Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Interview with Yamin Semali

 Some of you may be familiar with emcee Yamin Semali, some of you may not. Those of you are who have heard the awe-inspiring music by Yamin know just how good he is. To the very unfortunate ones who have not heard any of Semali's music, now is a great time to start! He just released his second full-length album of the year and this interview is sure to give you a better understanding of what Senior Dues is really all about. In my opinion Yamin is one of the best underground artists I've heard. I feel that Yamin has all the right skills and a connections in line to make that next big advancemt in his career, he just has to get over that last hill and this late 2013 release starts his climb off strong. Semali is sure to be your next favorite rapper, all you have to do is listen to his music and you feel like you know the guy! I hope EVERYONE downloads Senior Dues and I hope that this interview helped give you an edge on your listening experience and you check out all of Yamin's catalog, I gurentee you won't be dissapointed!

Q) Introduce yourself
Yamin:Peace this is Yamin Semali, born in the state of NC, raised mostly in the Atlanta area
Q) Tell me about your latest release "Senior Dues"
Yamin:It's my second full-length release this year, with the first being "YAMIN"..I opened up to more features and production. I have Tha Dogg Pound's Kurupt and Dungeoneze's Vision on the latest single, "Change Your Style" (DF-DPG Remix). The first single features Illastrate on the beat with J-Live, Boog Brown and Joe D. I have Count Bass D on there, Sa-Roc and more. Lots of people I have been wanting to work with for years. It's a real trip.
Q) How long did this album take to make and do you feel as if this is some of your strongest work?

Yamin:Some of the songs go back to early 2012 and didn't fit the mold for "YAMIN". I liked them but they weren't ready to be heard on that earlier platform. Most was done this year though. It's hard to say if it's better than the first, but it shows a lot of growth and I think the first one set me up to make this one. It's just as personal but it's more fun and social. 
 Q) You show extreme versatility on the album, is this something you wanted highlight? Or is this something you always have on your albums?
Yamin:I think I always have that element, especially on a whole album where I have space and time to really show off.
Yet I still found great production from Dublohskytzo, Sam Brown and Illa. 
Q) There are some big name features on this album. Are all the features your personal friends or just artists you highly respect?

Yamin:I highly respect them all, though I'm not personal friends with Kurupt. I haven't met him yet but I look forward to it. Vision made that happen and he's got so much dope music about to drop, he just showed me that love to help push my name out there. He heard the beat and freestyled some wild bars for it. Vision and I go back some time and that wasn't our first collaboration. Count is the homie, J is the homie. I can definitely call them outside of music and just kick it. 
Q) For those that have never heard of you, what would you say are your strengths as an artist?

Yamin:I pride myself on wordplay that doesn't sound forced. Some people reach with their similes and metaphors and it doesn't even carry any meaning or feeling. I don't have to rap to get my point across either so I use scratching or singing when either method is needed. I try to be equally as cutting edge as a producer. People usually comment on my audio quality before they get in to all the details of the beats or rhymes. I guess they expect me to be more underground/broke sounding at times. Struggle rap kinda stuff lol. But I want to come off as something mature and marketable without being corny. At my shows, I incorporate DJ tricks, I freestyle sometimes. Basically, I just like being unpredictable. My music sounds like I'd be doing it if I wasn't signed or getting paid for it.
Q) How did this album release compare to previous album releases?
Yamin:I did about the same number of tracks on this as the last, but this one has a noticeable amount of songs about relationships, as opposed to the last album. There's a theme throughout that has a dramatic, almost nihilistic approach to relationships but I did it more as expression than as a reflection of my personal life. There's "I Don't Wanna Hurt Nobody, " where Phene and Small Eyez assist me on the topic of romance vs. practicality. There's "Compersion," "Land of Passion", and "Crazy" that touch on jealousy, break ups and the idea of monogamy. Still, everything is base
d on experiences that I've had. 
Q) What do you see this album accomplishing?

Yamin:It'll set me apart more definitely. I also see it opening doors and bridging the gap between what is perceived as underground and mainstream. I was asked by an ATL OG, Bonecrusher, to paraphrase, do I want to be Kanye or Phonte. Not as if I had to choose, but he explained how some lanes are driven. I'll probably make my own lane though. I'm affiliated with Project Blowed, Dungeon Family, Rhymesayers and I'm cool with Low Budget cats, Justus League, met many people through Cyhi, so there's the GOOD Music team I've seen operate and all these people are within reach. That's just a fraction. ZULU Nation got my back and I'm working in studios with established people more and more, people with RIAA plaques and Grammys. I'm still me though, so between timing and relationships, I could be in a major position at any time, signed or not, and no one can say I'm not Hip Hop or I'm not true to the art. Whatever success comes from my art won't change that and I'll always be thinking of creating at a high standard.
Q) What seperates you from all other artists, and what will people be able to get out of Senior Dues?
Yamin:I'm jack of many trades and I own my business. Yen Dollar Music is my brainchild but I still can kick it with anybody and being from my city, everyone comes here but nobody sounds like me from here. I don't really ride regional waves. I'll be 30 in a few months too. I feel youthful and I represent a more responsible side of youth as best as I can. But I am at an age where I'm also no baby so I can speak on things that affect a black man in America, and pitfalls many of us see and are guilty of perpetrating at times. I feel flexible to express from many perspectives. Time has shown me I'm more prepared than the average mic holder. I hope people take notice with this project. It's vulnerable at times, it's cocky, it's angry and it's heartfelt. The next will still be way better though (haha).

Q) Anything else you'd like to say?
Yamin: www.YenDollarMusic.com , y'all. Senior Dues is a name-your-price album. Get it while you can. Thank you.

*Download Senior Dues here and be sure to stay tuned for the full album review!

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