Sam Wall Continues to Emerge

Paul Whyte

The first time we interviewed rapper, Sam Wall, also known as Medicate, he was just 16 years old. At that age he already had a number of unmastered tracks that were fairly well put together and made it apparent that Wall was well on his way to finding his place in music both within himself and in the community. Since we last spoke with him he’s performed at several shows including a show at Grandma’s Sports Garden with a variety of touring rappers. He has also made two “mixtapes” titled “Duluth Hills” and “Replay.”
It’s been three years and we had the chance to sit down with Wall again and see what he’s been up to. Wall has a lot of aspirations between building himself up as a rap artist and getting into clothing design. Wall hasn’t really fully emerged in the Twin Ports music scene, but he says he’s ready to do that now.  

Reader: The last time I interviewed you I think you were 16.

Wall: I was very young and didn’t have a general idea of what I was doing at all but I was just going at it and spurting random crap out of my mouth and I realized that now I want to come at it from a different angle.

Reader: From then to now, what has changed for you?

Wall: Everything. I realize now that you can go and put out a mixtape but it doesn’t matter if you have this crazy idea or what ever, you have to do it right. And the sense of getting it right is the sense of saying you put in what you get out and that saying is so true. I can make a mixtape for a week and a half, make no cover for it, and have a bunch of blank CDs and give them to a bunch of people. What if I took a different route? Professionally mastered it, paid someone to draw a picture, put a real plot and idea on it and made a movement from there, it’d be different from what everyone has around here.

Reader: Well, a lot of people have actual albums. Some do just put everything on Bandcamp.

Wall: I’ve produced two mixtapes so far and I have a lot of connections, like abroad. I did a song internationally with these people from Finland and got 30,000 views. From that point it made me realize that it’s about self promoting. You’ve got to take 50 percent of your time making music and 50 percent self promoting. So I’ve been setting shows up for this month and practicing my set. I want to take this farther than I’ve seen it taken in Duluth.

Reader: The only time I think I’ve seen you perform is at Grandma’s.

Wall: I did Grandma’s in front of 200 people when I was 16. At that point I wasn’t an adult enough in my life to take it seriously. I know I have to work a day job and I have to keep doing my thing, but someday I want to make money off my music but give my music for free. Make money off playing these shows, make money off the clothing I design and tailor. Maybe it’s not Medicate clothing, but I could have a brand and market that way.

Reader: Going back to shows. Is there there anyone you’re planning on setting up a show with or a venue?

Wall: There’s places like the Rex and a few other bars that I know I can get shows at.

Reader: Most bars are pretty open just as long as your a performer. I know Jack Campbell from bands like Excuse Me Princess has been playing around for years and I’m not sure if he’s even 21 yet.

Wall: I know the Red Herring and places like Legacy (glass), would have a show. I have buddies in Superior who DJ, like Vincent Banks.

Reader: Yeah, I know Vincent pretty well.

Wall: Yeah, me and him are going to be working together. He’s going to be my DJ and possibly doing some stuff together.

Reader: I was going to ask. On a the Soundcloud things you gave me, who is doing the production and recording on that?

Wall: I do all my recording and mastering myself. I use Garage Band at the moment, but I have ProTools, Ableton and Reason, but I have to wait to update my computer before using those. At the moment I’ve been working a lot with a kid named Ashton Bentz from Canada. He’s been making a lot of my beats at the moment. I’ve been reaching out to a lot of other people from Japan to Arizona and other places using social media. I’ve been collecting beats for my next album.

Reader: So, you’re working on doing a new album, when would you like to see that come out?

Wall: What’s happening right now is that I made Duluth Hills and I made Replay. They’re just practice albums. I took the music seriously but I didn’t take the project as serious as if you would if you wanted people to really reach out. Right now, I have all the connections I need to make this happen.

Reader: You’re 19 right now, there’s been definitely a few people that I’ve met around your age and they’re asking, “should I go to college?” Any thoughts on that?

Wall: I’m going to college when I’m 21 and the reason I choose that age is, it’s not about drinking or anything like that, I feel it’s a good age. I’m an adult at that point, I can trust myself at that point. I want to go into clothing design. I already want to have my own clothing company by the time I’m 20. I like clothing, I like art and fashion. I don’t want to be washing dishes, bussing tables or retailing clothes, this is a way to make money.

Reader: What would you say your mission statement is again? Or since the last time I saw you?  

Wall: Every time people ask me that, and it’s the same thing probably, I medicate people with my music, heal people. I always wanted to be a shaman or a medicine man. And I know that inside me, my heart itself, there’s probably a shaman or medicine man. But just me, as Sam who I am, what I can do now is just heal people with my music.

While Wall is still developing as an artist, he felt it was important to discuss what he’ll be doing in the future. Anyone creating any kind of music, art or written work is welcome to contact us and chat about what they plan on doing, are actively doing, or any accomplishment towards the arts that they feel is noteworthy. While not everyone may read this or care, perhaps it is a good way to go on the record to clarify to oneself exactly where they hope to take themselves. Sometimes no one knows what you’re up to until you tell someone.