Sese: Enter the Age of Aquarius
We caught up with Sese (Sayzee as of 2017) to talk Age of Aquarius, Union Gang, CBC’s Greatest Rappers Ever list, and announce a new release coming soon called Smokers Only.
Note: Sese now goes by the moniker Sayzee, as of sometime in 2017.
One great aspect of HipHopCanada being so old (14-years-old is ancient by web standards) is the amount of careers we’ve been able to support and witness grow. We don’t often stop to appreciate how much insight it gives us on where artists are coming from and how hard they’ve worked to be successful.
For people like Classified, one of the most successful Canadian rappers on the market, it took more than several albums before the mainstream media and record labels took notice. He worked hard, improved with every release and consistently dropped new material until the success caught up with him. He was long overdue for the deals and radio spins by the time they came, but the point is they did come and he didn’t give up. It’s patience, consistency, work ethic, and of course, talent. There’s also marketing know-how, budget availability, brand development and various other things, but you get the picture.
“Aquarius Rising was kind of an accident. It just happened. That’s how my pre-tapes always occur. Straight accidental dopeness.” – Sese
Not everyone has the total package but lately it feels like the overall quality of Canada’s releases has stepped up on all fronts. It could also have something to do with the sudden spike in International scouts looking to recruit the next Drake or Boi-1da. You’re not really keeping with the times if your record label hasn’t at least tested the market up here to see what’s available. The North Is Next. Have you seen our roster of producers? Unbelievable.
But this is about one of our next level rappers named Sese. He’s someone I rate very highly and have had the pleasure of watching his career grow for close to 10 years. His dedication to releasing videos with new music has helped him expand his fan base internationally at an impressive rate. After one week of his last project, YFRWN2, being posted on HipHopCanada, Sese had already received downloads from over 75 countries – and that was just our site.
His latest release, Age of Aquarius, has been out for over a week and it’s the first Sese project to drop with a price tag attached. There’s been a few negative comments thrown around online about a sudden need to pay but the overall response has been positive. He’s released close to 10 free mixtapes in his career already and the progression to the retail market is only natural. It should be encouraged since a stronger flow of money would do the whole industry a lot of good. Age of Aquarius is a quality release featuring the production quality you’ve come to expect from Sese’s catalog. There’s also a new banger called “Main Ingredient” that pairs the MC up with award-winning producer Beat Merchant for the first time.
Sese has been consistent and his talent is undeniable. As HipHopCanada’s own Jonathon “Bizz” Brown pointed out in a recent review of the project, Sese has shown progression with every release he’s put forward and Age of Aquarius is no exception.
We caught up with Sese to discuss AOA, his Union Gang, his views on CBC’s The Greatest Canadian Rappers Ever list and much more. Enter the Age of Aquarius:
HipHopCanada: Welcome back to HipHopCanada and congratulations on the new release, Age of Aquarius. Let’s start with something fans have been wondering about: Age of Aquarius had originally been projected to come out a bit earlier but it had suddenly been pushed back unexpectedly. Can you touch on why there was a delay?
Sese: I was once told good things never go as planned (Laughing). Basically, I had an album of about 12 tracks I wanted to release. I had planned for AOA to be released this past summer. My manager Aristo went through the songs and said, “Fuck this. Make it better.” So I did.
HipHopCanada: What was your overall vision for Age of Aquarius when you first got started on it? Other than the fact that many consider us now to be in the Age of Aquarius, astrologically speaking, but does the name have a personal connection as well?
Sese: The name definitely has a connection to me. I’m February born. So I’m Aquarius to the bone. A lot of people who know me well say I fit the Aquarius description perfect. My mind is always everywhere and I’m always trying to focus on 57 things at once… common water sign foolishness.
HipHopCanada: (Laughing) No doubt. In terms of production, how did you decide which producers you were going to work with?
Sese: Well as far as producers, every one I had on the EP I was already working with. The 2oolman. The Vokab. The Superville. But this was my first time working with Beat Merchant. I’ve been a fan of his work for a minute, through hearing records he did with Redway. As far as the “Main Ingredient” record, Harvey stripes actually lined that up for me. We did the record and the track was hot, and he let me use it for the EP.
HipHopCanada: 2oolman has been working with you for years and even released some mixtapes together a while back. Can you tell us how you originally linked up and what kind of collaborations you have planned for the future?
Sese: Yeah, I’ve been working with 2oolman for years. Hands down, I make the best music over his production. We’ve been working close knit for a long time so the making music part just happens by accident. We have a full-length release (untitled so far) almost ready to drop, and we’re also working on an EP with Pittsburgh based clothing company, Smokers Only. We also have an upcoming collaboration on new AOA clothing and Sese merchandise.
HipHopCanada: Smokers Only EP? Can you touch on that a bit more. Sounds interesting.
Sese: Yeah, the Smokers Only is a collaborative EP my manager Aristo hooked up. Smokers Only is a clothing company based outta Pittsburgh. I decided to do the whole EP with my in house producer 2oolman. We’re a few tracks in and still working on the whole vision of the project. Gonna be a lot of weed and a lot of dope music. Really amped about getting my music in the States. I love Canada but I know as well as everybody else to make it in this music business, you have to get your music to the world. I’m getting mad YouTube views from Germany. Shout out all the German Sese fans (Laughing).
HipHopCanada: What’s your favourite song on Age of Aquarius? Why?
Sese: My favourite record is “Grass.” Not sure why. It is the most recent recorded song so that’s probably why I like it… it’s still fresh (Laughing). But I’m really attached to the “Faded” and “Put It Up” records too. Hard to pick.
HipHopCanada: Along with the newly released EP, you’ve also got a new video for your 2oolman-produced record, “T.H.R.” Tell us about working with director Zac Facts and what kind of visual message you were trying to send.
Sese: Zac is just on another planet. He can take a black curtain room and make it look like we’ve got a real budget. He’s got some very dope work! Looking forward to cookin’ up more visuals with him.
HipHopCanada: Should we expect any other videos to be released in support of AOA?
Sese: Yeah, there’s gonna be a bunch of AOA videos for sure. I helped build my career through viral videos so I’ll always stay true to that formula. These days people want to see and hear. Just “listening” alone ain’t good enough anymore.
HipHopCanada: Will there be an official Age of Aquarius tour? When will fans get a chance to see you on the road?
Sese: We’re in the process of setting up an AOA tour right now. We gotta bring this wave everywhere! If anyone is interested in booking a show in they city, hit me up.
HipHopCanada: What kind of response did you get from the AOA pre-tape, Aquarius Rising? Was there anything on that release that was originally intended for AOA?
Sese: Aquarius Rising was kind of an accident. It just happened. That’s how my pre-tapes always occur. Straight accidental dopeness. We released a few videos and the tape got a good response from the fans. AOA and Aquarius Rising were very different from my earlier releases. I’m glad the fans let me do what I want with this music and they still fuck with me. That’s a blessing.
HipHopCanada: Age of Aquarius is the first project you’ve released for sale, instead of as a free download. What made you decide to take that route? Have you or your team had any concerns about taking this approach since it’s new territory for you guys?
Sese: I was just sick of working so hard just to turn around and give all my blood sweat as tears away for free. Anyone who been following me knows I’ve given away multiple free, dope quality mixtapes. This time I was like, “you know what, let’s see if they will support me foreal”. And they are.
HipHopCanada: Good to hear. What is the Union Gang and who is part of the movement?
Sese: Union gang is my team of artists I came up with. It’s a family thing before music. The group consists of rappers AWOL, Bliz, Chui (Free Chui), Thoby G, Reasonn, Tino, Verbal and myself. we also have producers Acres and my young boy, Jmak Beatz.
HipHopCanada: We heard rumors that after AOA, you’d be focusing on a Union Gang group effort. Any truth to that?
Sese: Yeah, absolutely. We have 16 tracks, featuring all original production, finished and ready to go. #UTVMG Volume One, it’s fire. I Haven’t had a chance to build a group album since my earlier team offense collaborations. So it was dope to get in the studio with the fellas. Every session was like a party (Laughing).
HipHopCanada: There’s been a lot of chatter lately about CBC’s The Greatest Canadian Rappers Ever list which came out not to long ago. What’s your take on it? Did anyone stand out as missing?
Sese: Like I mean, when it comes to a hottest rappers ever list, there’s gonna be some bullshit that comes along with that. Lists are mostly based on opinion. But I looked it over. Had a couple of homies on the list. Couple of people I know who should of been on the list. But over all it was good. Just to add, there was a few names that I can out-write, out-spit, and just overall out-do musically. But hey, my time will come… Also, Luu BreeZe should been on that list. Shit is blasphemy! (Laughing)
HipHopCanada: Considering how many “Canadian Firsts” Drake has achieved as a rapper, do you think it makes sense that he end up 4th on the list?
Sese: Drake should have been #2, as far as achievements and career. Maestro absolutely deserved to be #1, he’s a living legend. Dude gave me some of the best career advice I’ve ever received. Every Canadian rapper needs to pay homage to Wes.
HipHopCanada: Aside from CBC’s take on the scene, who are you personally checking for? Which Canadian artist has you more excited than the rest?
Sese: I’m checking for Union Gang, especially Thoby G. I’m doing some executive producing on his new EP Kool Summer Breeze, we’re working on that. Definitely checking for that City In Gold by that boy Luu Breeze… and Devon Tracy’s Room Full of Mirrors… waiting on that Rookie of the Year from my dude Syph. There’s a lot of dope music coming out and that’s just the people in my circle. Canada over all is stepping it up.
HipHopCanada: It definitely is. Can you talk a bit more about your relationship with Thoby G and his Kool Summer Breeze project? Is developing artists something you’ve wanted to get into?
Sese: Yeah, Thoby G is an artist that my brother AWOL introduced me too a few years back. Thoby, to me, is that new new! He got that flow that just cuts through beats. He just stared rapping seriously and is blowing a lot of these veterans out the water, in my opinion. Kook Summer Breeze is gonna be his first official release. All I really did was help find him beats, went to the studio and helped him build some of the tracks. I never really thought about developing an artist, but with Thoby I had no choice. His passion and talent speaks for itself. I believe in him as an artist and as a person. His project is gonna be crazy!
HipHopCanada: So will there be a third installment to the YFRWN mixtape series?
Sese: You’re fucking right! YFRWN3 is a must!
HipHopCanada: (Laughing) No doubt. Thank you for taking the time to get us updated, Sese. Anything else you’d like to say to our readers before we wrap this up?
Sese: If you’re rocking with me buy this Age of Aquarius record. I put a lot into this so I need everybody to go listen to it… or buy it, or steal it… just listen to it! I’m just trying to smoke good weed and make beautiful music. Peace.
HipHopCanada: Can’t be mad at that!
Written by Jesse Plunkett for HipHopCanada