Q&A With Rahsaan: From Rapping About Sneakers to His Own Sneaker Store
Photo by Anthony Anderson
Rahsaan "A Fly Guy" Alexander -- better known simply as Rahsaan -- must be one of Miami's hardest-working individuals.
The MC released his new album, Georgetown, earlier this year (get it now on iTunes.) But overall, saying that Rahsaan is "driven" is a real understatement. When he's not in the studio working on music, or doing shows, you can find him DJing at different hotspots around South Florida. And when he's not doing any of that, you might also be able to find him behind the counter at his sneaker boutique, Stock X Change, in Hollywood.
This week is big for him and the store: It marks Stock X Change's one-year anniversary. To celebrate, there's a week-long sale offering 50 percent off everything in the store, as well as a kick-ass anniversary party at the Clevelander Hotel on South Beach this Saturday, July 3, starting at 11 p.m.
Crossfade caught up with Rahsaan to talk about music and the sneaker business. Read the Q&A after the jump.
For those who don't know, describe who "Rahsaan" is.
Someone once described me as "the articulate voice of Generation Y." Rahsaan is a father, a son, a brother, an MC (by nature), a DJ (by trade), a designer, sneaker store owner, and the list continues. I guess those are the general things about me, but deep down, I'm just a man trying to continue growing and learning about myself, and the world.
How has the response been for the new album?
The general public has been responding well to the album. It got 3.5 out of 5 stars on HipHopDX.com, which is not bad for an unheard independent project. I think some people are shocked at some of the content on it. I've never been one to open up to people about my personal life. I'm very guarded, but when I'm on the mic, or in the booth, I'm an open book. It's easier that way, because a beat or piece of music, can't judge you when you talk/rap over it. It just has to take what I give it.
People are full of opinions so it's harder for me to confide in them. I got the "indie spotlight" on iTunes and also peeked atnumber three in the hip-hop section on day three of the release, behind Drake and Young Jeezy. Georgetown is a very honest look into my life thus far. And I will always believe that truth resonates more with the people.
Definitely. What else is next for you on the music side of things?
As far as music goes, I'm getting ready to shoot a video for my next single, "Think About You." It's a record about my divorce that I went through a few years back and also about how even when we move on, or attempt to, sometimes our exes stay on our minds. It features a really dope singer from Virginia named Joe Tann. Hopefully after that, I'd like to hit the road and start doing shows. Have you ever seen me perform live? It's quite a sight.
What's your best hip-hop memory?
My best hip-hop memory so far is of me performing in Chicago before a crowd of 20,000 people with Ghostface and Raekwon, and people looking at me and cheering. You can't buy that type of euphoria.
Ironically you have a song called "Sneaker Store Terrorist" and shortly after you released it, you opened Stock X Change in Hollywood. How's the last year in business been? What have you learned and experienced?
Since I recorded the song a couple of years ago, I thought how incredible it would be to actually own my own sneaker store one day. I didn't know how I was going to do it, but once I set my mind to something, those close to me know, I execute.
I was managing a sneaker boutique in Aventura Mall last year, and one day I told myself it was time to do it on my own. So, I learned what I needed to learn and left to open Stock X Change. There's so much that goes into owning your own retail business. People think I just get inventory and sell it, and make a lot of money. But it's a lot more than that on the back end. The taxes, the brand accounts, the trade shows, the consignment deals with local brands, fixed and variable expenses, the competition.
Some people said I was insane for starting a business in the midst of a recession. I saw it as a challenge. And now that I'm celebrating one year of business on July 3, I have to say, I am blessed. Despite great sales one month, then not so good sales the next, nothing compares to the fulfillment of being your own boss.
And you're throwing an anniversary party, correct?
Yes, I'm throwing an anniversary party this Saturday, July 3 at the 1020 Music Boxx, on the second floor of the Clevelander Hotel. Doors open at 11 p.m. It's the seventh installment of these monthly themed parties I do called Fashion Monster™. The theme for this month is "the Sneaker Freaker" where I'll be giving away free sneakers and other items from my store just to show appreciation for all the support South Florida has been giving me this past year. People can RSVP to my e-mail, email@example.com, to be added to the guest list.
What do you feel has been the most important thing you've done in order to keep your store successful?
There isn't just one thing you can do to keep a business successful. At least, not in retail. There are so many factors when you're dealing with supply & demand. But dedication is the key to succeeding in anything. Even when things seem at their worst, that's when you have to show the most gumption and determination. There have been times over the past year when I questioned if I made the right decision, leaving a steady paycheck and stepping into uncertain territory, but I'm a man of optimism and faith.
Any last words and shout-outs?
Thank you South Florida for supporting my business and my music. Thank you to the SoFlo Ent family, the city of Hollywood ... and I just hope to keep making my family and friends proud of me. I'm chasing the mogul. Love is love. Peace.
Rahsaan. 11 p.m. Saturday, July 3. The 1020 Music Boxx at the Clevelander Hotel, 1020 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach. Admission is free with RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org; age 21 and up with ID. 877-532-4006; clevelander.com
Stock X Change, 1896 Polk St., Hollywood. 954-922-1991; stockxstore.com
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