Fresh out of Texas at South by Southwest (with a few run-ins with Diddy), Santino Corleon
is amping up to play at his fifth #Fest on April 13.
Having already played five #Fests has made the stage in Athens, Ohio, familiar ground for the Cincinnati rapper, but it wasn’t always that way.
“7Fest was actually an accident,” Santino said. “At the time I was really not engulfed into my music. People knew me as a rapper, but I didn’t take it seriously like I do now.” While mainly hosting parties in Cincinnati, his friend had a DJing slot at 7Fest and took him up on his (joking) offer to MC the set.
“So I get a ride to Athens not knowing what I was getting into,” he said. “Next thing I know, by 3 p.m. I am literally in front of 10,000 people and all my dreams as a rapper have come true.”
The rapper began with Sal City
, which gained him popularity among the underground rap community, but hasn’t stopped there. The release date hasn’t been announced yet, but his newest album, Keep the Change,
“We are just trying to take the right move before we drop it,” the rapper said.
Keep the Change
is a representation of where he is in his musical career as well as a combination of his past works, Santino said. “If you know anything about Cincinnati rap artists they all kind of get to a point and they can never get over the hump, and I feel like I am at that point now. Where I am looking over the hump, where I can fall back down the hill or go over the hump,” he said. At this point in his career, he has paid his dues to Cincinnati.
Santino created Keep the Change
as a meshing of his past works.
His album Sorry 4 Partying
took his reputation for having a good time, and spun it into an album. “I kind of had a reputation around Cinci as a party animal and going out a lot, not in a bad way or anything,” Santino said. So for his party album he brought in a lot of featured artists, because you obviously can’t party by yourself. He followed that album with The Hangover
, an appropriate response (or result) of his previous album, which had less featured artists, because usually when hungover, you are by yourself, he explained.
For his newest project, he’s mixed things up.
“It’s a little personal, but it’s more upbeat,” Santino said. “For lack of a better word I want to say like trap beats.”
With this next move in his career, the rapper is looking to find more recognition, and provide Cincinnati with a rapper to call their own.
“Growing up in Cinci we never had someone to call our own as far as rap music goes,” he said. “I kind of took that personal.”
But this year’s #Fest could change things for the rapper, and for Cincinnati.
“I think 11Fest is going to be the biggest one yet,” Santino said. “I know my performance has to be on point.” With 10,000 faces starting back at him on April 13, he knows the importance of the festival. “This could be one of my biggest shows in my career to date,” he said. “The #Fests have really catipulted a lot of the artists into the mainstream.”
Will Cincinnati finally have rap artist to call their own? Come to Athens and find out.
“I feel like my life is hip-hop. I have literally englufed my life in this. I know nothing else. I have no more options. I’m not going to work a real job ever again,” Santino said.
Follow him: @SantinoCorleon
(you can read all about his love for cheese eggs, even though it started off as a joke)
By: Shelby Lum