From the studio

Junior creates personal musical brand, gears up for performance at CUSEapalooza

Nalae White | Staff Photographer

Osamede “Ose” Ogbeide is gearing up for his first performance Wednesday night at Cusapalooza.

Sitting by the pond in Thornden Park, Osamede “Ose” Ogbeide found a $10 bill on the ground, buried under some grass. Pleasantly surprised, he picked it up.

“This is definitely a good sign. This is how I want my music to feel,” he said.

Ogbeide has not just been listening to rap music since he was 6 years old — he’s been studying it. He has evolved since he started at Syracuse University. As a freshman on the pre-med track, he only had one single released.

Now a junior economics major, Ogbeide uses his nickname as his stage name. He will be performing all unreleased music Wednesday night at CUSEapalooza at the Westcott Theater. Although he’s been working on a lot of singles, releasing about one every two weeks to get his face out there, CUSEapalooza will be the first time he performs an entire collection.

Ogbeide is completely self-taught, his studies coming from listening to various rap influences on his own time.

When he was in first grade he heard “Jesus Walks” by Kanye West, and thought the combination of message and beats was unlike anything he had ever heard. After also immersing himself in the music of Kid Cudi and early Eminem, he decided that he wanted to be like them.

“I was plugged into the music and tapped into what they were saying because it really resonated with me, and then one day I was like, ‘Alright — I want to do this,’” Ogbeide said.

Around Ogbeide’s eighth grade year, his uncle, a reggae musician, was working on an album, which impressed and inspired Ogbeide to start making music on his own. His uncle bought him his first mini controller and drum pad, which Ogbeide then hooked up to his computer and began making beats.

In high school, Ogbeide met one his best friends, Akio Bastian, who was also into hip-hop. They would have long discussions about what rappers they thought were best and eventually discovered they had a similar taste and shared an in-depth passion for that music. So, Ogbeide finally gained the courage to show Bastian some of his beats, and Bastian was astounded at what Ogbeide could do.

It was Halloween when the two friends made their first song — a remix of Childish Gambino’s “Freaks and Geeks,” taking turns rapping verses over the instrumental.

“I posted it on SoundCloud and on Twitter or Facebook and we became celebrities in our high school for like a week,” Ogbeide said. “It went low-key viral, at least around our neighborhood.”

The friends loved the reaction they received, and because they had so much fun making it, they decided to keep doing it, and eventually began rapping over Ogbeide’s original beats. Their rap group became known as Casualty, and the two boys pumped out two EPs.

“He’s honestly the main reason I make music ‘til this day,” Bastian said, about his friend. “The work ethic that man has when he’s sitting down working on his craft is incredible though and something I wish I had.”

Most of the music Ogbeide creates is about typical college life at SU.

“Life comes at you at a pretty fast pace when you’re here and I’m just going through phases. I feel like I can always count on there to be something new,” he said.

His inspiration may come from a conversation he had with someone, or something new that he learned in the day. He’ll then try to translate when he learned into a song.

“That spontaneity or serendipity of life is just inspiring, just how anything can happen,” Ogbeide said.

Besides playing CUSEapalooza, Ogbeide is also going to Cornell University to perform a show at the beginning of next semester, along with a show in Florida over spring break. He’s already performed at The Great New York State Fair and at a friend’s gathering at Robert Drive in Syracuse. The gathering was enjoyable for him because it was very underground and consisted of no pretentiousness or superficiality, which he sometimes believes modern rappers get caught up in.

“It’s not just about being well-known on campus or about getting 100,000 Instagram followers. That’s never why I make music … it’s just for expressing myself and inspiring people, and just showing people how to stay calm. People get so flustered. Things happen but when bad happens you just need to listen to the right music — hopefully my music, something I can make that can help you in your day,” said Ogbeide.

Ogbeide, in this sense, compares himself to a journalist. He likes to communicate what’s going on for our generation.

A friend in student-run record label Syracuse University Recordings, Jessica Berenson, agreed that Ogbeide’s music is more personal than anything and is relatable.

“I think the biggest strengths of his are how he lets his personality show in his music and how seamless and unique his music is. He makes his raps personal and it’s apparent, which I feel like is a lot more challenging for hip-hop artists,” Berenson said.

Although he moved to California when he was three, Ogbeide was born in Nigeria, and he said African roots can be detected in his music, although he does it subconsciously.

However, Ogbeide listens to every genre of music to get inspired, including soft alternative artist City and Colour and indie folk band Fleet Foxes. Bastian even said Ogbeide admitted that he’s going through a punk rock phrase.

Ogbeide is genre-busting, and does not want to be reduced to just one type of music. He just wants his music to make people pleasantly surprised.

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