Two years ago, Prince Kyy was looking for an alternative. At the time, GoldenWave’s creator was attending Wright State, and it was in his best friend’s living room that he realized, like many others, that college wasn’t for him. Kyy and all of his friends rapped and did music, and so that winter, he created a company called Black Square Crew, where he would be the CEO. At the time, the company included Kyy, Donnie Banks, Marshawn McCarrel, and Barbassem.
Kyy brought the idea to his cousin, a financial adviser that was very forward with his opinion. He told Kyy that the name was not marketable outside of the hood, and his idea was just like everybody else’s. Stubbornly, Kyy goes ahead with his plan anyway, but can’t get anywhere with it. Then, Marshawn got the idea to call their company GoldenWave. Their plan was to build first, with the message forthcoming.
GoldenWave just moved in, to a house on the lower east side of Columbus. There’s no furniture yet, just microphones, laptops, and studio equipment. With everyone sitting on the floor and libations being passed, the Wave is in complete vibe mode. Just five members of the Wave are in attendance: Prince Kyy, Logik Freedom, Tobilla Muffin, Shamere, and Mercy along with friend of the collective, Yogi Splitt.
GoldenWave is made up of 20 artists in total, from rappers and singers to producers and overall creatives. There are people who do visual graphics, poetry, or a bit of everything. The growth of GoldenWave was organic. “You ever feel like you’re in the right place at the right time?” Kyy says. “All the time, though.”
KMB is one of GoldenWave’s in-house producers. He’s straight edge aside from a slight milk addiction, and is known for making beats in no time at all.
“One time we were in a studio session at Kyy’s old spot, and I was like ‘Cam bruh, can you make me a beat or something? Your shit is dope,’” Logik says. “We didn’t even discuss it! He just goes over there by himself, throw the headphones on, goes in his zone, come over there like 15 minutes later. He hit play, I was like, ‘Bruh, this is fucking ridiculous.’”
“[Kam] made ‘Vicious,’ which is a song that I made in my head and I’m just singing it, and homie is literally making the beat. And he just hands me the headphones like [Logik] said,” she laughs. “And it’s on point how it is in my head. Like, this nigga’s a god. He’s like the next Timberland.”
…this nigga’s a god. He’s like the next Timberland.
Then there’s Logik. He met Kyy at The Creative Plug, and connected through mutual friends. —
Tobilla Muffin linked with Kyy through Yogi. In one of their first conversations, Kyy gives Tobi the “GoldenWave speech.” Everyone gets it, and it usually ends with Kyy asking if they smoke. “Cause we do drugs,” Logik and Shamere quote in unison.
Kyy was pleasantly surprised to hear that Tobi had tried DMT. He described the experience poetically, and later, when Tobi freestyles with GoldenWave for the first time, Kyy says he didn’t freestyle like everyone else.
“He was making music. He was making a song,” Shamere says. “When he goes, he makes actual songs. It’s not just the basic four bars, rapping.”
“I can’t freestyle at all,” Tobi laughs. “Everything I come up with is like, a hook,” Tobi says.
GoldenWave’s last few members include Shamere, a 21-year-old singer and rapper, and aspiring producer in the future. Her first run in with GoldenWave was in January, during a pop-up show at Marco’s Pizza, supporting a friend from Lost Society. Having some friends at the show that knew she could sing, everybody was trying to get her on the mic. Eventually she gave in, and performed Mary J. Blige’s “I’m Going Down” a cappella, her go-to song because her mom is a fan. She linked up with GoldenWave almost immediately after. That day, Kyy recalls, she looked like she had just gotten off work at Outback Steakhouse. Of course, she doesn’t work there anymore. “Nah,” she laughs. “I’m an artist now.”
GoldenWave’s newest and youngest member, Mercy, just turned 17. She’s been writing for a long time, and started off singing before transitioning into rapping. She met Kyy at an open mic at The Creative Plug, and ended up getting his contact info. She later met with Kyy with her mom, and began riding with the Wave not long after.
As the newbie, the guys make Mercy freestyle all the time. She wrote the verse she did on Prince Kyy’s “Bout Time,” though, but she did it in just one take.
Logik thought Mercy’s verse was so dope he said he would buy her ice cream, with sprinkles because, “Sprinkles are for winners.” “Ooh, do I still get that?” Mercy asks.
Mercy is the oldest of her siblings, so being the youngest in GoldenWave is a good change of pace for her. Kyy and Logik are on a no boys policy with her. “If I ever pull up imma up on ‘em,” Kyy says as Logik cracks up.
“But in the same token, I can call them for whatever, too,” Mercy says.
I was in a dark place, and they gave me hope.
From the very beginning, GoldenWave has been a sort of refuge for its artists, especially Kyy. “I was in a dark place, and they gave me hope. I was really, really, depressed. I couldn’t even interact with people. And the only reason I got out of my mood and got my head together, was seeing how we all operate.”
Kyy recalls the space he was in when his friend and founding Wave member, Marshawn McCarrel, committed suicide earlier this year. After he got the call, one after one, all of the artists in GoldenWave showed up, out of nowhere.
“The thing is, if anything goes wrong, these are the first people I call,” Kyy says. “When shit gets bad in life, we all are here.”
For Shamere, it was a similar experience. “I was really angry at the world, and I didn’t know how to channel that. I just wrote music, and just shut down,” she says. “It took me a long time to get comfortable with who I was, they helped me do that shit.”
“The difference between our generation of artists, and no offense to the old generation, but we really working together ‘cause we all have the same goal,” Kyy says.
GoldenWave’s original goal was to build. With 20 artists, they’re doing that. And as far as a message, each artist has their own.
Logik says his message is like, “conscious/hood nigga.” “Both sides of the duality are necessary for the progression of us as a culture,” he says. “Whether it’s the nigga out there selling dope, or the nigga out there pushing books, or the cat selling Qurans. There needs to be a level of understanding between those people.”
Whether it’s the nigga out there selling dope, or the nigga out there pushing books, or the cat selling Qurans. There needs to be a level of understanding between those people.
Shamere pushes real life experiences. “I want people to feel real shit,” she says. “My mother just passed. My mother was bipolar and schizophrenic. That’s something I want to talk about. That’s not really a topic that’s touched on,” she says. She mentions that she used to be a track star, and hitting hurdles. “I’m trying to show what I go through, and what I gotta go through, to get to where I wanna go.”
“I’m just being as transparent as possible, and using that as inspiration for the people who [don’t] have a voice,” Tobilla says. “Like, it’s okay to be you.”
“I’m classy, but I still play video games,” Mercy says. “I want to try to relate to a lot of people. I’m talking about real life situations that aren’t materialistic or cliché.”
“With my music, its whatever I’m feeling being a rapper,” Yogi says. “Or I’ll write about whatever emotional situation I’m in. I’m trying to figure out what’s that next thing.”
“I’m just trying to give hope and heal, because I go through so much,” Kyy says. “I feel like, for me to have been through all the shit that I’ve been through, and to still be happily pursuing what I want to do in life, that means a lot,” He says. “For me to have that much self love why can’t other people?”
As a group, though a young one in age and inception, they are comfortable with who they are. And the message as a whole, it’s authenticity. It’s growth. Both personally and as a movement.
“They call each other out on being genuine, as people,” Yogi chimes in.
“Recording? Recording is the worst,” Kyy says. “’Why are you singing like that?’ Why are you rapping like that?’”
“It’s our vibes, it’s emotion. That’s why you can feel it,” Kyy says. “We can’t fake none of this shit.”
“Beyond just the members of the collective, it’s an energy. You’re part of the Wave, it’s a movement. We’re only going to get bigger, the tides only going to rise higher. And that’s through love and support,” Yogi says.
“Wave or drown,” Logik laughs.