“Baking soda, I got baking soda” is a hook that has blared through many speakers since O.T. Genasis’ “CoCo” became a national hit late last year. Since then, the track celebrating America’s favorite illegal pastime has not only peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 but has inspired a viral frenzy. Yup, a quick YouTube search will point to humorous references from Cocoa Puffs to Chipotle.
The rise of Long Beach native (real name Odis Flores) has been a long time coming. Since bursting into Hip Hop around 2011 due to buzzing single “Jackie Chan” featuring Dorrough, the Belizean American has seen multiple views of the industry. Following with a small stint at G-Unit, an independent grind led to local hit “Touchdown” which also caught the attention of Busta Rhymes. Since then, he’s found himself member of Busta’s emerging label The Conglomerate. The rest, is white powdered inspired history.
Speaking with HipHopDX, O.T. Genasis discusses his original plans before music, the coolest moment since dropping “CoCo” and what his time in the industry has taught him.
O.T. Genasis explains success of “CoCo”
DX: Explain the process of coming up with “CoCo”s hook and the baking soda line. Where were you the moment you actually heard “CoCo” on the radio?
O.T. Genasis: Just vibes man, a little bit of alcohol and good people around. Mostly great studio vibes though. I first heard it in New York. It was dope and humbling. You’re in a whole different state, especially where I come from. New York is the mecca of Hip Hop so me coming out there and getting all that love from guys like DJ Clue and Funk Master Flex was a great experience.
DX: What’s your typical studio set-up in getting these vibes?
O.T. Genasis: Just having fun. Sometimes, I don’t get shit done and sometimes I get a little bit done. Sometimes I can do a whole song. It’s all about having fun man and sticking to the game plan. We don’t try too hard because at the end of the day, before all of this shit, that was what I was doing. When you put yourself into a position where you’re forced to do something, you can’t deliver because it’s not fun anymore. Though it’s a business you still have to have fun with this shit and balance it out.
DX: Did you ever get a chance to listen to Lil Wayne’s much talked about freestyle to the track? Any thoughts?
O.T. Genasis: Yeah, I heard it. He went in. I know it was kind-of personal for him but yeah.
DX: There are a lot of artists now a days in this single run industry who fizzle out after one hit. What have you learned from your relationship with Busta Rhymes in avoiding that problem?
O.T. Genasis: I just do me. It don’t take a whole lot. If you make it difficult, it’s going to be difficult. You have to keep things simple. I just stand my ground and have respect for everyone. You give respect, you get respect. As far as the game goes, I just learned from everyone including Busta and have respect. It’s not too much, everyone is making this hard. This shit is not hard.
Meeting Busta Rhymes And Being A Fan of Rap Delivery
DX: Describe your first interaction with Busta and why he decided to bring you onto The Conglomerate.
O.T. Genasis: Last year at the BET Awards Weekend, I was performing “Touchdown” in L.A. at this club Playhouse. I performed the song like four or five times and the crowed was super crazy. Busta pulled me to the side and gave me the whole nine. A couple of days later we go to the studio and start chopping it up. Everything fell into my hand and started to sound pretty good. We made the deal happen with The Conglomerate and a couple of months later, we had the deal with Atlantic. A few months later, “CoCo.”
DX: How much of a fan were you of Busta before getting introduced to him on that fateful night?
O.T. Genasis: I was a huge fan of Busta. At the end of the day, he’s a legend and been here for a long time. He’s one of the greatest. I never expected that day to happen.
DX: Though “CoCo” is your first big radio hit, “Jackie Chan” and “Touchdown” were critical moments within your career as well. How did those two tracks influence your approach with “CoCo?”
O.T. Genasis: They didn’t. Everything is different. When I go in, I’m not trying to beat my other songs though that should be the plan. I’m not trying to be my last song. I’m just trying to make another hot record.
DX: What does it really take to blow as an artist and then to sustain from your perspective?
O.T. Genasis: Really man just the grind, the hustle, being true to your and respect. Last, I’d say stay prayed up.
DX: That track sounds very southern Hip Hop vibe. What aspects of West Coast and Southern Rap along with Busta’s East Coast influence have you drawn upon specifically?
O.T. Genasis: I’m just a student of the game when it comes to music period; every genre. I take everything whether it’s the creativity, lyricism or whatever and try to make it into one. I’m a big fan of delivery. That’s why “CoCo” sounds the way it sounds. When I do a record, it has to sound perfect. It has to sound the same way, I hear it in my head.
DX: Talk your coolest moment since “CoCo” blew into the consciousness of mainstream music. Anyone reach out to you?
O.T. Genasis: I’d say Timbaland. I definitely plan on working with him in the future. We got something going.
Lessons Learned From 50 Cent And New Album
DX: Where does this lead into your reported next full length project Alarm? Are you feeling the pressure to deliver something great considering how explosive the single was?
O.T. Genasis: My next project is almost done. We’re trying to put it out very soon but everything has to be right with me. I don’t want to rush nothing because I didn’t rush “CoCo.” I’m going to stick with my guns. I’d just say that the project is dope and will let everyone figure everything else out. Honestly, I’m not worried about pressure. Everyone is more worried about it than I am. I just kick it and do me. This is me; “CoCo” I did that and it wasn’t an accident. I don’t feel pressure because I’m doing me.
DX: Your Belizean accent sorta comes out of your voice during tracks. What was it like growing up with that type of background in Long Beach?
O.T. Genasis: It’s weird but it’s nice at the same time cause coming from a street standpoint. A lot of people don’t understand that it’s a lot of Belizeans in LA and then you have them in different hoods. Then, certain people may think you run with these people or you run with these people. I would have to get into great detail on how that works but I don’t want to take it to the streets right now.
DX: When was the exact moment you realized Hip Hop was your outlet of ultimate expression?
O.T. Genasis: Probably around high school. In high school I wanted to be a football player but it couldn’t work. I was always ineligible and always getting myself into some shit. So as you know, music was my second love. Football was my first and music was my second. I took to grinding and I’m glad everything that happened, happened because I’m at a point where I perfected my craft. I have so many different styles and so many different things. It’s just real dope right now for me.
DX: Formerly on G-Unit, what did you learn from that experience in approaching the music buisness?
O.T. Genasis: I learned a lot from 50 Cent; from how he moved around to how he carried himself. It was watching who he kept around him and who he avoided. Just watching him, I learned a lot. When I left there, I learned a lot independently. It’s like you have to learn the business but you can’t wait on anyone. You can never wait on nobody. Not to talk bad about anyone or be disrespectful but you can’t wait on anyone in this business. Leaving G-Unit and making my way toward Atlantic, it was the same thing. You can’t wait on anybody, you just have to go. I’m not waiting for anybody, it’s turn up time.
DX: How did you take that independent grind and bring that to a major label?
O.T. Genasis:As crazy as it sounds, I don’t buy into this artistry shit. It’s kind of like the only way to be there, is to act like I have nothing or hustling. I have to be in that mode. I can’t buy into that shit because the second I do, that’s when shit starts to change. That’s when I might fuck up. I don’t buy into this music industry shit that everybody talks about. I just stick to my guns and understand that all of this can be taken away from me at any moment so the best thing that I can do is capture it and take advantage of it. I don’t be Hollywood or non of that. It’s a bitter/sweet thing because it comes back to bite because I don’t embrace that I’m a superstar. Just because I know where I come from in terms of my nationality and background. I just stay me.