By Miya Jones
Temple’s very own Na’im Shaw sat down with Black Aphillyated to talk about his shower writing process, his inspirations and his thoughts on being open to new music
Q: What inspired you to start rapping?
A: It was a combination of life experiences and Eminem. Around the time when I was 11, I had my first girlfriend, and then I experienced my first family member dying so I had something to say.
Also, at that time I was listening to Eminem and that was my favorite rapper at the time so and so I wrote down his lyrics when I wanted to express myself. Then, one day it clicked that I could just write my lyrics.
Q: Who are some of your inspirations? I know you said Eminem was one of them.
A: Well definitely Eminem. J. Cole, because he’s dope and he’s not afraid to have social messages and be an activist. Childish Gambino and Will Smith are also inspirations, because they have the ability to rap and act and, which is what I want to do.
Q: Where are you from and what was it like growing up?
A: I am from Roselle, N.J. It’s like central Jersey. Soon one day I won’t have to explain where it is on the map and people are just going to known where it is. It was cool growing up there.
I was born in Queens, N.Y., and all my life I wanted to be from Queens, because my family was there. Roselle just seemed so safe and boring, but as I got older I started to notice the gangs in Roselle, and they were always there, but I only saw the safe part of Roselle so I didn’t know.
Now that I see the full scope of Roselle, it’s helped shape me, and I have different things to talk about. I know the struggles of different people in a town where I thought there was no struggle.
Q: What do you like to rap about most?
A: My favorite things to rap about are my own experiences. Like, if I had a relationship with a girl I’m quick to write about that from my perspective, but write about in a way that can relate to other people.
If something happens in the world like police brutality I like to talk about things like that from my perspective as well as also, from someone else’s perspective.
Q: So would you say you are a socially conscious rapper?
A: Yes, I would say that. I used to lead with that and that used to be who I am, but I realized by watching other rappers that kind of turns people off.
I’m not going to ever not talk about social issues, but there’s a difference between being socially conscious and being preachy and I never want to be preachy because then people don’t want to listen to you.
Q: What three words would you use to describe your style?
A: Lyrical, relatable, and important in terms of content.
Q: What is one thing you have never said in an interview that you feel people need to know?
A: People need to stop being close-minded. People don’t listen to new music. I think people need out get out of that bubble, because there’s such much more music than what’s being given to us.
If you don’t listen to new music you are cheating the artists who put their time and dedication into this and your cheating yourself, because how often can you listen to the same radio songs over and over again. We’re dope and we out here.
Check out Na’im’s Video Every Weekend Part one