Rah Swish is here to make sure the Woo lives on forever. Specifically, his good friend and late rapper Pop Smoke, who was shot earlier this year in February inside a rental home in Los Angeles.
Describing himself as “legendary,” the Canarsie, Brooklyn native is one of the hottest rappers amidst the Brooklyn drill scene, here to finish what Pop Smoke started. When it comes to the Woo, he states, “The Woo doesn’t really have a definition because the Woo is a lifestyle. It’s not a one-person title, there’s a lot of us that live the same lifestyle. Come from the same area, background, struggle, and we living these lifestyles — so we are the Woos.”
Equipped with an undeniable level of litness, Rah Swish delivers that aggressive, hard-hitting flow while adding his own ad-libs and storytelling. Most recently, he blessed fans with his newest project titled WOO Forever, spearheaded by “Feel Like Pop” paying tribute to his late friend. He also got his feet wet in the film world, releasing his short film BK Belly or #WOOVIE — inspired by Hype Williams’ 1998 classic Belly.
AllHipHop caught up with Rah Swish in downtown Los Angeles to discuss his friendship with Pop Smoke and the new project.
AllHipHop: Being from Canarsie, Brooklyn, what was the household like growing up?
Rah Swish: It was cool growing up. You don’t really know nothing else so you accept what you’re in. It was calm, it was regular. Street life, young black man growing up in the hood. Regular s##t.
AllHipHop: Who were you bumping coming up?
Rah Swish: A lot of Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Drake (the earlier stuff). I was f##king with them.
AllHipHop: At what point did you realize you wanted to do music forever?
Rah Swish: s##t, my gang. My brothers were rapping before me showed me. Once they started doing their thing, I’m like “s##t I can rap too.” I started rapping with them. After I seen the traction and attention it was getting around the hood, I stuck with it.
AllHipHop: You’ve been rapping for 5 years, when did you get on?
Rah Swish: The whole 2016 is when I started buzzing in Brooklyn. I was solidified as a Brooklyn rapper. From there, it was consistent work. From 2016 on, alright I’m a rapper now.
AllHipHop: You guys in the Brooklyn drill movement have a nice little wave going.
Rah Swish: I am glad we’re getting recognition. When we first started doing music, we never saw a future in it. It was a dream. We’re gonna rap and do what we’re doing right now. Now the stage it’s at, it’s good to see now because everybody’s eating. It turned this little hobby we’re doing into a real job.
AllHipHop: You were able to walk away from the streets?
Rah Swish: Definitely took a step away from the streets but you know, you gon’ be a street ni**a forever. When you get the right amount of money, you realize “I got s##t to lose.” I can’t be living the same regular lifestyle I was living. You move with some type of sense now.
AllHipHop: You just released WOO Forever, how does it feel to have it out?
Rah Swish: It’s good, the reaction was good. A lot of people told me they f##ked with it. I put together the project within a month a half. It felt rushed, but not really because I was just working. I was glad to see everyone f##k with it. During the times of what I was going through putting out music, to have them really accept it I appreciate it.
AllHipHop: “Feel Like Pop” is so powerful, how close were you with Pop Smoke?
Rah Swish: That’s my brother right there. We met in the hood, doing street s##t. We met on the block. I was rapping before him. Once he started rapping, we kept clicking together more and more. It was a vibe. You see Pop, you see Rah.
AllHipHop: Ya’ll got music together?
Rah Swish: We did a couple songs together. 2 of them got leaked.
AllHipHop: Were you mad?
Rah Swish: Mmm I was mad but f##k it, they’re still getting to hear it. We got 3 or 4 songs in the stash that didn’t get released. We got some crazy memories doing shows, a lot of shows. After the shows it’d be crazy. Before the shows, it’d be crazy. The whole show, life is crazy.
AllHipHop: Ya’ll turnt up or what?
Rah Swish: Yeah definitely, he the turn up king right there. He makes sure everyone is turnt.
AllHipHop: Turnt off the liquor…?
Rah Swish: Yeah, definitely the liquor. We don’t do too much hard drugs.
AllHipHop: The song is so powerful, how was making the song?
Rah Swish: It took a lot to make the song, it brings back memories. You try to block that out your mind so you don’t get emotional and stay focused. Shooting the video, I’m doing it for him. I’m not even gon’ watch it or let it emotionally affect me. Go through with it and get the s##t done.
AllHipHop: What was your reaction when you heard? You were in NY?
Rah Swish: Yeah I was in New York, leaving the studio. I heard and I thought it was fake, fake news going on. I started making calls, they’re like “nah he got shot.” I’m like what?” A couple minutes later, “he passed away.” The news was crazy, I didn’t know how to feel. Even though I heard it through the phone in real life, it was fake to me.
AllHipHop: What was it like seeing him blow up like he did?
Rah Swish: It was a good feeling because he always said he was going to do it. I’m looking at him, holy s##t this ni**a a psychic. How the f##k he …? so it was good. There’s never no hate in my heart for nobody, especially someone I f##k with and care about. The whole way, he always kept me in tune with every step. “Yo bro I’m doing this, so you ‘bouta do this. The labels like this, so f##k with this.” It was a good vibe, he always kept me in tune with what’s going on.
AllHipHop: How’s your journey with EMPIRE?
Rah Swish: What they were proposing made the most sense, for me to start my own s##t and have a partnership with them. They really showed me love. I met with Ghazi, Nima, Bobby, all had genuine love and actually f##k with me. They’re like “oh this song? I f##k with this. This the s##t you made last year? I f##k with this.” Alright, they’re in tune with what’s going on. They actually see me becoming a bigger artist.
AllHipHop: Do you want to stay independent?
Rah Swish: The independent label now is treating me good. I have to get presented with a good situation that’d make more sense. I’m really going with whatever makes sense at the time.
AllHipHop: What songs mean the most to you & why?
Rah Swish: Definitely “Feel Like Pop,” “Woo Forever,” “We Can Do It.” They all mean a lot because it was different moods that I was in. The song “Tongue Out,” I went to the studio drunk in a party mood. f##k it, turn up. That means a lot because whenever I get in my party mode, let me play “Tongue Out.” “We Can Do It” is a street love song, I f##k with that one. Whenever I wanna be a gentle gangsta, okay you can put this love s##t on. All of them really mean something to me because it’s a certain mood that I was in when I was recording.
AllHipHop: Talk about your short film under BK Belly?
The short film came about being in the studio, I’m telling them I can act too. They’re joking like “nah, you can only do this.” Nah, I can act. I’ve always wanted to be an actor, so we put it to the test. We actually made a script, did it and it came out fire. We’re definitely going to work on part 2. A lot of hours, I was tired as f##k. I wasn’t ready for all those takes. 1 scene, 37 takes, I’m like oh s##t. I had fun filming, definitely did what we expected it to do.
AllHipHop: What do you like about the film Belly?
Rah Swish: Just the whole thing and how it showed the whole street life. If a person don’t really understand the streets or never been to the hood, it really show me that aura and that energy.
AllHipHop: You say your passion is different, how so?
Rah Swish: I played sports, I played football. I got a different type of drive. Whatever I’m doing, I’m not going to quit. Especially if I put my heart into something, that makes the passion grow. I’ll never give up on anything I put my mind to. Music’s what I fell in love with, music is my life so I’ma give it my all. Give everything 110%.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
Rah Swish: Liquor, water, Peanut M&Ms. Matter of fact, apple juice. [laughs] That’s my favorite drink, Tropicana apple juice.
AllHipHop: Best encounter you had with a fan?
Rah Swish: I seen this little kid, had to be around 6 or 7. He was so amazed to see me. No one’s looked at me like that, especially at such a young age. He’s rapping my s##t, crazy. I told him “you know I be performing and forgetting my words? You know all the s##t.” Young homie knows all the words, he was talking that s##t. He felt it.
AllHipHop: Top 5 rappers in rotation?
Rah Swish: I always switch my Top 5. Lil Baby, Drake, Roddy Ricch, Pop Smoke, Rah Swish.
AllHipHop: Dream collab?
Rah Swish: Jay-Z. We have the same birthday.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let us know?
Rah Swish: Rah Swish is in the state we are going to keep going crazy we are gonna turn up. It’s only the beginning. We are on a legendary run. We are gonna finish the job. Keep putting on for the woos.