Legendary Underground Emcee, Shabaam Sahdeeq has dropped a “60 Seconds Of Flame” freestyle video Tuesday morning for Us (WRG) and our partners at Wrap.Fm. Over the instrumental for “Made You Look” (made famous by Nas), ‘Double SS’ (as he is also known as) spits that tongue-twisting flow in his immediately identifiable vocal tone. Peep it!
Returning from his European tour only a month ago, this hip hop veteran recently dropped his best project yet — Timeless: of the Collection. Like fine wine, SS’s flow gets better with time. Best known for killing Lyricist Lounge in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Shabaam released his first single Arabian Nights in 1997 with Rawkus Records. He went on to release Sound Clash in 1998, and a host of mixtapes. Over the years, SS gained a loyal fan base. This esteemed Brooklyn rapper has worked with hip hop legends like Mos Def, Common, Busta Rhymes, Kool G Rap, Eminem, Redman and Method Man, to name a few.
Timeless: of the Collection is a testimony of how Shabaam has mastered his craft while maintaining his strong presence in the game. The beats are melodious and raw, the lyrics are on point, and SS always bodies the delivery. This is boom bap at its finest. The project features a bunch of hip hop greats (Keep reading to find out who). Shabaam has received rave reviews on this latest body of work. And he was gracious enough to take time out of his day to chop it up with us at Weekly Rap Gods.
Weekly Rap Gods: Who are your musical influences?
Shabaam Sahdeeq: All the musicians, producers, emcees and DJs who came before me. Legends of the game. Way too many to mention.
Weekly Rap Gods: Tell us about how you got your record deal.
Shabaam Sahdeeq: My first record deal was with Rawkus Records in 1997 as a solo artist, but I got another deal at the same time with a group called PolyRhythmaddicts on Nervous Records. The deal with Rawkus came about through a manager I had named Ruby Red. We went to Rawkus, but they weren’t all the way believers till I dropped an independent single called “It Could Happen to Anyone” on my label Synista Voices distributed by Freeze Records and radio stations started playing it. Mainly Red Alert during the 5 o’clock free ride on Hot 97, and Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito on WKCR (college radio). Stretch & Bob invited me up to freestyle for the first time on Colombia College Radio and I went back and forth with Black Thought of The Roots when they had their fist album out, and I did real good. After that, I got more meetings. My boy Ed Rivera was doing radio at Def Jam at the time so every single that came out at Def Jam he promoted my stuff with it. When they were doing mail outs to DJs, he stuffed my vinyl in with their artists like, Redman, DMX, Foxy Brown, etc. lol After that, Rawkus gave me two single deals both 12 inch records did good. One of which I had Eminem on before he got really big, called “5 Star Generals”. It was a B-Side to a song called “Sound Clash”. Then they gave me a full album deal. I dropped a bunch of classic singles that appeared on the Soundbombing series of albums. But my solo album never came out. I went to prison shortly after for 3 years.
Weekly Rap Gods: How did you start painting? What inspires your art?
Shabaam Sahdeeq: I’ve been doing graffiti since I was a kid. But while in prison, I really started to perfect my skills in fine art. So when I got cut loose, I really started to paint on canvas and selling my art. I recently started doing art shows in 2014 though. Music inspires my art. Art is frozen music.
Here's a slideshow displaying some of SS's paintings
Weekly Rap Gods: What was your best experience on a tour? Where were you?
Shabaam Sahdeeq: My last tour in Europe this past November in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The crowd was so live and packed! They made me feel like a superstar. So I gave my all. I rocked for 1 hour and 30 mins holding a bottle of Jack in my hand. lol!
Weekly Rap Gods: What do you think of the current state of hip hop?
Shabaam Sahdeeq: I think it’s wonderful. I listen to and support what I like. And I don’t pay attention to the rest. It’s useless to complain about what you don’t like. The internet makes what you like accessible. So that’s what I rock with. As far as what’s on tv and commercial radio, it don’t concern me till I’m on there. Right now it’s strictly underground for me.
Weekly Rap Gods: What’s your creative process when putting together an album?
Shabaam Sahdeeq: I’m constantly recording and making songs. So I always have a large pool of songs to choose from when I’m ready to release an album. So depending on what the album concept is, I just pull songs from that.
Weekly Rap Gods: Tell us about your current project.
Shabaam Sahdeeq: Timeless: of the Collection is the first of a four-part series of albums that I’m dropping within two years. This album features production by Haze Attacks, DJ Ready Cee, Nick Wiz, Pete Twist, DJ Doom, Jake Palumbo, ThoroTracks, Rkitech, Supa Ugly, J57 & Ice Rocks. Guest appearances by Masta Ace, Planet Asia, Milano Constantine, Ras Kass, El Gant, El Da Sensei, Pawz One & Swayze artwork by Dread Solo. Cover art by Dread Solo available on Bandcamp and Audiomack but will be available on iTunes, Spotify and other digital outlets on my birthday — Janurary 13th.
Weekly Rap Gods: What’s next for you this year? Upcoming projects? Art shows? Tours?
Shabaam Sahdeeq: My next releases will be a full album entirely produced by J57, a full album with Nick Wiz, an EP produced by DJ Modesty, another EP produced by DJ Concept and “Keepers of the Lost Art Part 2”. I also have a European tour of 19 cities this May 2018 put together by 6 Feet Deep Entertainment and the Underground Store in France. As far as art shows I will be planning some events for spring after the tour!
Shabaam Sahdeeq always delivers that raw edgy boom bap with with heavy hittin’ bars. You heard it here first. So mark your calendars for Shabaam’s 19 city tour in Europe this May. The fans overseas can’t get enough of the lyrical vet, and neither can we here in the states.
Weekly Rap Gods would like to salute Shabaam Sahdeeq for this interview and his contributions to hip hop worldwide.
Stream/buy Timeless: Of The Collection via Bandcamp here: