Hip Hop has changed drastically over the years. From simple party rhymes with a DJ scratching records, to then, people in the hood are telling their story and exposing others to it. Hip Hop has been the mouthpiece for black culture. From being the youngest music genre, to then being the most disliked, to now being the number one genre globally. You could say that Hip Hop is something special, and it is, because, like a lot of things, it is always evolving. One producer makes a new sound, and then people run with that sound. But as things evolve, we still like a nostalgic artist. An artist that has mastered the fundamentals of what Hip Hop and rap were created to be, which is mouthpiece for the people in the culture. An artist who can make a body of work that could make you sit, listen, and wonder what you just listened to. Some old heads in the game believe the fundamentals of hip hop is being lost, but that isn’t the case. Many underground up-and-coming artists have mastered and put their own style to the fundamentals.
Don’t be surprised when this artist is featured on a JID or Cole song. Just know you heard it here first. Her name is Cheeno Ghee. Cheeno Ghee is an Artist, poet, and entrepreneur who was born in Brooklyn, NY, and raised in Atlanta, GA. She is slowly making a name for herself among Rap blogs and people like me who dig on blogs and SoundCloud to find new music and artist for a hobby. TUC had the opportunity to sit down with the rising artist with the gears to be a household name in years to come.
Before we dive into this, how do you correctly pronounce your name? I’m not going to try and butcher your name this entire interview.
She laughs-“It’s Pronucded Che-ee-no Gh-ee”
Where are you from originally, and where were you born?
“I’m Originally from Brooklyn, New York, but I found my way to Atlanta. Atlanta is where I grew up mostly. I went to Norcross High School. I was born in Decatur, then went to New York when I was one or two, then came back to Atlanta later on. Now I’m in Charlotte since 2016. I claim those two cities Brooklyn and Atlanta.
When did you begin rapping, and when did you realize maybe I should start to take this more seriously?
“I’ve been rapping ever since I was a kid, really. No, seriously, there are home videos of me rapping when I was like two or Three. We got to get those on DVD now because they are all on VHS tapes. So when I was young, my mom was big in the Hip Hop scene being in New York, you know how that goes. I want to say I kept it up in middle and High school, but then when I moved up to Charlotte in 2016, I was thinking to myself, okay, I got a clean slate now. So I’m gonna try and do it at another level prior to being in North Carolina. Before being in North Carolina, I hadn’t been in a professional recording studio. I was always just recording at my homies house with them. So when I got out here and started spending actual money for studio time, I was like yeah, I have to take this up a notch and become more serious about this. I don’t know; I guess because I was on my money and my time, you know, doing what I wanted to do, it gave me the sense of okay yeah, now I gotta really do this. I gotta stick with it.”
Being that you claim both Brooklyn and Atlanta and also having this unique flow and sound. Do you think that you took different things from these cities that influenced your sound or flow?
“Um, I’ll have to say I got the best of both worlds, really. When it comes to being from Brooklyn, you know that contributes to the more bar for bar tough aspect of my music. Whereas my upbringing in Atlanta was during the Future era. The start of the melodic sounding beats and raps Atlanta really is known for. It was more upbeat, and people were experimenting with flows, sounds, and beats. So I definitely got a blend of the two most polarizing places for hip hop.”
Your newest record you dropped in 2020 was great. Great production and a great story. So how was the rollout for the album different amidst Covid-19 and stuff? Not really being able to do shows and engage face to face with fans?
“I would say I’m at this kind of perfect point in my career where it didn’t really affect me too much. You know, like all the extra stuff would almost be a luxury for me. Like don’t get me wrong, I would love to do those things, but it wasn’t imperative. So I just really amped up what I did with my first project and make something for the big fans. The fans that really have been waiting and wanting something. I wanted to appeal to people I knew would care first and foremost. I really had my fans in my mind for this rollout. Like the marketing materials and everything had a more personal touch to them rather than just generically saying I got an album dropping. I have kept in mind the type of fan base that I developed. The majority of fans are spiritual people and more emotional people. I’m not an emotional person, but an emotional artist. So I used my media resources and the momentum I had with starting a label and went on from there. So it’s not just me promoting myself; I have a force of people behind me prompting me and championing me. I think this pandemic really allowed people to be at home with my music. You know, take it all in. People have said I have car riding music. Which I don’t think I do, but it more chill and introspective and music you listen to and think and take it all in.
You said your not an emotional person, but this new record sounds really personal. So was this new record personal for you?
“Well, originally, the project was going to release in March. That’s really when the pandemic took off, and we had to stay at home and stuff. Now I was literally at home with myself, thinking to myself and collecting my thoughts on what is happening. Also, in March, something happened, so I was in the house by myself, and I was like, okay, I have to deal with this stuff because I have the time. So part of this record can relate to the world and what’s going on but also relate to physical stuff like friendships and relationships. It all exists I’m not exempt from stuff happening. I’m human things are gonna happen. There’s also a leg to it. It goes a lot deeper, and it’s kind of like if you listen to this record and you hear something that speaks to you, then you can take that from this. If the shoe fits, then wear it.
Were some songs about people in your past situations?
“It really wasn’t about people that had me messed up, really. It was about me mostly just recharging and sitting with myself and making these records to put out so I could move on from situations. But Yea, this record definitely has a personal tone to it.”
One song that stood out was ‘Been Peeped’; it talked about you being an independent artist and how the music industry is kind of like selling your soul. Did this record come from personal experiences?
“I think I can say both, but it’s more of a perspective thing because you never really know until you’ree faced with it, really. You know I’ve seen people’s names on that paper, but you really don’t know what that feels like until it’s your name on that paper. I can only really base it on my biggest perspective, which isn’t that too unrealistic. Being independent, it’s not really coming from a place of arrogance; it comes from a place of me just being really sure of myself and the route I’m taking. It would take an unheard force to make me sign some shit that doesn’t make sense, really.”
If you listen to the majority of your songs, you can hear that. Where does this confidence and sureness of your self come from?
“I want to say obviously I’m not trying to be really arrogant. But when I got to Charlotte and started to really make music and be in the studio, that was a decision like I’m not on this path, and I gotta go full force with it. I just got baptized for the first time in my life, and this is on this path of my music, so it all kind of makes sense. Like I’m chasing the right thing for me. Music kind of lead me to that choice. Like let me give myself to him, and I did, and now I feel 10x bigger since I made that decision for my life. So I think it’s the number of commitments that I’ve made to myself and to this journey that keeps me grounded and big-headed enough to believe in myself until it’s manifested. My faith plates a lot into it as well. That’s why I don’t really see it as arrogance to me. It’s not like this negative connotation; it’s just me being sure of myself, which I think everyone should have.
Yeah, I hear you there’s a fine line between being arrogant and confident.
“Man imma [sic] have people come to talk to you when they tell me its arrogance just so you can say that to them”
Your flow and style are definitely unique. And when I listen to your songs, I start to think of dope collabs you would sound dope on. What’s a dream collab you wanna make happen?
“Oh man, that’s a really hard question. Um, if it could just be anybody, I would want to do one with young Jay-Z. That would definitely be something to hear. But right now, I would really wanna jump on a song with Summer Walker
That would sound really good—Summer on the hook and you with two verses.
“Yea, her voice is amazing for real.”
The production on this album was excellent. A lot of samples and some songs had little interludes in them. Was that planned to really tell a story with this album?
“Really how it came together was after all the songs were done and I got the title of the album and the tracklist. I then had to sit and think about how I could make this cohesive. With the voice mails and audio of people on the tracks I had on me, and I just added them on there because it just made sense. Fun fact the dude on the outro was a fan. he is from London, and I don’t even know him; he just really liked my music and reached out, and I heard the voicemail and was like, that’s dope lemme use that. I always try and tell a story, whether it’s a single or five-minute performance. Like that’s my goal, I want people to really know who they are listening to, and by the end of the project, you will really know why you stay through a 40-minute project. I’m a poet at heart, so it’s kind of hard to escape the storyteller in me on songs.
What about the title of the album and the theme within that?
“The title Whoever it Concerns is more of an open letter. Take it if it applies to you. Like if you think one song is about you because you did me wrong or if the song is for you because you need it right then and there then take it.”
“Really just getting more music done, and working on the label side of things. I have an all women-run label so-
“Yea, it’s really dope to see. But mostly working on more music and my label and just getting more fans and eyes on my music.
Stream the album To Whomever It Concerns, while we all wait for more to come from Cheeno Ghee.
Follow Cheeno Ghee on Instagram