“Right now I don’t have a job. I’m just doing music. I’ve been unemployed since like…I can’t even remember, but its probably my second…third time being unemployed. And yeah, I’m on unemployment but all that money goes right into the music.
Later this year we’re dropping huge project that’s happening with Warner Bros, I think Atlantic is behind it too. So we’re basically trying to make sure we can get that to as many people as possible. Its completely different from when we started you know?
Like, we were paying $500 for 5-minute slots on these shows that had a whole lot of promises that really didn’t mean anything. We done lived in apartments with no light because we didn’t have money to pay those bills. We couldn’t afford rent, utilities, none of that. All we would do is throw money towards these shows. We did that for so long but stayed consistent. It was a tough start but eventually we met so many people along the journey and now we’re hooked up with places like Warner Bros and it’s a blessing. Like its to the point where the security guards know our names…we’re in the system, people just know us, its crazy looking back. We just kept meeting people, its cool just building these relationships through the journey…all for the love of the music.
I was always serious about music, the difference between now and then is back then we just didn’t know the steps to take. On top of that we were just super lazy. Like I would write a bunch of raps in my room and then not do anything with them. I would record stuff and then never put them out. Its like we always knew we wanted to do music but couldn’t tie everything together to figure out the steps – we’re way more focused now.
What really started to help me was probably my vision board. When I was living with my girlfriend, we had this vision board that had my goals for the year. I wanted to get on Sway, I wanted to make $1500 off of music, I wanted to double my plays on Soundcloud, and I wanted to get on Hot97. I didn’t know how it was going to happen, but those were my goals.
So what happened after was crazy. We had a show that was supposed to be in Kansas. We already put out all the flyers, did a lot of promos, put our name out there…it was going good. A lot of people were showing love and support. But then the guy who set up the show ended up pulling us off three weeks before we were supposed to head out there and he didn’t tell us anything. We only found out when we tried getting more flyers and he was like “Yeah Oswins not going to be on the show anymore”. We were super upset about that but in our hearts we knew something big was going to happen eventually.
The same day we found out we weren’t going to be in the show in Kansas, I got a message from someone I kept in touch with that I met in the summer who just happened to be a really close friend of Sway. He hit me up and was like “what are you doing on Friday? We might need you on “Sway in the Morning” at 9:45.”
I couldn’t believe it. But when I got there, Sway didn’t even know who I was, no one did. I looked like I was an intern or something. There were two other people, DNA and Kayshawn, no one knew them either. Eventually we all got to rap. They bodied the beat they were rapping on and Sway tried giving me another beat. I’m super competitive so I was like nah, I want the same beat. I wanted to show them I could be on the same level, or higher. Man, while the beat was on, it’s like every single written I ever did came into my mind. These were about to be the most important verses I ever spit. I was waiting for this moment for so long. The feedback after was crazy with positivity. So much happened after the Sway thing. We got hit up to do a bunch of features and that got me to cross off my goal of making $1500 off of music. Then a meeting was set up that led us to doing a segment on Hot97. I was on a panel on if Hip Hop could save the world, another goal checked off the list. Just like that, Sway, making money off music, Hot 97, all my goals I had on my vision board were accomplished.
The vision board is still important to me. My next few goals? This year, I want to go to South by Southwest for sure. I want to travel off of music, solely off of music. I don’t want to go anywhere unless it’s because someone was like “Yo Os, I heard you perform and I want you here”. I want the music to start spreading. That’s what’s on the vision board right now. As the year progresses I will add more.
A lot of things have changed for me over the past few years. There’s only a handful of people that’s been really consistent and showing love to the music the whole time. Tyler for sure – we been doing this for years. There are a few others too. There’s a lot of love right now but before, there was a lot of doubt…Even from family. I had to cut off my grandmother because she didn’t believe in this for a little while. As time passed and people started seeing the progress they started to understand and see what we saw 7 years ago. It’s weird because those same people who told me not to do this thing because I sing and say I should just stick to that are the same people coming around now. The love is becoming full circle. I’m starting to get stopped on the street by certain people because they saw my interview or because they listen to the music. Some of these are the same people who are listening to the music they told me not to make. It’s an unexplainable feeling because I was never the dude that was supposed to be here. But now that the music is getting bigger, God has been blessing me with all these opportunities.
It’s not always good though. One of the hardest things…we’re still going through it right now actually, is being homeless. Like technically we don’t even got a stable place to lay our heads. But aside from that, I’ve actually never been this happy at the same time. That’s just a small part of a big picture. With all of the doors that have been opened, we don’t even have time to sleep like that anyway. So it’s not a necessity, but people will look at it like “Yo, you’re homeless just for music? Why don’t you get a job? Why don’t you do this or that? Why don’t you do what a normal person would do?”
My answer? I honestly believe that God puts this vision in you and he’s made it clear that this is what you’re supposed to do. Once you see it, you got to just go through with it. There are momentary sacrifices in life. It’s inevitable, but it’s necessary to get to the big picture. So sure it sucks right now for the moment but I know it’s not a permanent thing. We’ve been through a lot to get to this point and we’re going to keep pushing. I know we’re heading in the right direction. All the signs are there.
What I really want people to know…the message I want to end up sending is all about positivity. about being a human being. A lot of times when you rap or do music, you talk about the benevolence, you talk about uplifting and you talk about the good and people start to forget you’re a human being. What I mean is, as much as I am trying to find my path, as much as I’m talking to God more and trying to figure out what he wants me to do, I’m still a person with flaws. I’m human. I think the whole thing about my music is the duality of life. It’s the duality of a human being. The ratchetness and the righteousness. Even the spiritual duality. And that’s what I want people to see in the music. I want them to be like “Yo, he believes in God for sure but he definitely doesn’t have it all together and neither do I”.
A lot of people feel like they need to put up this front and put up this face like they are perfect and that they have it all together but for me I want to say I’m not perfect. I will never preach the message that I am. I’m just as messed up as everyone else and I don’t have a problem putting that in the record. I want people to see the real me. When they hear the music, I want people to see Oswin Benjamin as an individual – not the dude who makes really good music or can rap really well. I want them to see the humanity and spirituality.
- Oswin Benjamin
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