Rapper Sam Rothstein is the force behind the Pipeline show series—connecting artists from Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati and Cleveland—The Sam Rothstein Show podcast, and is currently on the road for his 3018 Springtime Galactic Intergang Tour, with his next stop in Columbus on Friday, April 13. We caught up with him to talk that ridiculously long tour title, what’s next for Pipeline, his new single and video, and how soon we can expect a project.
How did you come up with the name for the tour?
[RaidenLabs], who’s going to be DJing the whole tour with me, he was watching the Superman animated series at the time, and there’s a group of characters in the show called Intergang, and they’re basically like galactic criminals. He was telling me about it, it actually sounded really cool, the name of it.
I make all my own fliers, so I really wanted to start messing around with this ‘70s/sci-fi/movie poster vibe, so it all just kind of came together. So that’s why we ended up calling it that. But I just wanted a really big, long, ridiculous, overblown name for the tour.
On pipeline—why was it important to connect different cities?
I wasn’t originally from Columbus. I remember I started doing shows in Columbus, it was a really big deal to me. And just the idea of like, going to a new place where people don’t really know you, ‘cause it’s different when you’re an artist in the city with people who knew you before you were that artist. When you go to a new city, you get a fresh start, and you get to completely represent yourself in the way that you envision doing it. I don’t know, it’s always been cool for me as an artist to do that.
[Pipeline] started out, it was just the artists that I knew that were my friends. It was just like, ‘Hey, let’s try and get us out to different cities.’ But now it’s just really starting to be more about gathering, and kind of curating, the artists that are really, really serious about one, expanding and traveling and stuff like that, and two, about live performance.
What people really don’t know is how to get on shows, or who’s doing that. So that’s really what the goal has become now with Pipeline is trying to gather as many dope artists in the one spot as we can. And kind of have it networked all across the country. So it’s not just a Columbus thing, I mean it is right now, but eventually, I want to expand it. But you know, as far as why it’s important, it’s just that, this is kind of the last avenue in hip hop, and in a lot of forms of music, where artists are still able to make money. So I kind of just want to provide a space for artists that are really serious about it, I want to give them a serious environment that they can go and flourish in.
Can you talk about this being your first show in a while?
It’s weird. I think every artist, to a certain degree, once they’re a couple years in, they kind of have that one year where they just go apeshit and they just do a show every single weekend, and they will say yes to any offer and they get booked forever, and they do tons and tons of shows, and then some artists never stop doing that.
But I had my year of doing that. Last year I tried to step out a little bit more into other states and stuff like that. And I went on tour for the first time. But then after that, I just decided I wasn’t gonna do that many shows in Columbus. I still do a lot of events in Columbus, and every once in a while I’ll perform whatever my newest single is somewhere.
And so I guess it was because pretty much any time Bhad Waiz asks me to do a show I’ll say yes to it. He’s one of my favorite people to work with in terms of doing shows in Columbus, him and all of GRG, they definitely do it the right way, and I really like working with him. Plus I knew the lineup was gonna be super dope.
And I know you have a few new tracks that you’ll be performing right?
Yeah, basically I’m just going to be performing what my next two to three singles are. I perform songs before they’re recorded, and I try to get as much live feedback about my songs as possible before I even record. That’s kind of how I prioritize songs for the most part, so I’m doing that for this one. This is like the final test for a lot of the songs so I’m very excited to do a lot of this.
Pretty much my entire set will be new stuff basically. So that’s why I really want people to come out to this one.
I saw you posted the “Real Thing” video, is this the first time you’ve gotten into directing?
No, I’ve directed all my music videos. If you go to my YouTube channel—I think there’s four or five videos on there—yeah, I directed all my videos since 2014 basically. I already knew how to video edit long before I started getting serious about rap, and so then once I had songs I just realized that I needed videos for ‘em, and so I treated it like my own personal film school. You know, I always had a new project to work on visually, so I could get better at it. That’s why I still continue to do it.
Also, it’s a lot cheaper to not have to pay a video director. But it’s pretty much my second favorite way to express myself, is music videos and visuals and things like that.
Is there a project in the works? Can we expect that any time soon?
There is a project in the works, as far as any time soon I can’t really say. I would like to have a project out before the end of this year, but I haven’t even really begun to start it. I just started making beats again, so I’ve kind of have to go down that rabbit hole, because I know what the project is gonna be, and I know that it’s gonna be a completely visual project as well. So it’s essentially gonna be an entire movie-lengthed album. And so that’s kind of why I wanted to do the tour earlier in the year, and get it out the way before the summer, that way I can basically take the whole summer off and try and work on that. But I’m really terrible at taking any period of time off, and I end up booking shows, so we’ll see how that goes.
Is there anything else people should know ahead of the show Friday?
I’m gonna be performing again in Columbus at the Mouth Mag release show the 28th. I think that’s the next time I perform in Columbus. And then there will be another Columbus show in May, on the 11th. That’s gonna be at Victory’s Live, more info about the lineup will be announced.