Step into Vino’s world and discover why this artist out of Harlem is hip-hop’s next up!

By: Chrissy Dru

With his unique sound and attention to melody, Harlem rapper Vino has been forming a wave with his music for the past couple of years. I recently got to the opportunity to catch up with the rising artist and discuss everything from his latest project ‘Vino World’ to his favorite drink, ‘Tron and Simps! Check out my conversation with one of New York’s brightest talents right now and see why he’s the artist you want to get to know if you haven’t already.

One of my introductions to you was through your interpretation of SZA’s “The Weekend”, but that was fairly recent, so I wanted to know when did you get into music? 

“I’ve been doing music since I was about 13 years-old. I’ve been doing music my whole life but I’ve been recently getting a lot of notoriety, so to a lot of people it’s fresh, but I’ve been doing music since I was young.”

Your voice and cadence are so unique. It seems like you really pay attention to the melody of a song too. What inspired how you’ve created your sound?

“I listen to a lot of hip-hop, but I’ve always been in love with the R&B side of things. Growing up I used to listen to a lot of Mariah Carey, a lot of Max B, Jagged Edge, Musiq Soulchild, Lyfe Jennings, so the soulful music, vibe kind of stuck with me but I was a hip-hop head so I would use those melodies and riffs, but use my hip-hop side and the street side of what I see and put it in the music and it comes out that way.”

Sidenote: what’s your favorite Mariah song?

“I like “Joyride.”

Oh yeah that’s a classic! You’re an actual Mariah fan for knowing that! 

‘Emancipation of Mimi’ that whole album was just like, wow! A lot of people don’t know that, but I can go listen to that and then go listen to my favorite rapper Jadakiss, the total opposite.”

That’s wassup! It’s good to hear that you have a very versatile approach to music because it’s reflected in the projects you’ve put out. I wanna go back to the beginning because one of your earlier projects was ‘Trending Topics Tour’, but I noticed that was a joint effort, so is ‘Vino World’ your first solo project?

“Yeah, ‘Vino World’ that was my first solo project ever. I’ve never put out a tape by myself, even since I was young. I always did joint projects with people, so this is my first ever body of work.”

Wow, that’s big. What made you decide that now was the time to do it on your own and lock in like this?

“It was a lot of requests. I’m at a point where this is the most amount of people requesting a body of work just from me. The heard ‘Trending Topic Tour’, they heard the freestyles I’ve been putting out, but they’re like, “can we just get a project?”. I would always tell people, yeah, but they were like I’m really going to unfollow you if you don’t! I’m like, it’s getting crazy like that? (laughs) But I did want to put together something and drop it and see what the feedback would be from it. The feedback has gone well. People are listening to it daily and have their favorites. I have somebody from Texas that just hit me today singing it, I’m like wow! It’s spreading around so I’m excited I put that project out and gonna keep pushing it.”

What was that creative process like for you? Especially since you were doing it solo, what was it like being responsible for all parts of the song?

“It was a fun process actually, but it also gets challenging. I have a bunch of songs, I probably have like three mixtape worth of music and we go through the process of which songs am I going to put on this? Should this wait or is this the time now? It gets confusing, but it was fun creating because I love creating music. I also had to know what the people wanted. They want the ‘Vino World’ tapes, so the sounds they want I had to pay attention to a lot closely. It’s the first project so I couldn’t go all over the place, cause I’m versatile I can do different types of music, but I also have to cater to my crowd. I wanted to make sure I gave people wanted for that first project coming out, ‘Vino World’.

I noticed you put “H20” on ‘Vino World’ but that dropped before-

“Yeah, that and “Ambition”. It was like a week before the tape came out and I added those two songs. There were actually two other songs that replaced those, but they were like you’re going to put “H20” on your tape? That came out last year. I’m like yeah, but I think that kind of went over people’s heads. I feel it should be on a tape or project when people go back a year from now, two years from now and they never heard of you and they’re like oh, I like this song! It’s a song people will like. A lot of my music is recorded early and released late. I have song I recorded a year and a half ago that didn’t even make this tape but they’re going to make the next tape. There’s music on my tape now that was recorded a year back. It’s all a timing thing.”

That’s dope because like you said, it’s a good way to introduce people to some songs they could’ve missed in finding you if they just go to this project. Another song on ‘Vino World’ is the “Ain’t No Fun” (Remix), that’s the song with Neek Bucks. What was that collaboration like?

“I do music with people that I’m a fan of their music or appreciate their music in a way, so that process was dope. He hit me up and said he wanted to do a record, so I said let’s do it. The funny thing is with that record I was late to the studio session, I think I overslept and go there thirty minutes before the session was over. We were going through records and I was like damn, we only go thirty minutes, matter fact I got a hook I did I could probably hear you on, bro. I played the hook and he was like, WTF, fell in love with it and did his verse there. Funny thing, he did one verse the first time so I was like, I’ll go home and do the second verse, so I did the second verse I just never sent it to him. He came back with the two verse and I’m like fuck it, you can rock out with the two verses and I’m going to drop the one with my verse when my tape drop whenever that drop. That’s how that went, but me and him were thinking about putting together a little project also so shoutout to Neek.”

It looks like ‘Vino World’ is getting a good response, I know you said you’re getting fans who aren’t even in New York, have you been able to tour?

“That’s one thing I haven’t done yet, but putting together. Waiting on the day when we can actually put together a real tour and go to the places that people are listening to the music, because I feel like it varies when I look at the locations of people in my SoundCloud or Spotify and they’re all over. People in Cali, Philly, Texas, all over. They’re people all over so we’re trying to put that together, but we want to make sure we lock down New York City first then we going to go over and do what we do”

That’s dope! So if I take it back a bit, I said before one of my introductions to you was your interpretations of SZA’s “The Weekend”. Another popular interpretation was “Boo’d Up”, so I was curious, especially with “The Weekend”, how do you decide when it’s a song you can flip and it becomes the one people stick on to?

“I get into a mood where I just want to do a cover song. I go into original song mode for a while, but then I want to do a cover song and then I go searching. I go searching through songs that’s out and whatever beat that sticks to me is the song I pick. I heard “The Weekend” for the first time and as soon as I heard it I said okay let me go find the instrumental, then it just came to mind. The same thing with “Boo’d Up”. It was like a natural thing, once I hear it, I know I got things to say on that beat. It comes like a genuine way, I don’t fish for it, I just let it happen and once I hear it I know what to do with it.”

You’re making big moves right now, you got the project [‘Vino World] out and you’re promoting it, but what is next for you? What’s planned for Vino?

“Right now we’re pushing the tape, we’re getting a bunch of videos done, we already got like three videos done. We want every song to get their just due cause everyone has their different favorites. I feel like every song is strong so we want to drop those visuals. I was also thinking about dropping a tape on my birthday, November 12th. Putting together a little Vino and friends concert, a little show in the city. We did a boat ride over the summer which was great and the turnout was good, so we wanted to just put together a concert where it was just Vino & Friends and just rock out with all the songs from before, the songs from the tape, and just give people a real show.”

Would that be in Harlem?

“We looking at locations now but it would probably be in Harlem, Lower Manhattan, or Downtown Brooklyn. We trying to push for Lower Manhattan, Harlem area”

I know you’re always reppin Harlem and your city is heavy in your music, Harlem is also home to a lot of great rappers, so what does it mean to you in trying to create a name for yourself?

“Harlem taught me a lot. Taught me to stay true to myself. It’s a lot of distractions and temptations that we see everyday, but it’s like you have to do what works for you. It turned me into a hustler, by any means necessary I gotta get what I want and need and provide for me and mine. I love my city for that. It gave me the competitive spirit also. I thank my city for that. I just want to show people from my city that you can do it if you stay consistent, stay hungry, and stay true. Do you.”

I noticed that’s a big theme in your music too. Your ambition, staying on your grind, and making sure you’re not getting comfortable. It’s commendable. 

“Sometimes I think I’m too hard on myself because I work a lot. I’m like damn, I got more to do! People will be like no, you’re doing good! I’m like, I appreciate you but I know it’s another step. For me, there’s another step. Sometimes I gotta chill and appreciate the moment because I don’t want to let it get past me, but yeah the ambition, I just know there’s more. I’ll know when it’s there but definitely got more work to do. Just getting that music to people who might not be in a place where they’re comfortable so they want that music to keep grinding and keep going also, so I like having different genre of musics. I have the ambition type, the ones for the females’, and the ones where you’re turning up all day so those are the avenues I kind of stick with and people love me for it.”

You’re still working, but in the meantime, how have you celebrated what you’ve accomplished so far, because not many can say they’ve done what you’re doing.

“I ‘Tron up! (laughs) I drink some Patron, I chill with my friends, I treat myself to good restaurants and finer fabrics here and there laughs. But I keep myself humble and celebrate when need be or when tapes come out or videos come out, and stuff like that. I buy some champagne and we drink and then after that it’s on to the next move.”

That’s what I wanted to ask you! When is the Patron sponsorship, brand partnership coming cause come on (laughs)

“(laughs) We need that real soon! Shoutout to Patron, Patron come holla at me, we got ya’ll looking good out here! We got people drinking Patron and Simply’s”

That too! Simply Lemonade Raspberry!

“I’ve been drinking that for a long time. That’s not even a gimmick . I really enjoy drinking that drink, so Patron come holla. Let’s go global. Simply too.”

I meant to ask earlier, if you had to pick your dream collaboration; either production or feature, who would it be with?

“Oh man, I need a track with Drake, I need a track with Meek, I need a track with Hov. I need a track with Mariah too. That would be fire.”

All dope artists! I’m sure you’ll get them too. So before we’re done, I always try to end my interviews like this: what would be your word to the kids coming after you? In Harlem or wherever, what would you say to the young people trying to follow their dreams too?

“From going through what I’m going through right now, my advice would be stay true to yourself. Be you. Find what works for you. Enjoy what you do, and remember you can’t please everybody. Don’t beat yourself down cause you can’t please everybody, and what’s meant for you is meant for you.”

Make sure you’re on the look out for what Vino does next! Stay updated by following his IG and stream his new project ‘Vino World‘ below: