Interview: Genesis Renji
Friday, August 22nd - Milwaukee celebrates it's annual Hip-Hop Week MKE bringing together local artists, leaders and influential faces for a week long celebration of Hip-Hop culture unique to the city Koss World Headquarters resides in.
Gearing up for this years annual Hip-Hop Week MKE, Rapper/Musician Genesis Renji sat down with us to talk about his music, his motivation and the Milwaukee Hip-Hop scene.
Tell us about yourself.
I'm Genesis Renji. The GOAT. A 27 year old, Emmy-nominated recording artist and engineer, and co-founder of the indie label House of Renji. I love music, cereal, tattoos, and reading.
How has music shaped who you are?
Music has helped mold the way I've grown as a dreamer and it's helped influence my vision. A lot of the artists I've listened to have inspired me to stand apart and set my own pace, specifically Nipsey Hussle.
What has been your biggest triumph?
My biggest triumph has been becoming a full time artist. I've done some pretty amazing things from performing at the Fiserv Forum for a Bucks halftime show, to being nominated for an Emmy. But being a full time artist for the past two years has to be my greatest accomplishment.
It hasn't been the easiest, and still isn't. I'm not where I'd like to be, but I know I'm on the right path, and that brings me a peace of mind I need.
What has been your biggest tribulation?
My biggest tribulation has been figuring out "THE WAY", you know? There's no real handbook to do what I do, no real right or wrong way. There are examples of people to look up to, tips and advice to learn, but every situation for every person is different. Finding my "right" way has been the most challenging part of this. It gets frustrating when you know where you can be and you're not there yet.
How did you get involved with Koss?
So my homie Brandis aka Mr. NewYork, a DJ in Milwaukee, got me involved with Koss. One day I was tweeting about my iPhone headphones (with the terrible cords lol) and how they had a short. So Brandis tweets me back like "Oh nah, can't have you out here like this my boy hold on." and he tweets Martin Moore (Content Developer for Koss) and connects me with him.
Martin sends me some complimentary headphones the next day and the rest is history. I'm a sound nerd, so I really love and appreciate the quality the Koss brand provides me. I use them in my studio and I have a pair for my personal listening too!
If you weren't doing music, what else would you be doing?
I couldn't see me doing anything else. Life goes black when I try to imagine anything else.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I don't have a middle name.
How important is Hip-Hop Week MKE to Milwaukee?
Hip-Hop Week MKE is critical to the city because it reaffirms the artistic culture of Milwaukee. It should be more inclusive of the artists we have and the people who work within the Hip-Hop industry in Milwaukee, while celebrating the history of the most popular and influential genre in music.
We're at a great point in Milwaukee's music history to where attention is being shifted back to this city. We have people (Bizness Boi, Gerald Walker, IshDARR, Proph, Rowan, Lil Chicken) leading the way and breaking through barriers we didn't think would be removed.
Hip-Hop Week nods at the entire genre we love and share, and should nod at the Milwaukee legends and current artists adding to that.
Favorite thing about Milwaukee?
The tenacity. Being from here tests you. It breaks you and can mold you into a persistent, passionate, unstoppable being.
Where do you see the Hip-Hop scene, and music scene in general in Milwaukee 10 years from now?
In 10 years Milwaukee is a music city that gets readily recognized next to the Austins, the Memphises, Jerseys, Bay Areas, St. Louises.
It's a niche city that creates a specific sound or style that people readily recognize. It also becomes a major contributor to the music scene, in a sense that Atlanta has done and is doing, as well as Toronto.
Finally, where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
10 years from now, I'm on the cover of Time Magazine. The article is 'The House Hip-Hop Built', speaking about the House of Renji and our influence in the music industry and creative contributions world wide. Waving the marathon flag and smiling.