Novice Talk: Waasi
For those who do not know, Waasi is an independent hip-hop musician from Charlottesville, Virginia. His current catalog features 2 very distinct projects; From Virginia With Love & his most recent release, No Love Lost. What I have come to love about the novice is his continued growth which is very prevalent in his bodies of work. FVWL leans heavily into his confident raps which are felt through every verse, whereas NLL is his next step into complete artistry; Experimenting with unique flows and sounds creating music that is sonically pleasing.
NP had an opportunity to get personal with the talented artist in a very open and honest dialogue. In a sit down w/ founder Alex Cherry, we learn about Waasi’s beginnings, the difficulties of being a musician, the process of No Love Lost and what we should be looking forward to amongst many other topics. For what was an amazing conversation, you can check out interview highlights below to learn more about the bubbling rapper and/or listen to the full conversation now via The Novice Talk Podcast w/ Alex Cherry available now via Spotify & Apple Podcast. Check it out!
Cherry: If you’d like to let us know how you got started…
Waasi: I’ve been making music since about 2010/2011. My upbringing was a big melting pot of music. I grew up listening to and was influenced by a lot. Me being someone who likes to write, I wanted to make music I wanted to listen to & that was around 18 (now 24) when I knew I could make something out of a music career. I did theatre in high school and because of that experience I’m comfortable performing my own songs in front of crowds.
Cherry: You talked about influences, who was/is someone you’ve modeled your path after?
Waasi: Jay Z was a huge model for me growing up because of the gems he dropped. The story of him being turned down from all these labels & starting his own thing, he was really one of the first to take that untraditional route. I look at his path all the time. He made me realize you don’t have to get signed in order to “make it.”
Cherry: What do you believe separates you from other artists ?
Waasi: I believe there’s a fine line between using inspiration from others & copying their style. The artists that I look up to, I feel created their own lane and made it work for them. When you press play on my music, you really don’t know what you’re going to hear.
Cherry: On the topic of No Love Lost, how do you feel about it now as maybe you did when it first dropped?
Waasi: I still feel really good about it. I’m at a point where I’m making the best art that I can. NLL was a project for me. I wanted to make something I genuinely loved while also sharing it with everyone. The difference in FVWL & NLL has been a big talking point and that comes from the 2-3 year time span between them. I’ve experienced so much since then and it translates to the current state of my life.
Cherry: What does being a Virginia artist mean to you?
Waasi: It’s pretty dope to be from Virginia & I take pride in it. We’ve got legends from the state, past and present. It’s cool to be in one of those underdog spots where you know there’s no half-stepping going on being from here. Not to downplay anywhere else but VA has always been about quality & talent. When you listen to a lot of the VA artists now, it’s all up to par to a lot of the music being pushed.
Cherry: What’s something you find difficult about recording?
Waasi: Being comfortable with who you’re recording with. An engineer is like a barber, even if they do a good haircut, there’s nothing like that back home barber. I find it difficult to step outside of the three [engineers] I’m familiar with. It’s about the personal relationships & the setting you’re in. If the vibe isn’t right, things won’t flow and not everyone knows what you as an artist want to do during a recording session.
Cherry: So what’s next for you?
Waasi: I’m planning a Deluxe for No Love Lost. The 7 songs are dope but I want to have about 15 or 16. Have some videos to go along with the music that’s already out. A few Virginia artists to add to the tape would be great but I won’t say any names.
Cherry: My last question. What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Waasi: Be yourself as much as possible. You have times where you’re motivated and other times when you’re discouraged. For a lot of us, you have to put in the time and work to get to where you want. Also have fun with it because if you’re not having fun it won’t last. Let the art do its’ thing.
This was an unforgettable conversation and one of our favorites this year. Waasi displays a humble and honest spirit that will continue to take him far. The music speaks for itself and we look forward to seeing what else he has in store. This is just a glimpse into the full conversation you can listen to now.