Browsing Tag

Ghostface Killah

Crafting His Own Creed: Sareem on His Album ‘YOU MADE ME YOU’ and Personal Evolution

 This week, rap luminary Sareem sat down with us to delve into his latest album, ‘YOU MADE ME YOU,’ an infectious blend of sharp rap flows and dynamic beats that trace his journey from hustle to redemption. In this candid discussion, he reveals the profound personal stakes involved in the album’s creation, reflecting on his emotional highs and lows and the introspective process behind his music. His narrative weaves between personal accountability and empowerment, all set against the backdrop of challenging industry relationships and intense self-discovery. Join us as Sareem unpacks the layers of his latest work, offering a glimpse into the mind of an artist who not only embraces but celebrates his complexities.

Sareem, thanks for sitting down with us to discuss your new album, YOU MADE ME YOU! First things first, we would love to hear the story behind the intriguing LP title and how it encompasses the 13 tracks contained within. 

Hi Amelia, thank you for having me! The title YOU MADE ME YOU is a way to take responsibility for my actions. The only person standing on every decision I make is myself. Throughout the album it’s responsible for my hustle, degeneracy, coming to terms with reality, and eventual redemption. It’s a mantra that alternates between blame and empowerment. I came up with it when I wrote a draft of BURN IT DOWN but I scrapped that verse for the final version you hear today.

We love the juxtapositions between the sharp rap flows and the experimentally dynamic beats; is there a particular artist who acted as the foundation of your influence or is your style a result of a broad range of inspirations? 

Broad range for sure. I made a playlist of who I was listening to as I made the album and it’s got everyone from Danny Brown to Master of Puppets, Mac Miller, The Weeknd, Kendrick, Nirvana, etc., if you name somebody there’s a chance they had an influence. I leaned towards albums based around people who are cool having a 360 view of themselves. The Weeknd especially is a beast at doing this – his shittiness is on display and he doesn’t really care if you love it or hate it, it just exists. He’s not trying to boast either and I really took that page from him and put it on here – I can’t sing like him but that 360 view of me is very prevalent throughout the album.

Now that the album is out in the world, can you share the highs and the lows of creating the release? 

The highs were performing throughout the state for sure. I previewed this album in San Francisco, LA, San Diego and Vegas. Being on the road really puts in perspective how delicate the whole process is and I’m glad I thugged out a 9-hour drive up to SF with my DJ Yungwatercycle aka MalikTalking. I got to rap on Chuck Inglish’s beats and he let me have a ton of freedom of creating through them. David really came in clutch and we found a consistent sound by just thuggin out the recordings – I think we laid down 9 songs in a day to start it. It made me step up my game for sure.

The lows, however, shit where do I even begin! I fucked up a ton of good relationships during the process of it. The album is a 2 year biography of my time in LA and I fell in and out of love multiple times, had to get in a fucked up state of mind to write a solid amount of it, just dealing with myself. I’m a very high and low person and it turns off people who don’t know me as well. I became somewhat isolated because I didn’t like people getting the wrong idea of me if they didn’t see me daily or weekly. It plays heavily into songs like Protect my Soul, Who Was Down or Let Go. Then Burn it Down is me getting over me and everyone else’s shit.

What did you learn about yourself while creating the album?

I’m an emotional motherfucker man! I really wrote this shit from the soul instead of tryna sound clever 24/7 and it made a ton of difference. I learned that I’ve stayed consistent from my thoughts like 3-4 years ago too – I reread something that I wrote about the 360 view from 2020 – and I read it after I submitted the album lol. So that was cool to know that I’ve kept it true to myself in a way. I’ve learned how invested I have to be to make it in music and how much of a journey it’ll continue to be. But the further I get the more intense I become and the more consistency I maintain. We are who we choose to be – not who others say we are. Last thing I learned was how to be cool with being hated and not conforming to those who don’t deserve to be conformed to. I’ll elaborate on that next album!!!!!

Some of the singles have already made their way onto Spotify’s official Alternative Rap Playlists, how does it feel to sit among rap royalty with your hits ALL NATURAL and DIP SMOKE?

It feels great but it feels like it’s only a start. I need to leverage it into real work, and get onto On the Radar or XXL. A playlist isn’t the end all be all but I’ll always be thankful for what I have. Chuck produced 9 of the songs but I feel like DIP SMOKE and ALL NATURAL will be the biggest off the tape. Shoutout Relaye.

How did you hook up with the legendary producer Chuck Inglish, and what was it like working with him on this release?

I opened for Chuck when he got added to a line-up featuring Joey Purp and myself in 2022. He was DJing and I told my DJ that I had to get his number or something. So I did. Chuck is super cool and we worked out a deal for a beat tape that eventually became the album. He gave me complete freedom over everything and he’s the fuckin homie. I hope we work more in the future, he’s a great producer and an even better person.

Leading up to the release, you opened for some massive names – Ghostface Killah and Raekwon to name a few – how did those shows go down and do you have any tales from the road? 

Ghostface and Raekwon was a hell of a show – for whatever reason I was bumping Only Built 4 Cuban Linx that entire summer. Read Tao of Wu. Manifested that shit without really thinking about it? Anyways we got a ton of my homies to kick it after the show and we were just getting tossed in the green room – you know what? I tend to set up everything with my shows so I’m tame until afterwards, anything I’ve done I’ll show you off camera because I want to keep getting invited to shit lmao. Just know my songs are all based off mostly true stories 😉

What’s next for Sareem?

I will be dropping singles and waterfalling my songs for the rest of the year. I believe I have 40 songs that are unreleased that were made during this album – they will see the light of day this year. Might fuck around and go on a run wit this shit.  Thank you again for having me!! REEM TEAM OUT

Stream YOU MADE ME YOU on Spotify now.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast