By: Shirley Ju (@shirju)
Stinje is far more than Berner’s hypeman — he’s an artist in his own right. Hailing from Russia but finding his home in the Bay Area, the rapper, producer, and businessman recently unleashed his project Wild Life, channelling his animal spirit and unleashing it into the rap game.
Regardless of what you think of him, real name Eric Farb keeps it mad real. Everything he spits in his lyrics is what he does in real life. AllHipHop caught up with Stinje while in Los Angeles to chat about mobbing with Berner, marijuana legalization, and his own strain Stinje OG.
AllHipHop: For those who don’t know, who is Stinje?
Stinje: Stinje is a producer/rapper artist from San Francisco. I was born in Russia and moved to America when I was 7. Grew up in the Bay Area, got into rap music at 16. Started learning how to make beats and producing. I love music, my dad was musician back in Russia. I’m kind of following his footsteps. RIP to my dad. He died a few years ago so carrying on his legacy.
AllHipHop: Talk about your club promoting days. Were you doing music the whole time?
Stinje: I was. I moved to LA specifically because I wanted to pursue music. I was already producing in the Bay, worked with a ton of Bay Area rappers. Had a little studio going in my house. That's how I met Berner, somebody brought him to my studio. He never knew how to even make music then. He didn’t even know how to rap really.
AllHipHop: You were with him since day 1?
Stinje: We have over 100 unreleased songs. Back in 2002, we were working on the Berner and Stinje album. So many songs we never put out. At some point, I decided “I don't wanna be another white rapper.” I focused on production and stuck with that. Berner went on to be more popular, kept growing. I’ve always been there with him. Always been a loyal friend, help him with his business.
I remember the first time Berner got a Cookie pack, he’s like “this is the best weed.” I’m like “why is it called Girl Scout Cookies?” Didn't really understand it. He sold me an ounce for pretty expensive, I sold it to all of my friends $60 an eighth. Cookies, to see how far it’s come. The Migos rap about it. Everyone knows what Cookies is if you smoke weed. Now we have the clothing brand, the different strains that came of it.
AllHipHop: You said Berner clowned you for ripping your shirt at the Cookies Christmas party. What’d you say to that?
Stinje: I’m like “nah people f##k with it, you’re trippin!” We bickered about it, but that was a fun show. I proved I could hold my own. When I’m on stage, I feel very comfortable. I don't get shy. He let me open up the 4/20 show. We just came back from Las Vegas, he let me open up. That s##t was crazy.
AllHipHop: At this point you're an artist too, so is he paying you?
Stinje: I'm on his record label. He’s paying me. Not necessarily to be an artist, but I’m on Bern One Ent and EMPIRE distribution. Shout Out Nima, Ghazi, all them. I do get paid from EMPIRE. Technically, Berner’s supposed to get a % of it because I’m under his label, but he’s a such a cool guy, he doesn't. I get to keep all of my royalties.
AllHipHop: Talk about having your own strain Stinje OG.
Stinje: My brand Stinje OG, the idea was because Berner posted a video one time where he flushed a pound of weed that went bad down the toilet. The comments, people roasted him. “Why would you do that? You could’ve made wax, made an edible out of it.” I saw how upset people were and thought “that’s so wasteful.”
I started stealing weed from him and giving it back to people. I called myself the modern day Robin Hood. I’d give it to homeless people, kids at shows, etc. Stinje OG at first was whatever weed I stole from Bern, I’d re-gift it to people. He has an insane amount of weed at his house. He finds s##t he really likes, saves it and hides it.
AllHipHop: You were at Logic’s house the other night. How was that?
Stinje: It was sick. He was playing some songs, telling us really cool stories. Logic’s kind of the same high, he’ll take a couple of puffs and he’s good.
AllHipHop: I saw him at the Cookies Melrose opening!
Stinje: Did you see I was his photographer? He had a Meet & Greet and needed someone to take pictures. My job was when every time someone came up, they’d hand me their cell phone. I must've taken like 600 pictures that day. This was when we did Stoney Bob collaboration during the Cookies clothing store opening next door.
AllHipHop: What is it that you want fans to get from your project?
Stinje: Good production. I want them to get some entertainment. I didn't go full comedy, some songs are funny but still dope. I didn’t wanna go super Weird Al Yankovic where I'm all comedy. Certain songs are good smoking songs. I got Bern on two songs. He kind of hosted the album: did the intro, little skits in between. There's a song with Me, Bern, and Young King Dave — RIP. Right when my album dropped, he died at only 19. You’ve seen him, he was smoking doinks in Amish. He was a big influencer in the weed space.
AllHipHop: How’d he die?
Stinje: He had a lung infection. He was a bigger guy, not sure if he had health complications. He just went to the hospital. I was chatting with him like “yo dog, my album’s about to drop.” He was just starting out as a rapper.