SIMP hails from the DMV with the confidence and style to match. This Hampton University grad turned rapper utilizes his creativity with wordplay to make a sound all his own. This “Ruler of the C” sat down with HipHopWired to tell us who’s his biggest competition, who he plans to work with next and what makes him far from SIMPle.
HipHopWired: First off introduce yourself.
SIMP: My name is SIMP. I’m an independent Hip Hop Artist here in Atlanta, originally from the DMV. That’s the D.C., MD, VA area. Hip Hop connoisseur, fan, artist, everything above.
HipHopWired: For everyone who doesn’t know; where did you come up with the name SIMP?
SIMP: The name SIMP came from when I was a child. Everybody use to call me simple, so it was my play on the word simple and making it even simpler, if that’s a word (laughs). Then it came to my attention that SIMP was a derogatory term in slang as far as you being the opposite of a pimp and/or a wus. So, for me…I’ve never been raised that way, to mistreat women, so I just stuck with it.
HipHopWired: Being that you are from up north; how do you think the underground rap scene in Atlanta differs from up north?
SIMP: I didn’t really spend a whole lot of time in the underground rap scene back home; It was mostly Go-Go for me. So, that scene its self is a whole different genre of music and its very heavily influenced by Hip Hop, but it’s not the same. Here (in Atlanta) you have a melting port of everything, from the really southern stuff you hear on the radio to the conscious stuff that doesn’t get heard as much. I love Atlanta the culture here is wonderful.
HipHopWired: So, do you consider yourself a conscious rapper?
SIMP: Not conscious, but definitely not asleep is how I like to describe it.
HipHopWired: Being that you’re a “not asleep” do you feel like it’s harder to get your music heard?
SIMP: Definitely, because it takes people more time to digest. You actually have to think when you listen to it. It’s not just a hot beat and a catch phrase. So, it takes more time for you to develop and for you to learn the language. It’s like learning a new language; you have to sit down and actually think about it.
HipHopWired: Now, looking at you, you don’t look like a typical rapper, so do you think that works for or against you?
SIMP: It’s a catch 22. You are who you are and that’s the great thing about Hip Hop. As long as you’re yourself people can accept you.
HipHopWired: Well here in Atlanta it’s kind of segregated with rap. We have the hipsters, the crunk rappers and in betweens; so where do you see yourself fitting in?
SIMP: Ummm…I don’t know. I’m trying to find that place now. So, I’ve been searching the underground and trying to find my spot, but I’ve gravitated more towards the Little 5 Points/ East Atlanta area and doing a lot of the underground shows there. I’ve performed at Lenny’s, Apache etc…
HipHopWired: I know you’re a Hampton grad, so how have your Hampton peers taken to your music?
SIMP: They’re very supportive! That’s where the majority of my support has come from. I think that plays a lot in the message of my music as well. Without me going to school I don’t think I would be as conscious or thought provoking as I am. It’s very relative as far as me being a graduate of college and I talk about it a lot; I don’t think to shy away from it and try to pretend like I was in the streets when I really wasn’t (laughs). I’ve always been into learning, so I try to develop the music that reflects me.
HipHopWired: So, where you worried that other people wouldn’t support you, because “you’re just a Hampton student,” so they wouldn’t take you seriously as a rapper?
SIMP: Yea, I was very worried at first. When I was at school I didn’t really talk about my music too much; I just kinda did my own thing and watched other people to see what I needed to do. Then as soon as I graduated it was time to hit it full force. I think when people heard me, because they had never heard me before, they were really shocked to hear that I was doing it. So, I think it worked in my favor.
HipHopWired: So, you’ve been rapping for a while?
SIMP: Since 6th grade. So, since I was 12 I had a Mead notebook (laughs).
HipHopWired: Now, let’s talk about mixtapes. First you had “Bring Back Real Music,” then “It’s That SIMPle” and now you have “The Challenger.” So, as an artist how have you seen yourself grow form your first mixtape to now?
SIMP: I’m a lot more focused on my craft. The Challenger was me just asking people on facebook, youtube, and myspace to send me different beat challenges that they thought I couldn’t handle. So, I took on anything that people threw me. Form Sara Barielles “Love Song” to Jay-Z “Takeover.” That was just me being in the studio and being in my element, so I could take it to the next level. I think I’ve really progressed, my message has gotten a lot stronger and my writing skills have definitely improved.
HipHopWired: Now, on “The Challenger” you have a song called “All of Me,” and you are basically talking about the absence of your father in your life. When you are writing songs like that do you ever think that you are making it to personal or that you are giving people too much insight into your personal life?
SIMP: I don’t because I feel like the more personal I get the more people will connect with it. A lot of people share the same story I have, so if it’s not talked about and its not represented I would be doing a disservice to those people. Music is suppose to imitate life not create it, so that’s what I try to do all the time.
HipHopWired: And then on “Ruler of the C” you really showed off your word play skills. How did you come up with that concept?
SIMP: Honestly, when people were throwing me the challenges I just kinda got bored. I was just sitting in my room looking at the books on the wall and I saw the Dictionary. Then I said, “challenger starts with c,” so why not do a whole rap with c-words and see how it comes out.
HipHopWired: So, as far as your next mixtape, what are you working on?
SIMP: Right now I’m working on the “I See Stars” project. But, I’m really trying to focus on pushing “The Challenger” and make sure people get familiar with that material. “Bring Back Real Music” was the first release that I actually had, so I want to progress from there and get more people to pay attention.
HipHopWired: What do you have planned for 2010?
SIMP: Just pushing “The Challenger” mixtape. I also have a Hip Hop 101 class that I’m doing at Avondale High School on the east side. This is the 2nd time we’ve done it. We take students from the 9th-12th grade and teach them how to start their own label. Just trying give back to the community and show the youth as much about the business as I can.
HipHopWired: So, I heard you were doing some Sade covers…
SIMP: Yea…that’s one of my biggest influences, because my mom listened to everything from Sade to Quincy Jones to Parliament Funkadelic. So, for me Sade is a huge influence and she’s releasing a new album so it’s the perfect time to pay homage and show that influence. I took a couple of old Sade tracks and I remixed them and I remixed them, put a Hip Hop vibe on them. I should be releasing that in a couple of weeks. I don’t really have a date for it, it’s just something fun that I did.
HipHopWired: Who would be some of your dream collaborations?
SIMP: My A-1 dream collaboration would be Stevie Wonder. I think Stevie is amazing and being able to vibe and mesh with him in any type of arena I would learn a priceless lesson. As far as Hip Hop it would be, Common, Kanye, Lupe…I love everything that Lupe does. He’s like my greatest of all time right now.
HipHopWired: If you consider yourself “The Challenger,” then who do you consider the champion right now?
SIMP: I have no idea, but I feel sorry for them. I’m just getting started, so there is a lot more for people to see of me.
HipHopWired: Well, locally do you see anyone as competition for you?
SIMP: Not really, because I don’t see it as a competition here. There is so much love in the Atlanta area that it’s hard to see competition, because everyone is like one big family. We saw it last night at the show we went to. Everybody just vibes with each other and we feed off of that community effort.
HipHopWired: Are there any Atlanta artist that you’re looking to work with?
SIMP: B.O.B., Pill, Kaos is def one that I would like to work with and we’ve had a strong connection with him. GPWFLY is on my list, they’re a great band I would love to work with. The 54…it’s a lot of people. There are so many names that I could go down the list that people really haven’t heard, but I think we are on the same page.
HipHopWired: In the next 5 years where do you see SIMP?
SIMP: That’s a good question (laughs). I try not to really think ahead. I live everyday in the present, so in the present moment I see myself just in the industry and making things happen; that way when things happen I’m not really surprised about them or disappointed in them. I just live each moment day by day and take it that way.
HipHopWired: What is your ultimate goal?
SIMP: My ultimate goal is to be a household name. Once people get past the derogatory term that is SIMP, then we will start to get the household name.
HipHopWired: What’s the next show that you have coming up?
SIMP: My next show is at “I Do Music,” which is the best networking event here in Atlanta. It’s put on by Patchwerk Studios. Dj Teknology will be there, Strong Arm Management will be there…it’s just a lot of industry connections to be made there. I’ll be doing the spotlight segment there.
HipHopWired: Anyone who is looking to get in contact with you and hear your music where can the reach you?
SIMP: It’s real easy just go to SIMP247.com. That’s all SIMP all the time; 24/7. Get at me!