Musical Artist and Businessman, Onlygotdope, Spreads Love With His Music and Events
I don't usually meet my featured artist, but I'm glad I was able to meet Onlygotdope and watch his excellent performance.
O.G.D. performed on Day 3 of the Summer's End Independent Music & Arts Festival hosted by Johnny Knollwood at Jimmy's Bar & Grill in Kearny, NJ. I managed to make it to the show and briefly speak to him before and after his performance. Because I don't usually meet my featured artists before interviewing them, I can't comment on their character, but this time is different. O.G.D is incredibly kind and exudes a warm and welcoming aura from the moment he enters a room. His performance gave off a similar vibe.
Because he travels with a personal DJ, Calico, he decided his set on stage as he performed. His performance was hauntingly beautiful. He strayed from the stage, entering the crowd, making sure every person was utterly entranced by his performance, including myself. He danced around and prompted audience engagement by calling out for a "yeah," he even reminded everyone to buy a drink and tip their bartender. Although he constantly checked in with the crowd, O.G.D was wholly consumed in his performance, rapping with his eyes closed, letting the music completely take over his body.
O.G.D calls his haunting rap music #sorrowtrap, a genre he is trying to develop. So far, the genre is loosely defined as romanticizing romantic pain and unrequited love in a way that builds character represented visually by frost blue, neon silver, and dark purple. He also turned sorrow into an acronym, "Silence Our Rivals, Raise Our Wealth." O.G.D describes #sorrowtrap not only as his preferred genre of music but as his "way of life."
O.G.D has wanted to create music for as long as he can remember. When he saw someone on tv playing guitar, it resonated with him in a way that made him aim to become a rock star. He grew up heavily inspired by Papa Roach, Atmosphere, and DMX. Papa Roach's Getting Away with Murder and DMX's It's Dark & Hell is Hot were the first albums he ever owned.
When he decided to turn his interest in music into a career, he went by CUE or CueTheRapper, a play on the Q in his name, Sherquan. However, the name didn't represent him or his music well. Other names like God Complex and OG'd Complex were once options but neither quite fit. The complex was dropped from the name, leaving O.G.D, which he took to mean Onlygotdope. Thus Onlygotdope music was born.
"[Turning my music into a career] was very difficult for me, at first. As an independent artist, you have to learn how to run a business – marking not only your music but you yourself as an entertainer."
O.G.D believes producers or videographers tend to gain traction before rappers because they provide a service other than entertainment. As a result, he decided to expand his skillset to more than just performing. O.G.D hosts events to promote himself and other local independent artists.
A venue named BoonTunes in Boonton, NJ, was the first to believe in O.G.D's hosting abilities and chose him as their official hip-hop curator. Now, he hosts events like My Bloody Valentine this past February and Ballad of the Bastards this month.
My Bloody Valentine is particularly special to O.G.D.
"We had around 80+ guests, and everything about that event exceeded my expectations. . . Everything about that night screamed star power."
O.G. D has comprised what he feels is the best formula for a successful show.
"1 - I always fill the roster with artists I actually want to see . . . basing the experience around [making an income] never amounts to a good event. 2 - Think of the people . . . I don't agree with paying $20-30 to get into an event, just to still have to pay for food or drinks. The price of the event should always represent the experience. 3 - Book artists who are going to bring people to the show. 4 – Find fun vendors and things people wouldn't expect. For My Bloody Valentine, I had a tattoo artist. 5 - Don't overbook; the shows are parties as much as they are live music events. 6 - Professionalism goes a long way. Even though I'm an artist myself, I never forget I'm a businessman and conduct myself with a sense of professionalism."
On a personal level, O.G.D finds it helpful to pray for the week leading up to the event and the day of, usually about ten minutes before the doors open.
Along with the events he hosts, O.G.D started News12Hip-Hop, a platform to promote NJ's underground hip-hop talent.
"My place in this scene has given me the privilege of being aware of a lot of the other artists around me, whether it's through me throwing shows or just networking. No one was promoting the people in my area who I feel deserve to be. So I created N12HH to do just that."
Despite all his business endeavors, money and depression are the most significant things holding him back.
"An absence of self-sustaining stability and depression [are things] I've battled with here and there. Sometimes I get stuck in some really low vibrations."
Regardless of any hurdles in his way, O.G.D always keeps his eye on his career goals.
"I need a minimum of 300K monthly listeners on each of my streaming platforms. From that point on, I will be making enough money via streaming to move into my own apartment and pay rent consistently without the need for a 9-5."
Other goals include syncing a song to a blockbuster movie, commercials, and big-name video games like Grand Theft Auto or NBA2K. Hopefully, such a deal can happen with his newest and favorite song of his catalog, Dressed in Black, a song he hopes will reach a million streams.
Grandiose career goals may be the ultimate dream, but success and money are not the only messages O.G.D hopes to spread.
"At the end of the day, it's all about love; love for yourself, love for others, falling in love. I also want to spread confidence. I want to put my hand on the shoulder of those pushed too close to their edge and [help them] feel free. I want people to feel loved. I want someone to hear one of my songs and realize it's okay to cry."
Keep up with Onlygotdope's latest releases and events here.