MY DISCUSSION WITH HIP HOP ARTIST YAHKEEM
At “The Hip Hop Show” on Sunday, November 21st, I had the pleasure of meeting a down to earth artist----Yahkeem. Even though the music was blaring from speakers throughout 5 Seasons, the mid-town venue that hosted “The Hip Hop Show”, we were able t find a semi-quiet area at back of stage area to sit down at discuss the composition of the artist. I was introduced to Yahkeem soon after arriving at 5 Seasons by Mz. Undastood, a radio host for the “Konsider Dis” program on Da Beat 1650-AM, so setting up an impromptu interview on the spot was a good idea.
Yahkeem was at ease while I asked him a few basic questions about his influences and upbringing. He, of course, has the street pedigree, being raised in various urban environments such as New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New Orleans, and of course the home of "The Wire". According to Yahkeem, he's been rhyming for about seven years now, with him recently having a fire lit under him to take his music to another level. "I got a purpose now", he retorted, when i asked Yahkeem about his mark he wants to leave on hip hop, not only from a Harm City standpoint, but on a national level. It was quite evident throughout the discussion that there is a bigger picture in place for the artist known as Yahkeem, who used self-promotion to his advantage by rocking a royal blue t-shirt emblazoned with his Twitter tag @Yahkeem.
I asked the gritty MC about his influences, and the requisite names came to mind: Pac and Biggie. The name that would shock some, or be unrecognizable to others was Spice 1, a Hayward, California product that is a legend in the Bay Area. Spice 1 definitely opened doors for others in a region that has been a hotbed of hip hop talent since the late 80's. It was a good thing to see the varying influences for Yahkeem, and he seemed to be a student of the game. "Method Man is also an influence", he stated while we continued our discussion, rounding out a nice list of artists representing different facets of the hip hop equation.
Yahkeem advised me during our conversation that his EP, entitled So Official, will be available on November 27th for public consumption. It will contain seven songs, each one shedding light on the man and artist. "Hit me up at www.yaheemmusic.com" he retorted when we talked about fans and listeners getting a piece of the musical pie. Yahkeem acknowledged that he loves the hip hop scene here in Baltimore, siting his musical kinship with other grind-minded artists like Nephew and E.N.V.I.E., even alluding to a collaboration with the lyrical-minded E.N.V.I.E.
Yahkeem wants his music to inspire and teach, especially the youth, who are impressionable when it comes to this thing called hip hop music. When I asked him about how he sees himself within the hip hop matrix, he simply stated, "I'm just me". A simple, yet poignant artist looking to make a mark in that same hip hop matrix I just mentioned. Yahkeem figures that if he can survive the differing, yet oh so similar hoods he has seen or been a part of, then the hip hop matrix is something he can navigate. Let's hope that he does just that.
We were still discussing the state of hip hop when the show host, Mz. Undastood alerted us that the performances were about to begin. I gave Yahkeem a pound, with the understanding that this won't be the last time we'll discuss hip hop, artistry, and everyday living.
WISDOM-----SHEDDING A RAY OF LIGHT ON BALTIMORE HIP HOP