By Clark Peterson
Photos by Sam Hadelman
Discovering an identity
In a city where music is no stranger, rapper Sheezter.Pink finds himself at the apex of New London culture. When delving into New London hip-hop, and specifically Sheetzer.Pink, one may wonder what life was like for Sheez before he became the artist that he is today. This is the story of how Sheezter.Pink became Sheezter.Pink.
There was a transitional period within Sheezter’s life that ignited his star power. His mind was plagued with depression, while his future seemed ambiguous. It was at that moment he decided to change his appearance and become a different person, a person he later realized wasn’t him.
Once he started practicing self-love, his identity began to blossom. This was during the Obama era, a more positive time for him. More progressive movements were taking shape at this time, helping him to form new perspectives.
The story of his stage name begins with a journey to Six Flags. While waiting in line for Bizzaro, he carved his nickname “Sheez” into the wall. His friend meant to carve his name as well but misspelled it and put a P at the end. Then in an internal freestyle, it came to him: “Easter pink, purple sprite, Sheezter.Pink, Turple Sprite.” The color pink represented him at the time because it symbolizes love-–internally and universally. He started officially going with Sheezter.Pink in 2015.
Since 2015, Sheez has emotionally blossomed. He had battles with self-love, but eventually found ways to strengthen his psyche. He attributes this to his experimentation with psychedelics, which helped unlock his mind and get to the root of his frustration. He confronted his pain and sadness head on, realizing new things about himself and becoming more confident. He now feels the energy he’s put into the world is finally coming back to him. This makes him grateful for every day and even at his lowest moments, he remains optimistic. He hopes to help everyone be this happy.
According to Sheez, his visual aesthetic gets “compared to Prince a lot”. As a massive fan of “Purple Rain,” he felt honored the first time someone made this comparison. “I think it’s because of how I look or cause I was always the weird kid,” he said. This gave him the confidence to be unapologetically himself.
Sheez wants his fans to never apologize for being themselves, “You’re not lame cause you don’t like parties, or you’re into comic books. Some people can’t dress but could be mad cool. Somebody that you wouldn’t think to talk to might be the funniest person at the party. As long as you love yourself, you’ll never be lacking.”
Sheez attended industry events with Craigy F and Ramp, two other New London creatives, in early 2019. From his perspective, the other artists at the event seemed like they were trying to get noticed by conforming to trends. He felt as though they were engulfed in the lifestyles encapsulated within social media. He remembers pondering to himself, “Can you really be happy when your confidence is rooted in others’ gratification? No, fuck that! Be 100% yourself. That’s what makes a star a star.”
There was one specific psychedelic experience that changed Sheez’s perspective on life, causing him to view reality through a different lens. After this trip, he felt like a more complete version of himself. He was fortunate enough to experience this journey with JEMINAI, the fellow founder of his label, PAZ XII.
During the trip, Sheezter.Pink told a story about U.K. artist King Krule that he heard from Dame FK, a Tri-State based stand-up comedian-–a story integral to his own. Sheez explained how King Krule went to the BRIT School in the London Borough of Croydon, England, a renowned performing arts and technology school that was host to creatives like Adele, Leona Lewis, Amy Winehouse & Tom Holland.
For the musicians in the school, the goal was to have an album for graduation. To complete this task, the artists were directed to create a world within their art, to delve into the most minute details. What does the water taste like? Is the sky a different color? What is life like in this world? The artist had to develop a reality. Once it’s filled out, they can form a soundtrack to that existence and portray their life within it. Thinking about this process, it all came together for Sheez during the trip: listening to King Krule’s music, you can see how it takes shape through the world he’s created, a world formed by his genuine self-expression.
Sheez further realized that when there’s a wave, people ride it-–it’s human nature in today’s society. But ultimately it’s those that create the waves who sustain them. Sheez believes up-and-coming artists only conform to trendy standards to be successful, like the saturation of rappers now hopping on New York Drill Beats. “Pop Smoke could have taken different avenues and still been Pop Smoke. These n****s be too focused on the beats”. For example, think about when Lil Pump & Smokepurrp were blowing up-–everybody wanted those distorted bass-heavy Ronny J type beats.
These revelations changed how Sheez and JEMINAI viewed the world. Sheez holds his idols–and the experiences they portray–-in a high regard. “They all created worlds for you to exist in as a fan. Artists like Travis Scott, Kanye, Drake, all of them have their own worlds, and I could literally see them shits.” He continues: “Jay-Z is such a staple in music that he kind of just became a planet. Then you have dudes like Ye and Drake (and others), they’re the continents and countries. Lil’ Wayne was a Martian that crash landed onto planet Jay-Z and started mating with the people, and that's where you get the Uzi Verts, Young Thugs and Sheezter.Pinks from.” Sheez discerned that to be an artist, to be a star, you have to make it cool to be you. This is when Sheez knew he was a star.
PAZ XII is Sheezter.Pink’s aforementioned label created with co-founders JEMINAI and Tony Mikula. The label features a collective of New London based artists including: Tyler Luke, Austrina Valley, JEMINAI, 2MIDLFNGRS, Moocifer & Jake the Rumor.
PAZ XII is a double entendre. First, PAZ XII can mean peace and balance. PAZ is French for “peace”, and XII is the Roman numeral 12, which in numerology represents balance and order. Think of the 12 months in a year, or 12-hour increments in a day. Sheez, who’s become increasingly interested in numerology, believes every angel number that he encounters promotes success and signals that he’s on the right path. “With patience, things will come to fruition,” he says, a mantra that encourages him to trust his process–where the numbers go, he follows.
The other meaning is “Past 12”, or Past Midnight–underscoring PAZ XII’s belief that their best ideas conceptualize at night. Sheez has always been a night person. And in line with this, the little satellite logo that PAZ XII uses officially is a winking moon. The ruling planet for Cancer–Sheez’s sign–is the moon, so the “Past 12” metaphor “just made sense.”
Don’t Talk2 Me¡
Don’t Talk2 Me¡ is Sheez’s forthcoming album dropping this year. According to Sheez, fans can expect “straight raw energy” from the record. His description of the project is that it’s similar to his 2018 album Swervy RADiO¡... but “on crack”. The album is at points “really obnoxious, energetic, ignorant,” while still saving room for experimentation and rock influences. Sheez really wants to make every album a full experience. He wants this to top his efforts on Swervy RADiO¡. Don’t Talk2 Me¡ will definitely “punch you in the face” sonically; he truly made this album an adventure.
While he was making this album, he was extremely angry. The album is composed of tracks induced by 2 years of frustration–feelings he wished he could have shared sooner but, like many other other artists, he’s been plagued with a slew of tentative release dates. He ultimately named it Don’t Talk2 Me¡, because he was “really done with y’all”.
Additionally, it was during this process that he realized his worth in this industry. He saw that people needed him much more than he needed them. So his mindset was, “Why the fuck am I talking to you?” He started to take a lot of things personally, feeling as if others weren’t trying to take his movement as far as he was. He provided a 50 Cent quote that really resonated: “My grandfather once told me: ‘You’ll only go as far as the people that you talk to for absolutely no reason.’” 50 Cent is also a cancer so it’s no wonder that he’d relate. Sheez basically wanted to say to those people, “Fuck you, I’m lit!”
Moving forward, Sheez is going to switch up the vibes with Sexy.Swervy.Savage¡, a 3- part project. Sheez feels like he is at a point where he wants to utilize and take advantage of his sex appeal. Throughout his life, he’s always wanted to be a sex symbol, which is a callback to the afromentioned comparison to Prince he’s recieved. Sheez personally feels like there aren’t many sex symbols in today’s cultural landscape, wanting to be the one that gives that old school, rockstar vibe. He displays a confidence level that’s “weird as fuck, but sexy.” These songs epitomize Sheez’s ambition to make women feel sexy, “It’s all player shit”.
Then we get into the Swervy. section of the series where he will deliver straight Sheezter.Pink vibes, finally capping it off with the Savage¡ version of himself. The project will have a consistent night-time vibe and it will be kind of “smooth and laid back”, he says.
Sheezter.Pink epitomizes living in your own skin. He is unapologetically himself each and every day, and this is the type of mentality our leaders need to have. Sheezter.Pink & PAZ XII will be an influential cornerstone of Connecticut culture for years to come. Pay attention to the individualism that is unfolding in front of us, every move is calculated, every song is perfected. If you could take anything away from this article, pay attention to Sheezter.Pink’s career.