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How Cash Cobain Plans On Taking Over The Rap World

Cash Cobain slides into Bed-Stuy’s Loudmouth Records alone, wearing a cream shirt, Black jeans, and white forces. His publicist daps him up and asks if he drove from his home in Queens to Brooklyn by himself. He scoffs at the notion; at least two people are waiting outside. I agreed to conduct the interview at Loudmouth in hopes of chatting with the Bronx-born rapper-producer while he looked through some records, but Cash quickly plops down in a Black chair at the front of the store.

The man rightfully revered as the “sample god” reveals that he’s never done any crate digging. I ask him if he’s ever felt self-conscious about violating the purist producer credo by ripping his samples from YouTube (which can result in lower audio quality). He replies, “I mean, yeah [that’s something people say]. But it’s like…I’m manipulating it anyway.” To great effect.

The 29-year-old Bronx-born rapper-producer has been steadily ascending over the past several years. He’s made his Slizzy movement a fixture in the tri-state area through his own catalog, work like “JHoliday,” and “Slizzy Talk” with his frequent collaborator Chow Lee, and outsourcing his beats to artists like Lil Yachty, Central Cee, and Lucki. He says more is coming in the latter category: “Big, big, big, big, big placements [are coming this year],” he says with emphasis. “I want y’all to hear my tag everywhere y’all go.”

He’s well on his way. Cash grew up in The South Bronx. “Fun” was the main adjective he ascribed to his childhood, where he hung out with friends and cousins in their section of the city where everyone knew each other. He says his appreciation for school depended on who his teacher was, and he rattles off the teachers he did and didn’t like by grade. By junior high school, he recalls “school was just the hang out“ for him.

Some of his summers were spent in South Carolina with his grandmother, and he recalls being with her fondly — though he wasn’t a big fan of the slow vibes or the wilderness. “You can’t walk nowhere. You’re not getting nowhere,” he says. “I’m not the type to walk in the woods. I’m scared of animals.” Cash recalls that one night a bear lurked outside of his grandmother’s home (luckily, it was so late that they weren’t planning to step out anyway).

During this same period, he started exploring beat-making. His mother had always bought him drum pads and keyboards, and he eventually began his own search for music production software. First, he found Virtual DJ (“they had the big old effects,” he recalls), then he discovered a copy of Fruity Loops 8. “I just knew that was the one,” he recalls. “I just stuck with it.” He says he learned the software mostly on his own. Once Cash found Fruity Loops 11 (which he still uses even though the software is up to FL 20), he hit a stride.

He soon found himself immersed in the Jersey Club scene, and he began imbuing their charging drums and frenetic tempo into his craft. Music theory wasn’t his expertise, so he focused on sampling audio native to Fruity Loops as well as songs he’d encounter in everyday life. He says the first flip he remembers was a Whitney Houston sample, though he forgets the song. That’s no surprise with the amount of flips he’s done since then. He sampled Mary J. Blige on B-Lovee’s “Everything,” Tame Impala on Lil Yachty and Mak Sauce’s “Wocky My Lover,” and the theme to the Moesha theme show on “Hoesha” from his Nirvana album. He’s mastered how to find the juicy part of almost any song and flip it into something more danceable than the original composer ever fathomed. The Plain White T’s never pictured a room full of Baby’s Alright concertgoers getting sturdy to a “Hey There Delilah” sample as they did during Cash and Chow Lee’s September 2022 performance.

“Sometimes, it just comes to me,” he says of sample inspiration. “A car will be passing by playin’ shit. I could be at the mall; I could be out to eat, [and] pull out my phone and Shazam.” He says he “loves” finding a sample in the wild, laughingly recalling a recent trip to the Dominican Republic where he heard “mad Spanish songs” and decided to sample some of them.

During the late 2010s infancy of New York drill, most producers emulated the eerie, synth-driven soundscapes of UK-based beatmakers like 808Melo and Axl Beats. Meanwhile, back in Queens, where his family had moved, Cash was devising his own formula with creative samples and frenetic, scrupulously crafted drum programming. He started getting placements with Queens-based MCs such as Dee Aura, Flee, and ShawnyBinLadin, who he also rapped alongside on songs like 2017’s “Busy In The Coupe.” The song (which also features Four50) shows an early glimpse of what would come to be celebrated as the Slizzy sound: an enchanting loop and intense drums replete with Cash crooning, “she pull it out no warnin’ / and she just started lickin, and my dick started twitchin’.”

He succinctly told Pitchfork that “My music is about ho-ing, I just love being a ho.” That raunchy M.O. has permeated his output as a recording artist, from early albums to last year’s 2 Slizzy 2 Sexy with his frequent collaborator Chow Lee. Their sonic bond helped shake up the scene’s propensity for incendiary disses and fatalism and made a fun brand of New York drill. The scene’s beats have always been fun to dance to—but lyrics like Chow rhyming, “Got her OnlyFans off Reddit / That pussy good though girl I’ll give you your credit” on “Hate You Delilah” imbue the scene with genuine humor.

Their boldness isn’t a put-on. Cash’s publicist walks over to us with a pair of Nineties-era Playboy magazines from Loudmouth’s basement stash of old magazines. He gives Cash a quick primer on March 1992 Covergirl Anna Nicole Smith, deeming her “the first City Girl” (before correcting himself and giving the nod to Cleopatra). Cash opens up the magazine and asks if one of the playmates is Smith; it’s another buxom blonde. ”Miss February. Hairy coochie. Okay,” he says while looking over one of the playmates. Cash says “okay” with the ambiguous tone of a school principal mulling whether to suspend you or let you go back to class. But soon, the verdict is in: “Why they all hairy? I don’t like these…that’s not my type.” The Playboys are promptly closed and placed on a nearby table in disapproval.

Cash completed a selection process of a more consequential magnitude in June when he announced his signing to Giant Records. In a statement, he noted, “The reason I wanted to sign is because I wanted to go to that next level — we went really far by ourselves, and we wanted to find someone to elevate our brand and take us to new heights.” When asked what those new heights included, he mentioned “putting me in a position to do something more for other people,” including those on his Neva Slippin records.

The first step in that journey with Giant is his upcoming Pretty Girls Love Slizzy album. When asked what fans can expect from his latest album, he says exactly what one would anticipate: “It’s going to be very much Slizzy. I’m gonna take you on a Slizzy journey,” he says. “I’m going to slow it down for y’all one time. It’s a little bit of everything going on there.”

Cash sounds like he’s still genuinely passionate about making music. When I asked him what the past year has been like, I expected a reflection on his newfound fame. Instead, he mentioned working hard and “taking it day by day.” He also noted, “I’m enjoying all of this because I know once it’s over with, it’s over with.”

“I wanna be so much more than an artist,” he adds. “I just executive-produced two albums. That’s where I wanna be, behind the scenes. I’m gonna take this little run I got, and then I’m going to disappear.” He tells me he loves helping other artists hone their sound and laughingly recalls a recent session with Lucki: “I’m like, ‘Yo. This the beat for you,’ and I started rapping like him. I’m like, ‘This how you got to rap on it.’ He started laughing at me, like ‘Yo. Boy, you funny as hell cause you dead ass.’ I’m like, ‘I’m dead ass serious.’” He jokingly says Lucki didn’t end up recording the song “because he’s crazy.”

Beyond music, Cash tells me that he’s ideating a clothing brand for women and wants to eventually make movies set “back in the day.” The first movie he’s thinking of is going to be about Bronx Street Gangs. “It’s going to be better than The Warriors, though. It’s going to make more sense,” he clarifies. Cash might also have a future in set design after telling me about an impromptu stage set idea he had after attending one of Drake’s July shows at the Barclays Center, where he sat near the Toronto superstar’s dad Dennis Graham (“He was just chillin’. He’s definitely a ladies man, though.”). He says he wants to have a circular set with a “hole in the middle. But the hole in the middle is going to have a [stage that comes] up out the floor, and it’s going to come higher than the original platforms.”


But even if he’s thinking about the future, he’s primarily focused on music these days. He tells me he has two laptops and a computer that he hasn’t used since 2021, and he’s looking forward to going back to those samples with the new techniques he’s learned. Since garnering more notoriety, he’s been invited to sessions with producers where they play and make beats, and he’s picked up “a trick or two” from those moments.

“I always try to push my sound forward. My sound always be changing. I always be coming up with different sauces, trying to come up with different swag, trying to sound different from everybody else type shit.”

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