Photo credit Jessica Siemens Photography
I first crossed paths with Jersey emcee Hasan Salaam when The ILLZ was performing at local NYC venues in 2011. I’m glad to see him getting the shine he deserves – especially being an artist that touches on topics most others are afraid to. Salaam recently released his new single “Jericho” a few weeks back. I had a chance to ask him some questions and learned a lot about him – like he dabbles in the adult film industry! Check out the Q&A below…
1. How did you come to work with producer Hezekiah?
I first worked with Hezekiah on a song I was featured on Range Da Messenga’s album. Range said I should speak to Hez about production and he sent over a batch of tracks. I picked three, and two of them are on Life In Black & White.
2. How did you pick the beat for “Jericho”?
When I was going the beats that Hezekiah sent over. For real as soon as I heard those dusty record sounds I was locked in! Then once I heard the drums that was it. It was just something different and it had the feel of a heart pounding and I know exactly what I wanted needed talk about on the track.
3. How did you and Immortal Technique first connect?
I first met Tech at EOW (End of the Weak) but we really linked up through the grassroots artist movement as well. He respected my hustle and offered to take me on the road for some shows thanks to DJ GI Joe’s recommendation. This will be my first solo album on a label and I appreciate Tech and Viper Records for the opportunity.
4. Many artists are using music as a way to get into other industries (fashion, acting, record labels, etc). Are you focused strictly on music or trying to do something else?
I have been involved in other industries since before I even put out a record. Primarily, I’ve been involved in adult entertainment in some shape form or fashion since I was legally allowed to do so. I do Fantasy Flight parties with the company Jet Setting Jasmine and own Royal Fetish Films and Sensual Noire Entertainment. What we do is “The Renaissance for The Art of Making Love” bringing couples to higher levels of intimacy, empowering women/men sexually and normalizing fetishes all while providing top notch quality entertainment. I also co-own a fitness studio in Clearwater, Florida called Body Altitudes and we are about to celebrate our first year in business!
5. What’s the worst thing about being an artist right now?
People don’t look to artists for art anymore in a sense. People look to artists for an image for social media not so much the substance of their art. There are a lot of people who judge an artist on their associations instead of there art. Too many carbon copies.
6. What do you feel the most important source of promotion is? – YouTube, Blogs, Radio, Mixtapes, Social Media or Streets?
They all hold weight. No matter the source though, nothing is better promo than word of mouth. The people are the best promotion. If they dig it they share it. Social media in all its forms from online to print means nothing without the people.
7. Streaming services like Pandora and Spotify have come under a lot of fire for not paying artists enough. How do you feel about that?
I believe that every artist and everything being that does any kind of work deserves to be paid. The Internet is kind a like the final frontier of them discover ways to manipulate and use artists material. There needs to be proper compensation for artists on sites that make money off of us.
8. Which social media platform do you focus on the most? FB, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, or Tumblr?
I’m on all of them way too much. I have 4 Instagram accounts that I’m on every day for all of my various businesses. Three FB pages, two twitters, YouTube, Tumblr, Reverb Nation and my own website and am a sexpert blogger for Calexotics. It’s crazy I grew up without a computer and now look at me! My Grandmother would be proud.
Follow Hasan to keep up to date on all his latest ventures!