Shawn Chrystopher – Timbaland’s newest signee and one of L.A.’s fastest rising emcees – sits down with The Well Versed for an exclusive and in-depth interview. Find out what its like to work with Timbaland, his connection with the movie, Finding Forrester; and his talk with Big Sean about developing hometown support.
TWV: Can you give some details on your next album and do you have a release date?
Shawn Chrystopher: Its called My Name is Shawn. Right now we’re looking at mid-September. Its executive produced by Timbaland so I’ve been out in Miami working with Timbaland. Its dope. It’s a different sound for me. I’ve always looked up to Timbaland and to be able to work with him, I’ve learned how to make beats better. I’ve learned how to do a whole bunch of things better and faster. I sat in the studio and watched Tim make four beats in like 30 minutes. He has a dope engineer that helps facilitate the process but my album is going to sound like nothing I’ve ever done before. I don’t want people to listen to my music and be like, he’s from Los Angeles. I don’t want people to know where I’m from, and so that’s why with me working with Tim – him being from Virginia and we’re working in Miami – it just has this whole fusion of sound that really doesn’t sound like anything else.
As a rapper who grew up on the West Coast, and has traveled a bit, do you think there are differences in terms of “getting on” that you think separates how West Coast from the East or the South? I’ve heard artists say that the West Coast is the hardest to come out of (as an artist), so what’s your perception?
Shawn Chrystopher: I think that it just depends. I think that everybody says that their hometown is hard because we expect for everyone to rally the troops and get behind us and when they don’t, its like fuck everybody. Why nobody love me? But its like, we making it too, we’re trying to do the same thing. So then because of that, you get love from all these other cities because their living vicariously through you. They wanna be a kid from Los Angeles. They look at Shawn or Dom (Kennedy), and they’re like, I wanna be that person. Now your getting more love from cities other than your own. I don’t think it has anything to do with just Los Angeles, I just think that people feel that way because its really hard wherever your from. I used to have this conversation with Big Sean or whatever, and he would be like it was times when niggas in Detroit was like man, fuck you. Fuck Big Sean. We not supporting you because you’re not doing this, and then you got on and now the whole town is behind him. You just gotta ride that wave and understand that a lot of times if people don’t support you, its not hate. Its just that they’re busy, they got shit to do, they’re trying to do their own thing. So how they look like supporting you 100 percent when they trying to what your trying to do. I don’t think that the West Coast is any harder than any other coast or any other city, its just its hard in your hometown.