I hate College
With the sun disappearing from view and streets lights flickering overhead as temporary replacements, downtown began to slowly but surely come to life. Hipsters biked, walked, and skipped to the left while frat boys began their night of debauchery to the right. In the middle of all this mayhem, situated as the unofficial separator of the two groups, was The Vault Club and inside, standing illuminated by multicolored flashing lights, Sam Adams. He, like his music, stood in between two worlds; a part of both but belonging to none. With a cool but goofy grin plastered on face, he spotted me as I entered the club and hopped over with a simple “Yo.” As an awkward but sincere handshake was exchanged, I stepped back and took in his 6’3 frame and realized that all the research I had done prior to the interview was useless. The real Sam Adams was right in front of me and he was nothing like what I expected.
[By: Falade ] [ Photography: Bonnie Brothers]
Sam Adams began the night with energy that even I had trouble keeping up with. I followed him as he went from skipping to calmly walking up the club’s stairs; from sitting on a plush white leather couch to standing in his Jordans, and finally to spinning on a bar stool. The interview began and he, unlike me, wasn’t even out of breath.
His Own Thing
There have been recent claims and various comments made by and on blogs stating that you don’t belong in the rap game. What is your relationship with actual rappers in the industry? Do they hold the same sentiments?
When it comes to rappers, even though it
isn’t their lane, they respect what I am doing because I am having success and am fun for the most part. So ya, I do have some relationships with rappers. But in terms of that, I try to do my own thing because unless you want to get on a poppy ass dance record that a bunch of 17 year old white girls are dancing to, you might not want to jump on a tape with me. [laughs]
What about blogs and bloggers? Is your relationship strained with us?
I have actually never talked to them. I tend
to just shun them. The only blogs I fuck
with is The Carter Cartel, FreshNewTracks, and 2DopeBoyz. Especially FreshNewTracks. 2DopeBoyz just threw us up a couple of days ago. So they are cool. They are finally coming around. I mean, who knows if it just because I released a track with Whoo Kid, or if it was cuz I was with Curren$y. You know dudes will post some shit and will say “I posted this because of Curren$y,” but you know they still posted my shit though.
One of the distinct things I remember from the interview was a pause; a pause that seemed void of the initial energy that I had witnessed. During it, as I sat across from a mellowed Sam Adams, I observed that he had become slightly jaded by the bad press he had received. This change in his disposition surprised me until I remembered that he had only begun this journey into the rap industry a mere year ago; a fact that Sam Adams did not shy away from.
“Every time I have an interview they ask me the same questions. ‘So where did you start? How do you balance school and soccer? What’s it like? How has your life changed?’ I mean come on, I am not fucking Diddy. [laughs] I am still a kid. I really haven’t changed that much.”
The Kid & His Music
There is a distinction between those who create music & those who just make songs. The former primarily provokes thought while the latter primarily emotion. Are you creating music and in turn provoking thought or are you doing you and simply creating songs that people love?
Umm, I think that I am doing both. I have a lot of room to grow as an artist and some of my songs, like “Driving Me Crazy,” are songs that are sort of for the high school and college masses. Other songs that I have done recently are incredibly lyrical but some songs are definitely aimed for mass appeal. You know? Like the Black Eyed Peas are just killing it in terms of making what everyone loves. Their stuff is real dancy and not too confusing or intellectual. [pauses]
One of Usher’s biggest songs is like a dance record. When he used to write those songs I was just like “Damn I should not break up with this girl.” [laughs]
But I think my rookie album was a mix. Me trying to find my place in the industry, so now I have room to be thought-provoking.
What about your new mixtape coming out with Whoo Kid?
It’s going to be more hip hop and a lot of dub step, electronic, fast paced. Sort of on some whole new shit. Then we have some real thought-provoking songs. Like ones where I vent about the industry. Vent about here and there. There is a lot I have to say. I have learned so much in the last four months of doing this job. Feels like I have done a full four years of college.
Fake Life 101
There are many rappers trying to get in the industry who focus on what they are not rather than what they could be.
Ya, that’s what we call Fake Life.
Ya, when you are going into relationships and you are around people that have a tendency to be fake. I just call it my get money face. It’s your business face. Ya know? If you have to shake a dude’s hand that you rather put his head through a bar, you shake his hand. Especially if he is important. You watch your tongue and play your role.
But in terms of people being fake and making songs that are untrue and stuff; it’s a business and it’s sort of part of it. As a musician, it’s sort of corny. Then again, we are in the record industry and the goal is to sell records.
I know Asher Roth hated “I Love College” and that was the single that was pushed and he did well. But I mean, if he could have, he would have done it a different way. That’s why he didn’t pick up and own the college circuit.
Who are you now and who do you think you will be in five years?
I think right now I am still an aspiring artist. I still have a lot of room to grow. In five years, if we do shit right, I should be smashing it on the domestic and international level. I am trying to be on stage with the Tiesto’s, David Guetta’s, Rusko’s, & dub step cats. Sort of step over the bickering middle man bullshit in the rap industry and go to 75k shows.
Hearing this I realized immediately that the Sam Adams before me was not at all the typical rapper. He had no wishes to be the next Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, or Common. From the get-go he readily admitted that he didn’t fit, or even belong, in the rap game. In his mind, he was just making a pit stop on a journey to what he called “a new genre.”
The interview ended and another handshake was exchanged. This one was as cool and awkward as the first, but this time it did not surprise me because I finally understood. I understood that Sam Adams, behind the lights, was just a young man having fun; a young man whose ego hadn’t inflated to the point that it couldn’t be bruised by bad press. An artist who had enough energy to go from dealing with a pesky blogger such as me to making the club go crazy.
Sam Adams is not our typical rapper but he does belong to that new breed of artists we have all been whispering about. The new breed that many of us are hesitant to even label as rappers. Love or hate his music, the fact that he is gaining success speaks volumes about the industry and where it is headed. Change is coming and one thing is for sure: Sam Adams has the opportunity to play a large role in it.
Interview by Falade