2001 and buying his Rites of Passage CASSETTE because he was out of CDs! So festivals have always been a dream of mine. But also, anything I can play in Minneapolis/St.Paul would be amazing because I’ve been a Rhymesayers fan for years and Minnesotans are the shit! Shout out to Anne and Ben! Haha. But I promise, as more shows book and more songs are made, you will be the first to know! Well, after my wife and Mike Schpitz and Lonegevity and Roy Kinsey…you’ll be the fifth to know! Haha.
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.
On the low Cleveland emcee Y.G.K. has released one of my favorite releases of last year in “State of Mind”. Teaming up with Soledad Y.G.K bears all over backbreaking production. I got a chance to sit down with him and talk about the album, growing up in Cleveland and what’s to come this year.
DEHH: For those who don’t know who is Y.G.K?
YGK: I’d describe myself as a old soul really. I’m 23 but I’ve always felt like 10 years older. I’d whether be at home than out and I don’t drink or smoke either so I’m what most might call boring. Little bit of a introvert.
DEHH: As a Cleveland native myself, I always want to know about your upbringing and how it led you to hip-hop.
YGK: Upbringing wise my parents were and still are devout Christians, so it was always alot of gospel like Fred Hammond, Mary Mary and of course Kirk Franklin playing. My folks also didn’t like my area school system too much so I ended up being Homeschooled from the first grade on. Shockingly enough though rock music was what I chose to listen to early on, Rap had came into the picture via poetry around 13 for me. I really took to putting my thoughts down on paper but rapping wasn’t even an idea until I stumbled upon Drake and Wayne during their run, plus Nas played a big part in me actually wanting to write.
DEHH: “State Of Mind” was a pleasant surprise last year, tell me how the idea for the album came about.
YGK: After I dropped my first project Long Overdue in 2015 I felt like i could’ve been more transparent. I Wanted people to feel where I’m coming from anytime I released a song or project because I go about music like therapy. I had already been a couple records deep into the creation process when Kendrick’s To Pimp A Butterfly dropped, but after I heard it it definitely inspired me even more to really do what I felt. The way he went about crafting that album was a real spark for me.
DEHH: Off top one of my favorite parts of the record is the chemistry between yourself and Soledad Brother. How did you two link and how did your relationship with him elevate to the point of doing an entire record together?
YGK: I had found Soledad Brother through some of my late night soundcloud beat hunting lol. I hit em’ up to see about some of his beats and he had already heard some of my music to my surprise. So after hearing a good 2 weeks worth of things he had sent me, I told em we might have to do a project together. My plan was originally just a EP but I was in such a groove with everything he was sending I decided we had to do a whole full length album.
DEHH: Tell me about the importance of specifically choosing one person to produce “State Of Mind”
YGK: One of my goals starting out as a newer artist was to put so much work in and have such a presence sonically that new listeners would say “damn who is this dude and how isn’t he signed?” I want every thing to be cohesive because thats huge I think when starting out. It’d be a shame if the first song someone hears is your worst. With Soledad he just had that sound that I really wanted. And I knew his production would alone be perfect to get what I wanted across.
DEHH: When people are done listening to “State Of Mind” what do you want them to take away from it?
YGK: I know this is clichè as hell but I wanted the takeaway to be chase your dreams no matter what. With me being such a introverted sort of invisible type if dude, people and even myself thought this probably isn’t the cards for me. I feel like if you have a passion for something you should chase it regardless of obstacles even if some of those are your own. You gotta live with the regrets if you don’t.
DEHH: 2018 just started but what can we expect from you this year?
YGK: I definitely have a visual or two I still want to do for the project. I got an EP in the works for sure early this year and I have a joint project coming with the talented homie Blak Bravo who was also featured on State of Mind under his old name Shawn Reyez, we have some records I think people are really gonna vibe with. Other than that just more consistency I’m trying to get better with everything I do.