Sino General says to do what you love because you can develop skills along the way.
Sino General is a celebrated Indigenous hip hop artist and he blends hip hop with his Cayuga roots.
“I am one of the pioneers of mixing hip hop and indigenous music together,” said General.
He is also known as his stage name Chief Rock and for him blending the smoke dance style with hip hop came naturally. General is from Six Nations and the Wolf clan and grew up in the city too. His love of both sounds and energies lead to his unique style.
“I love singing our traditional smoke dance or women shuffle and fish dance. And we have all these really great, fantastic songs, that we sing back home,” said General
“When you hear the singing and the drumming and it just makes you just want to just go, right? And hip hop made me feel the same way and I was like how can I do two things that I love and that's what I did.”
His style led him to perform for the likes of Def Jam and Jay-Z and meeting the likes of Felipe Rose from the Village People. General says his music has led him to perform in Guyana, Mexico, Peru and Korea. And through those ventures he’s made connections and made money.
And for up and coming artists he says it’s important to try.
“You might not be perfect at it at first, you might not have your craft on, but at some point while you're going through these motions of performing and doing shows and being nominated and stuff, it'll click and you'll just get really good at it,” said General.
He remembers starting out he was paying so much money for studio time and little by little he was learning the ins and outs of audio engineering. Now he gets paid to mix and master other artists. General says he’s trying to pay that forward.
“We've done a lot of workshops with youth teaching them how to make music and how to use the software, because I felt like I'm self-taught,” said General.
He does advise people to learn multiple skills because having extra skills can help an artist to stay afloat during lean times. As far as his own career he wishes he did more music videos, because artists like Drezus and Warpath have utilized that platform for their careers.
General is part of the Indigenous hiphop group Enter-Tribal and is hoping to release an album soon.
Thanks to Oscar Baker III for writing this article.
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