Sunday, April 20, 2014

Artist Spotlight – SUPREME THE ELOHEEM

Straight from the streets of Brooklyn New York, home of some of raps most iconic legends comes Supreme The Eloheem, a gritty no nonsense MC with the prowess to weave words into witty sidewalk poetry which captures the essence of authentic Hip-Hop B-boyism blended ever so skillfully with the swagger of today’s modern street rap appeal. Supreme has been putting it down musically since the mid 90’s under the banner of Hip Hop super-group the “Boot Camp Clik” which consists of notable veteran MC’s like Black Moon, Smif N Wessun, Heltah Skeltah & O.G.C. , who are all underground rap legends in their own right.

Every facet of Supremes’ music has something captivating to communicate to the listener. Beyond the verbal construct itself, is the wellspring of creativity from which everything that is Supreme finds voice. Just as Supremes’ distinctiveness spreads across all aspects of his music, so does it address every angle of the listeners experience with a brilliance and thoughtfulness that drives its’ pulse. The physical, mental and spiritual are a unified whole and Supremes’ music confronts that reality. It’s “Raw Adrenaline Driven Intelligent Street Music…Hip Hop on another level!”

1.) When did you start making music?
I started very early on because I felt music is what I’ve always wanted to do. But I’ve been writing and performing music since Junior high in the late 80’s-early ninety’s.

2.) You’re from Brooklyn, NY, a place that birthed a lot of legendary emcees. How does it feel to know that you came from a place that birthed so many hip hop greats?
It’s a great feeling and something to take pride in but it also comes with a little pressure too. I feel like coming from here you have to pay homage and carry the torch to continue the legacy and authentic NY Hip Hop sound.

3.) What attracted you the most to hip hop? What elements and/or characteristics made you say to yourself that you wanted to do music for a living?
For me it was the freedom of expression and having a creative outlet where it was ok to express the rebelliousness and demeanor of a kid growing up in the urban ghetto landscape. I wasn’t sure then that I could create a living from this art form but I just did what felt good and came natural to me. Music is life itself so it’s almost like second nature to me.

4.) Do you think that hip hop is dead? Why or why not?
Hip Hop could never die because it is more than just about rap music…It’s a movement and cultural expression created from the street and all that comes with it. Energy never dies, it just changes form. As far as the type of rap that is prevalent today it is what’s popular at the moment but popularity comes and goes and everything always goes full circle and comes back to the source. America in general has an instant gratification attitude toward everything right now. So “hip hop” or rap music for the moment reflects this sentiment and has gone “pop”…. I call it microwave music with no nutritional value. So kids today see this and want to copy and this diminishes the value of what Hip Hop is all about…self expression and diversity. Hip Hop in the beginning represented a variety of styles and expressions but it is no longer popular to be yourself and express it in an individualized manner because that not profitable. Once corporate America got a hold of our music it was treated in a cookie cutter, assembly line way where there is no room for individuality. But Hip Hop never needed corporate America with all its marketing jargon, radio promotion, etc. to exist and thrive. The underground is alive and well and that’s where true hip hop continues to exist in its purest form. The hope for underground artist is that the internet and social media has begun to level the playing field making it possible to make a living off of their craft and all their hard work. Hip Hop is ALIVE!

5.) Who are your influences/heroes/role models?
Most of my influences and role models are outside of music…people like Malcolm X, Ra Un Nefer Amen, Cheikh Anti Diop, Dr. King, etc. to peoples like Bruce Lee… too many to name really. In music I like self motivated people that took music to another level like Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones, Russell Simmons, Stevie Wonder, Prince, M.J., Bruce Springsteen etc… again too many to name. I also looked up to my dad, flaws and all.

6.) Do you listen to the rappers of today? If so, who are you listening to and are there any young up and coming rappers that remind you of yourself.
I listen to everything and everyone I can. You have to stay in the loop and know what’s happening and who’s making it happen and what is popular in our genre of music in particular and all music in general. There are few of the younger artists that I come across in a lot of these showcases in NYC that are still true to hip hop culture and are great lyricists. Sometimes I am amazed because I expect them to sound like everyone else (which most of them do) nowadays but every now and then there are a few bright spots that make me proud and keeps me motivated. They reassure me that hip hop is alive and well and in good hands. They remind me of me and what I try to represent musically.

7.) Who are your favorite rappers?
The usual suspects… Nas, KRS, Pun, Big, Big L, G. Rap, Rakim, Kane, Jay-Z to name a few. All for many different reasons of course but mostly because I like artist with superior lyrical ability.

8.) What do you think your listeners get out of your music?
Aspects of myself… from the kid from the street to the intellectual, to the revolutionary to the guy who likes to party and have fun. All of which I express in a lyrical, poetic expression influenced by some of the hip hop greats mentioned above mixed with an expression all my own.

9.) The Boot Camp Clik came from an era where lyricism was dominant. With you coming from that group and that era, do you feel that lyricism is as prominent today as it was back then? If so, why? And if not, why do you think people care more about catchy beats and catchy hooks?
No lyricism is not a proponent in the mainstream today. As I have expressed in the question above regarding hip hop being dead, we are in the microwave music era geared by the corporate marketing machine. There is no originality because in the corporate world if one formula works they want to recreate that formula each time to ensure maximum profitability. Younger fans and artists are influenced by the marketing machine via music video & radio “programing” so they emulate what they see and think is the fastest and easiest way to success in this game. There is little room if any for originality and/or individuality.

10.) In your opinion, is America so superficial and dumbed down that the best lyricists are surpassed and outsold by generic mainstream artists?
Yes. For the very reasons already stated above!

11.) How do you prepare yourself to write certain songs?
I don’t. I do what comes naturally and I usually write based on how I feel and or how the beat makes me feel. This is why good producers are so important but again producers nowadays are in it for the quick fix too.

12.) What made you want to get into the music business?
The music business was kind of thrust upon me as a necessity to surviving in the game. Most artist don’t want to deal with the business aspect so they hire people to do it for them. This is cool but you should still know the basics and how the business is run to be sure that the people you hire are doing what they need to do and not trying to drive you to the poor house while they get rich off of your hard work. Knowing the horror stories mixed with my mentality gave me the impetus to learn the business of music… and I strive to learn more everyday.

13.) What is the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in life and has that had any effect on your music and if so, why?
Being broke and on the verge of homelessness not to mention having children to take care of and others who you feel responsible for is a great motivator. It can make or break anyone but I choose to use it as motivation in everything I do. In the process I have lost many friends and family to the street and I made a pledge to never go out like that.

14.) What is the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in the music industry?
The break up of my group the Representativz and the reorganization of the Boot Camp Clik during the change Hip Hop was going through at that time affected me a lot especially knowing I had such high hopes for what we were trying to accomplish. But I’ve learned that adversity make you stronger in the end and with every ending is a new beginning.

15.) How do you feel when you see that people enjoy your music and are affected by it?
I Love it! It’s validation for me and motivates me to create more on all levels. At the end of the day… That’s what it’s all about.

16.) The Indie Music Artist is all about pushing a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) music marketing approach to succeeding in the music industry on your own terms. In this day and age, does an artist need to sign a major label deal to be successful?
Absolutely not! There are many ways to succeed in music but you must first define what success means to you. To me it’s making a living off of what I love doing. So there are many avenues like commercials and film, production, promotion, concert promoting and performing, etc. We are in the DIY era of music and now is the time to seize the moment.

17.) Do you have any other ventures outside of music? If so, what are they?
I am also venturing into graphic and clothing design at the moment.

18.) Your music has substance, something that seems to be lacking with a lot of artists’ music. Do you think your music is reaching enough people? If not, what do you think it would take for it to reach more people?
No, I think that it can reach more people in time with the use of effective DIY promotional methods. But you have to know your niche and how to target that specialized market. I don’t have to spread myself thin trying to compete with the majors or targeting a market that is not interested in what I’m bringing to the table. I stick to what I know and what I do best and target like minds who appreciate and value what I have to offer. That’s where you should start as an indie artist and if your music is truly good word of mouth will carry you far.

19.) Do you have any upcoming projects coming out? If so, what are they and when can we expect it/them to come out?
I have begun promoting local shows for artist like myself in the New York area under my company’s SupremeFocus Entertainment and QueenMi promotions which I run together with my partner/fiancé. This new entity is called We Make Our Own Lane Shows and our motto is “Self made, Self Motivated”. I am also releasing my 2nd solo effort titled “Odes of a Street Disciple” in May with much more to follow.
Instagram: SupremeTheEloheem

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