We had a chance to sit down with St. Paul rapper, Cashinova before his performance at Soundset 2019.
Cashinova shares his experience growing up with Cambodian immigrant parents. Then, he opens up about his mother’s cancer which eventually took her life when he was a teenager.
Cashinova also unveils a pretty serious scar on his stomach due to complications which could have stemmed from his mother’s cancer while he was in the whom.
I was very curious to get a perspective on the difficulty of pursuing a career as a rapper while also raising a family. Lastly, Cashinova elaborates on his important relationship with Prof and the Stophouse label. Lets dig in!
Bo: First question I have for you is about your parents. They were first-generation Cambodian immigrants. I’m really intrigued by that and I want to know more about what that was like growing up.
Cashinova: Yeah. It makes a lot of things a challenge. Like school was a challenge, because I was teaching them things as we’re growing up. They’re still learning the culture.
But the history of Cambodians being in America is, we had a genocide that we went through. In Cambodia, there was a rebel group called the Khmer Rouge that took over many cities and killed like a quarter of the population or a quarter million of the population.
Thousands of Cambodian families got displaced in project homes. That’s where we started. It wasn’t like we came here with money.
My parents were stepping over dead bodies because their families were getting killed right behind them.
So my parents moved to the Philippines and got their citizenship. This is all like being helped through some sort of program where America came and helped out or something. I don’t know exactly how the set up was but it was something like that.
The story of Cambodians in America is just we just sort of adapted to our environment. All my friends growing up, my next door neighbors, I’m talking about sharing food together.
I made friends with the kids, parents friends it was black people, it was Somalis, was Mexicans was other Cambodians, it was just whoever was in the projects.
Me falling in love with rap; everybody was rapping everybody at the bus stop was rapping, everybody at school was rapping, everybody at home, my brother’s a rapper.
My dad was into his traditional Cambodian music and that’s just the way it played out. The people we looked up to was the ballplayers, the hustlers, the drug dealers because that’s what’s in the projects, you know what I mean.
My mom passed away when I was 15, that’s a whole other hardship that I went through. I think that’s what also made me who I am.
My mom had cancer my whole life. She had cancer before I was born and then after I was born it came back. She might have had cancer when she had me.
But I was born a little handicapped. I had a colostomy bag or whatever. I was born all up fucked up. I couldn’t poop for like seven days as a 7-day old baby. It might have been the result of my mom having cancer.
Bo: What is it like being an artist pursuing a career in music and having a family?
Cashinova: Hard. I’m punching the wall. I’m punching the air. No, no, no. It’s definitely hard, I think the only people that would understand is people with kids like me.
I had kids back-to-back, so I have a five-year-old, four-year-old and a three-year-old. So it’s always just been like taking care of a little classroom.
There’s a lot of times when it’s stressful as fuck because I’m sitting there and I’m like doing dad shit because it’s hard for me to half-ass being a dad.
I’m super dad mode, bro. The Science Museum of Minnesota, shout out to them, came to my projects and they gave everybody jobs. So I worked at the Science Museum for five, six years. So I always was dealing with kids and I apply a lot of that shit with my kids.
A lot of it is like sacrificing a whole bunch of my time for studio or for touring and you gotta figure it out with your significant other if she can take off the days.
Then at the same time, the kids are yapping, they’re fighting each other, they’re pulling each other’s hair or something and then all I want to do is write this song. With Big Dragon I just rolled with the punches. If I couldn’t do a song right there the moment and I had to be dad, I was just dad.
Bo: I want to talk a little bit about your relationship with Prof and how that started and what that’s been like so far.
Cashinova: It’s been a blast, it’s been amazing. The Prof and Stop House are amazing people, they are genuine, supportive, loving people They came across my shit on Facebook. A YouTube video by me called “Know Me Well”. They fucking loved it, the management is Stop House.
So Prof is my manager. Mike is my manager, Dylan Parker is my manager. It’s not just one person, you know what I mean.
So, I get approval on things, or not even approval because they let me do whatever the fuck I want to do. But if I need any anything from the label or the management it’s those three fellas.
Bo: Awesome man, well I’m not gonna take any more your time. I know you gotta jump onstage.
Cashinova: Yes sir.
For those of you who want to learn more about Cashinova, check out his album Big Dragon which just dropped in March this year.