As I’ve been researching the book I’m writing about independent creatives, one figure I keep finding myself drawn to is Seattle alt-Hip Hop artist Sadistik. He’s a curious case study in audience creation; independently, he’s landed high-profile press, crushed iTunes Charts, toured and even landed on Billboard.
He’s someone I’d meant to tap for a while; however, a recent post by the Sadistik to his fans blew my mind, and I had to reach out.
His Patreon has roughly 150-200 higher tier members who receive exclusive merchandise drops every other month. Approximately a year ago, he sent out some gear and a poster. Unbeknownst to the recipients, that poster contained an Easter egg in plain sight — one that he is now revealing as part of the roll-out for his upcoming album, Elysium.
“A big theme in my writing is hidden/double meanings, so I had the idea to hide a URL in the code on the back of all the photos,” he explains. The URL leads to an OG version of a verse — which has ultimately become his single “Zodiac,” featuring Mick Jenkins.
It’s a mind-bending level of engagement and foresight, something he says his fans have come to expect from him.
“I think attention to detail gets reciprocated with them,” he tells me of his core fanbase. “They seem to enjoy finding the meanings as much as I do hiding them, so the idea sprung from that.”
An example he shares is a line on his last LP Haunted Gardens, which subtly revealed the name of his next project.
“The last line on the LP is, ‘I dream I’m in Elysium but wake up to the same.’ Now, a year later, Elysium will drop as the counterpart to Delirium (an EP released after Haunted Gardens,” he says.
“Bread crumbs, I guess.”
Sadistik continues, breaking down the vision behind Elysium:
“Conceptually, Delirium is the abyss, it’s the descent into Hell, whereas Elysium is about the ascent to heaven (or the Elysian Fields),” he explains. “In Dante’s Inferno, the only way out of Hell is to travel through it; I tried to capture that through my lens. With Elysium, the aim is to be a source of healing/introspect for people.
“The last song on Delirium is called ‘Aileen Wuornos’ … it’s a soft song about a brutal subject of a serial killer, and it ends with her execution being compared to Christ,” he says. “[the song] is meant to fade into ‘Canary In A Mine’ on Elysium, which signifies the ascent into Elysium or Heaven (or whatever you want to call it).
“Which is why the artwork/promo is black and white, they’re supposed to be in stark contrast.”
Sadistik’s Elysium drops August 24; you can cop march and pre-order vinyl now via his website.