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Prior to this past Friday, I knew the name, but I never formally met the man. All I know is that he’s been getting a major buzz from a few circles I run in (Remix Live included). As I walk around Vine Street Granero, I’m greeting everyone and making contacts. I walk by a gentleman in a dark sweater and glasses and I give him the hood-head-up nod and say “What’s good fam?” …a lil small talk, but nothing too serious because in my peripheral view I see my homeboy Cridie Mac who is also my family. We (Cridie) catch up on a few things and then I ask him “Yo! Where is Sonny Campbell?”….Cridie laughs and says “You were just talking to him” We laugh again because Cridie knows what I do for a living, and now I’m standing there looking like a complete asshole.

To get the inside joke, Sonny’s appearance is that of a pre-med student belonging to Kappa Alpha Psi Inc. or something like that. You would never think the rawness in his music would come from this studious-looking gentleman. But when you get to know Sonny Campbell you see that he prefers it that way.

The rapper from Lima, Ohio has a plan to shake things up a bit in the music industry and put his city on the map. When hustle meets talent, it can be an unstoppable force. Not to mention him and his management team’s hustle got him a Snoop Dogg feature on one of his singles. In the middle of his set, he inspires the crowd…“Don’t let anybody tell you what you can’t do. If you stick with it, you can live your dreams, because tonight, I’m living mine.”

On The Table was able to catch up with Sonny to talk about his newest project Who Is Sonny Campbell?

OTT: How much pressure is it to come out of an unfamiliar city such as Lima Ohio, and still, make an impact in the rap game? 

SC: Man Layne, it’s really hard because most people think it’s a farm town with no black people. That is… until you get there and you see what’s really going on. Every hood is the same. But we like to take our position of not being recognized, and use it as a strength. Most of the time, the road less traveled by is usually the road of least resistance. People can’t box you in if there is no box, you feel me?

OTT: Most definitely! Man, I know about Lima! My grandmother used to preach out there in the 90’s and one of the sons of the preacher had me out in those Lima streets around the gang members, hustlers you name it. So I know how violent that city can be! Did you ever get caught up in that lifestyle?

SC: Yeah and no. It’s sort of like you Layne, you’re from the environment, so you see everything that’s going on, but you have a lot of people in your life telling you the right way to go. But the pull of the street life is so strong, you don’t have to fight to be a part of it because it’s already got a hold of you. Gang affiliation. But the beauty, as you know, is that you get to see both sides of the game. People like you and I are able to tell the story, while the people out there putting in work may not be able to because it could get them indicted or worse killed.

OTT: So how does your hood story differ from the many others we hear rappers talk about?

SC: Although each hood may have similar problems, we in Ohio might do something a little bit differently that might intrigue the listener that’s not from here, from our different slang to our hangout spots and really just how we interact with each other. Not to mention the people from your city appreciate that their story is being told, and that rapper is getting love because he or she is telling what they’ve lived or seen and they’re putting the rest of the world up on it, so it’s a win-win.

OTT: Your bio says you started your rap journey in the year 2000. It’s 2017 and you’re just now catching your buzz. Was there ever a time you just wanted to give up?

SC: Yep. About 5 years ago, I was going to leave music alone completely…well not completely, I was just going to go behind the scenes. It gets frustrating putting in work year after year. The music business is always a gamble. It doesn’t pay right away and unless you start making millions, you’ll never make more money than you’ve put in to become a success. But, I’m glad I’m not an overnight success. I’ve seen dudes like that and they’re here one day and no one hears from them again.

OTT: Ok so I’m going to ask the question everybody wants to know. Being from Lima, how did you get Snoop Dogg on one of your tracks? And how did you get him to perform your song at one of his concerts?

SC: Well, as you know I can’t tell y’all everything because the game is sold not told. That’s just part of the hustle. You know that Layne hahaha. Let’s just say I have a great management team and when it comes to Snoop, real recognized real…hast to be, or else I’m sure if he thought I was just some cornball he wouldn’t have fucked wit it.

OTT: Do you have an official release date for the project?

SC: More than likely in the next 3 weeks. That’s the beauty of being independent.  You call ALL the shots. It’s the gift and the curse because while you may lack certain resources and marketing, you know that everything lies on your shoulders so if it’s not right, it’s your fault, you can’t blame the label. But at the same time, if you got fire that can’t wait…you don’t have to go through no red tape. You just release that shit.

OTT: Finally, and excuse the pun, but tell the world, Who Is Sonny Campbell?

SC: Well I used to go by the name T-Naz which is short for T-Nazty cuz I could ball real good, and that just carried over as a rap name for years. About two or three years ago, one of my OG’s said “Yo man, T-Naz is nice, but that’s not what we know you by. We all call you Sonny. It just sounds like it fits you better.” And you know my last name is Campbell, so the name just makes sense.

But to answer your question, I’m just this kid from Lima, Ohio that has made some good decisions and bad decisions but overall, I became a man with an instinct for business and me just so happen to love music. FWM. 

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