Sudan Ahmeer Williams, otherwise known as Iamsu!, is a rapper/producer hailing from Richmond, California. A rising star on the west coast hip-hop scene, Iamsu! is a member of the production team The Invasion, and ring-leader of rap crew HBK.
With 9 mix tapes, an LP under his belt, and collaborations with everyone from E-40 to Wiz Khalifa, Iamsu! is at the forefront of pushing a new-wave of minimalistic Cali sound to the world.
The talented young emcee took some time out to answer a few of our questions.
You’ve been credited as one of the pioneers for the emerging new California sound that’s been taking over the airwaves. From Gas Pedal to Up!, you’ve managed to permeate your unique production into the mainstream. What’s it been like to see your music gain such widespread recognition and what does California’s sound mean to you?
Making music is my passion. For people to be receptive to my movement and my sound is my goal. I believe it starts with originality and a genuine interest in making good music.
Your music has often been described as an amalgamation of everything notable about the Bay Area, who would you say are your biggest Bay Area influences?
My biggest Bay Area influences are The Pack, The Diligentz, Clyde Carson, Messy Marv, and e40.
Your beats can range anywhere from being energetic and rousing, smooth and laid-back, to heavy and confrontational, yet you always manage to retain your uniqueness How exactly do you approach your production work?
I start with what my end vision is. How I want people to react to my music. Then I try to find sounds that match that vibe.
A number of your songs tread a range of emotions, often becoming intensely personal and intimate with the listener. Is it ever a difficult process to pour yourself into a song?
Music is like my shrink. I'm able to vocalize emotions that I couldn't by just talking to someone. It's tones and certain pictures I can paint through music. It's an intangible factor to music, it gives meaning to subjects that words can't.
Has music always been your go to outlet for self expression?
Yes since I was young. I got in a lotta trouble when I was 17 my mom was about to kick me out the house and send me to live with my dad. So I wrote a song about how I would be without her and I got outta trouble.
Do you plan to extend any creative pursuits beyond music?
Yes, I definitely want to explore the design world, I want to get into directing also.
Your one of the founders of the seminal The Hearbreak Gang, a group you all formed while attending high-school. Since you’ve blown up, what’s it been like to bear witness to all the change and development? How have you all developed as artists?
It been really cool to see all of us grow up and become bosses in our own right. Our full operation is run by friends and it gets hard at times. We bump heads but at the end of the day we really fuck with each other.
What’s the best part about being surrounded by such creative people?
It's always a fresh perspective on what we are doing.
You, P-Lo, and Sage The Gemini, seem to have gained the most traction out of everyone in HBK. Who else in your crew would you like to put on and see become the next big thing?
My vote goes to Kool John.
Are you all big Shawn Michaels fans?
Lol my favorite wrestler was actually either Goldberg or Sting.
Looking forward, where do you see yourself in the next few years? How do you want to cultivate your sound stylistically, where will you go from Sincerely Yours?
Going forward I want to make world music that can be played at the World Cup or the Olympics.
Any plans to head down to New Zealand?
Hopefully in the very near future.
Finally, what’s your favorite type of hipster girl? Tumblr girls, instagram girls, girls who shop at American Apparel versus Urban Outfitters?
American Apparel and tumblr girls, they're always cuter.