May 28, 2017
An aspiring and successful actor, Che is deeply immersed in the Rochester cultural scene. So much so, we’ve named him Che of The Town!
Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 60 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.
For the full series, see Che of The Town: Interviews
Che is a proud graduate of the School of the Art and has featured many SOTA alums, including Britton Bradford, Kayoz Fortune, Ajani Jeffries, Marguerite Frarey, Willie “El Mongoose” Monroe Jr., Willis Ajamu Brooks , James Kegler, Taye Diggs, Evalyn Gleason, Adrian DiMatteo, Biz LaChance and Saadiq Muhammad, Manny Greene and Kaisean Roseboro, Rayla Meshawn
Today, Che turns our attention to SOTA alum, Oowee! Bananaz.
Introducing Oowee! Bananaz; A Femcee In Her Prime
Tell us a little about yourself, where your from, grew up, what H.S./College you attended etc.
I live in Rochester, NY. I graduated from SOTA in 2008. Just graduated from REOC with my EMT certification. I play piano and guitar. I used to make my own beats and was actually pretty good. I shifted my focus to writing full time, I got a lot of music in the vault but I’m my own downfall. I’m such a perfectionist. It’s my gift and my curse.
I been rapping since I was nine. My moms boyfriend, Tito, was a big hip hop head. This man literally had hundreds of tapes and all he did all day was listen to music. Up at this point, my mom was with him for 3 years and in those three years I got my hip hop knowledge up; the history, the early legends, the style, all that. Ja Rule just dropped his album; Venni, Vetti, Vecci. Begotten Son was playing and Tito asked me if I ever wrote a rap. I told him no and he sent me to my room to write one.
When I was 15, I met my dad. My dad, Jamma Jez used to produce and rap for his group, Upstate Cypher. They started a radio station here, had their music all over college radio, they opened up for Fat Joe, Wu-Tang and a few other artists. They traveled everywhere doing shows and rubbed elbows with celebrities. My great grandfather used to play guitar for a band back in his day and my uncle, Blaze Chop raps as well. I learned all this while we were getting to know each other. It was then when I really decided that I should push this music thing. Music ran in the family and it was only right that I carried the torch as well.
Talk about a time where you have faced adversity/conflict and have triumphed.
To keep the focus on music, it’s a challenge being a female rapper. I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I “spit too hard” as a female. I gotta soften up my flow, the industry isn’t going to back a female like me, I gotta focus on commercial tracks, etc. That’s not to say that everyone I have encountered has shared the same sentiment. A lot of people respect my flow and show love every trip. Every once in awhile I’ll come across a nonbeliever. I learned a long time ago not to entertain the circus though. I never liked clowns anyway.
Well for starters, my music has substance. That automatically puts me in a whole different category from a lot of artists. I also feel that I’m very versatile. I can drop a cold 16 on a gritty beat and turn around and do a trappy Migos-type 16 and get the same type of love and reaction from people. Even the old heads respect it and believe me, OG hip hop heads are the most stubborn group of people (I’m saying that out of love though guys) 🙂
Any projects you have out or currently working on?
I have a lot of features out and you can find those on Soundcloud. I got a mixtape on Datpiff me and my cousin, V-Dubble-E collaborated on called The OoVee Experiment. I’m planning to drop my album Aug. 27 called 2012. It’s to mark my five year mark of coming home from prison so it’s kind of a big deal to me for it to drop and for it to be perfect.
What advice can you give to aspiring artists/entertainers?
Stay true to yourself and make music that’s real to YOU. Stay humble.
How can we follow along in your journey? Social media?
@Ooweebananaz on every social media platform.
Oowee!Bananaz on Soundcloud