iamsu: \'i heard that beat totally different\'
The three of us talked about not putting anyone on the base, what would happen if more people were on the hips
Hop brought their mom to this situation.
Fanny Kelly: Thank you for coming.
Ali Shahid Mohammed: words.
IAMSU: Thank you.
Kelly: I\'m sorry for the snow.
Everything is fine. MUHAMMAD: No.
Don\'t apologize like that.
If that\'s not your taste, try it. -
Kelly: said the man who just moved to Los Angeles. A. IAMSU: Oh, man.
What do you think of Cali?
Although I live in Southern California, my favorite is Northern California. IAMSU: Word. Oh, s---. OK. MUHAMMAD: Yeah. IAMSU: Sorry. Can I cuss?
Yes, it\'s okay. Don\'t worry. IAMSU: OK.
What\'s going on with this.
How many times have you been?
Have you been there before?
Mohammed: specifically to the Gulf? Yeah. Tons of times.
He gave me the feeling of the Bay Area.
Oakland and the like.
Mohammed: Yes, from the Bay. I don\'t know --KELLEY: OK.
Mohammed: It\'s about it.
Like, health and-
Don\'t say anything from Los Angeles. A.
The San Diego area is unsanitary.
But specifically, A Tribe Called Quest has more fans in California than anywhere in the United States. IAMSU: Oh wow. MUHAMMAD: Yeah.
This is crazy.
I think I can compare you guys to those mischievous souls and Hiero.
In terms of mentality, I have seen a lot of comparisons.
Not necessarily music.
Just mentality and performance.
As I grew older, I began to see myself and my Collective --
We are called the HBK Gang.
I began to see our trajectory similar to yours.
Like, you know, the streets
Smart, but instruments and music, just different respect for culture, I don\'t think many people necessarily have it. MUHAMMAD: Yeah.
Kelly: these are all groups that really know how to perform. IAMSU: Right.
Mohammed: this is important for the visual presentation of your audio art.
For the hips
Jumping culture, it\'s not just an element, it\'s just a record, though some people think that\'s what they see. But it\'s all —
This is a package because it is an extension of the human connection.
Like, the record is part, but when you\'re in the crowd --
How are you doing?
How do you feel when you\'re on stage? IAMSU: Ah, man.
It feels great.
I can read the energy of different people, do you know what I mean?
I can feel when to cater to one side of the stage and the other.
I \'ve been trying to do more research and MTV has played some of your old shows.
It\'s like spring break or something, but everyone is wearing a big-ass fur coat and a hoodie.
Do you know what I\'m talking about? MUHAMMAD: Yeah.
I remember. IAMSU: Yeah.
We\'re in Florida, but we\'re not-
It was spring break, but it was the colder side of the day.
I think it will rain after our performance.
Yes, I remember that day. IAMSU: Yeah. That was crazy. That was crazy.
Do you like live performances?
Yes, I like it very much.
I\'m going to travel.
Mohammed: have you recorded how people react to a song, a poem, a hook or something? IAMSU: Yeah. Totally.
You know, I wrote my songs to perform them?
I know some parts of what people say.
I can kill the beat. It\'s —
Don\'t even say anything.
Do you know what I mean? MUHAMMAD: Mm-hmm.
IAMSU: Sure. Definitely.
Kelly: What about being part of a team? Like, is that —
I mean, it seems to me that there are some hard things in a group on the road, which means that you have to pay for everyone.
Divide the money in different ways
But is it easier to make real dynamic performance with more people?
Or is it too complicated?
Both of you are.
I said you took that.
You have more tenure.
Mohammed: Term of office. I like that.
It actually depends on your crew. Like if —
You know, the tribe, it\'s only three of us, so it\'s easy to tame, and we didn\'t move that way in terms of the entourage.
If there is one, we may provoke a lot of rappers and different musicians.
Because when we come in, we think, \"Yo.
Clean the stage. Backstage.
\"I don\'t care who you are.
Everyone is leaving.
Others will be very angry with us because they will say, \"Yo.
We just performed 10 minutes ago.
\"But for us, it\'s like we can\'t have any extra energy.
The energy is here and we want to feel it.
All these extra things.
It involves what you are doing. And so —
If you\'re like Wu
Although you have a whole bunch of MCs, it\'s definitely--
Kelly: or tipset. IAMSU: Yeah.
The Dipset is different. It\'s different.
Not so different.
Cam always says, \"come back.
But some people like this.
Such a stage will help them to become a better performer.
I think it might work well if you have a group of people, if everyone knows their part, and if they know simple etiquette.
If one is rap, don\'t have a microphone or step on this poem like the other five. Let it breathe.
Let the spotlight breathe. Move.
You know, like, well, your poem has already started.
If I direct the stage from the center, cool-
Or wherever that person is.
Maybe they didn\'t go to the center of the stage.
They may be left stage, right stage. So let —
Everyone responds like a community.
So it\'s like, \"Yo. We letting him. We right there.
We will stand with him.
\"It\'s just different aesthetics and what you can do, and even if you have 50 people on stage, you can really zoom in on your performance.
But many times, when people get on the bus, they get on the bus.
You don\'t have a school to teach these things. IAMSU: Yeah.
I hope this is because my performance will put everyone on stage with me at the beginning.
Like, if I do, we do, do you know what I mean? MUHAMMAD: Yeah. Exactly.
IAMSU: but when I started performing more, my mom started to come and watch my show and started to really criticize my whole emotions.
I really respect the energy you\'re talking about because someone might be on the side of the stage and what really annoys me is when someone calls or does not want to be there.
But it\'s all for the backstage.
So I really understand now.
Energy is very critical.
Kelly: So what\'s the plan for this trip?
IAMSU: this is my first production.
It\'s not just that I\'m walking on stage with ordinary lights or everything.
I really want to make some effort for my show.
So, like video and controlling different elements like lighting, smoke, and strophobic, I got real time Auto
Tune so that I can play deeper songs in a directory that I normally can\'t play.
So that\'s what I want.
I look like Kanye and Drake and from time to time
Kelly: It\'s a big cigarette.
The fog is very big.
IAMSU: It\'s very foggy. Wiz.
Just those who show great energy on the stage.
But what about your peers?
I want to say age group but I don\'t know if this is correct or not.
But, like everyone else is playing at the same size as you are now.
Who are you looking? IAMSU: G-Eazy. KELLEY: OK.
IAMSU: Since I have just traveled with him, I will be returning to many of the same venues that I have opened for him.
So this is my chance to show what makes me different.
It\'s a big task, but I\'m ready.
Kelly: Do you have a rider?
Yes, I know.
Kelly: What is it?
IAMSU: including water, towels, Eggos, fresh fruit, Hi-Chews —
Do you like it?
Do you eat sugar?
Kelly: I like it. Chews.
Muhammad: I don\'t even know what\'s Hi. Chew is.
Oh, it\'s fire.
Like fruit candy.
Kelly: It\'s like a superstar. IAMSU: Yeah. It\'s fire. It\'s fire.
This is a more subtle taste.
It\'s a bit like now and later, but it\'s not hard at all.
IAMSU: not as tough as it is now & later than it is now and more tasty than the stars.
It\'s in a bag like a starburst. It\'s fire.
What seems to be Japanese? IAMSU: Yeah.
Something like this.
And what else is on it?
Hennessy has been on the list for a long time, but I\'m going to remove it.
I really don\'t want to drink that much.
I wouldn\'t say I wouldn\'t drink at all because that would be a lie.
But I didn\'t want to drink that much because I really wanted to take my stage show more seriously.
I want to think of it as my profession.
I think I look at it more like a party.
Smoke and drink and try to get in touch with the girl.
More than catering to the show, it\'s about thinking about what\'s going to happen. So.
Mohammed: What makes you realize that you should think more deeply about this issue?
IAMSU: feel after the tour.
Like, this trip in the past really cost my body.
It\'s just my spirit.
I just pulled out for two weeks and my bounce-
It\'s really bad coming back.
So I need to take more care of myself.
I have to take care of myself if I want.
Mohammed: are you creating on the road?
Do you write when you travel? IAMSU: Yeah.
I wrote it and I tried to record it if I could. MUHAMMAD: Yeah.
IAMSU: So we brought a Pro Tools rig with a laptop.
My little keyboard can make my beats anyway.
So, when I\'m in a hotel or something, I try to do some work when I have free time.
Mohammed: this is also a great way to keep you out of trouble. IAMSU: Yeah.
Just make music.
No backcourt. Nothing.
Just go to the hotel. And make music.
Muhammad: I brought it before. me and Q-
We have a portable studio.
This is before everything is so compact.
But we have two boxes like shelves.
Sometimes I wish I would go to the party, but I think it would be better in most cases.
Because you stay focused and stay out of trouble.
This is a big deal.
Because there are a lot of troubles that are easy to get.
On the way, every promoter tries to find you at their little party.
You don\'t know what\'s over there.
There is a hood in every city.
They are more likely to go crazy in a random town than in New York or the Bay
Do you know what I mean? MUHAMMAD: Yeah.
IAMSU: So it\'s just to be careful.
This is the main issue I really want to consider.
Kelly: Did you notice any difference between the third crowd?
Are the big cities you mentioned first-tier markets or other places?
In the way people interact with performers, for example, you know --
We talked about this.
The crowd in New York is very crowded.
Is it convenient elsewhere?
Will there be more conversation or interaction elsewhere? IAMSU: Yes.
Can you elaborate on that?
IAMSU: So, from the top of my head, I\'ll give an example like Boise, Idaho.
Or Salt Lake City.
Kelly: what happened there?
They react faster. KELLEY: OK. IAMSU: Yeah.
And then like you said, in a cool city, New York or Los AngelesA. or —
What else is really cool? Miami.
Get them out as if they were really working. It was work. It was work. So definitely.
Kelly: You know, would you be happier when people get a response?
I like good people.
As you said before, it\'s energy.
We\'re all containers of energy. do you know what I mean?
So if the audience responds to your music and knows the lyrics, then the show will be much better. KELLEY: Man.
I can\'t imagine winning a group of people.
I just broke down emotionally.
That\'s what you do all the time.
Muhammad: you know. it\'s the part —
You can talk to this.
When you have a song that everyone knows, or even an album that people are familiar with, you start a new project, like, \"nobody knows about it.
I have to push this down.
\"You have to keep other good things you know, just in a flash\" Yeah!
\"Something New. And then —
I don\'t like that moment. But I —
I also like it because it makes you
You\'re vulnerable, but you want to know what we\'re doing, right?
This is a good-how —
We will learn how to improve these new things here. IAMSU: Yeah.
Mohammed: then you want to figure out-
Sometimes you think, you like the songs that you like with the crew or the songs that the record company likes, that\'s it, but you learn and find out that yes --yeah —or no. \"Nah.
This is wrong-
\"You have to go back like,\" No. This is not it.
They like this.
\"I like this.
This is a tense moment.
I was watching the show all the time, like-yeah.
You run in a click and then like, \"Yo.
I got the new record I\'m about to record. -
\"Then the response will be a bit sparse.
I didn\'t understand until I got on the stage and did it.
But I also like it.
Like you said, it\'s a test.
You just wanted to see how it reacted.
But what I want to do is
Before that, I was just trying to do something on sound cloud, like, see some reactions.
I don\'t think I have the courage to just perform a brand new song.
Like, \"I just recorded this.
Let me shake it now.
This requires a lot of confidence.
Have you done anything like that before?
Just after recording, I went directly to the stage? MUHAMMAD: No.
But now it\'s a different time period.
In the presence of your creative art, you can have more direct contact with fans.
You will get \"yes.
This is how people feel. Or no.
\"We can play creative games with people.
Because it\'s better when you can say \"Hey, the whole world\" to the whole world.
This is one of my thoughts.
Is it good or bad?
They like it, yes.
Throw it on SoundCloudLet us know.
\"We don\'t, you know.
So we have to go through the whole process of believing, like, \"Yo.
It took 12 months or 18 months to design the idea.
\"It\'s like,\" it works better.
\"So it\'s different.
IAMSU: totally different.
I think there is a reason why people appear in some times.
I think this is definitely a more diligent type of artist in the past.
I have to tip my hat.
Because, like you said, at this point, things are at our fingertips.
The studio is compact.
There is internet here.
Mohammed: Hello-do you have —
What is your interaction with fans on the Internet?
Are you really deeply involved in connecting with people or are you just loose?
IAMSU: I \'ve been trying to attract as many fans as I can.
Like, people hit me and ask me questions; I\'ll be on my —
That\'s how much I\'m on my phone because I\'m playing fans back.
So, whether it\'s Twitter or Instagram, I\'m trying to keep some sort of contact with them.
I haven\'t checked DMs for a long time.
I don\'t like pictures. Nothing.
I\'m not engaged.
But as soon as I get involved, I notice that my followers and everything is increasing.
So I try to stay active and not go crazy.
Kelly: We made this decision because we have to do it, we just don\'t want to do it. IAMSU: Yeah.
Today\'s promotion is on Instagram.
It makes me very tired.
IAMSU: It\'s a spiritual drain. KELLEY: See.
This is the case.
Like, you said the last generation was more diligent, but you were not separated.
No card, rest for a day.
You know, it\'s just a different level, different types of ethics, professional ethics? MUHAMMAD: Yeah. IAMSU: Yeah.
This is a good point of view. No separation.
So you have to be.
Like I think the rapper
Once, it was a daily job.
You can go home as long as you are there. KELLEY: Right.
Like a music professional. IAMSU: Yeah.
But now you have to be like--
IAMSU: but when they see me out, I have to be like what they see on Instagramat all times.
Oh, it\'s crazy.
IAMSU: at the grocery store, at the airport or at the doctor.
Whatever the situation.
So this is a crazy thing.
Can we talk about your recording process?
So, when you start making an album, do you imagine the whole album or put it together?
IAMSU: Well, my first album, I feel like I\'m an amateur because I don\'t have a full view. It was loosely-based —
I said at the beginning that it would be in the form of an open letter.
So many songs don\'t have a complete structure.
Like the flow, it\'s free. of-consciousness.
Like, I just talk to the fans directly.
Then it turned into a bunch of club songs I made.
Then it became the instrument I got on the spot, this and that.
So the whole place is a bit messy.
But now that I get into the next album, I have a clear vision.
For example, the time period I want to recreate.
I want to feel and see the color with the sound bed. Just vibes.
I \'ve seen this in more depth, and in general I want people to be able to take back a message.
If you hear the whole projectto-
I didn\'t say anything and I hope people will be able to get the message I gave them.
So this is the biggest difference.
Honestly before I thought I was just going in to rap.
Mohammed: What about you?
IAMSU: I just walked into the booth and there is no real specific direction.
It\'s funny because you said you saw the color.
Obviously you might want people to see the same color
It\'s easy to do, some get it, some don\'t.
My mom, I remember one day she came to me and she thought, \"Did you see the color when you made the music ? \"?
\"I don\'t know where to come from.
I mean, like I did for ten years.
Oh, it\'s crazy.
Mohammed: I just looked at her and I thought, \"Why are you asking me this?
\"Like, she never passed-
It\'s actually more than ten years.
I have been doing music for 20 years.
I think, \"Yes, actually.
I did see the color but I don\'t think you can explain it to people. \"IAMSU: Yeah.
Mohammed: Do you think there must be some instrument or frequency?
Are you looking for in production?
IAMSU: I love the retro synthetic sound layered.
Like the Miami police. Knight Rider. What else? Flash Gordon.
Do you know what those scores are? Just the deep —
It\'s just super compressed, deep, thin synthetic sound.
I love this sound, just layering and layering these sounds, whether it\'s the main melody on some super dark chord --
I just noticed that my music is getting darker and darker, but the content is happier.
Kelly: I noticed.
Mohammed: how do you balancesorry?
Kelly: I noticed.
You noticed it in my music? KELLEY: Yeah. Oh, yes.
Like, for example, just look at the window we see.
Music sounds like the environment.
But my mentality does not reflect the changes in the environment.
I am trying to preach something that is a bit inspiring and at least learn some lessons from it.
But in order for people to get involved and connected, the voice has to make them feel where they are, you know?
Kelly: I \'ve also been thinking about your traffic, which is a lot more interesting than most people.
Not a low voice, but a heavy voice.
But my guess is that from what used to be, you always walk into the booth just because it\'s not fixed at all. IAMSU: Yeah.
I\'m not writing.
I\'m not writing.
I was just thinking
I have a few words.
Then I went in. KELLEY: Right.
Like on \"functions\", if you think about how other people play, then the way you play is completely different ---IAMSU: Yeah.
The beat I heard was completely different. KELLEY: Yeah. Exactly.
IAMSU: I can\'t even really describe it, but I just thought, \"This is my come-out party. E-
40 let me rap?
I\'m going to rap.
\"Like,\" I\'m not getting together on this.
This is probably the first time people have heard me, so I have to try to get in.
\"Kelly: but it\'s different because I heard you say it before, but that\'s not the case.
So it\'s fun to watch TV-
The most interesting thing for me about you is to observe your choice of traffic changes. IAMSU: Yeah.
I have been trying to innovate ahead of the curve.
I always prefer the way words are expressed, not the way words are expressed.
But for now, it\'s like working together with influential things to make sure everything makes sense to me.
If it makes sense to me, then I feel like everyone else will feel that way.
Is that what you think?
When you write things
I mean, I know you didn\'t write the lyrics, but you talked about choices and narrative choices-MUHAMMAD: Yeah.
Take a song for example, \"notorious dating rape\", which is just a heavy topic.
But when we create music, that seems to be the meaning of the word.
You just heard a lot: date rape.
We toured many universities at the time.
So like, you want an influential song.
A statement may not be made, but a statement may be made.
Or you must. you just —
You want it to be felt, not just fluff, you know?
So you really have to think about it.
Feifei will tell you that sometimes it is a little difficult for him. Cause I think —
I mean, he has his own way of looking at the idea of the song and the song.
One of the challenges is
It can be different when you do your own thing, and in your team everyone is doing it --
But you have to accept the opinions of others in your team.
Although you may see the song in one way, you are like \"Yo \".
This is what I wrote.
But it\'s like, yes, but it\'s so wide.
\"We often ask him to go back and change his clothes. But it worked.
Because it\'s like, yes, now we say what we want to say.
Kelly: I mean
Will this be the case with HBK Gang?
Have you ever liked it?
Did anyone come with a poem and you would say, \"actually. . .
\"IAMSU: I mean, this happens to me when people feel the need to tell me about it.
But I think I need to start telling others.
It\'s good for you to say that because I think it\'s bad.
What do we have to talk about?
I\'m not saying we have to be activists.
But if we want to rap
No matter what the theme is, someone has to get something out of it.
I think if we\'re going to talk--MUHAMMAD: Yeah. KELLEY: —don\'t be f---
Walking around in our short time.
It just goes into everything else.
Muhammad: Like, we actually took a microphone and plugged it in to zoom in to the world.
Like, \"You have this moment.
I\'ll give you this.
In your hand.
Do some great things with it.
Do some great things. Yeah.
Kelly: And don\'t waste time if you\'re looking for someone to listen to you. IAMSU: Yeah. Yeah.
I have just begun to take this matter seriously.
I\'m getting old. I\'m 25 now.
You get 25-year-
Old light switch
Muhammad: But you still have crazy baby faces happening.
Kelly: So are you, brother.
Yes, but I think--
Kelly: Let me have a rest.
Muhammad: Like, you look at him and he looks like-even with all the hair on his face --
You don\'t look 25 but 15.
Kelly: Jesus Christ.
IAMSU: that\'s what my mom always said.
She would say, \"You look like you were when you were 4.
But I just-
You know, it\'s like a light switch hit me.
I just started to see the nature of things. And just —
I really just want to be someone who has a say in rap games.
I think there are too many rappers, but in rap games only x people have legitimate and credible voices.
Are you independent?
IAMSU: I got the main release but I didn\'t sign up as an artist. No.
Kelly: Do you think it helps or prevents you from being a legitimate voice? IAMSU: Helps.
Because no one told me when, where and how. I do it.
Then they put it out.
Do you know what I mean? KELLEY: Yeah.
Is there a time when a tag tells you when/What is enlightening, helpful, or helps anyone make more money, or is this always--MUHAMMAD: Yes.
If you look at the history of Moreton, Berry Gordy is the company.
But he has vision.
He understands the development of artists.
Know, \"we will take you to this part of my organization to shape you.
You can\'t sing here with your wonderful voice.
We are packing you and we are packing this idea.
\"So in this case, let them be trained in dance, you know, show the costumes and all these little things, subtle things, but in the larger scheme of his package --yes.
There are a lot of record companies-
They came in, like, \"Yo.
My time here is 8 hours. I check in.
I send whatever I need.
I just did a small paper for a day and then I went out.
\"Or you have some lawyers who really should work in the legal department but they give them the position of CEO or put them in other marketing positions and they-
Maybe they\'re musicians in there, but they\'re not good--KELLEY: Oooh. IAMSU: Man. So true. MUHAMMAD: —
So they should stick to the law, but now they sit here and tell you what will make you a star or have a better way to express your life experience to the masses.
Like, \"you don\'t know what you\'re talking about, do you?
Please go to the corner and roll out your paper and take out my face.
IAMSU: that\'s true.
Mohammed: So there are a lot of different dynamics.
But when you have an organization that fully understands who the artist is and the infrastructure is built up and says, \"tell us who you are.
Now we know who you are.
This is what we can do in our infrastructure to help elevate your identity and let us find a happy marriage to achieve this.
\"There is a place like this. But --
Kelly: That\'s some of the things we talked about in our previous interview.
We talked to Jean Grae before. IAMSU: Oh wow. KELLEY: Yeah.
She is very talented.
Yes, she\'s great.
We are talking about having her stay and talking to you as well.
Oh, you should go.
We want to go, but she can\'t.
IAMSU: That\'s crazy.
Kelly: but what we\'re talking about is the kind of thing to make friends with famous people, what a big trip it is.
Then how do we give power to people and never think about it.
Like you walk into the meeting room, you say, \"I think you know f---
You\'re talking about it because you\'re wearing a tie.
\"But we have to recognize that this has rarely happened --
Some small things about your dress are important.
IAMSU: a lot of people make statements without knowing it.
I have noticed that it is more uninformed than informed. It\'s —
Especially in the music office, people always talk.
Just in the studio when a fly is on the wall, or go to a meeting and hear the conversation people will have, they don\'t talk about anything related to the situation.
It\'s always gossip or this, the third, not how we make this artist popular.
Or what can we do to improve our infrastructure?
How do we learn how music is received?
Do you know what I mean?
Like, the game is catching up now.
I had a meeting with Def Jam last week just to entertain my options.
He just showed me the roster and I just wanted to get to know them using his x-
If he just knows who to talk to, millions of dollars can\'t do it, do you know what I mean? KELLEY: Yeah.
IAMSU: for example, if you get the right PR, if you get the right PR, that\'s the third PR.
Kelly: You said you were a fly on the wall and it was fun because that\'s how I met you. IAMSU: True?
I don\'t know if you remember.
This was a few months ago. I was in L. A.
For me and your other job, you and--
Sounds familiar. KELLEY: —
Quaker, coolop, Bukit and others. IAMSU: Oh!
It just happened. KELLEY: Yeah.
That\'s January, right? January. IAMSU: Yeah. OK.
Kelly: But you\'re doing what I\'m doing, sitting and looking at Quaker and saying --
It\'s like training an engineer in another studio.
Yes, this is crazy.
Kelly: Did you see it?
Remember when he said no.
You can bypass it like this.
\"That guy\'s like--
He said, \"Yes. Take that U87. Take this plug-in.
You can speak Chinese, I am like. \" This s---sounds crazy.
Well, then he brought his own microphone or something.
Yes, he did.
But, yes, I noticed you were looking at it, and you wanted--
IAMSU: Yes, because how many times can you sit with DJ Quik.
It\'s like this.
All I need to know is knowledge.
Like, have you all been here for so long?
Kelly: and there\'s the guy who Quik is saying out loud what he\'s doing.
He made it possible to learn this way. IAMSU: Yeah. That was cool.
Because people don\'t do that.
He would say, \"What I\'m doing now is that I\'m going to accept your voice and I\'m going to go through it all and then it sounds like that.
So you get the type that needs this sound. \" You know?
He has a lot of information.
In such a short time, I thought, \"Wow.
\"Because I have never been so crisp.
I think, \"Oh.
\"You know, that\'s how it feels?
I think, \"This is me?
It sounds crazy. \" So crisp. Full.
Because my voice was thin, I didn\'t really shout from my chest when I rap.
I was more relaxed when I rap so he still got me out. He\'s crazy.
Kurupt is like, \"look.
He will make it sound butter. So buttery. Just watch. Watch.
\"I thought,\" Wow.
\"Kelly: And then those guys, the way they gossip, they\'re telling 25-year-old stories that are very enlightening.
For example, how to protect yourself and be with the right person, what happens if you forget some steps or something.
I mean, I \'d like to have a simpler way to transfer-
Because that\'s what I thought.
There is this disconnect between generations, and there is no easy way to spread knowledge.
I don\'t know if it\'s because the younger generation is too busy, and the older generation will say, \"you don\'t have the same priorities as me. I can\'t even.
And I have to pay for someone\'s college now. \"IAMSU: Wow.
Mohammed: There are a lot of different things, but I think if you\'re in-
You have to feel the energy of the room, but if you\'re around --
Especially people like you.
I mean, you work on a lot of different people.
I think these doors will continue to open, so it\'s just a matter of feeling the energy, just knowing
Ask this question.
I think there are times when you don\'t want to ask this question because you may not want to get the wrong response or response from someone.
But if you don\'t ask someone else, then you don\'t even know if you\'ll get some --
They would say, \"Take my face out, little boy,\" and the like.
Or they actually just open the world to you.
So you just--IAMSU: Yeah.
Tell you the whole game.
Mohammed: Tell you the whole game. Yeah.
I don\'t know how to fix this, but someone-it\'s funny.
You have these prolific artists who say great things on the record, but after the record they are not the best people. And that\'s --
IAMSU: very deep.
Muhammad: So this is just-
We should not put people on such bases, but we will.
We can\'t help it, especially if their art is really great.
But I only wear one leg at a time.
So if someone asks me a question, I will try my best to help.
I am willing to give advice.
Have you ever come to you, like, \"Yo.
I\'m going in. Could you --
IAMSU: of course. Absolutely. All the time.
Mohammed: What is that feeling?
It\'s a strange feeling from handing out demos to me.
You take my point so seriously.
People who want to work
It\'s really interesting.
I think it\'s just-
I want to remember that we are no different.
Everyone is essentially the same.
Our goal is the same.
I can\'t speak for everyone except most of us, you know, we want to be successful.
As you said, we are going to make an open book.
Like, I\'m trying to be transparent with a little bit of knowledge I have and pass it on as much as I can.
Muhammad: what\'s going on with you and Too $ hort and E-working together40?
IAMSU: Well, for the \"features\" 40 just got my number and call me.
Because he can get anyone\'s number.
If you are a rapper in the Bay Area, he will get your number.
So he got my number and called me.
Kelly: There\'s only one large Bay Area group text. IAMSU: Yeah.
Like, we don\'t have much separation from each other, so he can get on the horn and hit anyone.
Okay, what did he say?
Like you answer the phone. -
He said, \"Oh, what\'s the matter?
It\'s your son, E-40. What up, Su.
I have this record.
Called function \'.
Hope you can jump on that thing and do your thing there.
\"I \'ve seen him before, but I \'ve never had a phone call with him.
So I thought, \"Yes.
Send it now.
Send it now.
\"So it took me time.
Let me just listen.
I really couldn\'t get in at first.
But then I took it to Los Angeles. A. ;
I listened in the car for three days and went back.
I lost my voice.
That\'s why I sound so different.
But I think, \"40 needs this.
He called me again, \"what\'s going on with that poem, man.
You got that poem back?
I said he couldn\'t call me again.
So I need to send this back.
\"So I went to the House of the chief, and I just recorded it and blacked it out.
I have about three drops of cough medicine in my mouth, just drinking tea.
I think, \"I have to keep my voice right.
So that\'s how it happened.
If I were too hort, I would see him anywhere.
I can see him everywhere.
His studio is in Auckland, right next to chicken and waffles.
He will stay in Auckland all the time.
The dj Ethernet short price for another group I know ended DJing, and that\'s how I got in touch with him. That was cool.
We are all together;
I filmed a video for a song in the album called \"TWDY.
We all cut it up.
It\'s me, he, and Sir. Fab.
We chopped it up.
This is a surreal moment.
Mohammed: what does this city feel like?
The torch is a bit like--IAMSU: Right. It was wild.
You know, as a rapper in the Bay Area, you \'ve been through your entire career, like, \"I have to use E-
$40 is too short.
\"These are icons.
Muhammad: Have you seen 10-like you-year-old self?
Have you ever imagined it? IAMSU: Ah, nah.
I honestly can\'t see it.
I just don\'t think they\'re in touch.
But they are not.
They want to be part of the youth movement, just as I want to work with them.
So it\'s just a fair exchange.
Kelly: You mean you think they\'re far away from you? Or like --
IAMSU: I just don\'t think I can reach them. KELLEY: Yeah. OK. Yeah.
But I have to put my nose down.
I thought, \"I\'m going to work right away and they\'ll see me.
They saw me. I know it.
Kelly: who else-
What else is happening in the Bay now, and people will hear this in the next six months?
IAMSU: There are many talents. KELLEY: Yeah.
IAMSU: I can go on for a couple of hours, but, from my mind, I would say, Manni Phantom, the person I really like right now.
I have been lending him big companies.
But he\'s so talented. It\'s crazy.
Pharaoh from Vallejo.
He\'s really talented. Dave Steezy.
I\'m taking him on a tour.
Show Banga from San Francisco.
Like many people.
John left HBK.
The whole HBK Gang.
Kelly: How did you get together?
It happens at different stages. Myself and P-
Total Luo sum P
Lo\'s brother, Kuya Beats, we all know each other in high school.
We went to pinknoll Valley High School.
After graduating from high school, I went to a college called contara Costa.
This is where I met Cole John, Lowens and Rossi. All of them. Skip.
I was only 17 years old.
So we all got cool and started performing at parties like standing in a chair at a Chinese restaurant.
You know, like the speakers in the middle of the floor;
Sometimes there is no stage.
A microphone, pass it on and let it happen.
Kelly: It\'s interesting.
My dad was in the Navy and I lived in Lafayette in grade 6 and 7.
Okay, I know where it is.
Kelly: We used to go to this Chinese restaurant. That\'s funny.
This is like the strongest memory of my time. IAMSU: Yeah.
Just like Chinese restaurants in the Bay Area.
Kelly: KMEL and Chinese restaurants.
IAMSU: lots of Chinese restaurants.
My personal favorite is the Hunan Villa. KELLEY: OK. Yeah.
This is fire. It\'s in Pinole. It\'s fire.
She listens to my music or something.
This is the old Chinese lady.
She said, \"What is your song?
Put it in my phone.
I said, I found you.
IAMSU: her iPhone is in Chinese so I have to type and only know where the letters are. It was crazy.
Kelly: It\'s funny.
Do you know what I like?
You kept the DNA from the Bay Area.
I mean, music has always been musical.
This is one of the things, even when Outkast came out, their music was so musical that I thought for the first time they were from the Bay.
Kelly: You think they came from the Bay? IAMSU: Oh wow.
Muhammad: Yes. It\'s that —
I see you carry that.
And, you know, like New York, New York has this DNA, it\'s gone now, it doesn\'t exist, and it\'s adapted to other ways of sounding.
But you keep the music stuff.
Is it intentional or--
IAMSU: a lot of things are just products around it.
I think what people are going to play from the car, or what I will hear at the club, or just the kids who are standing in Bart with their iPod headphones.
Like, how people move and interact outside, music has to be low
You know, the key is like how things sound?
This is very interesting.
I didn\'t really realize it until I went back to listen to the old Bay Area songs.
Then I thought, wow.
\"Like, I didn\'t even listen to something, but like you said, DNA and our environment created this kind of music.
So it\'s more important than our talent.
Like this music was created in this area.
Kelly: like the scenery.
Yes, it\'s just the consistency of water.
It\'s really green.
People from all over the world.
Real fog. Real fog.
It\'s not smog. it\'s real fog. That\'s funny.
What is HBK day?
IAMSU: Well, it just turned into an annual thing.
The past event should not be the HBK day event, but the people of the pink dolphins really pushed the event so we did.
Basically clothing capsules, music releases and free concerts.
So it\'s like a small one. The size of the day.
I wouldn\'t even say that.
But it\'s not like a festival.
This is not a festival.
I want to take it to that level.
That\'s why I don\'t want to call this day HBK day.
I feel you.
Because I have a very big plan.
Supplier, do you know what I mean?
Make some paint.
But it\'s cool.
This is a big turnout.
Like 1200 kids and people from-
The activity was camping outside on Sunday and Thursday.
So I think, wow. \" It was crazy.
Kelly: It\'s crazy. IAMSU: Mhmm.
Kelly: this is another missing thing at the New York scene.
It\'s like inspiring people to walk out of the house every day.
People are used to going to a show or something.
But with the exception of some little things in the summer, like AfroPunk, people will make an effort,--
Mohammed: But is it there? never mind. I won\'t say it.
Yes, we can\'t-
We shouldn\'t even touch this. IAMSU: What --
Mohammed: I just wanted to say--
Kelly: It\'s disappointing. MUHAMMAD: Nah. I know, right?
Kelly: There\'s a \"full mute\" button.
Neil told me before. MUHAMMAD: No.
I just think there are very few artists that make you feel like this is part of a big deal and part of a movement.
I don\'t know why this is happening in New York.
This is part of it.
You have to feel-
Kelly: It\'s kind of exclusive-
Like AP dollars, \"We are AP dollars.
You\'re not AP. Muhammad: Yes.
IAMSU: \"You are not $ AP.
Kelly: I think that\'s the difference.
IAMSU: That\'s the difference between Taylor Gang and AP.
I think A $ AP might be big.
Yes, I can see it.
IAMSU: I mean, but they\'re wearing H & M so they did something right--
Kelly: Yes, But Wiz just got out of the whole college scene. So that was --IAMSU: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. KELLEY: Yeah. I don\'t know.
How important is family to you?
More importantly recently, things have become so crazy.
It\'s not even a cliché like \"I\'m dealing with fans.
\"But overall, the rap game is really weird.
It\'s really strange.
It\'s hard to adapt and live in this environment. -
Kelly: What do you mean?
Muhammad: When you say something strange, what do you mean by something strange?
Can you elaborate on that?
You know, you always
How do I put this?
You are always surrounded by interesting energy types.
This energy may not always be consistent with your energy.
So it\'s hard to keep the balance, and it\'s easy to shake, especially young.
Like, people always want to see you show up.
If you chatter about doing that, they always want to see you do it.
If you don\'t, they will be disappointed with you.
There are just so many people who are looking forward to it, not only because you are the one who accepts you.
What if you just want to relax?
Do you know what I\'m talking about?
So that\'s why I \'ve been trying to make real connections with my family and I feel like they keep me, my sister and my cousins grounded.
My mother often comes out with me.
So I know my mom won\'t stop eating bulls. --from me. You feel me?
So it just keeps me in balance.
I felt like I was separated from my family for a minute.
Been on the road and just arrived in New York to do news with the manager, team and others.
People are your family, but they don\'t really care about you.
They just want to make sure you go from point A to Point B so that this CD you\'re launching can be sold.
So it\'s really just that I stay grounded and reconnect, so I think family is the most important thing.
Because without it, I might be crazy on the street now.
Muhammad: I think-
It\'s interesting, you know.
Your mom\'s here today. I think it\'s great.
Just as you said I was imagining your inner situation and people really want you to show up but like if you go there and your mom is there it\'s just--
It was killed.
All the noise is gone.
Mohammed: right away. It\'s like, \"Oh.
Be someone\'s mother
When you say \"it\'s my mother . \"
\"Just like now you think your mom is in the room. KELLEY: Yeah. Exactly. IAMSU: Yeah.
Muhammad: It\'s like, \"Yo.
I \'d better do my best.
\"IAMSU: the energy is best right. For real.
Muhammad: Maybe this is hip-hop needs.
More people are needed to bring their mom to this situation.
Now some of your moms
There\'s some ratchet outside, mom.
But it can still be-
If you have a feeling mom. MUHAMMAD: Yeah.
Perhaps it will help to change certain behaviors.
Some people, you know, say, \"Yo.
I want to yell at this mom.
Kelly: You\'re right.
IAMSU: You know who I got it from, which makes it more comfortable for me to take my mom with me.
His mother is everywhere on the map.
Like, where did she meet with us.
I think, \"it\'s so cool.
\"She\'s cool. So I was like —
This is just the right energy.
Like you said, if you have some kind of feeling in front of someone\'s mom, you will always be on your Ps and Qs.
You don\'t just think, \"Yo. Where the b----es at, man?
Where is Molly? Where\'s that? \" Like, nah.
You have to calm down.
Kelly: Is it Wiz\'s mom who keeps holding the G Pen?
On Instagram. I think-I don\'t know.
Is that her?
I can\'t remember it now.
Mohammed: Well, that\'s to tell me, you really understand the potential here, it\'s long term, you know.
It\'s about making the right, thoughtful career choices. IAMSU: Yeah.
There is no doubt.
Mohammed: you have a plan. -IAMSU: Yeah.
I have a loose plan but I have a plan.
I have a plan at the end of the day.
I saw myself in the game for a long time.
Say no to certain things and have to go a long way.
I think I\'m ready.
I think it\'s cool.
I don\'t need success overnight.
20 years later, I \'d rather be someone who can talk to a rapper like you and I talk. MUHAMMAD: Yeah.
IAMSU: that\'s what I want to do. MUHAMMAD: Yeah.
That\'s how it sounds.
In your sincerity, there\'s something you say you-
Not to say \"respect me\" but to say \"I should be here \".
I have the right to be here and you will respect me. \" I hear that.
Kelly: You always sound like an old man.
Your team always sounds older.
Like most people, at the same age.
We are ready.
We just hope it\'s really bad.
But I don\'t think the \"it\" I want is the \"it\" I see \".
So what I want now is a new \"it \".
Now that I\'m in there, if it makes any sense.
Mohammed: it makes a lot of sense.
Kelly: is it alone? IAMSU: Yup. Yup. Definitely.
Just some long term
I think that\'s the impact.
So I have to take my craft more seriously.
I know I have talent but am I really playing with it, pursuing it and trying to improve it?
Kelly: What is a crazy thing that could happen and you would say, \"Oh my God. I made it?
\"IAMSU: it will-
It can be two things: leaving music behind like a big sport.
Did you know that McDonald\'s just launched that new song?
Something like this.
Or U2 did the whole album with Apple.
It\'s on your phone and you didn\'t ask for it.
You may not even want it, but you have it.
Things like this. KELLEY: Damn. That\'s crazy.
IAMSU: It\'s like \"wow. I made it. \" You know? KELLEY: Yeah.
It\'s like a super mainstream success.
Yes, yes. It is.
It\'s just different.
Like, being a rapper, it\'s really hard to get into the world.
Mohammed: Do you think so?
I really think so.
I don\'t think it\'s hard for rap music to penetrate and go mainstream, but I\'m the kind of rapper, my image now, and it\'s going to be a struggle.
But I know it\'s worth it.
Mohammed: I think it must be-
You can go there.
Oh, thank you. Thank you.
Muhammad: of course.
Because I think
It\'s not like you to me, maybe I just-
I really understand.
But your song, you don\'t
Not like this dark-
Oh, I don\'t want to invite-
\"Are you dating my daughter? What?
\"Do you know what I mean? IAMSU: Yeah. OK. Good.
I\'m glad I didn\'t give up. MUHAMMAD: Nah. You know? It doesn\'t —yeah.
You don\'t understand, so I think you\'re doing-
It\'s interesting to hear you talk about the previous work, maybe it\'s not realized --
This is fair.
Because sometimes life is going to unfold, you say, \"I\'m here.
I don\'t know where it will go.
I was right here with it.
\"But it\'s interesting to hear this --
You created this record with this feeling, but it still disappears because of a plan and is very relevant.
So I think you can definitely get to a higher level of the mainstream. IAMSU: Yeah. MUHAMMAD: Yeah. I think yeah.
I think so.
Muhammad: although I don\'t know where your next record is going, maybe you just thought, \"Yo, I\'ll be the one you can\'t take dad home. \"IAMSU: Nah. Nah. Nah.
I wouldn\'t be like that either. I\'ma tell you.
I want to make the spring break pool party music more perfect.
Like, everything is broken. That\'s it.
I\'m talking about-
I had an interview before.
I thought, \"I made so much music to prove everything to others.
But I have nothing to prove.
I just want to make myself and my family happy.
This is what it really means. Kelly: Listen.
It was really interesting to watch spring break in the past.
It\'s not fun to watch these crazy songs now, because people will sing songs that you like, \"Oh, it\'s either a sad song or a song that\'s really competitive, or something else
Then it\'s like, \"Why are these bikini-clad chicks in the pool ? \"?
The weather is obviously cold.
I\'m worried about you right now.
\"So, yes, do that.
Do what they do.
Yes, they showed up.
I watched that video.
I think, \"Man, I want to do something like this. This is huge.
Kelly: why not? IAMSU: Mm-hmm.
This is all about it.
But I have a question for you. KELLEY: Yes. MUHAMMAD: Yes.
IAMSU: as far as your whole process is concerned, conceptually, what is-
When you start creating an album, did you write it out like the album\'s plan?
Muhammad: there is nothing like this on a piece of paper, you know, like \"Yo, we have to make these marks because it\'s written like this in order to stick to it.
\"But we have a feeling we want for every record. Absolutely.
Kelly: How did you talk about this and the debate?
Will you be in the room or in the studio? -
Muhammad: No, this is not-
There is no debate. Tip is —
He\'s a visionary.
He will come in-
First of all, he will have billions of ideas.
So it could be great and a bit of a hassle.
So make sure you\'re in a situation where if you\'re a person with a lot of ideas, you can help you speak it out and support it.
Because sometimes, when you are a person with an idea, the worst thing is to be with someone with an idea.
We\'re not creative killers.
We are like, \"the word. OK. That\'s dope.
It doesn\'t make sense at all right now, but it\'s cool. It\'s dope.
Let\'s figure it out.
\"We will sit down and discuss it.
This is not a debate.
Like, \"Word. OK.
Let us build on this. OK. That\'s dope.
Let\'s come up with some additions to really do what you say.
Because it could be bigger now.
Or maybe now.
This is the environment we face.
This is because the killer is a terrible person.
They are just sad. IAMSU: just sad.
For example, \"there are many reasons why we can\'t do this.
\"Like you said, let\'s try to build on it.
For example, if we can\'t play circus on Mars-
Kelly: one example. IAMSU: —
Let\'s figure out how to do something along this route to build this idea.
It\'s not so much a million reasons why it doesn\'t work.
I think that\'s where I am.
It just eliminates all the negative energy.
All negative energyPeople that —
I just want to be surrounded by people who want to contribute to the idea and help build it in a realistic way.
Of course, you say crazy things when you\'re an artist, but that\'s why we\'re artists.
Just a different view of life.
So it\'s really cool.
Kelly: No, I do think it\'s valuable to say \"no, no, no\" by one person.
You can\'t do that because we\'re already doing another thing.
I know this is going to be
For example, keep some s---in check.
Yes, you have to reason. Q-
Tip, call me.
Everyone in the team thought, \"Hey, talk to Ali.
He is the voice of reason.
\"They all said that, and I was offended by this before; I\'m like, \"Why?
Am I a dream killer?
Kelly: That\'s right.
But I know I\'m not. I\'m the —OK.
I am the voice of reason
Like, \"Okay, it\'s cool, but can we think about it from this perspective?
\"And, you know, so do I.
God bless my way
I appreciate what people say.
I\'m not a dream killer.
Just, I listen;
I think, \"cool.
\"I am a logical thinker.
It\'s impossible, but if we try this, it\'s possible now. \"KELLEY: Nah.
You did this to me.
I have been trying for some time to check the microphone for the tour.
Do these interviews in front of the audience.
We have done it several times. -
Oh, that\'s too clean! What!
Don\'t you think we should?
Kelly: and always killed. no no no. He does.
But what I want to do is
I really want to travel for a month.
At least ten cities. Whatever.
Act as a place and act as a country.
Anyway, it\'s not--
Yes, but it will be very clean.
I think it\'s more credible. I don\'t know.
Just, it needs someone who is on the theoretical side, do you know what I\'m talking about?
So I will respect that very much.
I really think it\'s cool. KELLEY: Yo.
From your lips to the ears of God
Anyway, he didn\'t say until today, \"Oh, I see what you\'re talking about.
Yes, we should.
\"But he never told me,\" I thought it was crazy, tired and expensive.
\"He\'s like,\" Okay. Fine.
All above. For sure.
Mohammed: I mean, that\'s how my brain works. I\'m like --
\"We are so tired, Franny,\" he said.
\"Mohammed: I think,\" I know the infrastructure.
\"This is another thing for me and may be helpful to you.
I don\'t know what you think.
But I am a very creative person, but I am also a very creative person.
So it\'s like-
I think that\'s the tug. of-war between Q-Tip and I.
Don\'t put these things in, David.
This is for you.
That\'s the tug. of-
Because he is a creative person, he also has a business mind and some good business mind.
But I, I can be like everyone
Idea of the day or allday business. And I\'m like —
In terms of business, I fully understand the structure of my organization or company.
So it\'s like, if we really want the idea, I think, \"Man, it\'s impossible.
\"So I was wondering how we could achieve that.
Like, okay, we have to go out.
We must do so.
Then we have to set this up. And then —
Sometimes I know you should be an emotional person.
Let it go.
That\'s what I\'m studying now, 44.
What did Big Sean\'s dad say?
\"It\'s a process of feeling.
Mohammed: It\'s a process of feeling.
Is that what his father said? KELLEY: Yeah. MUHAMMAD: Yeah.
It\'s crazy. KELLEY: Right?
Muhammad: So I\'m in and out.
I\'m so organized.
I have the feeling that when I sit in front of the piano or drum machine it\'s like crazy.
I was lost in this feeling.
But when it starts to work, I don\'t feel that way anymore. --to work. I want to win.
\"So it\'s like, okay.
Let\'s make sure we can-
Let\'s build it if it\'s not built.
And then I spent so much time doing it, like, \"Yo.
Just follow the flow.
It\'s going to work.
So this is dynamic.
But you want to have, you know, people who give and receive. IAMSU: Mhmm.
Energy is important.
This is all about energy.
There is no negative energy around me. The kids that —it\'s funny.
Tips are always very attractive to children near him, especially to take them on the road and show them something.
Give them a chance to see something they have never seen before and find out their way of life and be a businessman who only uses anything, records for us or something else.
I don\'t think he told them about me.
So, you know, like, \"Yo.
You people. Cool.
\"But they came in, I think,\" Yo, these rules.
I\'m responsible for your life.
I don\'t want to talk to your mom and dad or bring you home in a bag.
So that\'s how we act. Do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do.
\"IAMSU: they are not ready yet.
Mohammed: they will say, \"What\'s the problem with him?
\"Tip is like--
Kelly: the voice of reason.
Mohammed: \"He has no problem.
Because we are responsible for you, he wants to take you home safely.
\"But if you don\'t have the right structure around you, you don\'t think so when you\'re 19.
So you have to study hard.
Like, \"Ah, man. So-and-
So what was arrested?
We want to make money.
We don\'t want to waste money on bail and lawyer fees. IAMSU: That\'s right.
Mohammed: it costs a lot of money to sue a criminal lawyer.
But we\'re on the road, Frankie. KELLEY: Yes.
Mohammed: We check the microphone on the way. KELLEY: Yes.
Come to the Bay Area. Please. We will.
Come to the University of California, Berkeley and the like.
I know they will be happy to go. KELLEY: Yeah. Exactly.
IAMSU: Youth Radio in Auckland will also like it.
Kelly: They did a very good job.
We worked with them before. IAMSU: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
I worked on youth radio.
Mohammed: I was about to ask you.
Kelly: I don\'t know. IAMSU: Yeah.
Mohammed: he just told me-KELLEY: OK. That\'s cool.
Yes, I work on the youth radio station and I am also on the show.
That\'s why I was able to take music so seriously.
They have a music production section where I learned to use the program I use now.
I learned how to use the Pro tool.
They just played me.
Like I said, they asked me to learn music.
It\'s just deep.
They put so much music on my computer.
IAMSU: I like the performance and performance of music.
Mohammed: How did you get involved?
A member of my family.
Her name is Savania.
We went to high school together.
She knew I was interested in music.
\"I work in this place,\" she thought.
Called Youth Radio.
You should go there and interview the person in charge to see what happens.
\"I told my mom she took me there. KELLEY: Mhmm. That\'s cool.
I said when we
I always send them to youth radio when I have to be interviewed.
I think I sent a B to Youth Radio.
IAMSU: Lil B, the law of God B? KELLEY: Yeah.
Kelly: Well, thank you for spending so much time.
I don\'t know if you have--
Everything is fine.
I can sit here for a few hours and chat with you guys. KELLEY: I know.
This is cool.
It\'s really cool.
I learned a lot.
More important than anything. MUHAMMAD: Dope.
Kelly: Thank you again.
Talk to you soon.
Hope you can take this trip to the Bay. KELLEY: Yeah.
Our home is yours. IAMSU: Ay!
Mohammed: Home of rice.
IAMSU: literally. MUHAMMAD: Su.
Mohammed: You\'re welcome. Thank you.