Cash KY Holds the Key

Up and coming artist Cash KY has been studying long enough, now it’s time to use his knowledge and talent to unlock the door to his future

Cash KY was young when planet music ensnared him in its’ gravitational pull, becoming a space he could turn too whenever the noise of the outside world became too much. Cash KY was born down in Tampa, spending his early years running around in the warm Florida sunshine doing what young kids do. The transition from elementary to middle school is one that challenges just about every kid in the American school system as social systems start to become more rigidly defined and kids try to find an open place for themselves. This new stage wasn’t made any easier for Cash KY when his family packed up their belongings and hit the road. They headed north until year-round (or even four solid months) of sunshine was a distant memory and they settled down in the suburbs of Chicago. The fact that Cash was sports-obsessed at that time was helpful when it came to making friends, and even if it hadn’t been, the move had exposed him to an entirely new music scene which thrilled Cash. His dad was always into music, playing everything from Sade to reggae around the house when Cash was a youngster. Southern hip-hop was still in its limelight infancy when Cash was living in Tampa, and having an older brother gave Cash opportunities to listen to some of the now-greats whose rise was just beginning such as Gucci Mane and Boosie. It was while living up in Chicago that Cash’s ear first became attuned to the Midwest’s numerous styles, the first being the man who put St. Louis on the map. Cash’s mom would take him and his siblings over to his grandma’s house where all the cousins would gather, and his older cousin had a Nelly tape the two of them ran through over and over. Listening to Nelly was the first time that Cash realized there was more behind the music than the sounds, there was layer upon layer of context that went along with the remixed nursery rhymes Mr. Country Grammar gave to the world.

As much as Cash loved music, sports always sat at the front of his mind when it came to his future. His older brother had shown him the way for using his athletic ability to further himself, blazing his way through college into the NFL as a corner back. Although Cash starred under the lights on Friday nights, he was the one tossing dimes not catching them. In addition to playing quarterback, Cash used the long hours he spent training under center to become a ball-hawking defensive back, controlling both sides of the action. In a decision that once again put Cash KY in an entirely new environment, he signed on to play football and run track at Upper Iowa University after finishing up high school. After being slowly trapped in by the corn fields, Cash left Upper Iowa after a year and a half, transferring over to the other side of Lake Michigan to enroll at Saginaw Valley. In some typical college bullshit, the credits that Cash had completed while at Upper Iowa didn’t transfer over to Saginaw leaving him to restart on his journey to the degree. While at Saginaw, Cash first came in contact with the vibrant, insular hip-hop scene in Detroit. The differences in the hip-hop markets between Chicago and Detroit were stark to Cash, from the way people living in the cities supported their artists to the actual physical size of the market. Cash KY didn’t stay at Saginaw long, about another year, before adding another punch on his Midwest travel card by transferring to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. And unlike during his previous transfer, Cash’s credits went right along with him, accompanied by the lessons he had picked up by hanging around the Detroit hip-hop scene. Up until this point Cash’s life had been dominated by sports in all aspects, whether it was actively participating or consuming as a fan. He loved playing football to his core, and still does, but football will always be football. The same with track and even though Cash broke into Platteville’s top ten all time for triple jump, the limelight of sports wasn’t calling to him the same. It wouldn’t be different from game to game, year to year. Sure the specifics might change but the general parts never do, there’s only so much variation that can occur for a player. In Cash’s mind, music was different. Music was fluid and dynamic, constantly evolving as the artists found new pockets within their minds to explore for our enjoyment. It represented a way for him to move away from the X’s and O’s into a world of on the fly creating. It was with the same mentality that he locked into every time he slid his mouth-guard in that Cash KY put squarely in the forefront of his mind stepping behind the mic for the first time at Platteville.  

While Cash was working on finding himself in the 808’s, he was also studying the game more in-depth than he ever had before. He majored in business throughout his time in school, trying to pack his schedule out with classes that would encompass the sort of information relevant to becoming a successful entrepreneur. In fact, after some cajoling from his his old teammates and coaches he returned to Upper Iowa in 2019 for what would have been a senior year of eligibility had he followed through on his athletic waiver. Instead, Cash decided to take the time and focus on gaining as much knowledge as possible surrounding the business world in entertainment and graduated with his degree in business ready to make something happen. Cash packed up and headed out into the real world, right back home to try and recruit the homies that he knew were making music to get together and make something happen. Try as hard as he might, Cash consistently found himself let down by people, telling him that they wanted to do this or that, and in the end simply wasted his time. After a few false starts, Cash decided to say fuck it and focus on progressing himself, if others wanted to get it on it or work with him then cool but until their work showed up, he would be posted in the studio grinding his heart out. His first single released February 28th last year, and it has been only up from there. In fact, Cash KY was able to get a feature from one of hip-hop’s legends, The Based God himself, Lil B. The story behind the link-up is classic Lil B, who has been more than known to interact with fans on Twitter during his years having control on the platform. One of Cash’s homies drew up a picture of Lil B as fan art, posted a pic, and Lil B didn’t just see it, but wanted to buy it as well. Cash’s homie didn’t want to sell it to him though, he just wanted to get it to him, and in exchange Lil B slid his number over and said that if he ever wanted anything done music wise to let him know. Cash’s friend George then proved himself as beyond real by using that favor to pass along Cash’s music and indeed get Cash a verse from the man himself.  The first project that Cash released was entitled Dark Stout, a compilation of songs that he had been working on but hadn’t gotten the final cuts polished up yet. He had let some of the homies listen to those rough cuts and they immediately began pushing him to drop it and see what would happen. It resulted in running up a fast 500 plays, in less than a day, and Cash knew that he had something on his hands. Fortunately, before the pandemic cut up the microphone cords across the country, Cash was able to add on-stage experience to his resume. The first time that he stepped in front of the lights, Cash was at a strip club in Harvey, Illinois, and left the promoter so impressed that he immediately asked Cash if he wanted to perform at another show that he was promoting. All told, Cash KY has been able to perform six shows, finding that the pandemic actually may have left opportunities open for him as venues trying to get up and running again are having trouble finding artists to get on stage but Cash is rarin’ and ready to go.

As the dark grey of winter makes way to the slightly less grey spring, Cash has been getting himself ready to be the burst of sunshine shooting through the clouds letting us know that its time to live life again. He has been putting in the hours in the studio, working in studios up north and down south, getting locked in especially with Smiddy95 up in Beloit. Cash is working on readying the release of a new project soon, and it won’t be long until he is on stages north, south, east and west performing his heart out and putting his stamp on the world of hip-hop. Make sure you follow him on all social media, and stream what he already has out across all streaming platforms. Cash KY is using his voice as the key to unlock the cash in the game, don’t miss out on the light that he sheds when he opens the door and follow him through.

Jake Zinda

23 years old, from Wisconsin Hip-Hop Journalist @CMAG N.S.C.T.D.

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