Interview with Cincinnati-based rapper and producer, Cing Curt
HI GOOD MORNING, WELL MORNING OVER HERE.
Hey, good afternoon over here.
I WANT TO START WITH A LITTLE BIT OF YOUR BACKSTORY. WHERE DO YOU LIVE? WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I’m from Cincinnati. I live in a suburb a little north of Cincinnati. I started making music when I was around 7 or 8. When I first started writing, I ended up getting a karaoke machine for 20 bucks from the flea market with my dad, and he bought me some cassette tapes and I started recording from there. So I’ve been doing this for a while, it’s something I love to do.
WHAT WAS THAT FIRST MOMENT WHEN YOU’D SAY YOU BECAME A SONGWRITER OR A RAPPER?
I remember some kid in school, I was like 8 by the way, some kid was walking on his hands at recess or something and all the girls were going crazy over him, and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t walk on my hands. I went home that day, tried walking on my hands, and it was that night I was listening to music and I wrote a rap song. I wrote this girl a rap song, and took her over the paper, and it worked. So since then, I’ve just been going with it [laughing].
[LAUGHING] THAT’S A GREAT STORY. WHEN YOU’RE RICH AND FAMOUS THAT IS GONNA BE THE THING YOU’RE GONNA HAVE TO TELL A MILLION TIMES.
Yeah, I still know the girl I wrote the rap song for. It’s pretty funny.
SO TELL ME ABOUT BEING A PRODUCER.
Yeah, I produce a lot of my own beats and I also engineer all my stuff. It’s really good to be behind the sound of all your music because you get the final say in everything, but it’s also kind of difficult, you know, it’s a lot of work.
YEAH, YOU’RE YOUR OWN BOSS SO THAT KIND OF COMES WITH THE FREEDOM BUT ALSO THE CHALLENGES. SO HAVE YOU PRODUCED OTHER RAPPERS?
Yeah, I produced for a guy named Jay Al, he’s from around here, and he had a music video premier on Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital YouTube channel. It’s got like a million subscribers. And a guy named Picasso from around here, he’s been on the radio stations around here and he’s done a lot of opening for artists like MGK and Juicy J.
WOW THAT’S AWESOME. IN THE BEGINNING WERE YOUR MAKING MASH-UPS OR HAVE YOU ALWAYS MADE YOUR OWN BEATS AS YOU’VE WRITTEN YOUR OWN LYRICS?
I actually recently got into making my own beats, last March is when I got the equipment to make it myself because buying beats got too expensive. And that full ownership of a beat from an unknown producer can cost up to five grand, so it’s safer to go the route of making your own beats.
HOW DO BEATS JUST COME INTO YOUR HEAD? WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS OF THINKING THAT AND THEN CREATING THAT?
It depends on what mood I’m in. If I’m in a happy mood I’ll make a little drum beat that’s kind of upbeat and happier. Usually when I just make what I’m feeling, then I make the best kind of music.
RIGHT IT’S GENUINE IN THAT CASE. WHO ELSE HAVE YOU WORKED WITH OR WORKED FOR?
Recently in the last few months I’ve been linking up with other producers and engineers. There’s a guy in Cincinnati, his name’s Kyle Otto, he runs a studio called Otto Labs. He and some of the guys have been on MTV’s blog site; they go out of town, to Vegas and California, they go to labels and they shop their singles out. So I’ve been recently working with him trying to make something shake. About a month ago a minor league baseball player [John Williamson] from the Cubs hit me up, and he wants to remix my song “Mission.” He’s verified on Spotify; got like 13,000 monthly listeners, so it’s really cool.
COOL, GOOD FOR YOU. LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR NEW ALBUM PERSPECTIVE. WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THAT?
This is my first album so I was trying to have as much of a subject matter as I could. Once I came up with the idea ‘perspective,’ I just went with it. Once I got it, I just started putting as much content in it as I could.
HOW LONG DID THAT TAKE YOU?
I was working on the tape for a little over a year.
HOW LONG DOES IT USUALLY TAKE YOU TO CREATE AND PRODUCE A SONG?
The crazy thing is that it varies. There are songs on the tape that I’ve spent three or four months perfecting. There’s songs on there that I started from scratch that I finished in a weekend.
HOW OR WHEN DO YOU THINK OF LYRICS? DO YOU HAVE TO SIT DOWN AND REALLY THINK ABOUT IT, OR DO THEY JUST COME TO YOU?
Sometimes it just comes to me. I’ll be out and about doing something or I’ll just be in the studio writing a song, and I’ll have another idea. And then sometimes I’ll have to sit down and write a little storyboard. Sometimes I have to pretty much write down the story before I write lyrics to it.
WHO INSPIRES YOU AS AN ARTIST?
I would have to say Nas. I grew up listening to him, so it’s real nostalgic. He’s a great storyteller, so I cling to his music. Present day probably like Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Isaiah Rashad.
HAVE YOU DONE ANY SHOWS?
Yeah, I did a show in Cleveland in July and I’ve done a few shows around Cincinnati at smaller venues.
HOW DOES IT FEEL WHEN YOU’RE UP THERE?
I love the whole atmosphere of shows, especially when it’s live and everyone’s in tune with it. Just getting on stage and putting something on for the people who are feeling the environment. Especially if you got a decent catalogue, you can play a song that goes with the mood. Once you get into there’s no better feeling.
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO WITH THIS? WHY ARE YOU DOING IT?
I’ve been doing this for so long that it’s like I don’t even think about it anymore I just do it. I definitely want to eventually start opening up some shows, getting bigger shows. I want to be the best. I want to be memorable, I want to have a lasting effect on people and I want to inspire. Music always helps; it helped me growing up, I’d listen to music when I was growing up and I’d relate. Music puts people in a better place.
Written by Victoria Moorwood