Interview: Heem Da Dream

By Damilola Grey

Heem Da Dream is a rapper from Newark, New Jersey, and is one of the founders of the hip hop collective, Rap Villain. He is currently gearing up to release his debut mixtape titled Cosmic Hotel and dropped the single “Dark Side” earlier this year. We discussed his inspirations, creative process and his upcoming mixtape Cosmic Hotel.

Dami: What was your first introduction to hip hop?

Heem: My first introduction to hip hop was DMX. My mum had me listening to him from an early age.

Dami: What inspired you to start rapping?

Heem: First time I ever tried to rap was because of my 2 older cousins that used to make music but I was like 10 years old so I didn’t take it serious. When I got into high school, I was writing poetry and Rocket found out because we were both in the open mic club at our school. He convinced me to start rapping and it didn’t take a lot since he’s my brother.

Dami: Who are your biggest inspirations?

Heem: My biggest inspirations are my team Rap Villain. Alley Rocket, Nick Straight, Bobcat, Tac0o, and Thrizzy all inspire me to create music in different ways and their skills always drive me to push my pen. Outside of my team, my other inspirations are Jay Z, Kanye West, Drake, Andre 3000, 50 Cent and Lil Wayne.

Dami: What’s up with Cosmic Hotel?

Heem: Oh you’re going for the kill now. Cosmic Hotel is in the final stages of mixing and mastering. When that’s done, the rollout for the tape begins. I have a lot of visual content stacked up with the top shooter himself- Shialaboofpack – that I’m excited to drop for the people that support my music.

Dami: What should we expect from it?

Heem: You can expect a new sound from Cosmic Hotel that shows my growth while becoming more comfortable with my artistry and using my voice in more versatile ways as well.

Dami: What’s your creative process like?

Heem: My creative process usually goes 2 ways: When I’m by myself, I like to write at night in my room while I’m smoking with some anime on the TV in the background because that’s my type of vibe. The other way my creative process can go is when I’m with someone from my team (most of the time, its Rocket), we go through beats we get sent from Dren or engineers we work with and we play around with them spitting whatever comes off the top until we find a flow or melody that really sticks with us and we go from there.

Dami: How would you describe your style of music?

Heem: This is still a hard one for me to answer. I would consider my style as vibe music because I have songs that put people in different types of moods ranging from sadness or heartbreak to ‘I never cared about love’ to hype music that you would bump with your homies on a ride. That’s the best way I could put it into words right now if you feel what I’m saying.

Dami: Any dream collabs?

Heem: Some dream collabs I have to make happen one day are Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Kanye West, Drake, Tyler the Creator, and Jay Z. When it comes to the artistry of crafting music, they’re all on a different level.

Dami: What’s next for Heem Da Dream after Cosmic Hotel?

Heem: After Cosmic Hotel, I have a lot of music stacked up that I’ve been recording with Rap Villain’s engineer, Shaun. It’s just a matter of getting with my team when the time comes to decide what would be the best songs to drop and release visuals for.

Dami: What’s your biggest challenge as an artist?

Heem: I would say the biggest struggle is getting support where you’re from. In my experience so far with being an artist, it takes time to get people who know you or come from the same place as you to support you.

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