Between his Oakland, California upbringing to his background in Atlanta, Georgia, Hakeem Prime is at home with the music scene. His pride in his musical creations and where he comes from is evident. Beginning his career as ‘Hyphy Da Spider,’ a nod to his Oakland upbringing, he was proud of the representation he offered his city but wished to establish himself under an even more personal name: Hakeem Prime includes his own name, plus “prime” as a reference to his passion for the DC universe. He is dedicated to embracing his personal experiences through his music in hopes of inspiring others from his community to do the same. He plans to continue to draw from the soulful foundation of Atlanta and his illuminating childhood experience in a choir to create fan-favorite tracks. The Prime formula is clearly working: he became a member of Datpiff in 2012 and, following a hand full of mixtapes he dropped his first EP Signs, then released the hit single “Slip Up,” which garnered 1.9 million views in 2019. Prime’s current mission is to chase his inner peace, a venture that he showcases with his newest creation, “Imma Let You Go.”
Self-awareness and self-love can be difficult to acquire when one is more attentive to another person or relationship than to themself. “Imma Let You Go” exhibits this fact and how it can be detrimental to a couple’s bond. Prime encountered this situation in his own life, as he faced a major hardship and found that the one he loved was not there for him. This heartbreak led Prime to prioritize himself over anyone else. He realizes that there will be people in his life who advocate for him in his self-love journey rather than tie him to negativity. He encourages his audience to “feel self-love, have peace within themselves before trying to have peace and love for someone else” – a sentiment that recurs in another recent single, “Love Rants,” off his upcoming album Detour Two.
Prime directed the visual for this new rap/R&B track to portray the self-love that can be found after heartache. For him, that translates to not feeling tied down in a relationship, feeling free to love and surround himself with people that return the same well-deserved energy. He has successfully created a visual that embodies the “bossing up” after the breakup.
Can you talk about how your upbringing in Oakland, as well as your background in Atlanta influences your sound and musical taste?
It’s been a great experience to have these two places that I can call home. I was introduced to neosoul, Reggae, Hiphop, RnB at such a young age and I’m grateful for that. California really showed me what culture really was before the age of 13. when I went to Atlanta I was so humbled to learn more of what we have to offer on the African American side besides just, the bad stories. Like how massively creative we are and what we bring to the table as a youth and I’m very grateful for that aswell. To your question it cultivated me in a way were I see all side of music that, I think many people don’t get or understand.
What was it like to direct the visual for “Imma Let You Go”? Walk us through the story-boarding process; was it challenging to come up with a visual that would showcase the message of the song?
it was a blast! I like the process I’ve been doing story boarding for a while but this was the first time that I had to actually write up step-by-step because I really want to show the emphasis on “you did this you cross my boundaries” and now I’m just gonna do my own thing whether that means boss up for one or that means self exploration to others. this may happen every day but more times than not it’s done out of insecurities versus self improvement. So no it wasn’t challenging at all. I just wanna give a special shout out to John Fritz, Zabb Wolfie who shout the video, my co – stars Tasha Murphy, Rae Pinkey & Zerah Smith for being apart of it.
What has your experience in the hip-hop, rap, and R&B scenes been like? Have you made connections with other artists or producers that have influenced your own creations?
So far so good! Yes a few up and coming that I’ve met and got dms from who are incredible artist. I’m still eager to meet more people as I go along. Producers are everywhere now. K.E on the track has been really supportive, so now I’m apart of his email list. I want to actually meet Sean Original I literally sing right now because of this mans beats! No cap. they speak to my psyche. I hope we can do something in the future
At this moment, what is currently inspiring you and your music?
Just my life experiences and how I can share them with my fans and other artist who are still pushing like the ones who i used to listen to growing up. I appreciate different perspectives and inspires me to keep going musically.
What can fans expect from your upcoming album Detour Two? What was your intention when producing the tracks for this album, including “Love Rants”?
They could expect some more R&B hip-hop inspired tracks. I did it with my good friend and Producer I am Bear. wanted to have a realm of fun and awareness but lovable goodness if you will. There’s a track on there called overtime that I think a lot of people would appreciate for those hard workers as well as a track call Flex that will be coming soon.
How do you hope your music will influence listeners? “Imma Let You Go” seems to have inspired many already, how has the fan response been to the song so far?
I just hope that I can give people perspective and in that perspective they have awareness for what they need actually. there’s a lot of gray area when it comes to going through life so I would hope that my music can bring out some form of guidance. The response from a imma let you go has been very well even when I released it as just a hook snippet in February 2021 I knew that it was something different especially for me. so I just wanna continue to express more musically that way people can gravitate to it
Follow Hakeem Prime: