NAME: DJ SAWBUCK
CITY: CHICAGO (HYDE PARK)
LANE: DJ / PRODUCER
Not too long ago, I sat down with DJ Sawbuck at The Museum of Contemporary Art. Now if you know anything about the hip-hop scene in Chicago, you know DJ Sawbuck has definitely played a vital part in its growth, culture, and popularity. I was looking to get some more insight on what the Chicago-born DJ was up to, what his next move was, and how he planned to take over the summer.
RM: What are you looking forward to the most this summer?
DJSB: So many things really. This summer I’m just looking forward to going on tour, the summer time Chicago energy, and more. The vibes are always right, all of the late nights always feel right and I’m ready to just fuck the summer up you know what I mean?
RM: Yeah I definitely feel that. So let’s talk about some of the artist that you’ve worked with at this point in your music career.
DJSB: Forti Eight is one of my favorite. Plu2o Nash is one of the best producers I’ve ever had a chance to see in the studio. I will never forget Rooski and Lucki Ecks. They are some of the main people that I work with. Rooski and I really vibe off of each other. When we’re together, it’s one brain in the studio, that’s how well we work. I appreciate working with KP from 197, he’s like Beethoven, he knows so much about music. I have also worked with Warholss. He’s one of the few dudes who I’ve seen go into the booth and just freestyle everything and still end up with a dope ass product.
RM: Warholss has been making waves lately, what do you think about him?
DJSB: Warholss has been on the come up since last summer, I’m happy for both him and DJ Stain they are both out here really doing their thing. Warholss is someone who you will want to keep a real close eye on. His name is everywhere now and he deserves all of the success he has coming to him in the future.
RM: How is working with Lucki, it was through his music where I first heard your name.
DJSB: I owe that man a million, that’s my blood brother. He’s only a year older than me but he’s really mature with how he carries himself. He has taught me a lot of things, and my whole come up really started with him. Just looking back on the entire process and the growth that has come with Lucki is really humbling. I am very happy for him, and the world isn’t ready for what we have in store. Shout out to A$AP MOB.
RM: Right now there are so many things moving around in the Chicago music scene, a lot of artist coming up and a lot of different sounds being pushed. What are some things about the Chicago music scene that are pet peeves?
DJSB: I have two pet peeves. One of them is that people feel like they have to rap about certain things to gain an audience. I would never rap about anything I don’t do, hip-hop is all about sharing your real life experiences, and what you’ve done as an individual. If you aren’t doing that you aren’t helping the culture. The second thing I’m not a huge fan of that has recently been brought to my attention, is that a lot of Chicago people aren’t always open to work with other individuals. It has improved, that’s why I’m such a huge fan of the Summer. In the Summer everyone is in a better mood which allows for more work to be done.
RM: I peeped this tweet from you a few days ago where you were knocking down any opinions that said Kodak Black and Chief Keef are similar. Why do you think people are saying they are similar?
DJSB: I mean other than them being young as hell and both doing their thing, but Sosa represents an entire new genre of music. Not many people had that sound, and Keef was one of the ones to perfect it. Chief Keef has done so much for Chicago and contrary to popular belief, he actually has positively impacted a lot of people. People may look at me crazy for saying this, but he made it much more possible for anyone to get noticed, regardless of background. Don’t get it confused though, I’m a huge fan of Kodak. I saw him at Rolling Loud and that’s when I realized that he’s a good ass performer.
RM: Dream collaboration! If you had to work with one individual, who would it be?
DJSB: Oh wow that’s a good question. There are so many people, but my top 3 would have to be Madlib on the production side of things, R.I.P. Jaydilla. Musician wise, definitely Chief Keef. And my last selection would be like Cam’ron & Jim Jones. That shit would be too hot.
RM: So I see you’ve definitely been on the fashion tip lately. Talk a bit about your fashion influences and what’s really inspiring you these days.
DJSB: Man I’ve been on my fashion wave since I was like 12. Chicago is one of the most slept on cities when it comes to fashion but now I definitely see a lot of outsiders starting to get hip to how dope our scene really is. Joefreshgoods, Vic Lloyd have done so much for Chicago. My whole thing with fashion is this, it’s not so much about the brand you have on. I wish people could understand that. Fashion is more than what you see on social media. It’s OK to have inspiration from other people but you have to have your own style with things.
RM: So what determines how you dress in a day?
DJSB: My fashion has a lot to do with mood, for a month straight I may be rocking with only one pair of jeans. Maybe even the same shoes most of the time. My taste is definitely mood related, and less about dressing for clout.
RM: What advice can you give to the people about the summer?
DJSB: Don’t be afraid to work those shorts. A lot of dudes are so complacent in jeans all the time. Dudes have to understand that you can get fresh in a pair of shorts and still be comfortable. Being fresh is about being cozy, I don’t care what kind of fit you get off if you don’t look comfortable in it. It’s 100 degrees outside, take off the jean/timberland fit and put on some shorts.
RM: What would you say to the next kid who is trying to come up in Chicago?
DJSB: Fuck what anyone has to say about what you do, how you do it, or how you move. One thing that I have learned, and one thing I’m trying to move through everyday, is that everyone's a critic. It doesn’t matter if they think you are a good person, or a bad person, people will always talk. As well, make sure your reputation and your credibility stays intact. Always take pride in what you do. You can really mess yourself up at a young age doing some crazy shit. You will actually get blacklisted around here. Don’t burn your bridges, and don’t kiss any ass, you never know who is watching.
RM: Silence the rumors, is Freewave II on it’s way?
DJSB: Oh, possibility? That project is definite. I’m so excited for it too. It’s around the year mark from Freewave I, so you know we’re about to bring the heat on Freewave II. Shout out to Lucki, if you think what he’s done so far is good, just wait until you hear this man on Freewave II. It’s so cool to be a part of it’s creation. I know some people support their friends just to do it, but when I say that bar-for-bar Lucki Ecks might be one of the coldest, I really mean that. Freewaves are all freestyles, which makes it much more impressive. Gangsta Grillz Jr., DJ Sawbuck exclusive you know how we’re coming.
RM: What brands are you rocking with right now, I know you said you weren’t that into branding, but what’s your go to?
DJSB: Well with how I’m feeling currently, I would have to say Thrasher and Dope Boy Magic (also known as DBM). Shoutout to the whole Fat Tiger Family, those are my mentors. I remember I had the very first DBM shirt, so I have a lot of loyalty to them.
RM: Before we wrap it up, anything else you would like to tell the world?
DJSB: All in all, I really want people to know that this is our summer. All of the guys are about to reach the next level, so don’t act surprised when you see us around. Also, I started a brand called Panther Club, and it’s been on hiatus for quite a bit. I want to announce that I’m giving it to my little brother, I’m surprising him with this, so until he reads this interview, he won’t know. Rolland and Mark, they really deserve it. Women’s and Men’s apparel, be ready. Shoutout to Runaway Media you guys are going crazy, and really have been making moves. It’s going to be a beautiful summer.
-Interview conducted and transcribed by Lasalle Smith.