West Coastin’ with IAMSU! [Interview]
Vancouver, BC – IAMSU! is creating a buzz for himself on the West Coast that is rapidly spreading to the East and beyond. From his breakthrough feature on E-40’s “Function” to his collab with Problem and his crew HBK Gang, this rapper/producer manages to sustain a classic laid-back vibe while turning up a crowd harder than most. But make no mistake, Su is more than just a hyphy lyricist. He produces his own tracks, knows his way around a few instruments and is leader to the up-and-coming HBK Gang.
IAMSU! made his first ever stop to Canada at Fortune Sound in Vancouver and our West Coast editor KassKills had the chance to sit down with The Bay area MC to chat on his current mixtape, Kilt 2, his up-coming clothing line collab and answers the question whose afro is really worth a million. Check the interview after the jump.
HipHopCanada: Is this your first time in Vancouver?
IAMSU!: First time in Canada. I like it so far. You want a shot?
HipHopCanada: Sure. What’s your drink of choice?
IAMSU!: I like Jameson. Gin too but it’s kinda gross.
HipHopCanada: So, you recently released Kilt 2 where you did a bunch of the production yourself. What kind of challenges did you face producing your own music?
IAMSU!: The challenge is definitely trying to fully express what’s going on inside my mind. We compose our own music originally too. It’s definitely a struggle sometimes but I like doing it. Nobody can express my thoughts musically better than I can.
HipHopCanada: What instruments do you play?
IAMSU!: I play the drums, piano and a lot of synthesizer keyboards through the computer.
HipHopCanada: Do you think you’ll ever play with a live band?
IAMSU!: Yea. Actually, I played with a live band a few years ago – one of my first big shows.
HipHopCanada: Tell me a bit about HBK Gang.
IAMSU!: Those are my brothers, we went to high school and college together. Some of them in the group I been knowing since I was 14 or 15, you know? It’s just a lot of history.
HipHopCanada: Where does the name Heart Break Gang come from?
IAMSU!: I used to pick them up to go to lunch and stuff and we were trying to figure out what our name would be and we came up with a bunch of dumb names then we came up with HBK Gang and it really didn’t have a meaning but it just stuck.
HipHopCanada: Being from The Bay area I’m curious as to what you thought about Kendrick’s “King of the Coast” line in “Control”.
IAMSU!: I thought it was tight. Someone finally took a leap and stirred some controversy, get people writing again, you know what I mean? The whole situation was really tight.
HipHopCanada: What’s your earliest music memory?
IAMSU!: When I was younger me and my mom used to go to Jamaica a lot because her best friend lived out there. I went to a festival out there called Reggae Sun Splash and my first music memory was the loud bass and just being there, the smell of hella weed. It was crazy. I love reggae music.
HipHopCanada: On the Million Dollar Afro tip, between you and Problem whose afro is worth more?
IAMSU!: I think both afros are worth a million dollars. Yeah.
HipHopCanada: Maybe the next mixtape can be called Two Million Dollar Afros. What’s coming up next for you and HBK Gang?
IAMSU!: I’ve got a bunch of projects I wanna work on and drop before the year’s over. I wanna put out another mixtape – not sure what I wanna title it. Maybe Kilt 3. I want to put out our instrumental album. We have clothing coming out with Pink Dolphin, which I’m really excited about. A lot of videos coming out. P-Lo’s project is coming out, Jay Ant’s project, Kool John’s project – just everybody in the gang is releasing a lot of music.
Photography and interview conducted by KassKills (@KassKills) for HipHopCanada