It’s been interesting to watch local rapper Sasha Go Hard evolve this year, as she rode the explosion of the Chicago scene to her own share of the national spotlight. The Low End MC makes tracks that have a few things in common with drill music, the aggressive and violent spin on southern trap rap that’s now the closest thing to a definitive Chicago sound—to most people outside the city, anyway. Sasha worked with some notable local producers (Young Chop, DJ Kenn, DGainz) for this summer’s Do You Know Who I Am? mixtape, a smooth and sinister collection that strips away some of the apocalyptic synths and bombastic percussion of drill. Do You Know Who I Am? earned Sasha critical acclaim and also set her slightly apart from that idea of a “Chicago sound.”
Sasha has continued down her own path as national interest in the burgeoning drill sound has grown. Some of that interest, of course, has been spurred by well-reported incidents of violence dogging the scene, most notably the murder of aspiring rapper Lil JoJo. In a recent Fader cover story on Chief Keef and the drill scene, writer Felipe Delerme spoke with Sasha about the violence in her music and image:
“I came a long way from my old songs like ‘What We Do,'” Sasha says. “I pulled out a gun in the video, but now I look at it like, Man, why I do that? It’s a lot of young people watching me. I just learn from it and be more careful with my music because I care about my fans and I want them to feel safe listening to my stuff, ’cause Chicago, it’s crazy out here.”
Sasha decided to focus on relationships for her new mixtape, Hip-Hop vs. Love, a collaboration with M.I.C member Il Will that drops today. (You can stream and/or download it after the jump.) She headlines a show at Reggie’s Rock Club tomorrow night with the GTW and Bengfang. Last week I met up with Sasha to talk about her rap roots, the violence plaguing the Chicago scene, her new mixtape, and working with MCs from the west side.