Urban Asian had a chance to catch up with Northern Cali based Rapper Shawn “Push” Cayce to talk a little about himself and his music. Check out what he has to say!
Urban Asian: Tell us about yourself?
Shawn: I’m from Pinole, California; Small town close to San Francisco. My family’s originally from Punjab, but my mom was born in Africa, and she lived there for a period of time as well. And, I’m 23 years old.
Urban Asian: What inspired you to write and become an MC?
Shawn: It was actually because of a fourth grade homework assignment that I had to write a poem about anything. We weren’t suppose to put our names on it either, and the teacher was going to read them all out loud in class to kind of create more comfortable amongst the student body, I guess. To show us that we all have unique stories and don’t have to be shy or insecure to talk to one another; and when he read mine, he kept stopping and critiquing it in a positive manner, so I subconsciously took that as a green light to start jotting random rhymes whenever. In 7th grade I got these two albums, “Word of Mouf” by Ludacris and “Genesis” by Busta Rhymes, and my immediate thought was to be a rapper. It was just an intuitive response that just burst out of me. In high school I started to develop a reputation as a good freestlyer, so that give me a lot of confidence to find it easily plausible, that this could be my future, but after high school my parents wanted me to attend Medical School in India. After 6 months I’d really had had enough of it. It was probably the most uninspired I’ve been in my whole life, and after I left I decided to take on music as my life’s goal. So, since 2008, I’ve been pursuing music professionally.
Urban Asian: What do you like to write about?
Shawn: I wouldn’t really consider myself as a “niche” rapper. I know we live in a era where music is really boxed in. Not just mainstream music in my opinion, but even underground stuff. People are just doing one thing they find that evokes a response from a certain demographic, and just stick with it. I just think that’s unrealistic as a human being. Only thing that’s constant in life in change, so with that, my subject matter is a mirror to the change I experience.
Urban Asian: Are you producing your own music? If not, who are you working with and how do you choose producers to work with?
Shawn: I seldom produce for myself. I just get an random urge to sit down in front of the keys and open up reason or pro tools, and start making a beat, but majority of the time, which is like 99.9% of the time, I’m working with a producer named Jaz Lottay. He’s the perfect guy to work with because he doesn’t limit himself. He has a good understanding of sound, and the relationship of certain sounds together. He just has that ear, which I don’t think you can learn to have. You either have it or you don’t. For the most part I’ve always been really picky with producers. I feel like right now, everyone is doing music, but not everyone has that purest passion for music. It’s become so accessible, that everyone is trying their hand in it, which is fine. Everyone has the right to indulge in whatever endeavor they so choose, but at the same time, you wouldn’t go to a professional basketball game to watch someone play the game, who just had access to get in the league.
Urban Asian: At this point in your music career, what has been your favorite project that you have worked on? Tell me about that project.
Shawn: My favorite project probably has to be what I’m doing now. The reason I say that is because for the longest, I was trying to prove to my parents that I could make something of myself, and everyone else that was doubting me. That just lead me to just be in a really negative place in life, and all the music kind of reflected that negativity. Right now, I’m working on an ep and two albums with the homie Jaz; working on a mix tape called “Nostalgia,” which is instrumentals from 2001-2002, and just going back to the music that I used to listen to that had me in that mode, like, this is the shit I want to do forever! And, releasing videos on youtube every 10 days or so, which people can check out at www.youtube.com/shawncayce.
Urban Asian: Your latest release, the Kendrick Lamar cover, tell me about that?
Shawn: The “Swimming Pools” cover was part spontaneity and the other part was something I was thinking about. The song is basically about my personal experience, but it directly relates to the mind of kids who become so isolated from society, that they really start to dwell in a dark place, mentally. The Virginia Tech incident, Columbine, and all the shootings that go on. It’s just my opinion, but I feel that people aren’t born evil, just victims of circumstances or programming. I think we all hold a little bit of the blame. Not to sound all preachy, but the way we interact as a society is like a cease fire. Racial issues still exist between all sects, and issues between groups who have polar opposite beliefs. All of that leads to just negativity, because the minute one person decides to do something drastic, we all let the devil out in us. So, that song is just about a powerless kid, who gets picked on, made fun of, and the world not having any idea what that type of isolation evolves someone into. Not to say that’s the reason why someone does something inhumane, it’s just one of many causes to an effect.
Urban Asian: What are your current projects your are working on? Who are you working with?
Shawn: Working with my producer Jaz on an ep and two albums, a couple mix tapes. Also, I’m mixing this album with my friend who scores films. We got this project to record this motivational speaker, and the album is a mediation record. I’m really excited about mixing that because when we sat down to record her pieces, it was such a spiritual learning experience, and also confirmation that I’m on the right path. My cousin from Houston who goes by the name Vehli; he and I started a brand called HEMi NATiON, which stands from Help Every Man in Need And Trust intuition Over Nurture, and we’re planning on doing a group project in a couple months as well.
Urban Asian: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? 10 years?
Shawn: I see myself as one of the most influential people of my time, straight up. I know God put me on this rock to be an honest expression of the human experience in our society, and I know a lot of people who are just hearing of me might have a cynical view, because I know some indian folks who have said stupid shit like, “Indians can’t rap because they’re Indian.” But, people are finna learn. This isn’t a accident phase. This has been my life since I was 9 years old, and I’m intending of fulfilling my destiny, period.
Urban Asian: What other hobbies, outside of music do you have? Other than music, what do you do for fun?
Shawn: Art and creativity is a central theme in my life. I actually don’t have any friends who aren’t into something creative, and I don’t mean like just listening to music or watching movies; all my friends are purposing some sort of creative endeavor, so I’m pretty much 24/7 on the grind. If I had to pick out a hobby, I guess I can say comic books. I collect comic books and graphic novels. My friends say I’m obsessed with them, but I think my collect is still way too light. Besides that, just living and experience life like everyone else, I guess.
Urban Asian: How can everyone keep up with your latest work and music?
Shawn: If people want to keep up with my latest work, they should subscribe to my youtube channel (www.youtube.com/shawncayce). Follow me on twitter, @shawncayce, and like the fanpage (www.facebook.com/pushfanpage). Also, my website will launch soon, which people can stay informed about that in the links already provided.
Urban Asian:. Any last words or message.
Shawn: I just wanted to thank urban radio, and everyone who took out the time to read this. Thank you. I appreciate your time very dearly. Hope my art can inspire you to be more proactive with things in your life that you might have on the back burner for whatever reason. There is no better time than the present, so be brave when dealing with reality and not a slave to your salary. God Bless.
We’d like to thank Shawn Cayce for taking the time to chat with us, and for all of our readers be sure to keep it locked on Urban Asian for the latest up dates on Shawn Cayce!