by Schondra Aytch
Buffalo bred rapper, 7xve the Genius (pictured above) has been on an ascension. A freshly signed talent for the Griselda affiliated label, Drumworks Music Group, the heralded emcee recently dropped a surprise EP and is preparing to tour across the country next month. Read our Q&A below to learn more.
Schondra: 0:18 – You’re the first woman on Drumworks…I think a lot of people are excited that you’re signed with them and working with them. How does it feel rapping almost for your whole life,producing, helping other artists to [now] finally make it to the next level and be signed to a significant record label/group from Buffalo? How does it feel to be connected to that?
7xve: 1:05 – It feels amazing, honestly. It feels great. I’ve known Benny and Conway since I was probably like 12…To go from feeling like the underdog for so many years… My thought process and everything behind what I’m doing is a little bit different now but it feels amazing as a whole.
Schondra: 2:30 – With that said…you have a super strong discography. Can you talk about your projects and the impact they had on you [and] what your perceived impact they had on Buffalo?
7xve: 3:09 – 2019 I was on tour with Benny. You know. 2020 I did what I needed to do. I did the groundwork. 7xve is Love I put out in 2019 as well.
Schondra: 0:18 – Like you said you laid the groundwork. And the reason why I bring that up is because you dropped 7xve is Love in 2019, and then Self 7xve in 2020 and then you dropped a series of singles…What was it about that time that made you really lock in with the music?
7xve: 0:48 – So in 2019. That honestly was the year I was getting back to myself. I had just come back to Buffalo the year prior…Just readjusting back to my life in Buffalo. Just being back in a different space. That 7xve is Love project was me getting back into my music… Prior to that I had been super into coding. I’d gotten engulfed in just coding and just technology stuff. I really wasn’t doing music in 2018…In 2019 that was me getting my footing again… In 2020 Self 7xve …was a time of reflection for me so I think that both of those projects were important just for who I am as a person and my growth.
Schondra: 2:37 – I think for a lot of people- definitely people in Buffalo…you had a connection and an impact on the community. But then I would say for my generation and younger we really got introduced to you when you dropped 7xve is Love.
7xve: 3:21 – With that project and that time period- before that I was doing so much stuff. You have to know I’ve been doing music since I was 9 years old. Literally doing it, not just going to the studio. Like going, doing shows, going to labels and stuff…So by the time it was 2017 I’m now into tech, into video and into editing, recording, engineering, all these other things… I had a conversation with Benny and he said “You need to get back on your focus.” I took all of that advice…and I made those projects.
Schondra: 4:27 – Also, I bring up those projects because obviously that gave you a certain level of notoriety here. And those projects I’m sure had to catch the attention of Conway for him to reach out to you…What was that first interaction, switch or change where you realized “Ok, it’s really “Go time?”
7xve: 5:00 – When I put out 7xve is Love, Conway had posted a screenshot or something of “You Should Be Proud” and was like “I’m listening to this on the plane”…At that point I didn’t even know he was listening…I’ve known these guys for so long…Our conversations are just normal like “How you doing” or personal things…It kind of progressed from there really.
Schondra: 5:57 – So after he posted about you…did you guys stay in stronger contact?
7xve: 6:07 – No, he posted that and then nothing. Like I said, I don’t even know if he knows that I saw that screenshot…I was on tour with Benny at the same time…I was on the Tana Talk 3 Tour and that was around the same time as that. My musical connection with Conway came because he just started to tell me that he was gonna start a label like “what you up to” type conversations…And then it progressed to “Yeah, you can come and record” and then eventually the story that Skeese tells… about Conway giving us the address in New York City.
Schondra: 7:12 – Oh, so it was like a progression.
7xve: Yeah, exactly. And it wasn’t like I just started hitting him up out of nowhere…I know these guys so it was more like “how you doing?.” And then when DJ Shay passed away, our communication kind of became more at that point. But it wasn’t about music. You know what I’m saying?
Schondra: 7:34 – It seems like he kind of kept reaching out like checking on you guys.
7xve: 7:43 – He was seeing where we were…It was like a lot of “What you got goin on,” “What’s your plans,” “What’s your thought process” you know, like over the course of time- little conversations here and there?
Schondra: 8:05 – So [when] did you get signed to Drumworks?
7xve: 8:25 – I actually got signed to Drumwork this year…So you want me to tell you my part of the story that Skeese tells?
Schondra: 8:30 – I think he’s briefly mentioned it. But you can tell it!
7xve: 8:34 – Okay so…I had been in communication with Conway and I guess he’d been in communication with Skeese and Skeese and I had been going to a spot of Conway’s and recording…and there was one night that we randomly got hit with an address. It was just a text message of an address like “Come here if you can.”…I actually wasn’t even gonna go… but I figured it out and me and Skeese got on the road, went to New York City, but all we had was an address. When we got to the address it turns out, it was a recording studio. Like so many big plaques in there…Cardi B plaques, Big L plaques, just plaques, like so many plaques and then there were all of these industry people in there… [And] Conway was playing and working on his God Don’t Make Mistakes album…At some point of him playing his music, he was just like “Y’all got something to record?” And then he sent us into the other studio room and then at that point we just recorded. We just were in there for hours recording because it was super inspiring…It was a chance for us to really do our thing…And then at the end of the night Conway was like “Okay, play y’all music.” So we were there for like 3 or 4 days…In that little time we just were rapping as hard as we can cause we didn’t know what was going on and you didn’t know who was gonna be in that studio room…And so from that weekend, those few days, he was like “Man, I wasn’t expecting that. Y’all really inspired me,” and it went from there…Our albums were founded in those few days.
Schondra:11:04 – Wow
7xve: 11:05 – I’ve known we’ve each built off of that…but the foundation ..and the energies of both of our albums is of that weekend. So thats how it happened.
Schondra:11:30 – So speaking of that…Now I’m wondering [was] Break Soul recorded at that studio?
7xve:11:33 – Yup. Absolutely. Break Soul was the 2nd day…So the first night B. Dot was there. There were so many people…Conway was basically like “Y’all took the initiative,” because there was no direction or instruction…When we got back that night from the studio I don’t think me or Skeese went to sleep. We were just writing…because you don’t know who’s gonna be there that next day…So Break Soul – the energy of that is from that next night…The whole energy of the album is that.
Schondra:12:37 – The energy of which album just to clarify?
7xve:12:40 – The energy of Death of Deuce that’s coming out. That’s gonna be my first Drumwork album.
Schondra:12:47 – So a lot of the songs were recorded..
7xve:12:59 – In that first weekend…Absolutely
Schondra: 13:00 – I ask that too because you just posted that youred dropping a project…Its TWBD so what does that mean?
7xve:13:12 – It’s called Thy Will Be Done…and its an EP to pretty much get people ready for the album.But the feel of my EP is not the same as the feel of the album. Because I’ve settled into my new reality now and…I love my album. I actually think its one of the best projects I’ve heard before in general, and I listen to music – but with this EP I want it to kind of settle into where I am because like i said that weekend was so intense and so full of hype and excitement…but this EP is about where I am now as a person…I am more so trying new things on this EP…
Schondra:14:20 – Now before I talk about TWBD and ask more questions about that, I want to talk about the series… that you dropped on Youtube and your social platforms were…you were giving homage to some of Hip-Hop’s biggest female lyricists. So you did one for Queen Latifah, in honor of Lauryn Hill, Eve. What kind of pushed you to create this small series?
7xve:14:55 – So the series is called the 7xve & Respect series and I’ve always had this idea to do what I did – Take beats that I like and just flip them a little bit. I think I got that feel just from like the mixtape era…at the same time I wanted to honor…women who have influenced me along the way…I just feel like it’s something to keep myself sharp. You know what I’m saying?…To stay up to speed with myself…To pay homage and to keep my blade sharp.
Schondra:16:08 – So in simpler terms, it’s kind of like rap practice?
7xve:16:10 – Exactly.
Schondra:16:15 – So now talking about Thy Will Be Done…I’m excited about it. Mainly because I see Armani Caesar as the first feature on here. And I think everybody, especially women that are fans of Griselda, I’m sure they [are likely] fans of the only two women in the group, so its exciting to see you guys come together…So talk about how that came about?
7xve:17:01 – Yeah. I agree. Armani – she’s dope! I just reached out! Like I think it’s a good song…I create music based on the song…I was just thinking here’s a dope song that she could enhance…I think it’s a great move in terms of the city, in terms of women working together. I don’t think I’ve ever seen two women who are on the rise work together…So I think it’s dope.
Schondra: 18:00 – In my perspective almost revolutionary because you really don’t see that…It’s exciting…I wanted to ask did you produce any of the songs…for this EP?
7xve:18:18 – No, I haven’t produced in years actually. I actually have so many beats that I’ve never used that I made…I was thinking about getting into it but it’s not the easiest for me to get my full idea out…But I didn’t produce any of the beats on this project.
Schondra: 18:50 -Well, if you ever do get back into it, that’ll be exciting. But what you’re doing is already great. So going back to the EP THY WILL BE DONE, I see a feature with Jae Skeese which obviously is always highly anticipated. You and Jae Skeese have showed out on Conway’s project…How does it feel to have songs featuring Jae Skeese, who’s your contemporary …and then also Conway…and for those songs in particular to always get acknowledged [when they drop]. That has to be exciting.
7xve:19:41 – It’s always an exciting feeling…but as far as making the songs – I’m always in the studio…[knowing] that these two men are writing something that I probably don’t even have in my mind. You know what I’m saying? And I can’t imagine what it is…We just write. Everybodys just writing, or going over their [stuff] mentally, or recording how they record spontaneously. It’s a crazy experience and then the song is done…It’s just always like I know I have to think of the craziest thing I can think of because I don’t know what they’re thinking of and these men are brilliant…It’s always nice when the response matches the creative process.
Schondra:21:13 – I know it has to be because I’ve seen interviews with Conway specifically and he’s expressed when he gets in the booth with West or with Benny, it’s like “Go time”…I think he mentioned he had to do a better verse because it’s healthy competition. So im sure you feel that when you’re in the studio with them.
7xve: 21:40 – Absolutely, and then it’s another level to it because it’s me and Skeese on a Conway song…this is Conway from Griselda Records from the group…regardless if we’re signed to him, he has already proven himself as a lyricist. So here is me and Skeese having to stand with him.
Schondra:22:10 – And that’s interesting. And I kind of want to get into the mental of that. So when you rap on a song… is it every time you’re rapping, especially on a Conway song or whoever, do you feel like you have to prove yourself every single time?
7xve: 22: 22 – Absolutely. 1000%. Absolutely, but, I wasn’t really in that zone with THY WILL BE DONE…but in general, absolutely. Especially, right now. I know I’m putting in the work to set myself up to be here for the rest of my life. As far as right now, you have to prove that you’re worth being here…I don’t feel like I’m even close to the moment to celebrate anything.
Schondra:23:23 – Wow. So going back down to THY WILL BE DONE – we’ve mentioned Jae Skeese, we’ve mentioned Armani Caesar. You have another feature by AA Rashid…so can you explain who that is and how you chose them to be on this project?
7xve: 23:42 – Yeah. He’s not a rapper, he’s actually a writer. He writes books. He’s a collector, he collects art and hip-hop artifacts. And he’s on a couple Westside Gunn albums…he’s one of the greatest people I’ve ever met. It’s just him really speaking some life on the project…so I needed that for what it is and to share that relationship I have with the world…I do have Heem on the album too.
Schondra:24:40 – Oh yeah, I see Heem. So BSF ( Black Soprano Family)…and Camouflage Monk too.
7xve:25:06 – With this project…I just really went for the sound and feel of it…I don’t focus on the names…we’ve created something well together.
Schondra: 25:44 – So you’re really about the sound.
7xve:25:46 – Yes.Exactly… I just make the music.
Schondra:26:07 – I think it’s cool that you led with sound, because that makes anticipation even higher…and got some great artists that people respect on here too. Hopefully, that marriage gets people excited and I’m sure a lot of people [will] enjoy it…And then Death Of Deuce- is there any hint when that will drop or is that still under wraps?
7xve:26:48 – Yes. It’s still under wraps, but I do know that it’s gonna drop after the [Love Will Get You Killed Tour] which is happening next month. So we know it’s not next month.
Schondra:26:57 – Speaking of the tour, when does that start?
7xve:27:12 – The Love Will Get You Killed Tour actually starts on the 28th in Miami and then we’re doing back to back dates starting in Atlanta…in September.
Schondra: 27:34 – Is this your first tour…because you went on tour with Benny?
7xve:27:45 – This is my first tour as far as having a set…on tour with Benny, I was opening up. So it was probably like 5 minutes…and make the impact that you can… I’m gonna have exclusive merch on this tour… THY WILL BE DONE actually will only be available on tour to purchase, so you’ll be able to stream it on my website…It won’t be on DSPs. On tour you can get it only.
Schondra: 28:38 – Now that’s interesting, because I heard that Conway will be doing that too with a new project.
7xve: 28:43 – Yeah. I heard he’s doing that also – it’s pretty dope…with my physical copies there’s also like an additional song on there. So it’s different thing…You also get a few other thing with the physicals.
Schondra: 29:07 – So it’s exclusive. It’s really for the people that come out to see you. That support you…
7xve:29:16 – It’s really for my 7xved Ones. Really, literally. It’s really for me to tap in with them…Check out everything that I have going on, on my website which is 7xveislove.com.