Here in Columbus, there are a multitude of local upcoming artists that are all striving to make a name for themselves. Bhad Waiz, a Dayton native, is a particular local talent that has surely made some notable noise over the past couple of years and is one of numerous members of the group GRG (“Gods Recognize Gods”). He took the time to sit with FlyPaper so he could tell us about his musical journey thus far, and where he plans to take it.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you’re connected to Columbus?
Well I’m originally from Dayton, I came up to Columbus initially for school (Ohio State University), and along the way I decided to follow my music passion. I found myself doing both music and school at the same time, until one day I came to the conclusion to solely focus on music. In terms of my connection to Columbus, I’ve always had family up here, and it’s one of the fastest cities in Ohio. The art scene here is quickly growing, and I feel like I can really be a part of that new wave that’s coming through Columbus.
What initially got you involved with music?
When 6th grade hit, I started listening to music much more, especially hip-hop. Lil Wayne was really starting to blow up around that time, and hearing him back then, he made himself stand out from other rappers in the way he used crazy metaphors and said bars that literally had you stuck in amazement. You could say he had a heavy influence on my desire of becoming a rapper.
When did you start taking music seriously?
I started rapping right before my senior year of high school, but I was just doing it as a hobby and still feeling it out. I got serious once I came up here, particularly around 2013-14, when I got exposed to other talent in the local scene. There were dudes who were trying to do rap for real, so I told myself I’ve got to get myself to that level. Once I got to that level, the next move was to market myself and my craft.
How did you come up with the name “Bhad Waiz”?
Originally my rap name was “Yung Tune”, but around sophomore year of college I started thinking that if people wanted to take me seriously as an artist, I’d have to change my name as Yung Tune just sounded unoriginal and generic; and I also didn’t know that was one of Lil Wayne’s nicknames when I originally called myself that. So me and my dude Freddy (Freddy Ponder, another member of GRG) was in a dorm room and we were just literally naming off random words to formulate a new name. I eventually said “What about ‘Bad Ways’ ?”, and he said it was dope but I’d have to spell it differently, so he actually the one that came up with the spelling for the name. So we stuck with it.
How did you begin to promote your music?
I typically talk about the song or project first on social media, and maybe drop some cover art or something along with it. Then I’ll upload it to Soundcloud, and text it directly to my close friends. I’d also get it sponsored on Facebook so that it’ll reach more people, regardless of whether they actually listen to it or not, just to get them exposed to it. And if they click on it and listen, that’s even better. So far, that’s the promotion process for right now until I can find a legit marketing system.
What was you turning point from first starting to where you are today?
2014 when I dropped my first video. It was during the time when I had just dropped out of school and was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do next and how to best go about kick-starting my career. I was listening to all different kinds of music at the time and stumbled across a new beat, so I just rapped to it and made a dope video for it, and people fucked with it heavy. That’s when things really got serious and I finally knew what I was trying to do, instead of just throwing music out.
Do you have an upcoming project?
I have a compilation of songs (not an ‘album’ or ‘mixtape’) that I plan on dropping soon, and it will have an overlying concept tied to it. The title of the project is Telescope. I want people’s emotions to resonate with the music. The beats will set the mood, and the lyrics will express the message I’m trying to get across – that message being: there’s no ceiling to your talent or potential as you can always be better. But you can only see that potential if you look for it. And to see farther out and truly visualize the extreme depths of said potential, you need a telescope. Once you see it, then that’s when you start to work for it and try to reach that untapped potential.
What would you say sets you apart from other upcoming artists?
I think my sound is different from other artists. But what sets me most apart the most is my work ethic and the things I do to try achieve my goals. I try to spend three to four hours a day in the studio and do one or two songs. In addition to writing lyrics in my spare time, I typically spend at least an hour or so a day reading blogs or looking up different avenues to submit music through. I can also spend hours listening to all kinds of beats. When I’m in the car driving from place to place while I’m working, I’ll listen to a beat and freestyle to it just to try and get some ideas flowing. At least every other hour I’m doing something music related, and all the little things I do most definitely add up.
What are your goals musically?
My goals right now are to be known in Ohio. Of course you always want to be eventually be known all over the world globally, but I think that’s too much right now. Starting out as an independent artist, you have to make progress in small portions and take baby steps. If I can just focus on doing Columbus and Cleveland, and then eventually take over Cincinnati, and then go back to Dayton, that’d put me in a pretty good position. Like if I could get Ohio right now, that’d be huge. Then I’d go from the Midwest and see what happens from there.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
Honestly, the songs I have out now, most of them don’t have a real message to them. I’m just rapping trying to figure out how to do things and feel myself out. But this next collection of songs will actually a profound message to take from. Like I said before, I want people to find their own way to achieve whatever they want to do in life, so I want to motivate people to follow their passion. We as a society always push this “follow your dreams” idea, but when people actually do, we don’t respect them. So I’m trying to be an influence to young people that used to be in my shoes and give people the motivation that they can one day make it as long as they have the work ethic to do it.
I see that you’re a part of GRG – tell me a little bit about the group and what benefits does being a part of the group bring to you and your career?
With GRG, we all have something to rep. It’s not just you out there when you’re performing. I have people there to back me up and it gives me something to claim. I’m a part of an organization – I represent something other than myself and am a part of something that’s bigger than me. Everybody brings something different to the table. We have artists, producers, media people; and now we’re working on trying to create a marketing and outreach team to help us spread our name out there, represent us, and foster connections with businesses. And once we get that going, that’s when we’ll be able to really take off as a collective group.
How can people keep up with you?
I’m all over social media. Almost all of my account handles are “BhadWaiz” (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook). On Snapchat, it’s still “i_Swerv”. On SoundCloud and YouTube you can find me by searching BhadWaiz as well. I also have a couple songs on iTunes and Spotify. In general you can just Google “BhadWaiz” and all of my stuff will pop up. We also have a GRG website (www.grgthelabel.com), and on there, all the artists have their own profile page. So that’s where you can find me.