“I see all music, especially my own, as an art, so I’d like to call it museum music.”
It’s easy to miss Shakewell, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t famous. Welcome to the internet.
With just over 700 thousand Spotify streams and about 100 thousand Instagram followers, Shakewell, originally from Los Angeles, embodies the SoundCloud rapper. In addition to Shakewell’s Spotify streams, he’s obtained at least 135 thousand plays on all of his SoundCloud tracks, with eight earning at least a million plays. Two tracks, “Sleeping Bag” (Prod. Mikey The Magician) and “Terminal Sex” (Feat. Pouya), have eclipsed four million, while the former reigns supreme with over eight million plays.
Not bad for a rapper who didn’t take rapping seriously until 2015, and didn’t start recording songs until 2016.
Shakewell’s released two EPs, Key Stone Prince and Big Juice tha Sip. He’s signed to independent label Shameless Money Gang (SMG). “At the moment, being independent has been great,” Shakewell said.
The SMG artist said he’s going to release one if not two more projects before the end of the year. He has no plans of slowing down.
“To be honest, it all has happened really fast so I don’t feel ‘famous’, Shakewell said. “And when my fans approach me it feels more like we’re a family. A Shameless family. I am happy with the way things are going though, being able to provide more for myself and family legitimately. Although I’m still growing and manifesting my dreams, I’m still just a hardcore kid.”
Shakewell said he’s taking everything in stride, focusing on the now and the later.
The San Fernando Valley native’s career got underway after he met Fat Nick and Pouya, at one of their shows.
“I knew Yung Simmie and was a good friend of Don Krez,” Shakewell said. “Krez was living with me at the time and told me I had to go see them live. I went and I think they played to maybe 100 people in Santa Barbara. Their presence how ever was captivating, coming from the metal and hardcore scene it was awesome to see rappers bring that (do it yourself) underground energy to the shows.”
“…Fat Nick and I would sip drank together and eventually ended up becoming good friends,” Shakewell said. “One day he heard a song of mine that’s not even out I think and said ‘your actually not that trash at rapping’. I thought it was cool ’cause he was so honest. I’m from LA where most industry people are fake so it was refreshing.”
After working with Fat Nick on a few songs, Pouya began collaborating with him, too. Shakewell said the friendships formed naturally. In fact, Shakewell opened for Pouya on his FIVE FIVE tour to support Big Juice tha Sip. The pair’s latest track “10 Homies” was released in March, and appears on the EP.
“Lost 10 homies, how can I feel blessed/I’m just doin’ what they want, man, runnin’ to the check,” Shakewell said on the hook. “Money can’t buy no happiness they said/They ain’t never take 20, dropped that on they neck.”
Officially the opener, Shakewell said that he was finally able to have his own set. On tour in the past, he said that he’d perform a few songs during his homies’ sets. “I love interacting with the fans and getting them to push the envelopes of what a normal rap show is,” Shakewell said. “Kids do wall of deaths, circle pits, stage dives, all that at our shows and it’s beautiful.”
The EP’s lead single “LegLock” has a catchy hook and hovers just over two minutes. In fact, one out of eight tracks eclipses the three-minute mark, playing to the short attention span of the millennial generation. Also, the left-of-center music video, which features a bunch of odd characters from The Tim and Eric show, has obtained just over a million views in less than two months (remember, as an independent artist).
“Twin Glock; bitch, you ain’t a thug, you ain’t in gen pop/Red dot, Im a keep on stompin’ ’til his neck pop,” Shakwell said on the hook.”Feds rock, I can’t be caught slippin’ so the feds hot/Red drop, I quit poppin’ sticks and sippin’ red drop.”
(Notice a theme with Shakewell’s strong hook game yet?)
Indirectly, the video draws another reference to The Office, too.
Shakewell said the creative direction for the video goes to Daniel Streit and childhood friend Adam Talan.
“I told them I was over doing the basic rap videos and had faith that they could take me into a new realm,” Shakewell said. “I’ve always loved movies and acting so it was great being able to put my skills to the test. I had to remain lifeless and keep the eye contact you see in the video, all while trying not to laugh or give the energy I normally would when listening to my music.”
Another standout track from EP is “Pack” (Prod. Mikey The Magician).
“I’ve been choppin’ cane rain, hail, sleet and snow/I been powder talking with my cousin Mexcio,” Shakewell said on the verse. “If you talking kilos, why we talking on the phone/Come meet me in person if you need a couple zoned.”
(He can rap as good as his hooks, too)
One might notice the frequent collaborations between Mikey The Magician and Shakewell. Simply, the latter said of the former that he will always create with him. Shakewell expressed that his best music is made with Mikey and his good homies Flexatelli, Dretta and Gaspakk. All four producers appear on Big Juice tha Sip. Also, he said that with the fatal four of producers at his disposal he can continue to create any sound he wants, too.
“However, I’m always open to working with new producers, it just definitely has to be organic and cohesive,” Shakewell said. “I hate when things sound forced. I plan on making music with my homies Lifer and Crystal Meth soon, too. They’re amazing producers and artists.”
In addition, he said that his dream collaboration would be to work with Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre or any west coast great.
“I see all music, especially my own, as an art, so I’d like to call it museum music, but not a boring museum more of a Shameless Museum,” Shakewell said. “However, I feel in the moment when I hear a beat or when we’re creating (the moment) is what is going to come out. One day it could be some shit you want to kick a door to, other days I might make something you want to make a baby to.”
“…If you haven’t done any dirt, put in any work, been addicted, lost any one you love to the system or to the grave, then my music is most likely not for you. I do have beautiful melodies and flows though, so I guess if you don’t listen to lyrics it’s perfect for that, too. My music, however, tells the story of a person who is trying to do what is good and right but who is also scared to leave the life they’ve learned to live, that and all the experiences life has offered me and my friends.
While shouting out SMG, Shakewell said he make music for anyone trying to provide for themselves, and that his music is meant to motivate the masses, much like late rapper XXXtentacion. Coincidentally, both rappers crossed paths on the $outh $ide $uicide Tour.
In addition, he was performing one song a night and had about one thousand Instagram followers. Fat Nick and Pouya would tell him XXXtentacion was the future, and that he was one of the best artists out. By chance, XXXtentacion hopped on the tour bus Shakewell was on back to Flordia.
The pair would trade playful insults.”‘Wake up, fat boy’ he’d tell me because I like to sleep in,” Shakewell said. “I’d tell him to fuck off and we’d laugh.”
According to Shakewell, XXXtentacion had an urge to become something positive.
Shakewell would frequently FaceTime XXXtentacion, planning to hang out when they both weren’t busy.
“I saw him at rolling loud and he was like ‘Shake’ with a big old smile on his face,” Shakewell said. “I hugged him and told him I’ll catch you after your set but that was unfortunately our last interaction.”
Admittedly, Shakewell said he almost gave up on music because of a lot of it was trash. Did he tell DJ Scheme that? But, it restored his faith in music of this generation.
With two years down in the industry Shakewell said he hates the ego in the rap game, and that’s the reason he doesn’t hang out with many rappers.
” I feel like everyone from underground to mainstream knows who each other is, yet there’s this ego where people like to pretend like they’ve never heard of each other,” Shakewell said.
Splitting time between Los Angeles and Miami, the west coast rapper admittedly said he’s a depressed person, but that he manifests his hate for the world as fuel to be positive.
In the words of Shakewell, we all to have to go, so just try to run it up while you’re here and live your best life.