Sound Source: Creating Another Definition of Hip-Hop

Onyekaorise Chigbogwu, Reporter

Medill sophomore Channing Russell recently launched his rap career as “Chanbino.” Sound Source talked with Channing and his producer, Communication sophomore Sean Malaisrie, on what goes into creating a track.

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: The following podcast contains explicit language.

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Onyekaorisé Chigbogwu, and you’re listening to Sound Source, a podcast about Northwestern’s local music scene.

ONYEAORISE CHIGBOGWU: Channing Russell is a Medill sophomore, a rap music fan and now, a rap artist. His love for the genre motivated him to make music himself.

CHANNING RUSSELL: Since I listen to a lot of rap, I always thought, like, ‘Oh, I could definitely do that.’

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: One of Channing’s friends from his hometown in New Jersey, rapper Yung Miles, helped him turn his inspiration into actual tracks. Yung Miles invited Channing to rap a verse on his song “Stop It.”

CHANNING RUSSELL: He goes to a really professional studio in Brooklyn, (New York). I was like, ‘Yo, this is dope!’ And we went in there, made a song and I rapped my verse — one take. It was a lot of like, good energy. It was just fun. I’ve always been sort of weird about hearing my own voice, but once I heard how an engineer makes it all sound good, I was like, ‘Yo, that’s crazy.’

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: After featuring on Yung Miles’s track, Channing started his rap career. He now develops his own style under the stage name Chanbino.

CHANNING RUSSELL: How do you go about creating your own sound? That’s the eternal struggle. I want to make this type of music, but does it sound too much like another person or whatever, and it’s like, how do you go about creating your own sound?

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: So, what sounds are influencing him? Chanbino draws inspiration from Gunna, Drake, Lil Uzi Vert, and especially Childish Gambino. That’s why “Chanbino” might sound familiar. It was Gambino who inspired Channing’s stage name.

CHANNING RUSSELL: A huge inspiration I think would be like Childish Gambino. His early mixtape stuff, like — I always thought that was super dope. I think being able to not copy flow, but use elements of flows in your raps, I think that definitely helps. Just incorporating different styles and stuff into your work is always cool.

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: Some of Chanbino’s influences have been a little closer to campus. Communication sophomore Sean Malaisrie is Chanbino’s friend and producer. Sean says he’s learned lessons through creating with Channing.

SEAN MALAISRIE: Channing, he’s really down for whatever, but he really wanted me to set the tone, set the vibe. So with him, I learned how to just free flow, how to relax and how to experiment and don’t overthink stuff. Sometimes I just prefer music with not too much thought around it — music more about the vibe, about the bounce and about the rhythm instead of about the words.

CHANNING RUSSELL: I always like to hear something before I start writing. I’m trying to progress a little bit more lyrically, but I don’t want to be like a lyrical rapper, like that is no fun to me. Why, why you wanna spit all this lyrical miracle stuff? It’s just so boring to me (laughs).

SEAN MALAISRIE: It’s what you’re looking for in music. It matters less to me what you’re saying than how you’re saying it.

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: Channing’s relaxed vibe translates to his plan for his music career. He says he’ll just keep rapping and play his moves by ear.

CHANNING RUSSELL: If something happens to blow up, then you figure out what you do there, but like, I don’t really care to get famous off rap, or try to do anything like that, so I don’t know. I’ve been always trying to not take it too seriously, but in the same lane, like you want to be able to make a good product. It’s kind of hard finding that balance of just putting out whatever you think sounds good and just making good quality rap.

ONYEKAORISE CHIGBOGWU: Chanbino’s music can be found on Soundcloud @Chanbino. He plans on releasing more fun, laidback music later this year. Sean’s music and production can be found on Soundcloud @Seandon Perignon. The links to their profiles are also in the script of this episode. From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Onyekaorisé Chigbogwu. Thanks for listening! Hope you’ll join us next time for another episode of Sound Source.

ONYEKAORISÉ CHIGBOGWU: This episode was reported and produced by me, Onyekaorisé Chigbogwu. The audio editor of The Daily Northwestern is Molly Lubbers, the digital managing editors are Kalen Luciano and Heena Srivastava, and the editor in chief is Marissa Martinez.


Sound Source: Chicagoland band Ferret Bueller creates during COVID-19 

Northwestern freshman producer Ray Tsao on making music resourcefully 

Sound Source: WNUR seniors talk broadcasting remotely