As a versatile Hip Hop artist from Chicago, Cousin Vinny explores a wide variety of genres including jazz, classic hip hop, electronic, and breakbeat. These musical influences along with storytelling drawn from his life experiences, heavy hitting production, and adaptable lyrical flow make up his unique sound.
At age twelve, Cousin Vinny’s first musical exposure came from deejaying at family parties. He started his career by creating mashups of songs by downloading acapellas and instrumentals. Throughout high school, he started learning how to produce beats and was introduced to freestyling by his older cousins. They would cruise around in their cars, play beats and rap over them. Sometimes even over Vinny’s own production. Eventually he was freestyling with friends, recording home videos, and having small performances at parties. He fell in love with that music scene.
Shortly after, one of Vinny’s next door neighbors was bumping music in the driveway and he walked up to talk. He found out he was a music producer and had a small DJ station and recording studio in his basement. At the time, [Mike] was recording another music artist and as that project went on, Vinny became more involved. This music artist started gaining traction, opening for bigger acts, getting playtime on local radio, and filming a major music video. These experiences were very influential, opening Vinny’s eyes to the opportunity of releasing music independently. This all led to Vinny writing and starting a major project and first album.
The early process was slow and without general direction and in 2016, unhappy with his sales job, Vinny took time off from work and fully immersed himself in his music and this first album. He took a leap of faith and spent this time laying down ideas and freestyles. One day, inspired by the instrumental for “No Shopping” by French Montana and Drake, he came up with the hook for his first single, Tom Cruise.
During this time, Kryptogram, a House music producer, was working on music while finishing his degree at Columbia College. He offered to mix down Vinny’s first release “Tom Cruise.” Kryptogram’s involvement gave the album a boost, offering to executive produce the entire project.
Throughout 2017 and 2018, writing, production, and recording slowly started coming together into a completed first album entitled “Fear of Missing Out.” In this album, Cousin Vinny explores a wide variety of genres, ranging from classic hip hop, to jazz, electronic, and breakbeat. It includes a range of music, with bangers as well as love songs with a focus on storytelling from his personal experiences as the underlying narrative of the album.
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