Read the full interview on YoungCalifornia.com!
OHNO is here to prove his place in the rap game. Formerly a duo comprised of a rapper and producer, Rel$ has been carrying out the name for the past four years strong. He not only proves he has the sound — a mixture of rap, trap, and R&B — but he also delivers a meaningful message. Read more…
Currently based in Anaheim, the Latino MC creates lyrics based on real-life experience for the people to relate to. With a solid, loyal fan base across all platforms, OHNO celebrates the release of his new project, Heartthrob, along with some new PRDSE merch for the summer.
For those who don’t know, who is OHNO?
It was a group before, now it’s a single artist. I go by Rel$. I’m Latino. I’m 21 years old from South Central.
Where do you fit in the realm of hip-hop?
Honestly… let’s see. How do I answer this correctly? [pause] I probably don’t even fit. I try not to do what’s happening now. I mean, of course I do a little bit of it to cater to the people that are like that, but I try not to. At the end of the day, I feel like I kind of don’t fit. [laughs] But that’s always good at the end of the day, it stands me out.
You’re out in Anaheim, how does that play into your life and career?
It doesn’t really help. Not like it doesn’t help me, it’s just I’m from Anaheim. That’s where I was from. That’s where I was raised for 10 years of my life. I’m really from LA, that’s where I feel like my most important years I was raised. And LA helps me a lot, that’s where I need to be at. That’s where everything is happening for me. I definitely like LA.
I was going to ask, how important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
Very important. I feel like everything is out here. Everything you need is out here, and everybody knows that too. Producers are out here, videographers, whole teams are out here just waiting to get put together.
Being that you were a duo and now you’re solo, what’s been the hardest transition?
Honestly, I thought it would be harder, but it’s actually been pretty smooth. I thought that finding beats and getting everything together and going would be hard, but I’ve actually been able to do that quite well.
What’s been the best part?
Being able to call more shots. Being able to be more hands on with everything, that’s probably the best part.
When was the split again? You guys just decided…
We were just very busy. We were both dealing with other stuff and both in relationships, so we were kind of not focusing on music too much. And when I was getting ready to start working again, I felt it was time. He was still busy.
Talk about the fanbase you’ve built from the ground up. How important is social media for your career?
It’s definitely important. It’s always important to have a core fanbase because at the end of the day, that’s what is going to make you keep going and put money in your pocket. It makes you keep bringing them content, music, etc. It’s always important to build your core fanbase. Those are the people that love you and what you do, so it shouldn’t be hard, you know? They just love your personality and what you do. But it’s very important.
“How It Feel” is at over 3.7 million on YouTube. Did you foresee it blowing up like this?
I didn’t! It was very weird how I actually saw it. I was drunk one night and I decided to look at my numbers, just to check up on how I’d been doing. Like I seen it, and I saw it had like 1.2 million — I was tripping. [laughs] It was crazy. It’s doing great. It’s at almost 4 [million] now.
You recently released your Heartthrob project. What is it you want fans to get from your story?
That one, I wasn’t putting too much story in it. I was putting in more a feel-good vibe. There were a few songs like “Her Friends” for example, that really just talks about certain things I went through with certain people. I guess it’s just a lesson learned for me. But at the end of the day, Heartthrob’s more a feel-good project while you’re chilling and stuff like that, so just have a good time.
Did you deliberately choose to have no features?
At first, yes. But I’ve been getting into features lately.
Who you been linking with?
I linked up with a South American artist. I have a few actually, like three. All South American. And then I have a couple out here. I’ve been working with Ricky P. I’ve been trying to link with Trill Sammy. I’ve been trying to link with P-Lo. Get those together.
You’ve got King Lil G and Hi-Tone holding it down for the Latinos. Talk about your journey in an urban-dominated industry?
At first it was hard. I remember like two years back, not a lot of people really wanted to mess with me because I was Latino — and because I was young too, I’m sure. It was hard though. Now, I’ve seen that the whole “Latin thing” has been popping more, so it’s been more accepted. Which has made It more easier, but I definitely feel like it’s dope, because cause it’s a new wave kind of. I’m very happy to be Latino.
What is your take on the music industry?
I think the music industry is crazy. You gotta be careful. Like we were saying, I think independence is the best route, because you always get to call your own shots. Signing is great, but like I said, you always have to be careful. Like you said too, you have to be careful. You hear stories and stuff like that.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Eating, smoking, filming, photos, pictures, fans.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
Probably when we’re at the shows, they’re very happy to meet me. That’s why I love shows. I think actually the best encounter is during shows. During the performance when they sing along, that’s the best encounter.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Probably video or producing. Still in the music industry, but something else.
3 things you need in the studio?
Drinks, weed, and good vibes.
What kind of drinks?
Well I’m not really a big drinker but my friends drink, so anything to get the vibe going. Any liquor and juice.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Probably Smokepurpp, Johnny Yukon, PARTYNEXTDOOR.
As of right now, probably Big Sean.
He’s fire. He has bars for days.
Exactly. I’m worried about it. He might take me out.
One more question, what advice do you have for an aspiring OHNO?
Keep going. I’ve had a lot of people tell me they don’t fuck with me for certain reasons, but keep going and be independent. Stay true.
Anything else you want us to know?
New merch, it’s going to be crazy!