In case you haven't caught up, Chase N. Cashe is a member of the Surf Club, a collective group of rappers, artists, producers, and all-around creative minds who have either worked on, or been a part of some of the biggest records in the last few years. Records from the likes of Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Kanye, Flo Rida, and Eminem.
Jesse "Chase N. Cashe" Woodard grew up in New Orleans and was in the city during the horrific, natural disaster that was Hurricane Katrina. After losing his home and having to hit the road with his family, he "relocated" to Los Angeles to further pursue his passions and make a name for himself within the music industry. Recently, Chase released his second mixtape The Heir Up There and is currently touring the country as an opener on Drake's "Club Paradise Tour", with a bill that also boasts young giants Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky.
AllHipHop.com spent some time talking to Chase N. Cashe while he was on his tour bus heading to the next stop on the Club Paradise Tour. We discussed the tour itself, his coming from New Orleans, his sounds as an artist and a producer, and what he's got in the works for fans and listeners:
AllHipHop.com: What’s going on, Chase? How you feeling?
Chase N. Cashe: Good, man. Just on this f*cking tour bus, just kicking it real gangsta right now.
AllHipHop.com: Now when you say your on your tour bus, I assume you’re talking about the tour you’re on with Drake, Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky, right?
Chase N. Cashe: Yeah, man.
AllHipHop.com: You’ve only been on the tour for a couple of weeks now, but can you tell me about what the experience has been like for you so far?
Chase N. Cashe: Yeah, man. We’re a few days in. Miami was a cool show and Gainesville was a cool show, and it’s just been fun, man. Everybody is slowly getting their kinks and rust out from not performing as much as we used to last year, so we’re starting the year off big. Everything is going cool though so far.
AllHipHop.com: How does it feel to be part of a tour that is being headlined by one of the biggest artists and two of the most buzzed about rappers out right now?
Chase N. Cashe: Sh*t is all fun for me, man, ‘cause we’re friends first, and I’m proud of them.
AllHipHop.com: I’m sure you’re performing a number of songs from your past projects, but what's the record that gets the greatest response from the crowd when you’re performing?
Chase N. Cashe: I like performing “Drug Money,” but I think everybody really likes “Daily Routine”. They eat that sh*t up.
AllHipHop.com: Unfortunately, I don’t think you guys are making a tour stop in New York, but if you do happen to add a date, I’ll definitely be there.
Chase N. Cashe: Oh, for sure.
AllHipHop.com: Now if you wouldn’t mind just telling me a little bit about your background. I know your from New Orleans so I’m curious how being from such an inspiring place affected or influenced you musically?
Chase N. Cashe: Oh, man, it made everything and helped balance the music that I have created. It just moves you with the energy. I grew up on Mannie Fresh and the whole No Limit sh*t. A lot of that was really the first movement to have a lot of commercial success that went worldwide. Seeing things like that and coming up in that environment just made me feel like I could do it, too. One thing I knew while growing up was that people love coming to New Orleans and just love New Orleans period. From our Jazz, to the French Quarter, the whole culture, all of that sh*t really made me confident about what I was doing.
AllHipHop.com: Were you living in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina?
Chase N. Cashe: Yeah, I didn’t move until after. I graduated high school in 2005, and the hurricane happened like two months after my graduation and sh*t so you know, it was some crazy sh*t. I think I graduated in May, and Katrina hit in August or something like that.
AllHipHop.com: And then you relocated to Los Angeles?
Chase N. Cashe: Yeah, well I didn’t even relocate, just evacuated when we could and got stuck in traffic for a long *ss time, and my grandmother and my whole family actually lives in Mississippi and their whole city and area was affected too. Pretty much everybody in my family was affected by the hurricane, not just in New Orleans. So it had a bigger toll on me just because I’m from New Orleans, and I watched that sh*t f*ck my whole city up.
AllHipHop.com: That must have been horrible.
Chase N. Cashe: I ended up losing my grandmother during that time, too. She ended up getting real sick, and of course, she couldn’t get a proper treatment with all the hospitals being closed and us having to keep moving and travel and try to keep her comfortable. And you know, at the tender age of 17, I watched my grandmother slip away each day while I was making beats and doing all this sh*t. That was my encouragement. That was the lady, along with my mom, that were two huge influences in my life. It was some real heavy sh*t, man, and then having my mom deal with losing her mom and me having to watch my mom deal with that sh*t. I just kept working on things for myself and kept my mind going, and I was eventually able to buy a lot of music equipment and a computer to make beats while I was living with my family at the time.
There was just a whole bunch of sh*t going on all before I was 18. I hadn’t even seen the real world yet; I hadn’t even decided what college I wanted to go to. Pretty much, the average lifestyle of a 17-year-old was stripped from me due to the hurricane. It made me mature real fast and forced me to make a lot of tough decisions. I moved to Hollywood at 17 on a whim, just to be like “I’ma make beats, I’ma be an artist. However I have to get it, I’ma get it.”
AllHipHop.com: Well, I’m sorry about you losing your grandmother and the other devastation that surrounded you back then, but I’m curious how much the music you were creating changed from pre-Katrina to post-Katrina. Did the things you experienced at that time change or affect the type of music that you were making at the time?
Chase N. Cashe: After Hurricane Katrina, I started making serious music. It made me more competitive. I always had a knack for sounding like people I was influenced by, like I could easily make a mock Just Blaze beat or a Neptunes copycat track or Timbaland. Whatever I heard, I could easily copy it. So it just really became more of a challenge for me to create my own unique sound.
I went through a period where people were saying “that sh*t sounds like some video game beat,” and I would be the only person that rapped over that sh*t. After a while, when I moved to Hollywood and started seeing that people had their own tastes other than what I just liked, it made me cater to that and cater to doing more business and being able to try and figure out what “making a hit” was and getting “placement.” It just made me more business-savvy man.
AllHipHop.com: Since we’re talking about the music I want to ask you about your most recently released project, The Heir Up There, which has been pretty well-received, at least from the reviews that I’ve seen. Based on what you’ve heard, how has the response been?
Chase N. Cashe: It’s been very good, man. I mean, XXL gave me an L so I feel like I could have got an XL. I feel like n*ggas are sleeping [laughter]. I feel like n*ggas are sleeping on my bar work, but at the end of the day I’m in this situation where I’m independent and grassroots, so I’m glad they’re even checking for me and giving me press, man. A lot of this sh*t just happened naturally, man. I’m out here and hitting the road with my music and giving it to the people and promoting it myself, and just doing whatever I feel like I want to do with my music.
But like you said, I’ve been seeing all good reviews in a matter of a week or two, and I’m a very patient person at the same time as I’m working hard, so I know it’s going to take more than a week for this sh*t to soak in. I’m not just going to let everybody on the Internet who got first dibs on it to be the “light-bearers” of the reviews. You can’t be like that ‘cause I do have a lot of fans, and on the Internet, your fans can have a strong presence ‘cause that’s where there home is and they be tweeting a lot and blogging and all that sh*t. At the end of the day, though, my message comes from real people. It don’t really come from a blog perspective, it comes from living life and being a young man out here traveling and trying to make this f*cking money and do the right thing.
AllHipHop.com: I hear tha,t man. I can say that I personally enjoyed the project, and although I didn’t get to review it I believe it received an 8 out of 10.
Chase N. Cashe: That means the world to me. I’ma keep it real with you, man. All I do is want people to relate to my music. I place myself where I want to go, but I just want to hear that I’m not the only n*gga in this world going through what I’m going through. I’m just trying to show people that I’m out here with this sh*t. I’m not a kid sitting on a laptop uploading and sharing links. I’m out here putting on a great show and striving to be better everyday.
AllHipHop.com: Personally, two of my favorite tracks from The Heir Up There are “Lights Down Low” and “Myself.” I don’t know where those rank on your personal list, but those are the two that I’ve been rocking to.
Chase N. Cashe: Hell yeah, man. “Myself” has been my personal favorite and “Lights Down Low” definitely. Of course, all of my deepest records are my personal favorites, man. Then “Where Do We Go” is a record that’s really just me talking about everything I went through:
“Look I was born in the city/ Where it’s too real, better yet too trill/ Got to keep a burner on you, even when it’s too chill.” That’s just me talking about what I really go through, and even still when I go back home, sh*t ain’t sweet for me. N*ggas know I rap and do what I do, and I can’t personally say I got people who hate on me, but I know I got n*ggas who know I’m kicking it. I see it when I come around, n*ggas used to ask me “what’s up." Now they want to ask me what I’m doing. Other than that, “Lights Down Low” is a real record, too.
AllHipHop.com: In the short career that you’ve had you’ve worked with huge, huge names in the industry both as an artist and as a producer, and I noticed that there were no features on the project. Was that a calculated decision?
Chase N. Cashe: Oh, man, I ran into some difficulties. I wanted to drop a record I did with L.E.P. Bogus Boys on my mixtape, but I had some issues with corrupt files and missing vocals, I couldn’t even get that sh*t back. It actually ended up working out though cause Cardiak ended up giving the beat to Red Café. To keep it real with you, a lot of my music has been recorded on the go and in different studios, like in New York, L.A., and Atlanta. So personally, a lot of the collabs were me working as an artist with producers, ‘cause I got have produced the whole sh*t myself - but me working with The Bizness, like Dow Jones is a great friend of mine, or working with D-Rich. These are people I’m personal favorites of.
AllHipHop.com: What exactly was the sound you were trying to create with the tape?
Chase N. Cashe: Certain feels that I maybe couldn’t get out of my own production, like I’m a fan of the music Rich did with [Young] Jeezy and Rick Ross. I felt like I wanted that feel, and that I could take a trap beat that most people are probably used to hearing a n*gga talking about selling coke, I turned into something about hustling and balling, more of a motivational song like some anthemic sh*t. I don’t sell coke, but I want n*ggas to wake up and feel motivated by the music I made.
So it was really just about me wanting different feels and some more regional sh*t ‘cause I travel to different places. But I know that a D-Rich beat just moves Miami and Atlanta a lot more than a Chase N. Cashe beat might move them and a Chase beat might move L.A. more than a Rich beat might, so I just wanted to work with different people. Rich Kidd is a talented *ss kid, man. “Drug Money” is a crazy beat, and I worked with Mega Man on “S.S.D.” and these are kids from Toronto. I just wanted to work with a bunch of new talent like AraabMUZIK - that’s my guy! I’m a fan of all the stuff he’s done, so I definitely wanted to take a fan perspective and introduce it in my music. Not only am I influenced by it, but I’m a fan of this sh*t.
AllHipHop.com: I hear you. Last year, you released your debut, Gumbeaux, on Mardi Gras Day so what are you plans musically for this upcoming holiday? Any surprises?
Chase N. Cashe: Oh yeah! I got a performance in New Orleans on the 25th, so I’m ending Mardi Gras like that. It’s going to be some crazy sh*t. It’s funny how the world works, so yeah I’ve got my first big show in New Orleans. I also got some music in the stash that I might drop for that - you just reminded me to do that.
AllHipHop.com: Awesome. I’m glad I could help [laughter]. It was also announced recently that your group Surf Club would be performing at the Paid Dues Festival in a few months. Do you and the crew have anything special planned for that performance-wise?
Chase N. Cashe: Yeah, we’re going to try and put on an amazing show. I think that might be the first show where we try and bring back a lot of our old songs that we dropped as a group on the Internet. We’re probably going to try and put this band thing together, and I’m sure we’ll each do individual sets and then end it real big together and try and make it special for everybody.
AllHipHop.com: What can you tell me about what you are all doing musically right now as a collective?
Chase N. Cashe: Right now we’re doing Kent Money’s project, also Hit-Boy got some sh*t coming. I got some more sh*t coming; I’m always working. We’re really going to try and put a compilation together with everybody but I can’t really put a date no on that sh*t, because everybody in Surf Club is individually out touring and doing they’re own thing. Stacy Barthe is out there touring right now with Estelle, I’m out touring obviously, Kent Money is out doing shows, he just did a few dates with The Game and things like that. Chili Chil is in a group now called MDMA and he’s working on some sh*t both producing and rapping. We all doing individual things, man, trying to make this sh*t come together but right now people just have to keep up with us through our websites and Twitter and our videos and YouTube.
AllHipHop.com: I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what you guys are each cooking up. Personally though, as the solo artist known as Chase N. Cashe, what do you have coming down the pipeline musically? I know you just released The Heir Up There, but what’s next?
Chase N. Cashe: Another mixtape, my n*gga, ain’t sh*t stopping. I can’t promise an actual album but it’s definitely going to sound like an album. Definitely another release from me, possibly another DJ Drama release with like 10 or 12 songs, and then after that I’m just going to get on my creative sh*t and shock the world. I got merch coming and all kinds of other crazy sh*t. Seeing where The Heir Up There can take me in the next months, and at the same time to still be recording is what I got. I just want The Heir Up There to put me in the right spot.
AllHipHop.com: Well, I’ll be bumping the project for a good amount of time, and I can’t wait to hear all of the crazy sounding stuff you’ve been working on. Is there anything else you want the fans and readers to know?
Chase N. Cashe: Oh, man, just let everybody know, Wavy Navy Surf Club, we in this b*tch, man. Chase N. Cashe, Hit-Boy, young pioneers paving the way right now. We young, wise, and humble young men just trying to take it one step at a time, make this paper, and do it the right way.
AllHipHop.com: Alright, Chase. It was a pleasure talking to you. Thanks for your time, and enjoy the rest of the tour.
Chase N. Cashe: Thank you, man. Peace.
Download Chase N. Cashe's The Heir Up There Now!
Follow Chase N. Cashe on Twitter: @ChaseNCashe