An Interview with Sam Cowans ’15 A.K.A. Shaski


Earlier this semester, the very talented rapper Sam Cowans ‘15, A.K.A. Shaski, released his debut mixtape Truth be Sold on his Soundcloud.

After listening to it non-stop for a week straight, I decided to interview him for Campus Vinyl. Check out the whole interview below, and hit up his Soundcloud for more tunes!

Can you tell me about your musical background, and what influenced the sound on your mixtape?

I’ve been rapping since I was like 14 or 15 but I wasn’t really too serious about it then. It was just something fun to do with my friends and honestly I didn’t think I was that good at first. It wasn’t until like sophomore year of college when I started getting a little more serious about it; after a friend of mine here heard me and said “Sam why aren’t you signed” haha. As far as the sound of the mixtape, I tried to throw a little something in there that many different people could pick out and enjoy. But I consider myself to be a real lyricist, so MC’s like Jay Z, Nas, Biggie and newer guys like J. Cole, Logic and Kendrick Lamar definitely had some influence on the sound.

What was your recording process like?

The recording process was dope! I recorded most of the tracks out in LA at a pretty professional studio. Only like two of the tracks weren’t recorded out there. That was my first time ever recording in an actual studio so it was a little nerve-racking at first with all of the equipment, but I think I settled in pretty quickly. Once I started rapping I was good from there though haha.

Any meaning behind the name "Shaski" or the title of the mixtape?

My family and friends back home all call me “Sha” which is short for my middle name Shamel, which actually means Samuel in Arabic. So I’m Samuel Samuel, technically (my dad thought he was being funny) haha. My dad’s nickname was “Ski” so some people would call me little ski. So, I just kind of threw those two together and liked how it sounded. The title just kind of comments on what’s really truth in our society and how money has such a tight grip over us. A least that was my thought process when I was thinking of a name.

Do you plan to pursue music at all after college?

Definitely! Although I’ve always been into music and able to rap, I jumped on the music train relatively late. But I’m having more fun with this than many other endeavors that I’ve pursued in the past. I figure since I’m having fun with it and since it comes naturally to me, I don’t see any reason to stop. I’m still going to get a job for now, though. I got to eat in the meantime, haha.

Do you have any upcoming performances on campus or downtown?

Yes! I am actually performing on February 28th at the BSU Black Arts Festival Fashion Show! It’s going to be in Davis Gym and I’ve got a super dope live band playing behind me! They’re some seriously talented dudes, so it’s bound to be super fun and a really great experience. Everyone should definitely come check it out!

Who are your top artists right now/who are you listening to lately?

I’ve been a serious J. Cole fan since junior year of high school. Getting signed to his label, Dreamville, would literally make my life haha. Lately, I’ve been listening to up and coming artists’ Cozz, who’s also currently signed to Dreamville, and Logic, as well as a really good friend of mine, Flythe. They’re all really different but true artists! Aside from hip-hop, I’ve been listening to a good bit of Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. Crazy talent between those two. I’ve been rocking to that song “Take Me to Church” by Hozier lately, also.

Anything else you'd like our readers to know about you/your music?

Ultimately that I make music for my audience and for people to listen and enjoy. I really enjoy telling stories with it and at the end of the day I wouldn’t consider myself a “rapper” exactly; but rather an artist. And as an artist I can’t explain how great it’s been hearing that people actually enjoy listening to my music. I put a lot of time and energy into creating and putting out this project and the response has been phenomenal! So I’m hoping I can raise the bar even higher with the next one! I truly appreciate the love and support! Also, I love dogs, I’m allergic to mushrooms and freshman year I got a rule put in the Bucknell rule book stating that no student can give tattoos on campus. Fun facts haha.

As mentioned in the interview, if you want to check him out live, Sam will be performing February 28th at the Davis Gym.

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