By the end of his college Sophomore year, Cleveland rapper Joey Aich discovered his passion for music. The after-school hobby of spitting rhymes soon became a foreseeable future after a friend inquired the artist might have what it takes.
“Working at Old Navy wasn’t cutting it,” said the Denison University student. “ I didn’t fancy the idea of working another job during the summer.”
After quitting his summer job, Aich began to focus his free time on working on his craft. “I spent the last money I had that Summer on a pen and notebook to write a list of everyone I wanted to attend my performance at Lemur Fest,” said Aich. Summer 2015 was his working season.
Since then, Joey Aich has been slowly picking up momentum with followers and performances, including an opening act for rapper Asher Roth last October and an anticipated show for RedHawk Radio and Up Magazine’s REVIVE concert at Brick Street in Oxford, Ohio. Embracing Drake’s Instagram-catchy hook, this summer ‘16 would be looking for revenge against the “college performer/hobby” stigma. He doesn’t plan to reside with a Plan B, for his Plan A is to change the world and make music. RedHawk Radio had the chance to sit down with the artist to talk music, millennials and obstacles of the “SoundCloud Universe.”
When I listen to your music, I can not ignore the similarities you have with Chance the Rapper. Has he any influence in your music? Where do you get your sound from?
JA: Thank you, I get it from the boombat production style and jazz. “I’m like man this is me”. I get a lot of inspiration from New York rappers “ I don’t really get into Trap, you know, it’s not my lane.”
So you must not be that big of a fan of mainstream rap,huh?
JA: People are in a formula to be popular// “Desiigner, people are gonna be saying he is Future for a while, or sounds like Future. He probably doesn’t even want to sound like Future but you can’t escape it we are raised in this formula. Artists like J Cole has a different sound you can pick it out. But I think rap (pause) it’s in a beautiful place. It’s kind of like Rock music and now its branched off into so many sub-genres. You can’t say rap is one thing and an artist does the other. You don’t want to go to the club to hear Nas. I don’t want to go to the club to hear Nas, I want to hear Future.
SoundCloud, Spotify, YouTube and in some cases Twitter, artists now have several platforms they can use to promote their music. How do you defend against the stigma tied to the “SoundCloud universe” and what obstacles are challenging upcoming rappers?
JA: It’s a double edge sword. It’s easy to give off the impression that “ I am a rapper” but its so over saturated but you could follow someone on Twitter and the first thing you see is a link to their soundcloud or new music video. It’s hard to be more than wanting to be a Soundcloud rapper or Twitter rapper. I don’t want to be “oh man, let me get on Spotify, because I can get on Spotify” It’s hard to get passed the Soundcloud rapper phase, it takes a lot of work to get out of that. People are noticing oh he is doing shows, he isn’t just in Cleveland.
We live in a funny time, where it’s almost okay to look and like everyone else, especially with music artists are starting to sound very similar. What separates you from the crowd?
JA: I am very personable, I put back in the day, when I first started rapping I wasn’t going toward what everyone else is rapping. People would be like “oh I got a new car”, and I be like “no you don’t.” [laughs] I couldn’t put that out. I had a beat up Chevy Lumina. I used my imperfections to make a larger me-a better me.
If you had unlimited resources and could create an album, what would it sound like and who would you bring on the project?
JA: “Oh man, this is hard. I would definitely have one really big track like “One Train” by A$AP with just a bunch of rappers on it…Me, Kendrick [Lamar], J Cole, and Mac Miller. It would have Pete rock inspired beats with Kanye West doing some changes in there. I would need a weirdo rapper, Chance [ the Rapper], Childish Gambino. Definitely something with Travis $cott, and really mellow song Asher Roth.
Asher was my biggest inspiration when I was 15/16. I feel like “I love college” isn’t the best representation of what he can do. “Surfwrong with Quincy Cranberry”: I could listen to that start to finish today. Kid Cudi, ya know, that era, 2008-2010 that was a really big influence. In October, I had a chance to open for Asher Roth at Park Street in Columbus and it was pretty amazing. He is a genuine guy and it models what kind of rapper I want to be. You see your favorite rappers and can see how they carry themselves and how it reflects in their music. I opened up to people before and they are very distant and just assholes. But Roth was really someone that truly cares and it’s just great to see someone like him still doing his thing.
You’ve got to be excited for our REVIVE event tomorrow. You’ve been great responses from students, especially those that you previously went to school with. How do you feel about performing in front of your old peers?
JA: I’ts really cool and exciting. Two years ago I went to the Logic concert at [Brick Street] with my girlfriend at the time and I told her, “ I want to perform here before I graduate.” Everything seem to just be falling into place and to feel like I am accomplishing something. I just got a DJ Tre Smith this year I feel like there have been people who probably wouldn’t have listen to me before are listening now. They can finally see that I am growing.Backtrack to the Summer ’16 I am looking for revenge, this is something I really plan on doing.
At the end of the day…
JA: I just want to be the best Joey Aich in Hip-hop. Be the best I can be and that is that.
All bets for Plan A!
Check out Joey Aich’s music here.
Cover image from Joey Aich’s Facebook.