Interview with Sacario
It’s not every day that you’ll read an interview with an artist that shoots for the moon yet stays incredibly down-to-earth. Seriously – I have had an incredible time reading back these answers from Sacario – he creates no illusions about who he is or why he does what he does. There’s an incredible intelligence in his approach to the game, and though he has accomplished a musical TON in his past – he’s becoming more relevant today than ever before.
Reading these answers from Sacario made me HUNGRY. Not for food, but for LIFE. He’s extremely inspiring through the page here; attacking each answer with knowledge, drive and passion for his craft that very well could be unmatched out there in rap today. We’ll talk about the genre, the beginnings and the future of Sacario – he has an insane amount going on and the buzz going strong.
Awesome to have such a strong voice from rap here with us at sleepingbagstudios – check this out!
– Jer @ SBS
Interview with Sacario
SBS: Definitely a huge shout-out to you Sacario! Things are going better than well over there from what I can see! I’m a huge fan of being able to interview artists at the “right time” for their careers…you know, on the rise. But before we get to where you’re at in the present – tell us about where you’ve been and how you got here…for those that don’t know, who IS Sacario?
Sacario: Thanks for having me. Sacario is a billboard-charted, award-winning rapper from Manhattan, New York who never compromised his integrity or value for anyone. I’ve been observing, analyzing, reconstructing and now re-introducing myself at the present time, which I deem as the right time.
SBS: Tell us about why the “time is now.” You’ve got all kinds of things on the go, and it seems like all those pieces are coming together…
Sacario: I think it’s a feeling you get. They say when the stars align, it just happens. You can feel change. You can feel when you are close to where you want to be. Artistically, as an artist, or even as a person – when wanting to be great, it takes a certain level of resilience. Rapping is easy, getting a random deal is even easier but setting yourself up for forever is the process. And when you can see that process start to realize by the progress you make, you know it’s your time.
SBS: What I appreciate is that not only does it seem like you have the right drive to keep pushing this music thing to the limit, but you have intense skills on the m-i-c to back it up! I was checking out your track “Open Letter 2.0” for the first time during the research and right off the bat you can tell Sacario’s not playing around – he’s bringing skill, style and flavor to the beat. Where did you first test out those rap skills and how did you become a believer in what you can do?
Sacario: Funny story. First time I ever decided to rap live was in my high-school. I was going to my friend’s rehearsals at a talent show because they were rapping in it. I would just sit there and watch and then I said to myself, ‘this looks easy enough.’ I could do this.
So 2 hours before the show I wrote a rap to Xzibit’s song “Paparazzi,” which is trippy now that I think about it, because later on in life I would meet him and write songs on his album. But yeah, I performed live, the girls went crazy and I knew it was for me. But I took it seriously and every year I tried to do things that people couldn’t understand, like bring a motorcycle on stage with fog-machines.
I mean, I was fucking 16 years old. But I always wanted to be the best. I had no interest in doing anything just to do it. Most people look at the bottom guys and say ‘if they could get a record deal’ – I know I can. I look at the top and say, ‘he’s on top, but I know I’m better than him and the world will see. I don’t know why I believe in myself so much but I never doubted myself – not once. I only doubted that everyone else would ever understand me.
SBS: That track was produced by none of than Swizz Beats – a big name in production for sure! Give me the REAL Sacario – how does it feel to be getting “upped” in the game? You’re playing with major players now – that has got to be incredible! Rap itself isn’t always known for being incredibly humble through the lyrics, but when all this wicked stuff is happening for your career, how do you stay grounded?
Sacario: Well, the beat you are talking about is called “Open Letter.” That’s not my song – it’s a Jay-Z beat but I took it and rapped over it. I’ll never be humble in my lyrics. I’ll be incredibly honest and vulnerable in telling my truth but I’ll never be humble in my lyrics because I feel I am that good and nobody brags about being in 5th place.
But there is a separation between lyrics and me as a person, whereas as a person anyone that knows me will tell you I’m humble. Humility comes from failure, even on the smallest level. When you take any loss you become humanized; but champions are made through loss and humility is the ability of knowing it could be over any minute. This keeps you way grounded no matter how much you win.
SBS: You and I my friend, well…we look pretty much polar-opposite from each other. But don’t let my garden-shrub of a face fool you…I’m not ALL rock…not all the time. I have enough rap & hip-hop in my collection to make most DJ’s heads spin, let alone their turntables. When I first heard “Open Letter 2.0” I immediately thought of Jay-Z, arguably the greatest rapper of all-time to many.
I thought to myself…there HAS to be someone else…Jay-Z is almost too easy to say you know? It’s like saying I really only know the 5 major rap artists…which certainly isn’t true. But the fact remains, after searching my brain for another reference, I couldn’t find one…
And then everything felt OK. The track repeated and I noticed at the beginning of the track you mention it’s done in “one-take,” something Jay-Z himself is famous for in the studio…so now I’m thinking my reference point isn’t so bad…I mean, it IS Jay-Z after all, it’s definitely meant as a compliment!
But tell me about hitting it in one-take at the studio. No matter the instrument – that ALWAYS feels good! But is that the goal? Is there something that SOUNDS different to you in a one-take track as opposed to pieced together? Is that something you can hear in other artist’s work?
Sacario: Whenever you hear something from someone first, it is thought that that person is the creator of it. It’s the Christopher Columbus theory; America was a new discovery to him, but it had already existed before him. But the mass amount of generations of people never heard about America till after he spoke about it. Plenty of professional rappers can do a verse in one – take but not many are known as well as Jay-Z to where you would know about it. I’m a professional and so it doesn’t take me 10 attempts to record a 16 bar 1–‐minute verse.
The reason I mentioned it on record is because, well, I felt like it.
Because again, as I am delivering I feel like I am that good to do that. But that’s just
Training and practice. As far as the similarities between Jay and me, if I was any weaker than him lyrically, you would immediately know that I wasn’t him. The fact that lyrically you can’t even tell the difference just means what?
That I’m that good lyrically.
But beyond that, the more music you hear from me, the more you will be able to identify my style.
SBS: If I was to put some Sacario on a mix-tape and closed my eyes…what would you say are the key elements that would let me know that I’m listening to a Sacario track? What defines YOUR style and sound?
Sacario: Flow. No one can match my flow – it’s one of a kind. And whoever thinks different, has to hear more of my work consecutively, which they will in due time. I can flow to the most extreme depth. Wordplay is also essential; I have an extensive vocabulary. People just have a short attention span.
See, I was signed by Sylvia Rhone and Angie Martinez. I been on Kid Bop, Totally Hits, The Transporter albums…I been on billboard charts, won awards, I toured all over the U.S. and made fans all over the world. See, what that means is, professionals with a trained ear, they know the difference between me and Jay with their eyes open. It means I proved that.
So when you close your eyes you’ll hear hip‐hop in its purest form, and aggression and substance and an animal!
SBS: Brother there is SO MUCH going on with you that I could write ten interviews without blinking an eye. Tell me about this upcoming show you’ve got coming up on FUSE TV!
Sacario: Yeah…my guy June Archer, a great guy, has a show called Behind The Unsigned on Fuse. It follows unsigned artists on their path to getting a deal. My story is a little different in that I already had a deal in the past, but I am still on the grind today.
My grind is slightly different from a new artist’s but it’s a grind nonetheless. And so it will show viewers that even I still have to work.
SBS: And what’s THIS I see? You’re now a film producer as well? How are me and my beard ever gonna get our own day in the spotlight if you keep taking all the spots!?!
Sacario: Nah, there’s enough spots for everyone. But yeah, I’ve had a fascination with film for a few years now. And so when I started my production company, Quiet Ink Productions, film was a primary field besides my music of course. I started writing a film about the music industry and sent it to Lionsgate and Magnolia and they love the concept.
So now we are about to begin filming, it’s called The Owners and it’s about the music industry. Quiet Ink also has ownership in a film called Trouble In The Heights which is out now. And I have a lead role in a new documentary called The Nutcracker which we just finished filming and we are now shopping to distributors with a lot of interest.
SBS: On the real though – what’s going on with you jumping into the film industry? That’s gotta be a wicked side-gig!
Sacario: Yeah, again, I mean, I’m a film-buff. I actually love films. I study them. I
watch a ton of old movies and new ones. Darren Aronofsky is one of my favorite Directors. And besides his stuff, a movie called Elizabeth with Cate Blanchett is one of
my favorite movies. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is my favorite actor. And I like Kevin Spacey and Tom Hanks and sick shit like Eyes Wide Shut. Stanley Kubrick was just dope.
I’m into a whole range of epic shit. I’m super deep, like at the risk of sounding egotistical but I’m really into a wide range of dope fields, films being one of them. Besides the business motto and revenue stream of film, which is great, I want to make great arthouse films that are timeless and will last forever.
SBS: You’ve contributed to best-selling songs on albums that total over 7 million copies sold. You’ve accomplished much of that through song-writing, which doesn’t always get your name in lights despite being a crucial and necessary element to EVERY song ever written. If all this momentum was to all stop tomorrow Sacario – do you feel you’ve already done enough and established yourself enough to justify your time spent on music?
Sacario: Yeah, I mean, I know what I’ve done. I’m recognized by the RIAA, ARIA, CRIA, Billboards and most of all my fans and peers. Or rather, most of all I recognize myself. From the time you hit those billboards you establish that. Those albums aren’t my albums persay but I contributed to those sales. Of course I want to stick around long enough to have my own 7 million album sales but I am also grateful for what I’ve accomplished.
And as far as justification goes, a couple got married to “If I Could Go.” On the most important day of their lives they chose to get married to a song I created. If that’s all I ever did, I would be justified for my time spent on music.
SBS: I would think the answer has got to be a huge YES. You wrote the theme song for the NBA’s Washington Wizard Girls…you were featured on the Transporter Movie Soundtrack…take me way back to a young Jamar Austin…was all this something that you ever thought would be possible as a kid?
Sacario: Absolutely. I come from nothing but I never had a ‘nothing-mentality’ because I had love. I had no food sometimes, no new clothes, no new toys but I had love. All I needed was that love from my mom, my grandparents, my uncle and I got that. Remember Charlie And The Chocolate Factory? The one with Johnny Depp. Remember when the poor boy got the golden ticket? And he ran home to tell his family but he considered selling it to feed his family? That’s me. Whenever I see that scene, I see me. A skinny little kid from the projects.
But the love makes you feel strong, makes you feel like you can be or do anything. And I always had girlfriends who loved me. So, all of this pushed me forward.
SBS: Awwwww shit. The “rock” side of me is getting the best of me Sacario… Totally random curiosity here; but, have you ever picked up a guitar? I was trying to imagine a moment in time where Sacario picked up the mighty axe for a garage-rock session and I gotta admit my friend, I just couldn’t picture it! Any experience with instruments beyond the vocals?
Sacario: Well I am left-handed like Hendrix and Cobain but nah, guitar playing is not for me, I only listen to them. I do come from a family of singers and instrument players tho. My cousins play drums, keyboards and a few other instruments. I know every element of every record from bass-line, to snare, to kick to synth. I can tell when the slightest element is off. I’m good at that.
I don’t play but I know keys and I know what I want and how I want it to sound.
SBS: What would you say the characteristics of a good rap track are?
Sacario: Melody, wordplay and synergy between the artist and the production. I can always hear when someone is rapping against the track…like swimming upstream.
SBS: I also gotta know something about rappers from someone like you Sacario – cause I know you take what you do seriously. What is UP with the family-style & PG rated movies coming out with former giants of rap-thuggery…you know, like Ice Cube for instance…
Cause seriously man! I’m hoping there’s a third option for a rapper to go out on, rather than a G-rated kid-flick or death by bullet!
Mind you – rock’s not much better when it comes to being past the prime; they just get old, wide and lazy and try to recapture the moment in half the condition in many cases.
So what’s the RIGHT way to go out Sacario? I know you’ve been doing your thing for a while now – but how will you know how & when to bring it all to an end? Do you think that will be all up to you or is there other input that would matter when it comes to that?
Sacario: I personally think Ice Cube did exactly what he was supposed to do; he did what he wanted to do. See, rappers are just entertainment to the viewer. We’re like puppeteers; we’re just here for the amusement of the consumer. It’s like watching a movie. So even tho back in the 90’s the gangbanging and shoot’em-up gangster-rap was real life to the rappers – to most fans, suburban specifically, it’s just music.
So the fans want more, more, more cause it makes fans feel tough and strong and it’s anti-establishment and it’s like yeah, this is cool stuff. But to the guys rapping it, they are rapping real shit and real people are dying because those words kill. So see, that energy brought death and destruction to our communities and broke up homes and destroyed millions of black men.
On top of that – no rappers could even dream of making a G-rated movie back then. Cause if they could’ve, they might’ve. So when these rappers get older and smarter they step out of destruction and into innovation. Everything is accessible to us now. We can be anything. Jesse Ventura is the fucking Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Governor – why can’t we do that? Why can’t rappers evolve? Answer is – we can.
Don’t forget, Will Smith is a rapper first. And so, I’m in no way, shape or form thinking about the end, I’m just thinking about creating.
SBS: Alright – let’s talk about the future! What’s coming up for you as far as recording and live shows are concerned?
Sacario: I got a bunch of new music on www.SacarioEpk.comand the live shows will come as we roll out the videos and press and bring awareness to the records. Right now it’s all about grassroots, strategic marketing and creating these records.
SBS: And how about websites? Where do you want the fans to look and how is the best way they can go about connecting with you direct?
Sacario: www.SacarioEpk.comis the homebase. And that website will redirect you to all social media outlets etc.
SBS: My brother Sacario, you have truly led an amazing life so far and I’m sure there’s only more success coming to you in the future. Let’s face facts homie – you got skillz. Can’t hide that!
I want to thank you once more for being a part of this interview and wish you the best of luck on the upcoming show. This last spot here is a place where you can say ANYTHING you like my friend, anything at all. This is the SBS “Open Floor” to talk about anything you wanted to say that I didn’t mention, or shout-out some people that helped get you where you are, lyrics to a new verse…like I said, anything at all. Thanks again Sacario – keep in touch!
Sacario: I think I said enough. Thanks for a dope interview!