Boston Native “Ishan” Delivers Fresh Confidence With ‘Young’
A self-proclaimed “ boom-bap-old-school-hip hop-head”, Lawrence born rapper, producer, engineer and artist “Ishan” just dropped the official music video for his single “Young” with intense intent to show-up soundcloud and mumble rap trends, re-introducing New England to original Hip-Hop lyricism and beats.
Boston Culture: Where did you grow up? How was that like?
Ishan: Born in Lawrence, but I grew up right on the NH/MA line in salem, NH. Growing up was tough definitely. My neighborhood wasn’t anything to worry about in regard to negative influences. But there was a lot of racism and prejudice growing up that I had to quickly overcome in order to excel in whatever I wanted to do at the time. But it was never so much the environment I grew up in, it was mainly what I was coming home to. Money was a huge issue growing up, we didn’t have a lot of it. My dad raised me, my brother, and my sister alone since I was 13 almost 14. He worked 3 jobs just to give us what we needed, wanting was never something we could do. We went from house, to apartment, to apartment, not really knowing how long we could afford to live there. It was definitely tough and it caused a lot of problems for me growing up because I went to school with kids who never had to think twice about wanting things. That fly shit was never something I had, and I definitely was the punch line to a lot of jokes because of that,
Boston Culture: How did you get your creativity? As a Producer, Engineer and Artist you are definitely extremely creative.
Ishan: I’m an extreme overthinker. I am always thinking of new things that I can do in any field that I am interested in. I work full time as a scientist, and I go to school full time, so if theres 24 hours in a day and im busy for 22 of them, I know when I hit the studio that I have to take all that shit ive been thinking and plotting on and get after it. Theres no time for mental blocks.
Boston Culture: Talk to us about "RANDUM ThOUGHTS" - from its inception stages to the creative process. What was the initial inspiration?
Ishan: Winter break of my junior year of college, school was over for a month and I had 2 weeks off from work, so the only thing I forced myself to do was sit down in the studio all day every day and make music. I must have been making 5+ beats a day. It wasn’t until almost Christmas time where I was like “I have all these beats, lets make a project, something small.” So I skimmed through the beats that I made, perfected the beats I was most interested in, and made RANDUM ThOUGHTS. These beats in the project speak to me on a different level, I love them to death. The music on this EP was me allowing myself to get all the random shit in my head onto a track and allow myself to make a project that was entirely me, I wasn’t thinking about what people would want to hear, what would sound best on stage, I just made whatever I felt like making. I am extremely happy with the project.
Boston Culture: Talk to us about your creative process in coming up with song ideas and visual production ideas for your music. How did you collab with Couvyman?
Ishan: My songs are either me making a beat and allowing the beat to speak to me to influence what I write down, or me wanting to get something off my chest. There will be things that I really just want to talk about, things that I cant stop thinking about, those will become songs. The visual production ideas stem from sitting down with my manager, Couvyman, and a videographer with the music on loop and just spitting out the ideas that come to head. We pick the best ideas, make a story out of it, and get the camera rolling. I met Couvy after an Open mic I did in 2018. He liked what I was doing on stage and what he was hearing so we just chopped it up after I got off stage. We took down each others IG’s and that was pretty much it. I had shit going on, he had shit going on, so we just respected eachothers hustle for a couple years. Fast forward to 2020, He hit me about doing a feature on a track for him, and that was the first time we had linked since 2018. I started making RANDUM ThOUGHTS andhe saw that I was really serious about the music and we linked together again, from then its been travelling, performing, and growing every day as a team.
Boston Culture: What was the best advice you got early in your career?
Ishan: Not to switch up my sound for anyone. I feell that once you start making music in certain ways because you want a certain audience to flock to it, you lose the meaning for why you do this in the first place. My sound has grown over the years, but that’s because I have allowed myself to grow as an artist and person, so at any point in my music career regardless of sound, I have been myself the entire time.
Boston Culture: Walk us through the first time you ever made a song. What inspired you, what did you make it on, etc.
Ishan: I started off as a boom bap old school hip hop head. That was the only thing that I wanted to rap on and listen to. I knew that I could rap and I was heavily pushed by the people at the boys and girls club I used to freestyle at after school every dayto start recording. My brother had purchased me my first mic, I set it up on 6 shoeboxes in my closet, connected it to my old ass laptop running audacity, and I recorded my first track to the instrumental of No Vaseline by ice cube when I was 17.
Boston Culture: Walk is through your creative process in the studio.
Ishan: I start with looking for samples, or a melody I want to make a beat out of, its always beats before lyrics for me. Once I find what I like I get to cooking immediately, beatboxing my drum patterns I want, humming the bass lines, I let my mind go free. Once I start making a beat that I REALLY like, I can start writing almost immediately. But sometimes the beat needs to grow on me, it’s one of those situations where I know the beat is good but I am not sure if it is really for me. My writing process usually works best in the car, I like to put the beat on during long drives and try to come up with bars, think about subject matter, and try to formulate a cohesive 16. Once the writing is done I record immediately, I have a booth set up in the crib so I just hop in, spit, hop out and get to editing. I find a lot of fun in the mixing, editing, and mastering. It takes a long time but it is nice to see a song become perfect in your eyes.
Boston Culture: What do you dislike about the art world/music industry?
Ishan: It is a lot more about money than it is talent now. Not to say that talent does not matter, but It wont take you to the top nowadays, there are a lot more rungs to the ladder if all you have is talent. Conversely, those who have no talent and only bread stacked up can reach stardom without much difficulty. Those who have money and talent will last though, there’s tradeoffs to this music shit.
Boston Culture: Who or what are some of your biggest influences? Talk to us about your roots.
Ishan: I grew up on the east coast, so it was always Biggie over here. I grew up listeing to a lot of 50 cent as well. However once I was able to listen to music by myself, it was a lot of Pusha T, Big Pun, Dr. Dre, and Kanye. My biggest influences are Biggie- based off his impact, rhyme style, and overall energy, Kanye- based off his production skill, his versatility, and collaborations with other artists, and Big Pun- based off his usage of alliterations, vocal power, breath maintenance, and grittiness.
Boston Culture: Talks to us about your younger mentality and what allowed you to stay focused on your goals.
Ishan: I went through a lot of shit growing up and I had to grow up fast which, as unfortunate as it is, helped a lot. I was able to start looking at life and situations as an adult, I was able to process situations in an adult manner which allowed me to stay on track. By knowing that the only perso that could stop me was myself, and that people are only impeding my progression if I let them to, helped me stay focused on my goals.
Boston Culture : Tell us about your goals for 2021. Where will you be by the end of the year. Let's start manifesting that now.
Ishan: I want to start doing festivals, fun sets in front of people trying to have fun and show love. I want to drop another project for sure, maybe even 2 more. I want t0 be able to meet my idols and pretty much thank them for helping me get here without even realizing their impact. I want to touch my first mil this year too, we will stay tuned for that.
Boston Culture : What brands should sponsor you?
Ishan: Akai because I swear by the MPD226. Redbull because these late nights working and studying wouldn’t even be possible if I didn’t keep a stash of them at all time. Body armor because they always start my recovery right after these days in the gym trynna prepare for stage-time. Converse because everyone who knows me knows I got em on whether im heading on stage or at work. Birkenstock because when I don’t have my converse on, you know what im rockin. Champion because I always have a clean crewneck on witch a C on the wrist.
Boston Culture :Anything else we missed you want to tell your fans? What's in stock for the rest of 2021.
Ishan: The time to elevate is right now so definitely keep your eyes open, I’m going city-to-city hittin stages and having fun. New music, new visuals, new merch for sure. This is the year we are going waaay up. I love everyone who has been supporting me so far and it is only going up from here.
Follow Ishan on social media @ishantherapper and subscribe to his Youtube channel “IshanOfficial”.