Harlem Rapper Vinny Cha$e Does Not Have $10,000 To Loan Strangers From the Internet


Editor’s note: In Tweets is Watching, Phillip Mlynar asks local artists questions based solely on the contents of their Twitter timeline.

Vinny Cha$e represents the new generation of rappers hailing from Harlem. Building on the buzz of his Golden Army mixtape, Vinny will be strutting the stage at SOBs on Sunday with his fashion forward style. Before that, we tapped into his Twitter timeline to get the inside deal on rocking with Chief Keef’s cohort Lil Reese, the thinking behind the New Harlem hashtag, and who the intriguing Golden Girl is.

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How was performing with Lil Reese the other night?
Yeah, I had a show in Santos with Lil Reese, it was pretty turnt up. We actually ended up bringing Juelz [Santana] out which was pretty awesome. It came full circle. It was awesome to do a show with someone I used to film. I used to be the cameraman. You got to understand, I had no expectation of ever becoming a rapper. I didn’t get to 11-years-old and think, “Now I need to start rapping.” I was the cameraman. It was pretty weird to be doing a show with someone I used to film.

What was the most important lesson you learned while filming other rappers?The biggest thing I learned, especially from being around Juelz, was how to handle your business and how to get your money. It’s the numbers game: How much you should be getting from this person and how much someone else can take and how much your manager should be getting. It was another part of the game that I saw, but I didn’t think I’d ever be having to apply it from the other side.

What was Lil Reese like?
Lil Reese was cool when I met him. He seems pretty cool. I usually don’t judge people by what I see in the press. You really can’t judge a real person like that. When I met him, he was a pretty down to Earth person. He’s a kid, you know? You really can’t expect too much from a kid.

You also perform in ski-masks, right?
I definitely come out with the ski-masks; it’s something my crew does. We come out and steal the show with the ski-masks on! It’s pretty shocking to people, they start immediately getting their cameras out. It’s something they’ve never seen before. No one’s ever taken such an approach before. I’m not trying to come out and make a fool of myself just for the shock value–I always try and do things that are tasteful and also make an impact.

You posted up an Instagram pic of a girl with your Cheer$ Club logo as a tattoo.
Yeah, a big tattoo on her shoulder!

Were you surprised by it?
Yeah, I was surprised as hell! I’ve never met the person, but to get that kind of support… That was actually the second or third one I’ve seen, but that was definitely the biggest one I’ve seen. It’s bigger than mine! It was dope to see me getting that support, especially with me being someone from New York and there’s a lot of nonsense going on. It shows that I’m getting recognized in the right way.

What’s the weirdest thing anyone’s asked you online?
The strangest thing was somebody hit me up on Tumblr was like, “Yo, Vinny, I need $10,000 for this necklace. Can you lend me the money?” They were serious! That was one of the weirdest shit I got. But that’s one of the most common questions I get, “Where did you get this dough from?” That’s a recurring thing.

How do you deal when people ask you that?
I laugh it off depending on who it is. If I’m in a serious meeting where it’s people trying to find out what I do as far as finances, yeah, but if it’s just people in the street I don’t know what they’re asking me for! I can laugh it off.

You use the hashtag #NewHarlem a lot. What does that mean to you?
It’s that Harlem is now a different town to the one I grew up in, to the Harlem Juelz grew up in and Dipset grew up in. It’s a different gentrification of people going on. There’s new money, new galleries, new penthouses and hotels. It’s a different thing going on. It’s new Harlem.

How do you feel about the changes?
Honestly, I’m pretty happy ’cause growing up it was not an entirely safe place: There was people getting killed and drug dealers and those things that take away from growing up. It’s sad that people I grew up with can’t afford to live there and get relocated, but it’s all good.

Where’s your favorite place to eat in Harlem?
The best place is probably Sylvia’s. It sounds cliched but I like going there, but also Red Rooster on 126th and Lenox. But if you can, stop by Lenox Lounge ’cause it’s about to close.

Finally, who’s the Golden Girl you Instagram about?
Ha, the Golden Girl! The girl on my Instagram, right? This is somebody that I’ve known a whole lot, ha ha. I’ve been around her for years and years and years, especially before we were doing this. She introduced me to a lot of stuff overseas in terms of fashion. We’ve been together for a while now; we do fashion and stuff. It’s pretty ill to be able to do that.

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