Saske – The new face of hip hop

Saske, a restless and driven spirit, always seems to be searching for something new. His last song “ Το ξέρω μάνα” ( “Mama I know”) has more than 5 million views on Youtube and the singer, also known as Odysseus, witnesses his early success and his career being fast forwarded as he enjoys every minute of his personal musical Odyssey.

Moving from the small town of Hrisoupoli, Kavala to Athens, he has been chasing the dream of becoming a singer since he was a teen, while sending demos to labels and trying to infiltrate the music industry, and meet people that would appreciate his talent in music.  “You have to know what you’re looking for but also what it takes to succeed in something. I tried really hard and by the time I reached 17, many labels started showing interest in my work. Gradually, I got more popular and the hip hop scene wanted to know who I was. My work is my life, at this point. It’s entertaining but you have to dedicate time and be ready to make sacrifices”.

He is honest, talking about his unstable way of living. He doesn’t try to hide when he says “I’ve lived in Athens for three years now and each one of these years has been totally different. My second year of living here, I can admit that there were some excessive things happening. Sleeping late, drinking, interacting with women were all part of each of my live shows. I didn’t have a house to come back to and so I was always on the move. But I started distancing myself from the bad  influences certain people had on me and I became myself again”. Raw and bold at the same time, Saske isn’t afraid of damaging his image.

Being a part of the local music scene can be challenging and there will be times that people will judge you harshly; but he perseveres, giving attention to every detail and managing to keep his identity as a musician intact. He tries to experiment with various music genres because he doesn’t want to feel trapped in working with only one of them. He also tries to make collaborations that he deeply enjoys. “I need to be authentic. In my song “Το ξέρω μάνα” (“Mama I know”) I talk about my relationship with my own mother. People understand it and that’s the reason they listen to my music. The most important thing is to be yourself. I don’t understand how you can sing about situations you’ve never experienced”. And as far as the negative comments that every rapper making his debut in the music scene faces, he says while laughing: “I try to not offer people the excuse to hate me and be as “cringeless” as possible”.

His fans appreciate his honest and simple stance and he tries to give back to them as much as he can. “I am extremely happy when I meet my fans. I always talk to them and we take photos together. Especially in my hometown, people are very sweet. I feel that this community really supports me. They are not just my fans; they are my home and I’m very proud of that”. The female audience seems to be interested in his music as well. Even if the rap culture offends women with derogatory comment, Saske claims that he loves them. “When it comes to girls I like them to be natural. I appreciate the effortless beauty. I know that rap lyrics can often be sexist towards women, but that’s just the street talk influence. That’s where it started from. I deeply value them and I believe in the equality of the two sexes”.

As an artist, he has stopped following the trends; of course he keeps up with them but he tries to stay true to his personal aesthetic. “I refuse to collaborate with people just for the sake of doing it, and I try to do that in every aspect of my life. I don’t like my choices to be mad only with money in mind. I respect the people who do it but I want to bring a new vibe, a new way of doing things. Every artist creates his own artistic world and by working with them you become part of this artistic world. How can you do that and manage to pass the message you want to the audience if your heart isn’t in it?”. Except for honesty, Saske believes that lyricism is also a very important part of art. He believes that whether it is on Instagram or in real life, art needs to be idealized a little. He believes in hyperbole but refuses to lie in his songs. Discussing the financial aspect of music industry and if there is truth in the glamorous life portrayed through social media, he says that the industry is blooming. There is money and people are ready to invest in your talent but you have to be willing to work hard. Then you will be able to live a very comfortable life. “Before becoming part of the industry I believed that they were all lies. Apparently, they aren’t”.

Nowadays, he and his record label, Offbeat Records, are working on his new album. An extensive Greek tour is in store for him with Slogan, Illeoo, Wolf and Givi by his side and he is also about to release a new song. The 20-year-old singer lives between the studio, recordings and meetings but his dream is very clear: “Growing up I want to have a normal, quiet life. My work is always taking me places and I can’t do that right now, but I am dreaming of a time when I’ll live comfortably and enjoy the results of what I have worked really hard for”. And if by any chance you run into him, be sure to talk to him, because behind the tough rapper persona, you’ll find a very cool, spontaneous and approachable artist and person!