Ray Cash: Cashing In

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leveland has never been thought of as a hotbed for musicians. Figures such as The O’Jays, Avant, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony have had profound impacts on music, but only through associations in bigger cities. With a Sony Records contract and a localized approach, Ray Cash envisions a change to this trend.

Using Lebron James’ young leadership with the Cavaliers as an guide, Ray Cash wants the city on his back in pursuit of rap revitalization. This undertaking his started with crossover hit, “Sex Appeal” and the grittier “Bumpin’ My Music” with Scarface. As both singles find airwaves in and outside Cleveland, Cash waits to release the debut, Cash On Delivery, that he largely completed before signing. With help from Rockwilder and Rick Rock, Ray has cosigns from respected MCs and producers. All that separates the artist from a chance at his dreams is a June 27th release date. After a career made of taking Greyhounds and trains to go to them, Ray Cash is ready for the masses to start coming to his city for him.

AllHipHop.com: I got to start off on the Cavaliers. Were you watching the games?

Ray Cash: Lebron [James] done did it again…it feels good to see them do their thing. He needs this point in his career.

AllHipHop.com: Were you expecting them to win the Detroit series?

Ray Cash: I’m realistic, so I knew it was possible to get past the Wizards, but to see him step up like that, that’s that killer instinct. When I saw them lose that first [Detroit] game, I just turned the TV off. I went to a couple of games this year, but it’s been kinda hard because we been on the road.

AllHipHop.com: Your mind has got to be in a good place, coming from the inner city of Cleveland, and being drafted by Sony. What’s going through your mind?

Ray Cash: I’ve been saying to myself, “Please don’t drop the ball.” I’m doing everything I can do, and it’s only so much to do with a machine like that. I feel like I been around the world before my album has even dropped. Then also, with my album, you can really feel my growth.

AllHipHop.com: With that machine, Clevelanders expected you to blow immediately…

Ray Cash: I knew it would be a long grind. [Sony is] really scared of Hip-Hop. They had 50 Cent and dropped him. It’s like, how the hell did you do that? [laughing] They are really good with Pop, but this is a whole different thing that I’m doing. I’m not a Pop rapper. I go hard with it. There ain’t no Pop or no bubble gum in me or my music.

AllHipHop.com: Coming from St. Clair, I know very well how our inner city life can be. What was it really like for you growing up here in the city? And what side of town were you on?

Ray Cash: I was on the east side off Euclid. I was right around Torberson. I used to hustle around by Indian Hills. I think it’s my [image] that makes people think I ain’t like that, or like I don’t come from where I’m from, ‘cause of the glasses and everything.

AllHipHop.com: What’s been your experience, coming back home and interacting with the people you came up with? Do you get time to do that, and how are their reactions?

Ray Cash: It’s cool. Most of my people didn’t change. Some people changed because they expected me to change, and I didn’t. I think that threw a lot of people off when they saw that I didn’t change. I’m home all the time though. I just left the crib yesterday. I got a son. This rap s**t is important, but it can f**k your family up. It hurts to get on the plane, and your son is crying because he wants you to stay. It’s a sacrifice that I have to make, but it pays off to know how good things will be for him. I’ll do anything for him.

AllHipHop.com: As a former hustler, was it your goal to one day have a career in Hip-Hop?

Ray Cash: Naw, I never said I would be a rapper one day, but I grew up listening to it constantly. I sit in my car driving, and b*tches will hop in my car. People try to follow me home to give me a CD. I pay attention to that, because people can be out to get me. You got a lot of hate, but it was more or less a rapper’s hate. I don’t think it was anything where people say I can’t rap. I think it’s just that people want my spot. But ain’t nobody going to get my spot, at least not by me giving it to them. To me, the listeners have to make that call. But I will never give anybody my spot.

AllHipHop.com: I know you must get a ton of friends and people just saying, “Can you put me on?”

Ray Cash: Oh yeah, it’s crazy. I got a lot of friends who want to get put on, but to me, nobody was getting on the Greyhound bus, or catching them trains with me when I was trying to get on. Now that I’m there, people are like, “I should have got on that train, man.”

AllHipHop.com: How did you get noticed enough to be taken seriously?

Ray Cash: I was f**kin’ with my man, Shaleek and Kevin. Shaleek is from Roc-A-Fella, and we all clicked up. Shaleek was so surprised to see a n***a from Cleveland rap like that. He would ask like, “You sure you from Cleveland?” I’ve just been putting in that grind. You can’t be scared to take a risk. I have it that shot, and it’s paying off. I fight for Cleveland everyday, and they f**k with me. I got to do it the right way. I can’t half ass.

AllHipHop.com: How are you going to promote Cleveland’s Hip-Hop image differently than say…Bone Thugs-N-Harmony?

Ray Cash: When people think of Bone, they think of the flannels, Dickies, and the braids. And then they see me, and say, “Who the f**k is this clean cut n***a?” I just wanna give them that hustling side of the game. I get comparisons, and I respect it. Somebody said I could be the Jay-Z of Cleveland. That’s not hard, and it’s nice that they say that, but it just shows you their mind frame. I’m shootin’ to be “Ray from Cleveland.” My whole swagger is a hustler’s swagger. I will show you what’s going on here.

AllHipHop.com: Talk to me about who your musical influences were, and what they did to mold you into the artist you are today?

Ray Cash: Jay had the class. He was real. He had a certain outlook, and you could tell that he didn’t just read The Source to get his information. He was really into learning, and it came across in his music. Biggie has crazy stories. Can’t nobody tell stories like he could. ‘Pac was the realest. Everybody need a little ‘Pac in them, but you can’t be Pac. You just need some of that “I don’t give a f**k” attitude. He had too much of it, and I think that’s where he went wrong. UGK, people thought they was new when “Big Pimpin’” came out. Jay knew what he was doing, and you had to respect him for getting them for the track. Nobody else East Coast would have ever thought to get UGK.

AllHipHop.com: Looking at your album as a whole, what do you want people to gain and walk away saying?

Ray Cash: I want people to get that Cleveland is back. I’m restoring the feeling. People are happy to hear people that rap, that’s why they f**k with TI. I want people to hear that we can do this. I got concept songs. On “Bumpin’ My Music”, Me and [Scarface] had a concept. I’m getting on songs with people to get a response. I’m not doing it just to be doing it. People should walk away happy, but keep coming back to catch what I say. Like XXL gave me an XL [rating] without hearing the beats. I’m doing this for the city.

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