In this day and age in hip-hop, it seems like everyone is constantly reinventing themselves or pushing boundaries on sound. With artists like Lil Uzi Vert, Kodak Black, and others blazing their own unique path in the hip-hop world, it’s no wonder we have eclectic new artists emerging every day. A new artist that’s making his own trail on his on terms? 27 year old Tahija Akeem from South Carolina.
Tahija Akeem is a self proclaimed “hit maker.” But it wasn’t always that easy for him. “It’s been a bumpy road. But when I first started, my music was super wack. I didn’t like my voice. I feel like I didn’t sound like a rapper. There was just always something that nagged at me,” he told us in an exclusive one-on-one. Tahija’s mission is to make quality music that takes listeners on a journey. Whether it be having fun at the club, mourning over heartbreak, or just discussing current issues – he wants to provide the listening experience.
We sat down with Tahija Akeem for an exclusive interview in Burbank, CA.
Tahija Akeem – The Artist Interview
CM: What do you think of the current state of hip-hop?
T: I’m satisfied with it. I feel like there is always a time period when music changes and honestly, like, it’s in a good state. Whatever you want is out there. If you want the gritty, hard type of stuff… it’s out there. If you want the “mumble rapper” type stuff…it’s out there. Conscious rap…it’s out there.
CM: Do you think there’s a way you can impact it? Make your own footprint, rather than “fitting the mold?”
T: It depends on what type of artist you want to be. If you want to be that “commercial artist” you have to go with the wave, but put your own twist on it. Me, personally, I want to be that artist that hits #1 on Billboard – so I need to ride the wave while putting my own take on it.
CM: Who’s one producer you would kill to work with?
T: I would want to work with …man, it’s a lot of great producers and I think that I could do well with so many of them. So I don’t want to limit myself to just one. I want to work with everybody. But, a few names….Mike WiLL Made-It, Metro.
CM: Do you think you make more of the “banger” type songs? Just based off the producers you’ve named…
T: Yeah, I like to make hit records. You know, that’s what I want to do. I want to have hit after hit after hit.
CM: What artists, if any, inspired your sound?
T: So my sound is like a mixture of myself and my best friend from back home. He’s an artist named Mike McFly. My earlier years of getting into music and following him around in the streets of Atlanta really gave me a sense of the music industry and just the way he would go in the studio and record…he made it seem so effortless. So I took a lot of things that I learned from him and instilled within myself. I wouldn’t really compare myself to any other “known” artist.
CM: So there’s been a debate on growing up fast or cultivating an audience slowly. Which would you prefer?
T: For me, I feel like I’m already doing the slow thing. But I feel like it all comes down to the artist and your pen. So if you’re that one artist that has a hit and it seems like it came out of nowhere, and if you keep giving them those “hit records” you’re good. But if you can’t come back with another one… then that’s that. I would take it either way. But I do feel like it’s so much more than just the music these days. It’s about your appearance, how you carry yourself, your personality. Sometimes I feel like the music is the last thing.
CM: Do you have any other musical talents?
T: I sing a little bit. I used to take piano lessons.
CM: Quotes or mantras?
T: If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense. My uncle always says that.
CM: Dream collabs?
T: Bruno Mars. Drake. Future. I want to work with everybody. I want at least one collab with every artist. You know whoever is the hottest. I want to work with everyone.
CM: Songwriting process? Or is everything different?
T: It’s all different. Most of the time, I’ll hear a beat and then I’ll just start freestyling. And once I run out of things on the freestyle, I’ll just stop and relisten. Maybe use some of that and then sit down and actually write. But like hooks – come up with hooks super fast. They’re really my thing.
CM: In what ways has your music changed since you’ve first started?
T: I’ve been at it since 11th grade in HS, and I’m 27 now so that’s a lot of years. It’s been a bumpy road. But when I first started, my music was super wack. I didn’t like my voice, I feel like I didn’t sound like a rapper. There was just always something that nagged at me. But as time has gone on, you keep doing something, you can only get better so I’ve gotten to the point now where people listen to my music and they’re like, “yeah, that’s dope lets collab.”
CM: So every artist has a something they want their listeners to get from their music. What do you want your listeners and fans to get from your material?
T: I feel like we as humans have emotions and moods and we’re sometimes all over the place. And that’s how I want to be with my music. I want to make turn up music cause I like having fun. I want to do conscious music because I feel like I have some real life stuff to talk about. Talking about getting my heart broken as well as breaking someone else’s heart. So I feel like, you can get everything from me. Whatever feeling you’re in, you can get that from me. I want to be everywhere.
CM: Besides wanting to be everywhere, how do you separate yourself from other artists out there?
T: I separate myself by being myself. That may sound lame, but that’s what I’ve got. Coming on the scene, I’m a new person, you don’t know what I’m capable of and I’m here to prove that to you. I came from a small town in South Carolina. I’m a country dude and I’m going to bring that South Carolina, southern swing to the game. What artists from South Carolina have really hit? I can’t think of anyone, and that’s what I’ll be bringing.
CM: When can we expect the next project?
T: Right now I’m just dropping singles. So I’ll be releasing those while I’m still working on a project. I just got a little offer on the table from an Indie label. I don’t know if I’m going to take it, but if I do then my next project would be with them, but that wouldn’t be until next year sometime. It feels like we’re living in a singles market so I don’t feel like it’s as urgent to drop a project out there like that right now.