Cincinnati hip hop artist Dayo Gold is gearing up to release his 10-track album, EPSM Essential Postive Soul Music. The Lima, Ohio rapper first hit the Cincinnati music scene in 2016 and has spent the last two years perfecting his craft. Currently being mixed by Devin Burgess, EPSM will follow his 2018 project, The Love EP, as well as several singles he’s dropped this year. Coming sooner will be a single (and perhaps a visual) called “Ohio Livin.” The talented MC first caught Audiofemme’s attention when he performed at Urban Artifact, rapping to an enthusiastic crowd that screamed back his notorious catchphrase: “Ask Ya Dad!” Here, Dayo Gold lets us in on some R&B-inspired details on his upcoming album, discusses the effect of Nipsey Hussle’s recent and tragic passing and its connection to his forthcoming single “Ohio Livin,” and explains where his name and famed catchphrase originally comes from.

AF: What are you working on currently?

DG: I’m in the works of a project right now! It’s called EPSM – that stands for Essential Positive Soul Music. I ended up making seven tracks. I made them in probably about a week, honestly. We just let it sit for a little minute, for probably two months, trying to find somebody to mix it. It didn’t quite go as planned and from that I ended up making three more songs. So I ended up making it ten tracks.

AF: Do you have a release date set?

DG: This summer for sure.

AF: That title, EPSM, does it hint at any R&B or soul influences?

DG: It kind of hints at a couple of R&B things. I think the most it does is the samples. We’ve got a “Let It Burn” sample in there, and that’s from Usher, we’ve got a Beyoncé sample from “Me, Myself and I,” that’s in there. We’ve got a Keith Sweat sample in there. It’s just a lot of that soul essence. I think what really made it soulful was we got into that bag of songs that really brought it out, we kind of touched into that 2000s era of R&B.

Dayo Gold

Dayo Gold/ Photo by Ian Massie

AF: Anything coming out before the summer?

DG: I’m thinking of dropping a single within the next two weeks. It’s a song I’ve been performing, “Ohio Livin.” I just think, with this Nipsey thing transpired, this song puts me back to a place where I felt the same way. I had a relative, he was killed the same way as Nip. This whole Nipsey thing transpiring made me think back to that time and I made “Ohio Livin” around that time, so once I played it back it brought back all those emotions again. So I was like, you know what, I think this is something that the world needs to hear. I’m definitely looking forward to that release.

AF: What other artists influence your music?

DG: I’m influenced by a lot of artists. Of course Nip, J. Cole, Joey Bada$$, Jadakiss, JAY-Z, Rick Ross. I’m kind of all over the place—I love street music and I love stuff that actually talks to the soul. That’s what I think this whole EPSM encompasses, like not only is it giving you messages for your soul but it just has an all-around good vibe to it that I think anybody would like, from the streets to the book-smarts.

AF: Your name – Dayo Gold. How’d you come up with that? And what about the catchphrase, ‘Ask Ya Dad,’ that the audience yells back to you at shows?

DG: At first, it was Golden Child. When I came around to trying to copyright it I saw that a lot of people already had it covered. So I knew I had to get a little more creative. I was taking a lot of African Studies classes back then and I was looking up on this site different African names and their meanings and I came across “Dayo.” When I read the definition it said, “joy arrives.” That’s the exact feeling I have about music and the exact feeling I want to have about life in general. If I’m not in a joyous state, if I’m not around people who are making me happy or enjoying my company or I’m not enjoying theirs, then I don’t want to be around them. I just thought that was a good life lesson to learn from that word alone and I wanted to embody it. I still wanted to keep Gold in there somewhere, so I got Dayo Gold.

The ‘Ask Ya Dad,’ that came from—I’m from Lima, Ohio. That’s a very small city. Our dads really knew what was going on in the city. My dad owns a barbershop down there so it’s a lot of barbershop talk, ‘he say, she say’ type shit. So if you wanted to know what was going on, you had to ask your dad. So we ended up making that a confirmation, like if your dad knows it then everybody knows it. Not only did it get to that, I started using it myself because I want to teach people through my music as well. Not only do I want to entertain and have fun with it but I want people to learn something.

AF: What do you think of the Cincinnati music scene right now?

DG: I came as a college student around 2013. Probably around 2016 is when I saw the Cincinnati music scene. I’ve always been the type of person to talk to anybody so when I got to doing my shows and stuff I was feeling a lot of love. I think the city is vibing right now, it’s kind of breaking out as we speak. Right now I think Cincinnati is on its way up.

Dayo Gold

Dayo Gold/ Photo by Annie Noelker