Meet Shaun, 24 years old from Chicago's South Suburbs.
“I made this playlist because when I was in college, I was heavily influenced and inspired by the music of the super-collective known as the "Beast Coast”, which of course consists of New York rap groups Pro Era (Joey Badass and company), the trio Flatbush Zombies, and the duo The Underachievers. Before I was producing and rapping, I was just a fan of Hip Hop in general. I’ll never forget when my friend showed me The Underachievers’ music. It was crazy to me. That was when I connected that the 3 sub-groups were all related to each other, because before I had only known about Joey Badass. I made this playlist initially to be able to listen to all of their music in one place. Great for seshes! I had no idea that so many people would find or listen to the playlist at first. The 3 groups in Beast Coast each have their own specific sound. Pro-Era brings back classic boom bap vibes and lyrical prowess. Flatbush Zombies has some of the most unique content I’ve ever heard, and I love the contrast between the 3 members. The Underachievers were dope because in a lot of their music, they talk about stuff that most rappers don’t touch on. The conscious music with a fresh psychedelic twist. Like you can tell these guys are actually smart individuals. I continue to listen to them all to this day. Will always be a fan.”
What is the soundtrack to your life?
A song that I’d say best describes who I am would have to be ‘Fantasy’ by Earth, Wind and Fire. It’s not Hip Hop per se, but it’s actually a song from one of my earliest memories. My Dad is a professional music producer, and he knew Maurice White from EW&F, and worked with the group! He would play their music all the time when I was a kid, but this song stood out. The vibes and instruments in that song are just simply amazing. Music that makes you just feel. It’s a magical experience every time I listen. It will always hold a special place in my heart. The real know.
What’s more important to you? Music; or Lyrics? Why?
I’d say that music is more important to me. Lyrics of course matter, but Music is literally a language in and of itself. One that everybody can understand regardless of cultural upbringing. It can literally be written, like any language can. It’s a way of communicating with your soul. My body never lies to me, when I hear an amazing chord progression or melody, or just a song in general that touches me, it can be any type of song - I get chills and goosebumps. Thats how I know I’m hearing good music. I can listen to music in another language and not even have a clue what the lyrics are about, but still feel that song.
Favorite artist? Top 5?
My favorite artist *Right Now* would probably have to be Travis Scott. He’s shown a remarkable amount of progression and musical prowess, even since his early mixtapes. I’ll never forget when I first heard Days Before Rodeo in college. I was hooked. His whole vibe and atmosphere - the beats, the insane vocal mixes, I could go on. 90210 mannn lol. I’m partial to autotune artists. A lot of purists don’t like autotune, but what most people don’t understand is that literally almost everybody uses it in some fashion on professional records. Whether it’s minute corrections for people who can naturally sing, or for the famous ’T-Pain’ robot effect, it’s here to stay and I think it’s wild to say that someone who uses it has ‘no talent’. Anyway, my Top 5 (and this constantly changes) would have to be: Travis Scott Ski Mask the Slump God Denzel Curry The Weeknd Lil Uzi Vert I do think it’s only right that since i’m a producer, I also include a producer Top 5 as well. Again, this constantly changes for me: RonnyJ WondaGurl TM88 Noah “40” Shebib Kenny Beats
If you had the chance to interview an artist, who would it be? (Dead or alive) and why?
I’d interview Kanye West. Probably because he’s one of the most notable artists in the world today. He’s a cultural phenomenon, and he’ll literally never not be relevant. Understanding his mind and creative genius is something I feel like anyone would love to do. People always say “who’s gonna be the next Kanye” — like he’s transcended to this phantom top tier of rap superstardom. It’s another level for sure.
My last concert was probably a Whiz Khalifa show, If I remember right. I also saw Prince in concert before he died. Legendary stuff.