HiJinks Discusses United Grind Movement, How He Fits Into Cleveland Hip-Hop Scene & New ‘Shamu’ Single

HiJinks Discusses United Grind Movement, How He Fits Into The Cleveland Hip-Hop Scene & New 'Shamu' Video

Ohio rapper HiJinks aka Mos Hi presents “Shamu”, produced by United Grind’s own B-Ready. Shamu is the first single off HiJinks’ forthcoming debut album iLLficionado, set to feature XP tha Marxman, Ka’Miko, Nathan Doutt and Ty Wills.

HiJink’s made his return in 2018 on United Grind’s “M.A.M.N.” featuring Benny The Butcher (stream on Youtube). HiJinks first made his name in the Cleveland rap scene as 1/2 of rap duo Play Havoc alongside long-term collaborator and partner Vice Souletric, with whom he co-founded imprint and hiphop movement United Grind, which recently released the Grind Or Die Vol. 1 compilation (stream on Spotify), and is planning iLLficionado for a summer 2023 release.

B-Ready who has recently joined the United Grind roster has also produced tracks for Ras Kass, Dilated Peoples and Tash of Tha Alkaholiks among others. HiJinks calls the single “a reintroduction track of sorts, showcasing wordplay and verbal bravado over banging production by United Grind in-house producer B-Ready. The title symbolizes the stature and predatory nature of the emcee.”

Tell us about United Grind.

United Grind is an independent movement, label and platform, propelling artists and creatives without industry influence. We support, harness and share resources with each other. Build and curate our own platforms, events, tours and more. We currently house Djs, Producers and Recording Artists but are open to every facet of the culture if it makes sense, so we are essentially a syndicate.

What’s the Cleveland Hip-Hop scene like in 2023? How do you feel you fit into it?

Cleveland has A LOT of new young talent I’m becoming aware of. Seeing as I’m really just returning as an artist, I’m constantly learning something or someone new.  United Grind has been slightly less focused on the local scene and rather pushing the brand in the North-South Eastern regions. I spent my early years putting in work on the scene so collectively we are in a slightly different space.

What’s the meaning behind naming your new single “Shamu?”

The short answer is I’m just poppin shit over a dope beat provided by United Grind’s B-Ready. But there’s some symbolism behind the “killer whale of rap” trope: I’m a pretty imposing figure (you don’t not notice me when I walk in the room), I tend to rock my United Grind black/white hoodies and tees often, also killer whales tend to squad-up which goes back to the whole “United” theme. We also shot the video at the Wall of Whales landmark, If you’re from the town, you know it.

What can you tell us about your upcoming album iLLficionado?

HiJinks Discusses United Grind Movement, How He Fits Into The Cleveland Hip-Hop Scene & New 'Shamu' Video

I joke and call it my debut retirement album lol. This was a true labor of love that I’d like to reach as many people as possible. But I’m still unsure about my status as an artist, if I’m being honest. I started as 1/3 of a group called Play Havoc. So my discography consists of 1 group album and 100s of lost demos and mixtapes. Once the pandemic hit, I went back to music for therapy. What started out as a couple joints became the album, for legacy.  I titled it iLLficionado because I’m a cigar aficionado and I’ma ILL nigga lol. I also wrote and sequenced 90% of it in the cigar lounge. Fun fact; every single joint I recorded made the album.

Walk us through a day in the life of HiJinks.

Though I love to do fly shit. I don’t get to nearly as much of it as I’d like. I spent most of my years away from music building a multimedia company, which pays the bills. I honestly use it to pour back into United Grind, with hopes we become profitable. Even in album mode I have to help curate things for the other artists on the label. That’s why I’ve aptly titled myself the M-C.E.O lol.

Yoel Molina Law

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