If you haven’t heard of Cashflow Ellis yet, well, that’s ok, you’re not alone. But if this is your first time, all I ask is that you remember that this is where you first heard the name, because it won’t be long before all your friends are talking about Cashflow too.
Cameron Ellis, aka Cashflow Ellis, is a freshman at Columbia College Chicago, but more importantly, a bright, rising star in the midwest hip-hop scene.
Cashflow reps the Famsquad (short for Famsquadilliana), one of the most powerful hip-hop teams coming out of Illinois and Indiana (hence, -illiana), and works alongside producer Keeynote. With the official video for his recent hit “Hearse Flow” dropping on Halloween, now less than a week away, there are few up-and-comers in the game that have greater momentum than Cashflow.
This past summer, Cashflow Ellis performed alongside Sir Michael Rocks of the Cool Kids at the ESPN-sponsored Midwest Tomato Fest, and the two have since recorded a joint track titled “Attitude” which will serve as Cashflow’s first official single this fall (peep the video trailer for the track HERE).
Amidst all the recent buzz, I had a chance to ask Cashflow a few questions about where he’s at right now, what the everyday grind is like, and what he expects from the near future. Check out what he had to say:
The Fresh Heir: You’re starting to make a name for yourself in the Midwest, but a good number of East Coast Hip-Hop heads have yet to hear the name Cashflow Ellis. For those who don’t know yet, who are you? Where does your story begin?
Cashflow Ellis: First off, thanks for taking the time out of your day to recognize my work as an artist and giving me the interview. I go by Ca$hflow Ellis, attending Columbia CollegeChicago for film and video, and at the same time expanding my music to reach the next step towards being a successful artist. I began to take music seriously eighth grade summer after surgery nearly after going almost blind in my left eye. Throughout my later high school years I would do shows and open up for numerous artists where I ran into FamSquadilliana and Keeynote.
TFH: Who are some of your favorite artists and are there any in particular that have influenced your approach and your style?
CE: My top three are Cassidy, T.I. and Nas. Growing up trying to discover myself I would listen to their approach on beats and how they would structure their rhythm and how it changed. Then later I would use all their styles and mix it in one to find myself as an individual artist. My uncle was a strong influence on my music growing up. I would let him hear my new raps to let him know how much I’ve matured coming from a lyricist’s perspective.
TFH: What’s it like trying to “make it”? Getting your music heard has gotta be a huge part of of the everyday grind..what are some of your strategies to getting your name and work out there?
CE: It’s not easy. People in general think if you have good lyrics people SHOULD listen and give them respect demanding attention. I learned it didn’t mean that early on, glad to say. Omekka from Famsquad would tell me key elements to get the crowd how I wanted and how to hit them. You have to have a movement behind you followed by a good supporting system. An established portfolio showing the previous tours and shows I’ve done also helps for when I get booked for venues.
TFH: How would you describe yourself as an artist? Is there a well-known rapper you feel like you can be compared to?
CE: Versatile. In the Indie group I’m in, Famsquadilliana, we deal with different tunes and genres of music. Working with Keeynote has been a positive attribute of my overall work as an artist. I say that because I’m working with dubstep, techno, house party, and different types of tunes you wouldn’t expect from an average teenager. At the same time I’m rapping to the genres I speak on, topics such as urban culture, politics, school subjects, and religion. I look at it as a perfect example of being different, and that’s what you need to separate yourself from others. I like to educate and speak on topics other music artist won’t touch on. Giving respect to all the music artists in the game I compare myself, to no one. My mother told me I remind of her of the early LL Cool J in his early teen years for the simple fact that he showed fearlessness in his physical actions in his videos and how he represented himself.
TFH: What was this past summer like for you, getting to perform at ESPN Midwest Tomato Fest and having a chance to work with Sir Michael Rocks?
CE: It was a blessing, I still haven’t sat down and taken everything in yet. The fans showed tremendous love and support. It was my first national event being sponsored on television. Having 5,000+ people chant your name and pull phones and cameras out to record you is a humbling experience. I knew then and there not how far I had come, but how much further I’m going to take it. Working with Sir Micahael Rocks has been absolutely incredible. To work with a big name in the music industry recognized by millions across the world opened my eyes. For him to go out of his way to come to perform at my graduation party, let me cameo in his ‘Cell Dope’ video off of his mixtape ‘Premier Politics’, and take the time out of his day to talk to me, giving advice to become successful has been incredible. Unlike other music artists in the game, he’s real down to earth and humble. Separating the music side of Mikey and getting to know the personal side of him is cool. I look at him as I do my brothers in Famsquadilliana and for Mikey to say I’m the next big artist coming from Indiana, I know he sees potential and respects me as a music artist alone.
TFH: What do you want people to take away from your music?
CE: Learning, I want them to get a grasp on to my lyrics but also my literal structure – my grammar and English I’m using and how I structure my verses in puns, metaphors, and similes.
TFH: Where do you see yourself a year from now? What are some of your goals?
CE: Sold out arena of thousands, and working on a second album – in that position where Omekka (Famsquad) has been trying to put me. I don’t know what he means and he never tells me, but he’s a genius at thinking and I follow through with whatever he tells me. My goals this year are to drop my debut album “Broken Pencils” that will be produced by Keeynote and to star in the movie “Lust of Money” directed by No Ending Films.
TFH: What’s one track or one video you’ve done that people NEED to peep?
CE: Thanks to everyone who has been requesting “Hearse Flow” on the radio, we will now be premiering the official video, shot by No Ending Films, on HALLOWEEN. Till then, please keep requesting by calling POWER 92.3 (773-375-9248) and KMOJ 89.9 in Minnesota (612-377-4567) #famsquad
TFH: What’s coming up in the near future in terms of music and live performances? What can people expect from Cashflow Ellis?
*Don’t forget – “Hearse Flow” Video drops on Halloween!