West is here to prove that you can live out your dreams of being a recording artist, without needing to sign to a major label. Originally born in New York, raised in the Bay Area, but now residing in sunny Los Angeles, the rising star lists music as his biggest passion… and he spends his waking hours in the lab perfecting his craft.
Born to a traditional immigrant family, the Asian American rapper graduated from UCLA in 2015, and began his career working in Management Consulting. In 2019, he took a leap of faith to commit to music full-time.
West states, “I wasn’t too happy with it. I didn’t derive a whole lot of happiness or purpose from my job, So in 2019, I decided to quit and go for what I wanted. That’s basically 99% of my life, is my career in music right now.”
Most recently, West unveiled the official music video for his biggest song to date, “Euro$tep.”
On the chorus, he spits, “I do not miss. Started in Cali and now I got b###### in Europe singing my s###. Remember it’s never the critic who counts, that’s just the way it is. Tell me, why would I listen to you on this s### when you never could do what I did?”
“Euro$tep” holds fans over until the release of his newest single “Checks,” which arrives on July 7th.
AllHipHop caught up with West in downtown Los Angeles, moments before he headed to the golf course. Read below as we discuss his background, his love for music, his parents support, his name, the making of “Euro$tep,” new single “Checks,” studio essentials, and more!
AllHipHop: Have you been making music your whole life?
West: My whole life. I was singing, playing piano and guitar since I was a kid. But it wasn’t something that I thought was all that realistic. But once I had gotten the job that I thought I wanted, it didn’t make me happy so I went for it. I had already written around 200 songs at that time. My friends had this intervention and said “you need to start doing this.”
AllHipHop: Those are real friends! When did you fall in love with music?
West: Since before I can remember. Since I was kid, I always had a pair of wire earphones tucked behind my ear, so I was constantly listening to music since I was a kid.
AllHipHop: What artists made you fall in love with music?
West: It was probably what my parents would play. They played a lot of Nat King Cole. They played a lot of Simon & Garfunkel, Chinese music, classical music. When I first started being autonomous and having an mp3 player, it was stuff like Green Day, Eminem, 50 Cent.
AllHipHop: How would you describe your sound?
West: Honestly, just a hodgepodge of everything that I like. I’m a melody enthusiast, I love melodies. So a mix between rap, Hip Hop, and pop.
AllHipHop: How are parents responding to the music? Are you full Chinese?
West: I am. They’re my biggest supporters. When we talk about the future, my dad is very matter-of-fact about my success like “oh, yeah, just make sure you take care of your health.” We’ll talk about the future when I play Madison Square Garden or something. My dad’s the type to be like “it’s just a matter of time before that happens for you. Just make sure you get enough sleep” type thing.
They’re super supportive. In the beginning, they were worried of course. But always supportive. Never not supportive. We have a great relationship so when I told them that I was going to do this, they trusted me.
AllHipHop: Were they worried when you quit your job?
West: Yeah, like any good parents would be.. I would be worried too if my kids did the same thing. I reassured them and let them know that within two years, you should be able to see some results. Now, they’re on board for sure.
AllHipHop: Do they listen to your music?
West: They do. [laughs] My dad doesn’t use headphones, so he plays them on his iPhone speakers. We’ll be in the gym, he’ll sit here and play it on his iPhone. My mom loops my music 24/7. She’s always trying to give me some more streams, it’s hilarious.
AllHipHop: How’d you get your name? Is West your real name?
West: No, my real name’s Eddy. West was something that just came to me. I’m sure you can relate, our families come from the Far East. In my household at least, my parents immigrated here. Growing up, the idea of the West and the Western Hemisphere represented a destination that provided a better life. That concept of the West was synonymous with being successful, being stable, providing a better life for your family. It has a cultural meaning, but also for me personally, my roots come from the Far East, but my life has led me over here to the West. The sun rises in the East and sets in the West, so it mirrors my life path, and represents completion and where you’re going.
AllHipHop: Talk about your biggest song, “Euro$tep.” I love the video, I always want to steal a golf cart and drive around.
West: The song had gone viral long before we had released the video. It went on Instagram first, but I was feeling pressure from everyone saying “you gotta put together a video and put it out.” I didn’t want to dilute the intention of the song by coming out with a stereotypical flashy video with a bunch of cars in front of a mansion, it had to be real for us. We want it to be something where, let’s go to the actual golf course that we play at, with our friends. It’s gotta be real, and that’s the only way people will resonate with it.
“Euro$tep” was a song that I had written the hook for, then I posted a 5 second clip on Reels. The next day when I woke up, the video had 3 million views. But the song wasn’t done. I’d just written 3 lines of the hook. I’m like f###, I gotta finish the song and take advantage of the virality.
AllHipHop: What do you think made it go viral?
West: I don’t know what it is. I think the drop played a big part of it. People liked the “3, 2, 1,” how hard the beat was. Maybe the hook had a mixture of rap and singing. Not singing, but sing-rapping. It went viral and the next morning I’m like, well I don’t have a song to put out. I had to finish it. I ended up finishing it that night, then releasing it 2 weeks later. I released it, and initially it performed pretty steadily. But it didn’t pop off until about 4 months later when Manchester United and Premier League soccer posted it on Reels.
AllHipHop: Just organically?
West: Yeah. I don’t know anything about soccer, so I didn’t know it was a big deal. It was more people would tag me or send it to me, so I knew it was big. But it wasn’t anything… if the NBA had posted it, I’d probably flip out more.
AllHipHop: Talk about the independent grind and why you want to remain independent?
West: First and foremost, I do music because I love it. Art in its most successful and purest form is a form where no one can tell you what to write or what to do or how to move. That’s how it resonates most with people, so I value creative control in doing whatever the f### I want, when I want, over money or anything else. Also, that’s the road to financial stability in this industry. If you own your masters, you own all your stuff, you’re going to make money if you’re successful. I want to build leverage and fanbase and get to the point where no one can tell me what to do. Eventually, I will sign with a major when the time is right. That time is not now. Independence and self-sufficiency is really important to me.
AllHipHop: Talk about your new single “Checks,” what’re you most excited for?
West: I’m excited. For me, whenever you write a song, you get really excited about it initially, then you have to wait so long for other people to hear it. It’s been a month, so I’m excited for people to finally hear it. It’s another song I wrote in one night, it’s 100% me. It’s one of those songs where 90% of the lines are some form of clever bar, but they also mean something, and there’s no filler. I’m proud of the message that it represents. Every line is like, oh that’s the truth. It’s another step towards where I want to go. I’m excited for people to see a video to the song.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from the video?
West: Hopefully something unique. Something cool, but the video wasn’t supposed to be the video. We were shooting short form content for TikTok and Reels. We ran 3 takes of 7 different songs. We came back and saw this one, were like “this is really good.” It was super natural, we were having fun. We ended up turning it into a music video.
AllHipHop: What is it you want fans to get from your story?
West: If people can listen to my music and have some form of positive messaging or inspiration. Specifically what I like to preach in my music is always be yourself. Be confident, don’t give a f### what other people are saying. If you believe it, you can do it. Through consistency, hard work, confidence and a relentless attitude. There’s two ways to go through life. You can either go through life thinking “oh I’m not that good, I don’t know if I can do it”, or you can be like “I’m the s###.” If my music helps them think like the latter, then that would be for me, a career well spent doing music.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio at all times?
West: A candle. Some kind of gummies, I usually go for Welch’s fruit snacks. And palo santo, I have to burn that.
AllHipHop: What do you like to do for fun, when you’re not working?
West: I like to golf, workout and cook. Lots of Chinese food, lots of Korean food.
AllHipHop: Any goals for yourself?
West: Yeah, to be the biggest artist in the world. Put the music on the biggest stage possible, to affect as many people positively as possible. To take care of my family, so they never have to worry about anything. To live my life out through my purpose, which is to make music at the highest level. On the other side, on the personal side, to keep improving myself as a man. Become the most disciplined, generous, moral, capable, rich, kind person that I can be.
AllHipHop: What can we expect next?
West: Lots of new music. I’m gonna be around forever so for me, it’s a marathon. Constantly releasing new music, new content. Maybe in a year or so, going on tour. Hopefully that will come soon. More music, just on a bigger scale.