Warhol.SS is technically a pioneer. He is one of the very first rappers to get popping off of SoundCloud, among other well-known rap entities such as the late Juice WRLD, Lil Peep and Smokepurpp and his innovative music video for “Speed Racer” was sort of what helped Lyrical Lemonade founder Cole Bennett get popping in 2016.
He is the SoundCloud rapper old heads love to talk about.
The 22-year-old Chicago rap star just released his M.I.A. EP, which he says is the tape before the real mixtape. Essentially, M.I.A. is just something to hold fans over and features guest appearances from Ugly God and Famous Dex.
With remnants of SoundCloud nostalgia behind, Warhol.SS explains to HipHopDX why Spotify is now the new preferred distribution platform of choice, gloats in the praise Dave East recently bestowed upon him for his SoundCloud come-up and reveals why he chose to drop out of college after one week.
HipHopDX: What happened between SoundCloud, and then going to Spotify?
Warhol.SS: I just started pushing on Spotify. I started dropping more on Spotify and exed out of SoundCloud. Everybody started going on that shit.
HipHopDX: Was there a reason for that?
Warhol.SS: Nah, [SoundCloud] was just the first shit I knew. I didn’t really know shit. I didn’t learn about other music platforms and how to get my shit on there, until I was 19 or 20 something.
HipHopDX: I think SoundCloud was popping in like 2016? 2015?
Warhol.SS: 2015. And then, I popped on the scene in 2016.
HipHopDX: I feel like I heard your name a couple of years ago, a lot, and then things quieted down a lot. What was the reason for that?
Warhol.SS: I was working on my own sound and shit. “Speed Racer” wasn’t really my style.
HipHopDX: Can you tell me about that music video? Were you shocked when it went crazy like that?
Warhol.SS: Yeah, I was type shocked. I was like, “What!” Because that’s not no song I would expect, for real, to do what it did. I really can’t question what the people like, so I was like, “Fuck it.”
HipHopDX:Cole Bennett is from Chicago, as well. How did you guys connect?
Warhol.SS: Through my boy, Jake. He managed me. He found me when I had to drop out of college. I was only in college for a week.
HipHopDX: What school did you go to for a week?
Warhol.SS: I went to Western in downtown Chicago.
HipHopDX: Why? Were you just like, “This ain’t for me,”?
Warhol.SS: Yeah. It just wasn’t for me. It was more so like, “Do I want to rap, or do I want to go off to college?” And I was like, “Shit I’m not about to go off to college.” That shit was over with.
HipHopDX: What was the worst part of going to college, for you? Like, within that week. Because, that’s a short amount of time to decide that.
Warhol.SS: Waking up early as hell, and then me having the studio at night. I’m going to go from class to a studio, then be at the studio till 12:00 a.m., 1:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m., go home. Then I get home, got homework to do, then class. I don’t want that.
HipHopDX: What were you in school for?
Warhol.SS: For business marketing.
HipHopDX: Did you learn anything within that?
Warhol.SS: Hell no! No, I didn’t learn nothing.
HipHopDX: Well, people are probably studying your stuff for marketing, because the way the whole Cole Bennett thing happened, and the music video. I feel like that was the first video that I ever saw, where I was like, “Yo, Cole Bennett is like…Who is this dude?”
Warhol.SS: Cole crazy! He followed the shit. I don’t know, man.
HipHopDX: So, from then to now, what has that journey looked like for you? What have you learned?
Warhol.SS: Really that you can’t listen to what people say, you know what I’m saying? A lot of shit just be word of mouth.
HipHopDX: People online or people in real life?
Warhol.SS: People in general, in business, in real life, online, all types. The worst thing is when it be them types of fans that build a fantasy of who you are or if they see you not with someone for a long time they automatically think it’s a beef, or I don’t fuck with them no more. We just living life.
HipHopDX: What’s a proper way to pronounce your name?
HipHopDX: What’s the “.ss?”
Warhol.SS: That was my older shit, it stand for super sport.
HipHopDX: Are you a Andy Warhol fan?
Warhol.SS: I be crazy as hell to pick that name and not know who he is.
HipHopDX: Do you have a favorite Warhol piece?
Warhol.SS: I fuck with that whole banana shit. Yeah, because I remember when BAPE had the collection with the little pull-up, and when you opened it, it had the banana on the inside.
HipHopDX: What is the difference between this EP, M.I.A., and what you consider a tape, tape?
Warhol.SS: This EP is pretty much just something that was made on the road. It’s songs that I know I wasn’t going to put on the tape but that I probably put up as a preview and people just asked me to drop.
HipHopDX: Okay, these are the songs you previewed on the internet, and your fans were like, “Drop that, drop that, drop that!”
Warhol.SS: Hell yeah. Like, “What You On (WYO)” I previewed that shit on my gram in September. I put up a few songs, it was a song called,”They Know” and “WYO.” “They Know,” I put it out, just like quick shit. I had shot a video for it, and it was just already in my back pockets. I was just going to fuck off and do a drop and that was that. We didn’t drop it yet, but I felt like everybody was always asking for “WYO” in my comments. All my homies were like, “Why you ain’t drop this shit yet?”
HipHopDX: How do you know when people are going to gravitate towards a song or is it always kind of shocking to you?
Warhol.SS: Nah, you can kind of gauge it, a little bit. But, it’s really just all about what they hear because you could make 10 hard songs, but one or two of them going to always be the favorite amongst the people. You don’t know what it is until people say it.
“On My Back” was this joint put in Tyshawn Jones …TJ’s …documentary. He was trying to put one of my songs in it and I just sent the link to all this shit that he could choose from. He was like, “Nah, dog, this the one. That’s my heart.” So I sent him “On My Back.” He put it in there and when it dropped, everybody was like, “Yo! What song is this? I need the link, I need the link!” I was like, this shit not even out! That’s another song I was like, all right, we’ll put this shit up.
HipHopDX: Do you intentionally do that to see what people are going to like?
Warhol.SS: Sometimes. I’m making a song, and then it’ll be like a day in the life video, or something like that, and then I put it on the internet and that’ll make people start wanting whatever song I posted.
HipHopDX: Let’s go back to SoundCloud. Because personally, I feel like I find, a lot of my favorite artists on SoundCloud, from 6LACK to 21 Savage. How do you feel about people trying to use that word as a way to talk shit?
Warhol.SS: I feel like people should behave. We had a whole wave that was just a new wave for Hip Hop. We had a new sound and a new way of putting shit out. We was in control of all the shit, too. But for the old ears and muthafucka that didn’t make it off SoundCloud, some were mad that they wasn’t a part of it. Or mad that, “Damn, these a bunch of kids that already figured out this shit, in six months, where I done took 10 years to try to find out.” But, it’s how to play the game.
HipHopDX: Have you had a conversation or talked to anybody that’s a OG rap head about it?
Warhol.SS: Dave East. Dave East was like, “Nah. Get your money if you got a way.” If you think about it, SoundCloud is like when crack first came out. Niggas was selling coke, and then niggas figured out a new way and made coke jump, started making money and buying that. That’s life. That’s like SoundCloud with music. SoundCloud was just a new way to hit dope.
Follow Warhol.SS’ on Instagram @warhol.ss.