Benjamin Kaine & The Sway
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Benjamin Kaine & The Sway

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I got the pleasure this evening to interview an OUTSTANDING rapper by the name of Soulja Da Menace. As adorable of a face he may have, he is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Not only has he made a name for himself in the Charleston music scene, he has moved out to California spread his wings and that Charleston hospitality to the west coast. Although I didn’t have the honor of meeting him in person, I was just as taken aback by talking to him online. He is committed to his goal of being successful, he’s branched into acting and is developing a TV show and other projects out in California (fancy huh?). He always seems to have his hand in something and build his brand, but through it all he remains faithful to his love of music. Although he chose to leave us, Soulja continues to stay true to his roots and rep Charleston from miles away. No matter where he goes, Charleston definitely has your back Soulja! Check out my interview with him below!

1. What inspired you to get involved in music?
I first got involved when I was 13. I started studying everything I wanted to master in before I jumped into doing it. I was inspired by my step brother who recorded music and I wanted to do the same thing except I wanted to do bigger things than what he was doing with his music.
2. What does your family think about it?
I don’t really think people know what I do. I was more of a private person but when they did find out they accepted it but they really brushed it off like “oh ok,” like they felt like if it wasn’t making any money from it, it didn’t matter. Right now, most of them still feel the same way but just a FEW are really proud and know I’m doing great things with it since I moved away.
3. Why did you choose to move away from Charleston to pursue your music?
Well to get where I wanted to go with my career, Charleston wasn’t the place to be. Charleston isn’t a city where many things positive things happen with people’s career so I took a flight!
4. What’s your take on the whole music scene in Charleston?
Ahh, to me, Charleston artists follow trends of many industry artists. Charleston’s music scene isn’t good at trend setting. I think the artists in Charleston need to start setting trends instead of following them, otherwise local artists will remain local.
5. Would you ever come back after establishing yourself more?
Well I’m working with major record companies that are going to put my over the top. But yes, I would come back. I love Charleston even though it’s a hell of a city. I’ll never forget where I came from.
6. Do you see yourself being that one that will put Charleston on the map?
Yes I do feel that way. Especially since I’m working on other projects outside of music.
7. What kinds of other projects are you working on?
I’m working on a TV show called “Awkward Moments” where I will be an actor. Then I’m working on the new Wizard of Oz movie with my manager.
8. Explain your music to me in 5 words.
Versatile. Passionate. Original. Expressive. Dope.
9. What is your motivation behind all of this?
Bigger projects and fans! Bigger projects basically means I get deeper into the industry that I’m in. It’s always a learning experience and I love to learn when it comes down to things I want to learn. With my fans… when fans send that positive feed back it’s just an indication that they are listening and liking what I do and I love it.
10. What’s the biggest lesson you have learned regarding your music?
Always be original no matter if you don’t fit in because your music doesn’t need to fit in it shall be the one that stands out.
11. What’s your process behind writing lyrics and creating songs?
I always tell a story whether it’s subliminal or not. But I also like to make my music ambiguous, like in a song entitled “Dixie”… through out the whole song you would think I’m talking about a female EX: “I got a red bi*ch named Dixie.” It gets to the point were that’s what it seems and at the end of the song I give it away but most people don’t catch it. I was actually talking about a “Red Dixie cup.”
12. What advice could you give to an upcoming local artist in Charleston or anywhere?
Be yourself and be original. Be about your business 24/7. Play time will come later. If you want to get where you want to go it’s no room for anyone else who will not better your career. Keep your circle small and never give up. It takes time to get into the industry so keep grinding. Also have more than one hustle because rapping will only get you so far and while you doing your music have a real job to invest in your career that’s the most important thing!
13. Is there anything that you would change? Any regrets?
I wouldn’t change anything. I’m happy with everything I have going on now. I’m not a greedy person so even if it’s just a toe nail in the door, that’s fine with me because I know I will get in.
14. How has music changed your life? Where do you think you would be without music in your life?
Music chang - http://soexquisitecharleston.com/


I got the pleasure this evening to interview an OUTSTANDING rapper by the name of Soulja Da Menace. As adorable of a face he may have, he is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Not only has he made a name for himself in the Charleston music scene, he has moved out to California spread his wings and that Charleston hospitality to the west coast. Although I didn’t have the honor of meeting him in person, I was just as taken aback by talking to him online. He is committed to his goal of being successful, he’s branched into acting and is developing a TV show and other projects out in California (fancy huh?). He always seems to have his hand in something and build his brand, but through it all he remains faithful to his love of music. Although he chose to leave us, Soulja continues to stay true to his roots and rep Charleston from miles away. No matter where he goes, Charleston definitely has your back Soulja! Check out my interview with him below!

1. What inspired you to get involved in music?
I first got involved when I was 13. I started studying everything I wanted to master in before I jumped into doing it. I was inspired by my step brother who recorded music and I wanted to do the same thing except I wanted to do bigger things than what he was doing with his music.
2. What does your family think about it?
I don’t really think people know what I do. I was more of a private person but when they did find out they accepted it but they really brushed it off like “oh ok,” like they felt like if it wasn’t making any money from it, it didn’t matter. Right now, most of them still feel the same way but just a FEW are really proud and know I’m doing great things with it since I moved away.
3. Why did you choose to move away from Charleston to pursue your music?
Well to get where I wanted to go with my career, Charleston wasn’t the place to be. Charleston isn’t a city where many things positive things happen with people’s career so I took a flight!
4. What’s your take on the whole music scene in Charleston?
Ahh, to me, Charleston artists follow trends of many industry artists. Charleston’s music scene isn’t good at trend setting. I think the artists in Charleston need to start setting trends instead of following them, otherwise local artists will remain local.
5. Would you ever come back after establishing yourself more?
Well I’m working with major record companies that are going to put my over the top. But yes, I would come back. I love Charleston even though it’s a hell of a city. I’ll never forget where I came from.
6. Do you see yourself being that one that will put Charleston on the map?
Yes I do feel that way. Especially since I’m working on other projects outside of music.
7. What kinds of other projects are you working on?
I’m working on a TV show called “Awkward Moments” where I will be an actor. Then I’m working on the new Wizard of Oz movie with my manager.
8. Explain your music to me in 5 words.
Versatile. Passionate. Original. Expressive. Dope.
9. What is your motivation behind all of this?
Bigger projects and fans! Bigger projects basically means I get deeper into the industry that I’m in. It’s always a learning experience and I love to learn when it comes down to things I want to learn. With my fans… when fans send that positive feed back it’s just an indication that they are listening and liking what I do and I love it.
10. What’s the biggest lesson you have learned regarding your music?
Always be original no matter if you don’t fit in because your music doesn’t need to fit in it shall be the one that stands out.
11. What’s your process behind writing lyrics and creating songs?
I always tell a story whether it’s subliminal or not. But I also like to make my music ambiguous, like in a song entitled “Dixie”… through out the whole song you would think I’m talking about a female EX: “I got a red bi*ch named Dixie.” It gets to the point were that’s what it seems and at the end of the song I give it away but most people don’t catch it. I was actually talking about a “Red Dixie cup.”
12. What advice could you give to an upcoming local artist in Charleston or anywhere?
Be yourself and be original. Be about your business 24/7. Play time will come later. If you want to get where you want to go it’s no room for anyone else who will not better your career. Keep your circle small and never give up. It takes time to get into the industry so keep grinding. Also have more than one hustle because rapping will only get you so far and while you doing your music have a real job to invest in your career that’s the most important thing!
13. Is there anything that you would change? Any regrets?
I wouldn’t change anything. I’m happy with everything I have going on now. I’m not a greedy person so even if it’s just a toe nail in the door, that’s fine with me because I know I will get in.
14. How has music changed your life? Where do you think you would be without music in your life?
Music chang - http://soexquisitecharleston.com/


Discography

Who Dat Boy Iz (2008)
Unleashing the Beast (2008)
Released & Reloaded (2009)
Brothers of Destruction (2009)
6 Zeros (2010)

Benjamin Kaine & The Sway (Top Hats & Tux Tales)- January 2014

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Bio

Born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, Benjamin Kaine Ellis, 20 is the artist that has locals questioning, is he really from the savage city? At the age of 13 he created his first independent record label, Savage City Entertainment, LLC. At the age of 15 Kaine got a full time job as a dishwasher earning between six and seven hundred dollars every two weeks which he invested in himself, and his company.

Kaine has a talent that can't be captured in a sentence. Just when you think you’ve figured out his style, he'll leave your jaw on the floor with something orginial and unexpected. Though his image may suggest the sterotypical Rap/HipHop artist, you shouldn't judge this book by its cover! Kaine's diversity will leave you awestruck and begging for more and rest assured some of it will shock you. Kaine's career started with wild club and hood music. But Kaines orignality started to bust through and with age and wisdom and a sense to be true to himself he started to develop into the hurricane he is today.

Not known distinctively as a local artist in his city, Kaine took the Internet by storm in 2006 growning a worldwide fan base that reaches from the far east to where the sun sets. Over the span of his young career Kaines fan base continues to grown exponentially with every passing hour.

As an unsigned artist Kaine has endeavoured to sell a half million records online and physically under his own label. Every show he plays has a line around the block (See Gallery). With some of his dreams realized Kaine is looing to a future that leaves him more time to focus on his art and in turn put Kaine in the position to look for the perfect record label that can take his music to the heights that only can be acheived by having the right team in place behind him.

This is the logical next step to aspire to the heights of superstardom!

Additional information:

Benjamin Kaine's original stage name was "Soulja Da Menace" but with new manament and the wish to be true to himself "Soulja" was not the name that complimented his true emotions. Setting himself apart from rappers who use a sound system and a DJ, Kaine now rellies on a full band (The Sway) made up of Cornish and Berklee trained musicians which has placed the Crown Jewel in the Crown.