By Damilola Grey
Dami: What was your first introduction to hip hop?
Sareem: For as long as I can remember, my parents would bump Jay Z, The Beastie Boys, and Kanye in the car. Our family has always been musically inclined and we grew up listening to a ton of different genres honestly. Didn’t realize that kids in my area didn’t listen to rap like that, until in second grade for this “my mum and I” project I wrote that our favorite activity was to sing “Gold Digger” in the car. She got called into my teacher’s office like 2 days later.
Dami: What inspired you to start making music?
Sareem: Just life honestly. I’ve been writing poems since I was young but I used to play the drums and little piano too. I love the old school shit so my first records were me tryna be like Dre and Ice Cube and they were trash lol. Around the time I was 19, there was a moment that happened with a girl and one of my best friends at the time that left me depressed and not trusting anybody for a solid couple of months though, and I spent a lot of that time just writing music and putting it out. It wasn’t good but it laid a foundation and helped me get out of that depression. A lot of my initial shit was me just tryna sound hard without really backing it up, but the more vulnerable I became with it, the more other people, as well as myself, connected with it.
Dami: How would you describe your sound?
Sareem: It’s really just a projection of me. I have songs you can party or smoke to, there’s some you can put in your workout playlist, there’s some for when you feel like shit. I care a ton for the writing too and try to make my next verse better than my last. I throw in a lil bit of West Coast in the mix too. I grew up on the oldies as well as the new school, like Schoolboy Q, Kendrick, 2Pac, Kid Cudi, DMX, and Lil Wayne.
Dami: Who are your biggest inspirations?
Sareem: Schoolboy Q, 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, 2Pac, Donald Glover, Ab-Soul, Eminem, Kid Cudi, Jay Z, Kobe Bryant, Zach De La Rocha, JID, Dave Chapelle, Aaron McGruder, and Serj Tankian.
Dami: When making music, where do you grab inspiration from?
Sareem: Life experiences. I write down emotions and keep note of things I go through, then I go through beats and if I’m feeling something then I’ll grind it out and see if I can write something to it. Whatever I’m listening to at the time has a role in it too.
Dami: What’s your creative process like?
Sareem: I gotta lock in. I write my most when I’m by myself and enter this little flow state of throwing ideas around. I love rapping with other people and getting everyone on a track together but I don’t like writing in front of other people for the most part. The exception if it’s a hook.
Dami: You just dropped a single titled “Locked In”. Can you tell us about it?
Sareem: This one is a single from my upcoming album. “Locked In” is a song about getting in that flow state and locking in. My dad asked me to write a song about what goes through my head during that process, and this came out of it. I chose Gohan to be on the cover because his battle versus Cell represents that state in my eyes, and identify with his character a ton.
Dami: Can you tell us more about your upcoming album?
Sareem: Yeah for sure. The working title is ENTER R.E.E.M 2. The theme is really just coming into my own after entering a new chapter of life. There’s a ton of new sounds on the project and it represents me and my creative process at this point in time. Been having a blast getting to play it live and I really can’t wait to put it out.
Dami: Any features on it?
Sareem: Hell yeah. Shoutout AG3, SPYKID, and Ha Keem. You can catch SPYKID on our song “Coastin”, and AG3 on our songs “Run Up” and “Turn Me Up”. Sean McNamara stays killing the beats before anything else. And shoutout Alexander the Great and Chineme too. There’s enough material already for a deluxe album.
Dami: What do you hope to achieve by the end of the year?
Sareem: 100,000 monthly listeners, to play Rolling Loud LA (or some equivalent) and to build up this network we have going and bring my homies with me. We’ve got a dope talent pool and I really want it to expand further.
Connect with Sareem and listen to his music here.