Get To Know Kuhsigh [Interview]

Preston Breck

Inglewood native Kuhsigh is one of the most exciting names in LA’s rising hip-hop scene. The self-produced rapper has been making waves online with tracks such as “WASTE NO DAY” and “GOIN BACK IN” that showcase his infectious flows over hard hitting drums and luscious samples. With only seven songs released in the past year or so, Kuhsigh’s career as an artist came unbeknownst to any of his family or friends, releasing tracks without any videos or promotion. Now, the rapper is ready to take off, showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. I sat down with Kuhsigh to talk more about his creative process, influences, and goals for the future.

You’re just now popping up on a lot of people’s radars. How long have you been in the game and how did you first get into music and rap?

My introduction into making music was through making beats. I grew up listening to all types of rap, and once I got to middle school I decided I wanted to try making the beats for it. I was on and off with it back then, so I didn't really get good at making beats until quarantine. I had a lot of time on my hands so I said fuck it, why not. 

I always wanted to rap on my beats too but I was kinda in denial about it, just because I didn't know how people would react to it. But one day I just did it. After like a year of making songs on my own I started putting them out, and here we are.

Who are some of the biggest influences on your sound? Rapper, producer, or both.

Shit, there’s so many to name. I listen to everything and it all inspires me. For beats, I'd say all the big trap producers old and new inspired me a lot. Zaytoven, Metro, Pierre, Southside, I've learned a lot from all of them. Outside of trap, Tyler the Creator influences what I do a lot, too. I love the grand sound he brings to a lot of his records with the strings and the chords he uses. There's a big Kanye influence, too, especially with all the soul music I sample.

I can go on all day but as far as rap influences, a lot of Lil Wayne, Xavier Wulf, Ye and Carti. I love the energy they all bring, and I try to bring the same lyricism Wayne and Kanye would bring on their songs into my own tracks.

How has coming up in Inglewood helped shape your sound? Do you draw from any LA-based rap or producer influences or contemporaries?

I definitely grew up listening to a ton of LA shit. Those first YG mixtapes, especially Just Re’d Up 1 & 2 were getting playtime. I think Dj Mustard’s production on those definitely influence the simplicity I look for when I make my shit.

Kendrick is one of my favorite rappers ever, and that jazz/funk/blues sound he has on some of his records definitely left a mark on me. So yeah, I think I do pull from LA music in pretty subtle ways.

Describe your creative process when producing. Where do you look first for samples? How do you know when something catches your ear and what elements of a beat do you usually start with?

It usually starts with the sample for me. If I hear something that brings an emotion out of me (and it can really range from pure awe to depression) I try to use it and build on top of it. When I'm not feeling too inspired by the samples I'm hearing though, I'll just go ahead and try to make something from scratch.

The bounce of the drums are probably the most important part of my beats though, and that's something I got from Pi’erre. I want my shit to be danceable to a certain extent.

“GOIN BACK IN” has been a huge highlight of your discography thus far, how did that song come to be? Did it start as a beat and what was your inspiration for creating it?

That’s probably my favorite song that I have out. It started out as a beat and funny enough I actually made that beat in Africa. My family is Eritrean, and this past summer we went to visit family we haven’t seen in a long time. I had my interface and my laptop on the trip so I could make beats out there and that was one of them.

At the time I was listening to a lot of Lil Wayne (that's where the name came from) and Tyler, the Creator because that was pretty much all I had downloaded on my Spotify. I hear those influences in that song for sure. When I came back home I wrote and recorded it fast as hell, then put it out a week later.

What was it like working with Zach Olson for the “GOIN BACK IN” video? The visuals are fire.

Zach is fucking crazy. I don’t know how he did all that with the footage we got because I swear he did not have much to work with. He’s just that good. I see him really being one of them ones in the near future. Everybody’s gonna want a video with him real soon. He’s dope.

You’ve been working with Supreme and a few other producers, too. What was it like making your upcoming track “Supreme Freestyle” and is your creative process different when working with producers other than yourself?

Working with Supreme is dope. We have pretty similar production styles even though we come from different areas of rap, so it was pretty natural. He has a good ear for samples and his drums are always hitting.

Before we ever talked and got cool with each other, he sent me the beat for that song after finding one of my songs. The beat sat in my email for a while until I looked at it and I was surprised I hadn’t rap on it yet. I didn't even really write that song, I just opened up my voice memo app & started rapping because the inspiration was there.

When working with producers, I definitely like to be in the mix with the creation of the beat somehow. But it's nice to play the back and have someone bring your vision to life. I'm definitely looking forward to working with more producers.

What are some dream collaborations for you? Rapper, producer, creative, or anyone, really.

I really wanna work with everyone. I definitely wanna get something in with everyone mentioned before: Wayne, Carti, Ye, Tyler, the Creator. I don’t know what we’d make but I’m with it. Young Thug would be dope, free my dawg. Drake, of course. I could really go forever, but anyone with music I love I wanna collaborate with.

What are your goals for music and what do you hope to accomplish or contribute to hip hop? 

Honestly I want to leave a mark in this shit. Make a real legacy. This is what I’ve wanted since I was a kid so I will not stop anytime soon. I wanna continue making new music, pushing me and my sound to new limits and just keep creating.

What’s next for you? Is there anything dope you’re working on now that you can hint at?

A whole lot more music. I got so much shit stashed that I'm looking forward to sharing. So many more collabs with so many artists I admire. This is really just the beginning and I can't wait to keep this shit going. Maybe even a tape in the near future…

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