Skeme has been one of the voices of the Los Angeles music scene for almost a decade. While fans are already engaged and tapped into the wave of the new leaders of the West Coast, Skeme motivates change. He isn’t one who really has to explain the work that he has put in over time; his extensive library of projects are already solidified. Currently, he’s looking to add to that discography with his forthcoming album Overdue.
Recently, RESPECT. had a chance to speak to the Inglewood emcee about a variety of topics, including the new album, family values, Cali peers and even the 2Pac biopic. Check it out below.
RESPECT.: Being raised in the ‘Golden Era’ 90’s, it’s been good a week for hip-hop. 2pac’s movie was released this weekend. On top of that, the Marathon Store opened Saturday, and really you next. Where do you see everything at being born in the 90’s?
Skeme: Man, as far as hip-hop, I mean s*** that’s everything. That’s just a n***a’s livelihood on top of the fact that it’s something that a n***a been loving for years. That’s just my simple way of explaining that. I don’t really never have no big speeches about like what hip-hop is to me. We putting in 16 hours a day making music so hell yeah it gotta be something.
RESPECT.: Living in Arkansas, it feels like every one is trying to emulate that California lifestyle – Hollywood, moving fast, the culture, gang life, the relationships, and, most importantly, the overall hustle and grind to succeed. How do you see that experience from the time you were young to now?
Skeme: I accredit it to, like, hustling and just being able to answer when n***as is calling for something or when it’s time for you to shoot your shot, you start hitting, you know what I’m saying? It’s just luck. It’s hard to explain that. That s*** is really on top of the fact that you just get lined up with the right people at the right place on the regular, it’s nothing really more than that. Having your craft all the way ready when a n***a put you in that studio and put you in front of that microphone and it’s time to like really showcase… you’ve got enough talent to be able to make it through that. So now we been doing this since 09′ – eight years – and every time you step on the microphone, somebody in the room is like, “Yo, this is nasty,” you know what I’m saying? Just being able to do that over, over, and over again. I ain’t really big on that smiling faces shit. I’m really into [just letting me] get in the studio and work. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain that s***. It’s really luck on top of skills, those two things that’s always going to count.
RESPECT.: As far as the relationships and knowing is it authentic, I was raised around older people so I get game on how it’s really done and the protocol. Then you’re in the seat and you have to implement those lessons that you were taught, knowing right from wrong and knowing how to really lead in a way where you’re leading by example.
Skeme: That’s the problem with it. That’s the problem with the generation now, but it is what is.
RESPECT.: Who are some of the people that saw the opportunity to give you game and give you information as far as putting your time in?
Skeme: Man as far as like musicians, definitely the Kendrick’s and the Dom’s. When you talk about Dom Kennedy, it’s the n***a that really believed in it from the gate and so did Kendrick [Lamar]. When we linked that was him hollering at me like, “Yo s*** is dope as f***, I think we need to get some work in,” and that’s how it went from there…that was like ’08. I was 18, I think Kendrick is like probably three years older than me, that’s how it go. N***as search you out, like I said going back to the original answer being able to work when it’s time.
RESPECT.: You’re definitely raw when it comes to your music, you really go in and have a lot to say. How do you create that energy, and what makes you so confident?
Skeme: I don’t know. I think I’m just a gambler and I’m a n***a that got that kind of confidence (laughs). I don’t know, after you’ve [made music] for so long, you get a certain amount of confirmation and it’s over and over and over again that you supposed to know what your doing, you gotta get comfortable with yourself. Everybody got to go through it, to be able to be comfortable in doing what they doing. I don’t give a f*** if I was working at Walgreen’s, like n***a I’m about to be the best n***a at it, that’s just how I feel. You need to carry yourself with a certain kind of care, you know what I’m saying? I don’t care which artist. I don’t care who’s in the room. We gone go at it. Soon as you put that s*** in. That’s just the confidence that a n***a got and I ain’t never really ran across a n***a I couldn’t get with, that just how it is. After you do that so many times over and over and over again, if you ain’t confident by then…that might be a self-problem, that ain’t really like a music thing. That’s n***as not liking who they [are] as a man. I don’t know, I’m confident. [Just being] cocky half the time, it’s just like I don’t feel like I can be f***ed with on it, I’m just letting you know (laughs). It ain’t no writers, ain’t nobody who I think can f*** with me. I’m about to start managing n***as s*** (laughs).
RESPECT.: I gotta chance to meet Lake at the BET Hip-Hop Awards in 2015. What’s it like getting that mentorship from him and DJ Drama?
Skeme: When you’re sitting in the room with all these people that you looked up to in the first place, that’s a big thing every time. So that just really grows you as a person on top of growing you as an artist. Now you getting to hear every single thing that is outside of your region, that’s outside of your home. I might not be thinking the same when I’m in L.A. I might not be thinking the same when I’m in New York. I get a different view. Every time I go somewhere the roots are still there, all of that. Where you come from is always going to be there in your head but it kind of breaks the shell. Like, you getting every different kind of aspect of it. So, it’s the pivotal thing for a n***a in his career.
RESPECT.: The fact that we’re getting older now. What we didn’t know when we we’re younger…we were hardheaded and everything.
Skeme: Hell yeah, I had to get out of that s***. That requires confidence too. Not to the point where it’s disrespectful, but you know what I’m saying. You gotta trust what you doing just as much as you trust what the next n***a is doing.
RESPECT.: As far as you knowing that now and seeing people on the internet and social media trying to emulate something that you know they ain’t even with, how does that make you feel?
Skeme: I’d be a different type of n***a if I worried about what a n***a did. With them situations, you know you gotta deal with n***as on a face card basis. I’m really not tripping about what a n***a personally think because I got too much going just like anybody else in the world. I don’t know. It ain’t my place, I really can’t. I can’t study n***as on what they do. I just gotta know I’m right as a person. Whatever a n***a decide to do, you know I would prefer a n***a to be genuine in what he was raised in and what he was doing. Sometimes, s***, I ain’t gonna lie to you: n***as make gangstas look good. What you expect n***as to do, somebody is going to try to emulate the s***. If I stepped outside with Drama, n***as would be looking at me like, “s***, I wanna look like that n***a.” It be like that, you can never be mad especially when you the n***a that’s comfortable with himself. N***a get to looking back at it like s*** that’s just the arrogance of the n***a he is working with. I’m confident in myself, I can’t be looking into what the next n***a is doing or even worried about. Unless he my brother, [in that case] I’d rather pull a n***a to the side and be like, “that ain’t even you,” but it is what it is. A random n***a I can’t even give him no advice. I can’t even give him no time of day. That ain’t even my move.
RESPECT.: As far as the new project, I went to your Instagram and saw you working in the studio on a new song, was that for your son ‘King K’?
Skeme: Yeah that’s for my son Khalil. Yep.
RESPECT.: After listening to the Ingleworld 2 track “Khalil’s Song,” I want to know: what’s your motivation with that as far as your son, and why do you go so hard like you do working?
Skeme: You know my son is my world. You know once you have a kid, you get everything for that kid. I don’t know…when I was in the hospital, waiting for the few days before he was born, I wrote the verse to that song. It’s always going to take a n***a back mentally to a spot where I was at when I had him. You know what I’m saying? Now, just watching him grow, I even said at the end of the song. When I put it out, he was eight months… he’ll be four in September. You know, it’s just crazy to watch him grow. I probably ain’t going to get over it, I’ll probably be a mushy dad until I have me another kid but that’s the golden child right now. That’s always going to be my reason to do anything I’m doing. Don’t nobody wanna tell they kid no, like who wanna do that. You know what I’m saying? Nobody wanna to have to tell their kid no but I definitely tell him no on the regular. Like no jumping off the bunk beds (laughs). Other than that, you don’t wanna tell your son, “nah daddy can’t afford it.” I didn’t know that with my granddad. My granddad, he wasn’t the richest n***a in the world but he also wasn’t going to be the n***a that was finna tell you you can’t get something. So you know that just laid down my foundation on how I’m supposed to do with my son. I’m damn near like his granddad, you know what I’m saying? [Meaning that] even though I’m young in age, a n***a just look at it in different ways. My baby momma getting mad because I won’t tell that n***a no or I don’t wanna whoop his ass, I’m like nah, that’s out.
RESPECT.: You said your granddad, do you have relationship with your dad?
Skeme: Yeah, nah you know me and pops had an odd relationship when I was a kid but now as a man I’ll never be mad at him at how he is or how he was because I have a kid of my own. That’ll definitely bring a lot of understanding on how s*** go or how it ends up being like that. Me and my pops, we more than good now. That’s still my pops. Whatever decision he made back then, that was different. My granddad is his dad, so you know at the end of the day I can never complain about how I was brought up no way. It’ll be beating a dead horse, you know what I’m saying? To talk about the strained relationship. It’s straight. I’m not one of them n***as that’s going to stare at the past. That’s out, let’s fix the s***. Now like he’s the perfect granddad and that’s just how life works sometimes. Maybe, he wasn’t meant to be the greatest pops in the world but on my mama, my son loves him so you can never be mad at that.
RESPECT.: Most definitely. What can fans expect on your upcoming project Overdue?
Skeme: I think Overdue will show more like versatility. Definitely touching on a lot of different topics, and then just wearing the shit that you went through or the shit that you’ve been through on your sleeves… With [past] music, n***as [would] never know what is going on with my pops or with my moms or whatever the f*** is the situation. That’s something that n***as [didn’t] need to be talking about the regular. Now that it’s like eight years [in, we’re] able to talk about anything. I done wrote songs about s*** that had nothing to do with me. It’s like why you couldn’t just talk about them stories. [With] Overdue, it’s a lot of that going on, but definitely I’m leaning towards making hits for myself at this point. That’s where I’m at with this album…you gotta make that solid s*** that’ll keep n***as around for years to come. I’m definitely aiming at making hits on the regular. I ain’t playing no games.
RESPECT.: What can we expect from you for the remainder of 2017?
Skeme: Aw man, I’m trying to make that Inglewood stuff happen. I’m trying to push something that city can be proud of. My brain is kinda moving a mile a minute on what to expect out of this album. The album is the main focus right now. I’m not playing none. At least putting out record after record to make sure it’s the right one, you know what i’m saying. Other than I just need to make me another million dollars that’s the only thing i’m thinking about right now.
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