In my internship with HipHopDX, I recently got the chance to interview Ca$his, a California rapper by way of Chicago.
He’s most known for his Aftermath Associations, being signed to Shady Records and working with Eminem. Here’s one of his popular songs, from the Shady Records Re-Up album:
Check out the interview here. Although I asked questions about everything – how his kids affect his music, the new album, etc. – I also got to ask him my patented rap analysis questions. They’re excerpted below:
DX: When you rap, do you come up with the words first, the rhymes first, or both at the same time?
Ca$his: Together, at the same time. I let the beat play.
DX: So you always have the beat first?
Yeah, I always hear the beat first, unless I do something a cappella. I
let the beat play, and I freestyle. It may hit me but certain words are
chopped off. It’s incomplete for a minute. I get the pattern, then I
vibe to it. I might write it down sometimes because I can catch myself
better. Sometimes having more focus is better. I sit there, and I turn
the music up, and I smoke and smoke and smoke and smoke and smoke. As it
keeps looping and looping and looping, I’m ready. Maybe 10, 15 minutes I
got the whole record down. I’m a one-take jake, man.
Say you’re writing a verse that’s 16 bars long. Do you start from bar
one and go all the way through 16, or do you keep a book of rhymes and
maybe take two bars here, three bars there, and fit them together if
Ca$his: Nah, I don’t really know how
to do that. I’m not good at taking records from other songs of mine and
putting it in there. I just come with the bars. I just go through it. I
get the verse, two or three bars I have a pattern on how I wanna do it.
And once I have the pattern, it’s all good. The only thing that changes
is if the beat changes or if there’s any drop-outs.
Say a beginner rapper comes to you and they say, “Ca$his, you’re sick.
Give me some advice on how to be a better rapper.” What’s the first
thing you tell them?
Ca$his: I’d tell them to
remember the rhyme. That’s the most important thing in rapping. That’s
what made it, rhyming. Some of the new artists forget about rhyming. But
the classic, true artists don’t. Jay-Z always rhyme, Nas rhyme, Em
always rhyme. The biggest artists, DMX, they always rhyme when they do
their rap. People need to pay attention to that. If you stay rhyming,
and build your vocabulary and confidence, you’ll be alright.
DX: Can you think of any artists who forget to rhyme?
I don’t listen to too many people. I have my few artists that I listen
to that I’mma fan of. Like I said, Jay-Z, I bump some of the Wayne
joints, I bump 50 joints. I bump Twista. There’s not a whole bunch of
people. I listen to some songs from Kurupt. Like I said, I bump a lot of
Snoop Dogg. I bump 2pac, I bump B.I.G. I bump a lot of Beanie Sigel.
That’s pretty much it, I don’t really bump too many artists because I’m
always working. I don’t ever want to sound like other people. Treach is
one of my favorite artists, my uncle bumped a lot of Treach. Kurupt was
the artist I sat with that really put me up on game, and who I pattern
myself after. Because he can freestyle forever and he can rap forever.
He just knows rap. So he’s one of my idols in rap.