Here's one way to get shine as a rapper in 2015: record a bunch of songs, have one of them go viral, and then flip that momentum into a record deal and a career. Since his single "Flicka Da Wrist" took off across social media earlier this year, Houston rapper Chedda Da Connect has been doing just that. The track's been repped by everyone from Justin Bieber to Drake's mom, he recently signed with eOne Music, and an official, star-studded remix is set to be released next week as part of a plan to capitalize on the song's current ubiquity.
When I spoke to him over the phone earlier this week, I pointed out that I can’t go anywhere without hearing his voice, yet it seems like the world still doesn’t know much about him. “I hear that a lot,” he drawled. “But it’s about to change.” Read our conversation below, and check out his recently released Chedda World mixtape.
Tell me a little about what it was like growing up in Houston. I grew up on the Northside in Texas. I went to Eisenhower High School. I graduated, fortunately. I was involved [in sports] throughout 5th grade to 9th grade. But 10th grade to 12th grade, I ain't really get into sports that much. I was more in the streets. Then I branched off from there, and I got into a little trouble. I was supposed to go to college but I ain't go to college. And that's when I started writing raps. I did it through high school, but I really wasn't recording. After high school, I started picking up that pen and pad, messing with different artists.
You mentioned earlier that you got into some trouble at some point. Is there anything you can tell me about that? I went to jail, probably like around high school. I was in the street doing little crazy things—that was my teenage life. I happened to jump in the wrong place at the wrong time and it was a misdemeanor charge.
For flicking the wrist? You know, fortunately we didn't get caught for that. Everything's a blessing though, glad we didn't get caught.
How long had you been making music before you made "Flicka Da Wrist"? When you were recording, what sort of ambitions did you have? A few years. I just really never dropped nothing. I was recording stuff just so I could hear [it for] my personal use. I ain't never put none out, though. I was shy. Like, I take criticism kinda tough. I didn't want anybody to turn the track down. I like to perfect stuff before I bring it out to the world.
Tell me about the day you recorded "Flicka Da Wrist." Do you remember that session? It was like three or four in the morning. I was in the studio just going through some sounds, just goofing around, playing around, going back and forth. My brother Fred, he was in the studio with me and he was playing with the keyboard. He played one little sound—the main sound on the beat. I was like, “Man, play that sound back again.” Then he started playing with the sound and I just started freestyling off the top of my head. And that's when I just came up with "Flicka Da Wrist". [Sings] I woke up feelin’ like I was on the moon. And everything else just came after that, just came natural.
It was a freestyle? Is that generally how you record? Yeah, it was a freestyle, off the top of my head. I don't really write. I write some of the verses, I mean, that's just because everyone comes up with some nice punchlines. But I don't really write. I just go in there and press record. Go through the beat, knock out the hook, then I go back in and patch some words in, take some words out.
At what point did you realize that you had this huge hit on your hands? When I started seeing [people] tweeting it and talking about it and quoting it word for word. I started seeing the reaction. It took a while for it just to grow on me, 'cause I was still in denial. Then I started seeing all the reactions and stuff of the crowd, and when I started seeing, you know, Justin Bieber, I was like, “Yeah, maybe I got one. I got it going on now.”
Yeah, it was Rihanna and Drake and everyone! Have you heard from Drake? Nah, not yet, not yet. I can't wait for that day though.
You dropped the song last year, and it's still picking up steam. You have a song with T-Wayne who sort of had a similar experience. Are you concerned about what comes next? It's a process. Right now, we got the single. That's the one me and T-Wayne did, that's "Twinkle." You know, the politicalized, this type of sound that they wanna hear right now. So I just went in there. I don't care what nobody says, what nobody thinks, I just went in there and dropped a dope hook. It's on iTunes right now.
I'ma stay in the studio. I'ma kill it with these videos, too. I'ma stay in their face, I'ma put that viral game on these videos. I'm always in the studio, I got a lot of stuff. Even with Chedda World there's a lot of songs that didn't make it on there. They're some nice tracks. I got a lot of stuff in store.
There's been a lot of positive reactions—your track was referenced in that Lil Mama song that just came out. But then there's also Lil B who tweeted something pretty mean about you. Oh man, I ain't worried. I see that, I see that. I responded but I took it down. Because at the end of the day we ain't supposed to respond like that. You know what I'm saying? If you're gonna talk to somebody, you're gonna mention their name or you're gonna direct it to 'em. But he ain't direct it to me so you know what it is. I don't think he means it. I just feel like he wants a little publicity. He just wanna get back in the front again. But if we run across each other, we're gonna get the situation straight for sure.