Last week, New York City rapper Vinny Cha$e announced to MTV News that he’d signed a $2.5 million deal with major label Epic last week by retweeting a picture of a congratulatory bottle of champagne the label sent him. This induction into the high-end bubbly life is just spoils for a rapper who’s spent the last year dropping a series of high-quality mixtapes from out of his Harlem home blocks (capped by the excellent Golden Army), while also cultivating a buzz about his fashion-centric Cheer$ Club movement. So as Cha$e settles back into his newly minted New York City life after a jaunt down to Austin for South by Southwest, Hive got the scoop on why he nearly signed with Diddy, his desire to work with Future and Chief Keef, and why he won’t be calling in Skrillex to make futuristic rap music.
Congratulations on signing the major label deal.
Thank you. It feels good, it’s a good time. I just got back from South By Southwest.
Did you have a lot more attention coming your way after announcing the deal?
Man, yeah, like, it’s funny. I went out there last year for my first time and it was totally not like it was this year. [Laughs.]
Have you had a lot of people asking you to lend them money?
Yeah. But that’s nothing new!
Why did you chose to sign with Epic?
Me and my team came together and formulated a plan. We dodged a lot of pitfalls — a lot of people wanted to sign us and it was like a lot of crazy slave deals and all types of shit; a lot of people wanted to sign us to their production companies and we figured, fuck that, we already are a production company so why would we sign to your label? It didn’t make any sense to us. So we kept building our relationship vertically and I knew L.A. Reid’s son as a good friend for a few years already. It felt like the best route to go and when I went up there and met all the staff it felt like home.
You retweeted a picture of the bottle of champagne the label sent you.
Yeah, to me that meant so much ’cause it signified how far we’ve come in a short space of time. For us, we did what they said was impossible. They told us we had to do things are certain way but we stuck to our convictions.
Was the champagne any good?
Yeah, the champagne was good as hell! I think it was some Veuve Clicquot. It tasted like success!
There were rumors that you nearly signed with Diddy’s Bad Boy label. How true were they?
Yeah, I mean I was fucking with Diddy for a minute. He’s my homie. He was real supportive and wanted me to just keep doing what I was doing. At first I was going to go over there ’cause I felt the whole Bad Boy New York history. Then when I seen how much money Diddy was getting I was like I don’t think I can get that much money being right next to you! I wanted to build my own Bad Boy.
Did Diddy give you any advice on your career?
Yeah, a lot of advice. He told me not to stop no matter how much money you get, to keep what you’re doing and money will follow you along.
Are you recording for an album then?
I went to the studio last night. I’m working on my album. I’m about to drop the single pretty soon. I’m working on my records and getting these videos ready.
Does the single have a title yet?
No, not yet. We’re still building a whole bunch of things. When you record every day you have so many options and it’s a lot to plan out. But it’s definitely a dope situation we’ve got going on.
What’s the vibe of the single going to be like? Is it similar to your mixtapes?
The vibe we’re recording right now is hard to say without giving away too much, ’cause what we’re doing is really top secret, but we’re going to push the fuckin’ envelope over the cliff in rap music. We’re pulling out all the stops. We’re doing something really futuristic, ’cause what people seem to do is every time somebody tries to do something futuristic in hip-hop they go get Skrillex, you know what I’m saying? They think it’s a sound but I feel like they don’t know what they’re doing. Me, Kid Art and Cartier Court are really about to push the envelope on this shit. Kid Art is a big idea director and now he has the budget to do what we want to do. We’re really about to push it.
You mentioned Kid Art and Cartier Court. Are you mainly working with Cheer$ Club members for the album?
I’m working with everybody. I’m working with people from Cheer$ Club and people on my label I’m excited to work with Future and people like that. I’m seeking out the best of the best. I’m looking for the top producers, the top everything, you know what I mean? Not only just for music, but for film and animators and scores. We’re going all the way and not leaving any stone unturned.
If you could work with any hip-hop producer at the moment, who would it be?
That’s a good one, man. It’s got to be [Young] Chop, man. It’s got to be Young Chop or Kanye West. I’d like to get on a song with those producers.
What guest rapper would you want on this track?
I think it would be Chief Keef. I’d like to work with Keef. I feel like a lot of people are wanting to work with him to try and bite his swag. I wouldn’t do that. I’d vibe with him, bring my own style to the table, not just go in there and bite Keef swag.
Is there going to be a follow-up to your The Plaza mixtape?
Yeah, The Plaza 2 is coming, it’s on deck, but I’m not sure of the release date yet. It’s gonna happen though.
Watch Vinny Cha$e’s video for “Biggie & Jordans” below: