SAUCE HEIST (H.E.I.S.T LIFE) : «With NYC It’s a love-hate relationship. Swim or Drown.»

We interviewed Sauce Heist, born in Flatbush (Brooklyn, New York) but raised in the Bronxdale projects, who told us what he thinks about living in a city full of contradictions like the Big Apple, about his collective HEIST Life, about his relationship with producers like Camoflauge Monk, Spanish Ran and V-Don, the differences between their styles and ways of working and much more.

Essential Projects
  • Spanish Sauce [with Spanish Ran]
  • Sauce Monk 3 [with Camoflauge Monk]
  • The Minatti Report [with V Don]

Peace Sauce. We thank you for your availability and are happy to be able to ask you a few questions as we have been following you since your first days tapes with Camoflauge Monk. Listening to your music it’s as if you could breathe the air of the New York streets and you immediately perceive how closely linked you are to your neighborhood and your city… Can you tell us about your background, your neighborhood and how much, how and in what, above all, it influences and inspires your way of rapping and living life? What makes you most proud to represent the Bronx to the world?

Peace, I was born in Brooklyn raised in the Bronx. I feel both Flatbush and BRONXDALE shaped me to be the artist and man I am today. Flatbush is apart of Brooklyn, a big melting pot for Caribbean’s where I get my reggae influence from, my father is from Brooklyn. He played the guitar so you can say I was born to do music. Bronxdale in the Soundview section of The Bronx is where my mother and family shared a lot of memories and good times.

The Bronx for me is everything, especially coming from the home of the culture “BRONXDALE” if you don’t know now you know. Disco King Mario is a pioneer and founding father of hip hop. Andre Harrell is from BRONXDALE as well. It’s a lot of history in them projects I’m glad to be apart of. I’m writing my name in the books right now. It’s “THE BRONX VS EVERYBODY” I’m proud of my borough for many reasons but we’ll go with the obvious: it’s THE HOME OF HIP HOP.

In your lyrics you talk a lot about the reality that surrounds you on a daily basis, can you tell us about your relationship with New York? As we were saying, it is a city that offers a thousand inspirations but for the same reason it can be suffocating, stressful and dangerous… Can you confirm this and how do you deal with this contrast?

It’s a love-hate relationship with New York. Swim or Drown. It’s so fast paced and overcrowded, with us in the post Covid Era the expenses of living is through the roof.

Also I feel it’s a competitive state. Everyone wants to outshine their friend, family or lover. How I deal with it Is Love God and stay out the way what’s for me is, what’s not for me ain’t for me. Easier said than done.

Could you tell us about your beginnings as a rapper, perhaps taking us with your memories of your first times in the studio when you recorded your very first “professional” records?

My very 1st track was a group track with Heist Life called “Sophisticated Ignorance”. Me and Baby Maine were rocking at my brothers studio he played the beat and it was over. Maine and myself started writing and took about  2hr tops to write and record. Once finished we would play it in our neighborhood for feedback. Ty Da Dale who was released fresh from prison at the time heard it and wanted parts also featuring my boy K.O who’s now in the navy. We recorded this track about 3 times in different studios til we agreed on the sound and mastering.

Can you tell us about the formation of the Heist Life collective and its members? What does Heist life mean and how did your friendship and relationship with Ty Da Dale and Baby Maine begin?

It started in our neighborhood “BRONXDALE” bringing together two sections of a three section Bronx Project. Before we leaned towards music it was just a group of young adults hanging out going to parties representing our block. Heist Life as two meaning “HUMANS EATING IN STRUGGLING TIMES” and/or “HELPING EARTH INSTALL SELF TEACHING”.

Baby Maine, Ty and myself knew each other for 20 plus years ! We all grew up in Bronxdale Projects with a passion to be basketball stars Maine was the better athlete than Ty n me but we all were good and had potential, but social and living environment as a way of building or destroying dreams.

We mentioned your projects with Camoflauge Monk and, listening to your catalog to carry out this interview, we found a dramatic improvement in your delivery, between Sauce Monk 1 and Sauce Monk 3, moving on from the second. What is the story behind this trilogy and how important was the link with a producer like Camo Monk (producer for Westside Gunn and Griselda) for you, when he wasn’t yet so well known in the underground scene as he’s now? How did the musical chemistry between the two of you begin? And what was the importance of such a collaboration in a decisive moment of your career that led you to be one of the best around in the New York “underground” scene today?

Funny you bring this up I was just with Monk the other day, man it was a blessing linking with Monk he needed bud I had it. We rolled up, he played beats and the rest was history, he would stay nights sometimes weeks at my house cooking beats dude is a night owl. I heard through the nights and seen it through the days of him putting in time on his craft which was motivating. He created the “Madguru” beat tape in my living room, dude is special. 

I was more into getting music done in a orderly fashion. He came and amplify that wanting to capitalize on time, sound and delivery. All Vols has its own story and ways it was created, if and when we do another project this time we’ll be sure to document all the fly and fun activities that will take place. It’s an unreal feeling I still feel I have a lot more to accomplish. I appreciate you noticing the upgrade in my cadence and flow throughout the trilogy. I challenge myself every Ep Or Lp I drop to be better than my last.

Your catalog is really deep, but you are not an artist who releases that repeatedly, what do you think of the quantity, in general, of releases seen in the last period? Don’t you think this is saturating both the scene and the market?

I might ruffle a few feathers on this one, but me ,personally, I dislike it. I feel 2/3 albums is good in a year. Anything above that is over saturating especially if there’s no big promotion or videos to add on to the albums, Might seem pointless to me but it works for other artists so I ain’t knocking the hustle. I rather work smarter, not some much harder on the mind and mental.

Obligatory question, because we are talking about two of our absolute favorite producers and two of the best creators of these sounds in NYC and beyond, with whom you have had the opportunity to collaborate often. What is it like working with producers like Spanish Ran and V-Don? And what is the relationship with the two of them and how did it begin? What are the differences and similarities in their way of working in your opinion?

I met Spanish Ran at a Dot Demo show. We were both familiar with each other. All was needed was that real first introduction. He stated he wanted to work with me and I had the title right there on the spot “Spanish Sauce” the following week I had a cover made shout out to Trevor Lang. That album was done within a month or two. Working with Ran he gives you options either a on spot cook up or come prepared to lay your tracks down mostly I came prepared.

As how I met Don, Ty Da Dale had reached out for beats and when we went to he’s studio to record he was telling me how he likes the album “Wasabi”. After Ty finished recording he played a beat I had a verse and it started from there our 1st track together was “ASOLO” check that out. 

Working with both Don and Ran you want to elevate your pen and creativity both producers have a crazy résumé, you know what they bring to the table so it’s best you bring your “A” Game. 

The difference between the two I would say in my opinion is Spanish Ran has a blast from the past sound 92-96 with a modern and futuristic twist. On the other hand VDON is all futuristic with a touch of boom bap. 

Can you tell us about your new album SAS? We really liked the atmosphere and the production seems perfect for you! How did you come to collaborate with Swedish artist K-Sluggah? And how did you manage to establish such a fruitful relationship despite the distance?

SÅS was an album created while I was traveling. Most of my writing process was on vacation expanding my vision while also reminiscing on what it took to get here. De Rap Wrinkle reached out connecting K-Sluggah and myself with a vinyl contract. Sluggah and I would communicate through instagram giving our input on how we want the album to sound. We both knew we wanted it to be packed with weird sound fx with a nostalgic touch. I feel we did a good job on that. K-Sluggah is a beast and glad I was able to work with him. We have a new single coming out very soon. It’s Crazy!!!

Can you explain the choice of the cover’s artwork?

Me I like my artwork either a fly pic of me or something that goes with the track or album. Everything has to correlate together, Good artwork equals Cool merch.

What do you see when you think about your career in five years? Do you have a vision/project that guides you, do you live your art day by day?

 In the next five years I would love to be the next upcoming brand in the fashion industry, I also see myself helping new artists and giving back to the less fortunate. It’s a vision I have to live out day by day if that makes sense, like I know what I want to do. It’s just me making the right connections and investments.

We live ‘n learn day by day to fulfill a vision or project, shit don’t work overnight at least night for me put the work in to positive results. Also a vision with no action is only a thought right?!

Thanks for the interview I feel you asked some detailed questions that most overlook. Big shout out to my family Heist Life, My Wife, Spanish Ran, VDON, Camouflage Monk, My Children and my supporters appreciate y’all !!



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