Two years ago, Shawn Chrystopher was ready to quit music because he put on a show that was in his words, “trash.” Two years later he’s selling out the legendary S.O.B.s in New York City. Selling out the venue was his “no turning back” moment. Driven by fear of nine-to-five's and the guy "who used to rap" stigma, Shawn Chrystopher doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
This multi-talented rapper, poet, and producer went on tour a month ago to promote his latest mixtape, The Audition. In hopes to prove that he shouldn’t have to audition for roles he already deserves, Shawn says he worked harder on The Audition than on any other project.
What once was just a 13-year-old’s dream is now becoming a 23-year-old’s lifestyle. Chrystopher says the craziest part about all the hype is being recognized in the street. He still trips out about the number of NBA players who listen to his music before games and tweet him invites to games. With sold-out shows and rising popularity, this Inglewood native tells DXnext that he's on his way.
Rapping Her Into Reality: “I’m in such a great space that I want to share that with someone else. As a man, I want to have a woman that I can take care of or we can share things together. I think that in Rap, we try to speak a lot of things into fluition. We like to talk about cars and planes and clothes that we don’t have yet, in hopes that people believe it and later on we’ll get the money to buy all this. So, I kind of speak into fluition my relationships with women. Although I don’t have that yet, this is what I see in a woman and I’m trying to speak it into fluition so hopefully I’ll get it later.”
Poetic Background: “I used to go to poetry lounges out around my neighborhood, and I would just show up and go there by myself or whatever, and just like spit stories about my life or like stories that I would make up; fictitious stories about characters that aren’t really real, just to see how people would react to things that I wrote and also to build my stage presence and that transferred over to music.”
Auditioning: “I’m doing all this work and it’s like I still have to audition to get all these roles that I feel should just be offered to me. Like actors like Denzel [Washington] or Will Smith, they don’t have to audition anymore because their prior work does that for them. They just have to be like, 'Yo send me whatever role you think I would like, I’ll read it and then let you know kind of thing.' So I’m like, 'Yo I wanna’ get to that level in music where I don’t have to audition in music anymore, where you just give things to me and I pick and choose.' That’s where the Audition [title] came from.”
Staying True: “I think with music right now people can really tell when people aren’t being themselves. People are really actors. With me, I never portray anything I’m not. I’m just a kid who does music and I rap about things I know. I rap about clothes, I rap about things I’ve gone through in my life, I rap about my friends, my little sister, my mom. I’m just being me. I think being 100% genuine with people, they can feel that.”
Dropping Out: “I would work on music and go to school at the same time. Trying to do both, I became mediocre in both of them. I was getting mediocre grades and I was making mediocre music because I was trying to balance both. I wasn’t used to getting B-'s and C’s and the music that I was making wasn’t really good, so I had to choose. Since I knew that I would never get my youth back, and no matter how old I am I can always go back to school. I made the decision to leave. I walked away from a four-and-a-half-year scholarship I got when I went to University of Southern California to pursue this music thing. At first, for the couple years it was like damn this dude made the dumbest mistake of his entire life, and now people that I went to college with who thought I was an idiot for leaving, are asking me for tickets to shows, so it’s kind of dope.”
NBA Fans: “It’s kind of random. I just go around the country and get tickets to [NBA] games and it’s kind of crazy. I had like NBA players hit me up on Twitter and tell me that they listen to my music before games. I think that no matter who you are, you’re going to relate to music no matter how big or small the person may be in terms of like superstardom. Music is still music. And so you know, they just really connect with my music and me. I used to play basketball when I was in high school, but I really didn’t go anywhere, but it’s kind of cool that basketball players can relate to it. I live and breathe basketball, almost as much as I do music, so it’s like that much more exciting when people who I look up to and I would watch, hit me up and say, 'Come to the game tonight and let’s chill afterwards.'”