West Coast Styles

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Inglewood, CA, rapper Tramayne ‘Shade Sheist’ Thompson literally burst onto the music scene with his 2000 anthem-like single, “Where I Wanna Be,” produced by Damizza [Mariah Carey, Dr. Dre] and featuring Kurupt & the late Nate Dogg, taken from his debut solo studio collection, Informal Introduction [Baby Ree / MCA Records].



First things first, last year (August 11th to be exact) marked the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop — What exactly does that mean to and for you?

It means we’ve come a long, long way as a collective. My age and Hip Hop as a genre are only a few years separated, so I can genuinely say I’ve watched it evolve into the powerful influence it still is today. I’m honored to have been able to contribute what I have to the genre and the movement.

To quote the late, great The Notorious B.I.G., “You never thought that Hip Hop would take it this far!” — Was this something that you ever could’ve imagined?

Something that started as community block parties and evolved into million dollar companies is nothing short of impressive. No, this was nothing like I imagined it back in the day.

What are some of your fondest, most stand-out moments / memories during your lengthy tenure in this thing called Hip Hop?

Speaking to 2Pac over the phone while shooting in his “So Many Tears” video in the ‘90’s. No lengthy conversation or more than a few words shared, but he told me “thank you.” Starring in the South Circle “Attitudes” video as a young teen I was speaking on Eazy-E, and once I started rapping myself I had the honor to work with Julio G and Tony G in California who introduced me to their good friend Eric, a.k.a. Eazy-E. He heard some of my early work, and told me I was dope. And, of course, growing up listening to Death Row Records; it was the ultimate honor to be able to feature the legendary Nate Dogg and Kurupt on my first and most successful single to date, “Where I Wanna Be.” Right before I went on stage to perform in front of my first ever 10K plus crowd, Jay-Z put words of encouragement and compliments in my ear that definitely made me feel like I was doing something right. I could do the entire interview on just this question, but I’ll stop there.

That said, what are your future plans and / or goals throughout the remainder of 2024 and beyond?

Continue to better myself as a person, and allow success to recognize me so that it always finds me.

Switching gears here, what exactly do you want people to get from your music?

A Vibe. Whatever that entails. I hope I make you happy, turn you up, motivate you, inspire you, provide a capable soundtrack to your party or whatever you’re having a good time doing.

If you could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

2Pac. I admire his studio etiquette and having a similar one, I feel our chemistry would’ve made for an amazing project. I say project and not song because I’m confident my skill and work speed in the studio would have impressed him enough to want to continue past a single record. I worked with 2Pac’s favorite producer Johnny J early in my career, so I definitely feel like I’m not being far-fetched in saying that.

If you could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why?

For me, the Kia Forum. It used to be the Great Western Forum and I attended so many events and shows there growing up, including Showtime Lakers games. It was a dream of mine to one day perform there considering I was born and raised in the city it was built in. They have renovated the venue since then, which really makes me want to have at least one final performance there.

On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?

Not at all. But I respect nature and evolution. While I am displeased with the current sound and activities of this new era of artists, I trust that things will return to a better version in due time.

What do you feel has and will continue to be the key to your longevity?

Genuineness. In an industry of skill and relationships, I’ve always had the skill but I feel the longevity part is more relative to the connections I’ve made throughout my career. Being cool with certain people makes you cool to other people who might know someone else that wants to help extend your career. And theirs, of course.

Do you have any other outside / additional (future) aspirations, maybe even completely away from entertainment?

Possibly entering my original field of interest which is film, specifically film directing. Maybe even returning to acting, which I did previous to and while pursuing music professionally. That would still be considered entertainment though, so outside of that I would love to own more businesses. All of these new AI advancements are pretty fascinating as well. I might be interested in something relative to that.

What’s an average day like for you?

I wake up and look inside my black book that holds my day’s itinerary, as well as my goals and other notes. Everyday I try to check off something in my tasks or complete something I have listed in there. If it’s a good day, it will be multiple things completed.

Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…

These days it’s mainly social media comments, replies, direct messages and occasional emails. I’m not flooded with them, so it’s pretty easy to respond in my free time. Outside, it’s typically a greeting or an occasional autograph.

What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?

My favorite part has always been the creation process. If I could continue to get paid just getting my Dr. Dre on that would be a dream job for me. My least favorite is the industry itself, as in what it has become. There’s more competition than connections these days.

What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Only use my history as a reference and inspiration while paving your own way to the top. What worked for me was a collection of unique circumstances that happened to coincide with my natural talent at the right times. There’s no way to emulate that, so only refer to the things you can imitate or interpolate.

Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?

On to the next thing I likely put into place for myself 5 years prior. That’s been the running theme in my life this far, so I don’t see that changing if I’m still around to make that happen. Always plan ahead in everything you do.

Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?

“Where I Wanna Be” was added to Grand Theft Auto 5 Online last year silently. Most songs are just added to one of the radio station playlists, but my record was added to the media player which is found on a flash drive you have to find in the trunk of a random car at an underground car club meeting. I always wanted to be featured on GTA, especially since I used to co-produce the infamous GTA mixtapes back in the day with N.U.N.E. So that was dope.

Any “parting” words for our readers?

Lo-Fi and Vaporwave music are the truth. You all should check out the Lofi Level channel on YouTube, and relax your minds from everything going on in this world.


Shade Sheist: On To The Next Thing #HH50

Shade Sheist: On To The Next Thing #HH50

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