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Fashawn in 2014. Photo credit: Chris Elise
Background information
Birth name Santiago Leyva
Born (1988-10-19) October 19, 1988 (age 26)
Origin Fresno, California, USA
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s) Rapper, emcee
Years active 2006–present
Labels Mass Appeal Records (current), The IAN Group, One Records
Associated acts Nas, Evidence, Murs, The Alchemist, Exile, Aloe Blacc, Planet Asia, Blu, J Cole
Website www.fashawn.ca

Santiago Leyva (born October 19, 1988), better known by his stage name Fashawn, is an American rapper from Fresno, California. He first gained major attention after releasing his debut album Boy Meets World in 2009, which was produced entirely by Exile. The album received critical acclaim and landed him on the cover of XXL Magazine's Top 10 Freshmen issue in 2010.[1] Since then, Fashawn has collaborated with other artists and producers such as Nas, J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa, Evidence, Murs, Aloe Blacc, Blu, The Alchemist, and 9th Wonder. In 2014, Fashawn performed the entrance theme to WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley's rematch against Manny Pacquiao.[2]

On June 9, 2014, Fashawn signed to Nas' new label Mass Appeal Records.[3] After years of anticipation, Fashawn released his second solo album The Ecology on February 24, 2015.


Early life and musical beginnings[edit]

Fashawn was born in Fresno, California, where he had a rough childhood due to his father being incarcerated for a long period of time, while his single mother also dealt with a drug addiction. At 8 years old, Fashawn and his sister were both placed in a group home, before their Uncle Roy took them into his custody as a father figure. Fashawn recalls writing his first rhyme at 8 years old and became fully engrossed in writing by 2000. In 2006, Fashawn released his first mixtape, Grizzly City, catching the attention of fellow Fresno MC Planet Asia, who invited him to tour with him. Knowing the opportunity that presented him, Fashawn dropped out of school and pursued his dream. From 2007 to 2008, he established his presence throughout the Central California hip-hop scene, working with manager Aren Hekimian and releasing multiple mixtapes, including: The Phenom, Grizzly City 2, The Phenom 2, Higher Learning, and One Shot One Kill, which was released by Orisue Clothing. One Shot One Kill was well-received by both fans and hip-hop websites, including 2DopeBoyz and DatPiff, gaining him more attention and momentum as an upcoming artist.

2009-2012: Boy Meets World, XXL cover, Collaboration album with Murs[edit]

In 2009, Fashawn performed throughout the United States with various hip-hop acts, including separate tours with Ghostface Killah and The Grouch. On September 24, 2009, he released a project produced entirely by The Alchemist titled The Antidote to get fans hyped up for his debut solo album.

On October 22, 2009, Fashawn released his first full-length solo album titled Boy Meets World produced entirely by Exile. The album received critical acclaim, and Fashawn was praised for his ability to articulate the inner struggles and dreams of a young kid growing up in a tough environment. XXL Magazine gave the album an XL rating, concluding that "Boy Meets World is a strong debut from such a young MC, and it resonates a lot more than the work of some rappers decades his senior."[4] In March 2010, Fashawn graced the cover of XXL's Top 10 Freshmen issue, standing alongside Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole, Big Sean, Nipsey Hussle, Jay Rock, Freddie Gibbs, and others. This represented a prestigious benchmark for upcoming rappers who demonstrated great potential and success.

Between 2010 to 2011, Fashawn continued to embark on various tours with Wiz Khalifa, Talib Kweli, and Brother Ali. He also performed at the Paid Dues and Rock The Bells festivals alongside Blu and Exile. On February 16, 2011, he released a mixtape called Higher Learning Vol. 2, which spawned two videos, "Down That Road" and "Big Dreams" produced by J. Cole.

On September 25, 2012, Fashawn and underground hip-hop legend Murs released a collaborative album called This Generation.[5] Fashawn and Murs performed many tracks together at various shows to help promote the album, including Rock The Bells 2012. On November 17, 2012, Fashawn organized a hip-hop festival in his hometown of Fresno, California called Grizzly Fest 2012, which featured performances by himself, Murs, Husalah, Strong Arm Steady and many local talent and skateboarders.[6] On November 20, 2012, he released the mixtape Champagne & Styrofoam Cups which included the song "Medicine Man" featuring Wiz Khalifa.[7]

2013-2014: Performance at Pacquiao vs. Bradley II, Signing to Nas' label[edit]

Fashawn speaking about his song "Champion" during the final press conference for the Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley II championship rematch in Las Vegas.

In 2013, Fashawn continued to have a notable presence in various musical and mainstream outlets. He performed at various major hip-hop festivals such as Paid Dues, Rock the Bells, and Hip Hop Kemp where he joined Kendrick Lamar on stage for a duo freestyle session.[8] On November 6, 2013, Fashawn released a video for a new song called "The Beginning", produced by Evidence and directed by both Evidence and Punit Dhesi. On December 9, 2013, Fashawn's artistry was the focus feature in a web episode of OTW Perspectives by Vans.[9] On February 14, 2014, he released a new song "Ladies" for Valentine's Day, dedicating it to the women who struggle to stay strong and raise the next generation of kids.

On March 24, 2014, rap icon Nas brought out Fashawn during the Mass Appeal showcase at SXSW 2014 in Austin, Texas, where Fashawn performed a new song "F.T.W." in front of the sold-out crowd.[10] During a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session in 2014, Nas mentioned Fashawn as one of two contemporary artists that had recently caught his ear (the other artist being Bishop Nehru).[11]

On April 12, 2014, during the infamous WBO welterweight title rematch Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley II at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the champion Timothy Bradley appointed Fashawn to lead him into the ring while performing "Champion" produced by Exile.[2] "What I like about this is that it is real hip-hop," Bradley said in regards to Fashawn's big performance. "It is about heart and character, not about partying it up in a club or all that kind of stuff that so many records are about."

On June 9, 2014, a variety of media outlets reported that Fashawn had officially signed to Nas' Mass Appeal Records.[12] "Fashawn is one of the most underrated in the game," Nas said in a statement. "The world is gonna know soon. We're excited to have him as a part of the family."

As a prelude to his upcoming sophomore album, Fashawn released an EP with The Alchemist titled FASH-ionably Late on December 18, 2014.

2015: The Ecology[edit]

Fashawn is joined by Nas and Aloe Blacc during The Ecology album release concert in Los Angeles.

After years of anticipation, it was announced in 2014 that Fashawn's second full-length solo album The Ecology was in the works. In an interview, Fashawn stated, "The Ecology has been a concept that started at least five years ago for me. I took the time to really work on this project because I knew that it would be important not just for my career, but for hip-hop. There could be no better time for all these blessings to be coming my way, and I'm just so happy to say that The Ecology will be coming out."[13]

In January 2015, Fashawn announced that The Ecology would be officially released on February 24, 2015 under Nas' Mass Appeal Records, and that he would also embark on a nationwide tour soon after its release.[14] An official track list soon followed, which confirmed guest features by Nas (who also served as executive producer), Aloe Blacc, BJ the Chicago Kid, and Dom Kennedy. Production would be handled by Exile, The Alchemist, DJ Khalil, and more. On February 20, 2014, Fashawn surprised eager fans by making The Ecology available for purchase on iTunes ahead of schedule. Physical CD and vinyl copies of The Ecology maintained the original release date of February 24, 2015.[15]


Studio albums[edit]

Collaborative albums[edit]



Guest appearances[edit]

List of non-single guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"Game Goofy" 2007 Planet Asia, Diego Redd Jewelry Box Sessions
"Far Left" 2008 Evidence, The Alchemist The Layover EP
"Buyer's Guide" Mick Boogie, DJ Treats Leaders of the New Cool
"Life Is Too Short" Mick Boogie The Honor Roll
"Allready" 2009 The Grouch, Mistah F.A.B. Three Eyes Off the Time
"Let Go (My Life) Soul Assassins Soul Assassins: Intermission
"Pulp Fiction Pt. 1" U-N-I A Love Supreme
"Because I'm Black" Statik Selektah Back 2 Basics (Leaders of the New School)
"Going Back to Cali" Mick Boogie & DJ Treats Unbelievable: The Notorious Edition
"7:30" Chace Infinite I Would Have Killed This Mixtape
"Relaxation" 2010 J. Cole, Omen Mixtape for the Ville Pt. 2
"The Coast" Statik Selektah, Evidence, Kali 100 Proof: The Hangover
"Questions" Strong Arm Steady, Madlib, Planet Asia In Search of Stoney Jackson
"Wassup wassup" Gangrene, Evidence Gutter Water
"Plead the Fifth" Zion I, The Grouch Heroes In the Healing of the Nation
"Bootleg Liquor" Balance, Thurzday, Mistah F.A.B. I Do It For Hip-Hop
"Aces High" Rakaa, Evidence, Defari Crown of Thorns
"Same Folks" Evidence Cats & Dogs
"Hearing the Melody" 2012 9th Wonder, Skyzoo, King Mez The Wonder Years
"Mt. Money" Wiz Khalifa N/A
"Jeune Prince" 2013 Joke Tokyo
"Holy Visions" Zion I The Vapors
"Banging Sound" 2014 Step Brothers (Evidence & The Alchemist) Lord Steppington
"Cali Dreamin" Dag Savage (Exile & Johaz), Co$$ E&J
"Lost in the Crowd" Bassnectar, Jantsen, Zion I Noise vs. Beauty
"Hallelujah" Dilated Peoples, Rapsody, Domo Genesis, Vinnie Paz, Action Bronson Directors of Photography
"Selfish" 2015 DJ EFN, King Tee, Kurupt Another Time

Music videos[edit]

As main artist[edit]

List of music videos, showing year released and director
Title Year Director(s)
"F.A.S.H.A.W.N." 2008 Punit Dhesi
"Our Way"
(featuring Evidence)
2009 Punit Dhesi
"Sunny CA"
"Life As A Shorty"
"Samsonite Man"
(featuring Blu)
2010 Punit Dhesi
"The Ecology / The Score"
(featuring Planet Asia)
"Bart Simpson" Jon Rezonable
"Pass The Cohiba"
"Down That Road"
(featuring Sam Hook)
2011 Punit Dhesi
"Big Dreams"
"Skating Down The Block" 2012 Mikhail Sarkhosh
"Generation F"
"Diamonds And Girls"
(featuring K-Young)
"The Beginning" 2013 Evidence and Punit Dhesi
(featuring Evidence)
2014 Evidence
"Never Waiting In Vein" Deane Gonzalez
"Guess Who's Back" 2015 Punit Dhesi

As featured artist[edit]

List of music videos, showing year released and director
Title Year Director(s)
"The Far Left"
(Evidence featuring The Alchemist & Fashawn)
2008 Punit Dhesi
"Pulp Fiction Part 1"
(U-N-I featuring Fashawn)
2009 Fredo Tovar & Scott Fleishman
"Same Folks"
(Evidence featuring Fashawn)
2011 Punit Dhesi
"1000 Palm Trees"
(Omar Aura featuring Fashawn)
Punit Dhesi & Omar Aura
"Slash Gordon"
(Murs and Fashawn)
2012 Todd Angkasuwan
"This Generation"
(Murs and Fashawn)
Fredo Tovar & Scott Fleishman
"64 Impala"
(Murs and Fashawn)
Punit Dhesi


  1. ^ "XXL Magazine Top 10 Freshmen of 2010". xxxlmag.com. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  2. ^ a b "Fashawn Performs Entrance Theme for Pacquaio-Bradley Rematch". yahoo.com. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  3. ^ "Nas Signs Fashawn to Mass Appeal Imprint". hiphopdx.com. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  4. ^ "'Boy Meets World' - XXL Magazine Review". xxlmag.com. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  5. ^ "Murs & Fashawn "This Generation" Album Review". xxl.com. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  6. ^ "Fashawn talks about Grizzly Fest, new projects and Fresno hip-hop". fresnobeehive.com. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  7. ^ "Fashawn "Medicine Man" featuring Wiz Khalifa". okayplayer.com. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  8. ^ "Fashawn Joins Kendrick Lamar On Stage". hiphopdx.com. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  9. ^ "Vans OTW Perspectives - Fashawn". nicekicks.com. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  10. ^ "Nas Brings Out Fashawn at SXSW". 2dopeboyz.com. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  11. ^ "Nas: 'Ask Me Anything' on Reddit". reddit.com. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  12. ^ "Nas Signs Fashawn to Mass Appeal". bet.com. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  13. ^ "Exclusive Interview with Fashawn - 2014". dubcnn.com. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  14. ^ "Fashawn Reveals The Ecology Tracklist and Release Date and Announces Tour Dates". vibe.com. 2015-01-27. Retrieved 2015-02-15. 
  15. ^ "Fashawn Releases 'The Ecology' Early". 2dopeboyz.com. 2015-02-20. Retrieved 2015-02-20. 

External links[edit]