premiere: rising chicago rapper sasha go hard's 'beef'
Here, Sasha talks to i-D about how the violence in Chicago has influenced her new music and a life lesson Rick Ross shared with her.
Chicago-based rapper Sasha Go Hard infuses uncensored cockiness and female empowerment into her rapid-fire verses, delivering memorable lyrics like, "I'm a cold ass bitch, December." In keeping with her moniker, she's been grinding since 2012 — accumulating over 67k Instagram followers, receiving over 200k YouTube views on her 2015 song "Niggaz Ain't Shit," and booking performances across the country.
As much as she talks about "killing these bitches" in her music, Sasha is endearingly soft-spoken. Her emails are littered with "loves" and she's open about how much she pours her heart and soul into her career. She's currently putting the finishing touches on her eleventh mixtape — rapping about everything from love to supporting her family and gun violence in Chicago. Press play on the premiere of her new track "Beef," a hood anthem about dismissing haters, and see just how much Sasha Go Hard lives up to her name.
What's the most important lesson you've learned as an independent artist?
You're responsible for everything that you do. You have to just grind and stay consistent — Rick Ross told me that. And that's very important as an independent artist: always grind. If you don't have a big following or a big platform, no one's gonna do it for you.
What's your recording process?
I like to write all my songs before I tape my raps. When I get in the studio it's like beast mode. Anything outside of the studio is not on my mind. The one I go to charges $70 an hour and I look at it like, "Yeah, it is a lot of money, but I can't wait to get in there." It's not even like I have to rush, because I say I only have an hour or two, so I know how many songs I can get done in that time frame. It's all about being prepared and focused.
Is there a story behind the name Sasha Go Hard?
My uncle started calling me Sasha when Beyoncé came out with Sasha Fierce. I don't know if it was 'cause of how I looked or how I dressed, but it fit. And when I started recording in the studio everybody just kept telling me how hard I went in. I kept hearing, "Go hard!" It just worked.
What's your favourite pun to use in lyrics?
Brain, definitely. [Pauses] You know what I mean when I say "brain," right?
What's it like to be a female rapper on the scene right now?
My whole purpose is to go hard, be different, stand out, and kill bitches. It's really a big competition. It takes a real person to say that, cause people gonna be like, "Oh, it's not a competition," but it is! With females it's always going to be like that, because females want to be the best and they just wanna win. One thing I like being able to do is switch my music up with pop songs and love songs. A lot of guys can't do that.
Speaking of love songs, "Cupid is Stupid" is one of my favorite songs of yours. I really like how the vulnerability contrasts with your more explicit bangers.
Thank you! A lot of people like that song. I feel like it ain't do what I expected it to do. I feel like if I had a little more help… I really do this by myself. All the money I make or have, I put it into my music. Nobody gives me nothing. I feel like if I had a budget it'd be so different.
What's your long-term goal? Do you ever see yourself signing to a major label or do you want to remain independent?
I love being independent. All the money I make I be keeping it to myself [laughs]. That's one of the best things about it. But honestly I wouldn't mind signing to a major label if it's right. I just don't wanna feel like I'm stuck in a hole or like somebody is getting over on me. I just want to be happy and making a lot of money and dope music. That's really it.
As a female rapper, do you ever feel pressure to amp up the sex appeal?
I'm just now getting into sexiness. After I had my baby I gained some weight, so I'm a little thick now! Not that I didn't feel sexy before, but I'm grown now. I have a cute face and a nice shape! I have visions for my videos and now most of it is sexy. Yeah, sex sells, but that's not why I'm doing it. I'm doing it because that's how I feel.
Who would you love to collaborate with in the future?
Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé! They're in a place I want to be.
I think it's cool you said Nicki Minaj, because a lot of female rappers act like they can't give props or admiration to other successful female rappers.
Yeah, I'm no hater or someone who's like, "I'm the only one who can shine, so I'm not gonna mention another female rapper…" It ain't never like that. I work with a lot of female rappers from Chicago. That's why I didn't mention their names before — cause I've already worked with them.
Over 14 people were killed in Chicago during 4th of July weekend. Does the violence in the city show up in your music at all?
Yeah. I just made a dope emotional song called "Get Rich." It's basically about how I gotta get rich to get my family out of here. I'm just really tired of everything that's going on in Chicago. My grandma watches the news every day and every time I go to her house I'm hearing someone got killed. People who I know. This woman I met through music after I booked two shows in Chicago got killed and I was just like "Oh my god." That's why I made the song.
Text André-Naquian Wheeler
Photography courtesy of artist