NMV Sit Down: OG Stevo
Up and coming star OG Stevo discusses releasing his new EP, overcoming loss, and inspiring his community through collaboration and extracurriculars.
We were lucky enough to sit down and chat with the Chicago hit maker as he talked about some of his experiences growing up and how those times have helped contribute to his growth as an artist, and what he plans to tackle for the future in his career.
SM: Steven Mainzer
Stevo: OG Stevo
*Editor's note - this interview took place before the release of 'The Last OG'*
SM: Hey Stevo, how’s it going, what have you been up to?
Stevo: I just been chilling with Coronavirus going on, I can’t do nothing but be in the house and go to the studio.
SM: What have you been working on lately?
Stevo: Right now, I’m working on a couple singles, an EP -- quick little 4 or 5 song project.
SM: Can you spoil any details about the project?
Stevo: All I can say is, it’s going to be a project that people are going to tune into, a lot of heartfelt songs, some that are more so turnt, giving people an insight of who I am basically.
SM: Can you talk about the meaning behind one of your more recent songs “Neighborhood Hero?”
Stevo: My definition is somebody who has come from struggle or adversity and who has overcome it and used the same resources to get out the situation they were in. You don’t have to be from adversity to be a neighborhood hero. Anybody that is a positive light in their community can be considered a neighborhood hero.
SM: Can you talk about an example?
Stevo: Homies passing away. Growing up in Chicago, I’m from the North side in Rogers Park, I have had a lot of homies pass away due to gun violence and gang violence, really just pass away from a lot of stuff, but I probably have had over 15 homies pass because of the streets. Going through all that it forces me to move differently. I see the s**t that they did, and I try to steer away.
SM: I noticed “Fishbowl” a while back. Can you talk about how that record came about?
Stevo: "Fishbowl" around that time, I was listening to a lot of Valee’, you can hear that kind of sauce and cadence when you hear that song, but the song came because I was at school and my homie was in my car. I didn’t have tints in my car, they were like, “Why you riding around in a “Fishbowl?" I figured I would make a song dedicated to homies hot boxing their car not giving a f**k.
SM: What special plans do you have for 2020?
Stevo: I want to give people music that they are going to feel and relate to. I want to drop some real quality tracks, real movies. I only want to drop music that's perceived positively. I started off with “OG Graduation” and “Neighborhood Hero.” Hopefully I can keep on that same path and uplift the community.
SM: Any career goals that you want to achieve?
Honestly, I do. With this music I want to open my own gym, my own rec center and put it right in the hood. The reason why I wasn’t in the streets like that was because I was hooping and I was playing basketball. I want to give kids extracurricular activities that’s going to keep them away from staying in the streets, if they have something to do for free, if you can play basketball or football, there’s no reason for you to be in the streets. I also want to remodel some of the old gyms in the hood, some of them do not even have fans in them. I just want to make a difference in my community and those like me in my community.
SM: Who are some of your biggest influences?
Stevo: Music wise, I would say Akon. I feel like when I was growing up, we didn’t really appreciate the type of music he was making, that’s all I listened to , that’s all my dad listened to, I listened on the 8 track CD player and s**t. I listened to a lot of Akon growing up.
SM: Any dream collaborations in mind?
Stevo: I would love to work with Herb and Chief Keef. Herb that’s my favorite artist, especially coming out of the city. I want to work with Durk, Jay- Z, Yo Gotti, real pioneers in this s**t. If I could, I would make a song with Akon, if time permits.
SM: What would that sound like?
Stevo: Ethnocentric, real melodic. I do not know, I can’t even hear the song, I just know it would be some hard s**t.
SM: You are embedded in the scene. You have artists that respect you and you have close colleagues. What are some Chicago collaborations you have enjoyed?
Stevo: I am going to give you a list of producers, videographers and artists.
Producers: OG Mic Will. He made "Fishbowl", "OG Graduation" and "Neighborhood Hero". I have also been working with DJ Ayo, JTK, All Day, TY Made IT, Gold Haze. A lot of producers. That’s just some that come off my head.
Videographers: 710cheechbeats, he shot “Heavy Steppers,” he might be my favorite, because shooting with him is always comfortable. I have worked with Nick Rodriguez from Cali. I got my own shooting team right now OG Films, that includes LDR visions, Mo Films, LJ Productions. I also shot with Will Mass. I shot a lot, but these are off the top of my head.
Rappers: 'LGado, Lil Twan, Teejay Mafioso, Lil Romo Solly Bandz,100 Flex. He is super hard.
SM: Do you have any plans for a label or your own company?
Stevo: I have my own label right now, OG Music Group LLC. I’m not really looking to sign anybody, it’s for collateral, just to have it. Just me and a couple other OG’s. OG Denzo, my cousin, OG Wodie, OG Ice, and OG Guala as well. That is just home base. I got my own LLC though.
SM: What do you like to do away from music?
Stevo: Play basketball. Before I was rapping, I was playing basketball all throughout high school. I had scholarships for it in college but ended up not taking that route. I love hanging out chillin 'with friends, catching movies. Other than that, I’m pretty much a homebody. I hate going to parties. I don’t like being outside like that too much, unless it’s a show, I rather stay my ass in the house.
SM: Backwoods, Dutches or Swishers?
Stevo: Backwoods. No questions. Dutches is like the starter kit. That’s why I started with; I just like a bigger hit.
SM: What is one thing about the music industry that you wish you could change?
Stevo: Authenticity, people in the music industry don’t be a 100 like that. A lot of people be lame as hell and be fake. Be authentic, be yourself. Be 100, that is all you can be, if you can’t be yourself, then who can you be?
SM: What do you like about it?
Stevo: I like the fact that it gives n**** a platform. It makes us important in a way. Every artist has a platform, so what they do with their platform is up to them. That is it, and the fact that it’s a dream of mine to make music for a living.
SM: What advice would you give to up and coming independent artists/rappers from Chicago?
Stevo: The one piece of advice I would give them is keep going, do not stop, the only 100 percent way to not make it is if you stop. Just keep going and everything eventually will fall into place, as cliché as it may sound. But it is the truth.