It's been almost a decade since the Bay Area took over the Top 40 with the hyphy movement, the high energy sound that picked up where the Lil Jon-inspired crunk movement left off. But the Bay is back and one of the reasons why is Iamsu!.
The 24-year-old Richmond, CA native has released a series of popular mixtapes including $uzy 6 $peed, Kilt [I and II] and Million Dollar Afro, which he released with Problem, but on his new album, Sincerely Yours, which comes out May 13, the "Hipster Girls" MC spent more time to ensure that the music was on another level.
"It's the longest I've ever spent on music," Iamsu! told BET.com in an exclusive interview. "It would take me weeks at a time to write certain songs. I would go back and revise and revise and replay certain parts, so just the attention to detail and the time I spent making sure it's perfect. On my mixtapes I make my songs super fast."
Su's popularity shot up when he linked up with HBK Gang member and fellow NorCal native Sage The Gemini on Sage's hit single "Gas Pedal." It's a relationship that Su says encourages both men to keep their skills sharp.
"[With Sage and I] it's healthy competition," Su noted. "Nothing crazy. We just wanna see each other do well, so we push each other to do better. We're on the same team, so we love to see each other win."
Sincerely Yours features guest appearances by Wiz Khalifa, 2 Chainz, Kool John and the aforementioned Sage The Gemini. Also, on one song "T.W.D.Y." Su paid homage to the classic Ant Banks-assembled group with some help from a couple of Bay Area legends.
"It's my first song of my own having both Too $hort and E-40 on it so I just thought it was an appropriate title," Su said of the song. He clarified, "My manager actually came up with that title, cause he said it reminded him of that whole OG era, the old Def Jam, stuff like that, but it was cool doing that with them, and listening to them share their experiences and how they came up."
More than ever before Iamsu! looks to give fans an album that accurately reflects his experiences, thus the title Sincerely Yours, and though he has been on his share of hit records, the up-and-coming MC insists he doesn't focus on making music to sell records.
"I don't really go into making a song with the focus like 'I'm gonna make a song for the club or radio,' I just make music based on whatever sound I'm into at the time," noted Su. "I'm really excited for everybody to hear the album. I worked super super hard on it, and it comes directly from my experiences."
Sincerely Yours Tracklisting:
2. No Secret
4. Only That Real feat. 2 Chainz and Sage The Gemini
6. Sincerely Yours feat. 1-O.A.K.
7. Stop Signs
8. I Love My Squad
10. Back On Your Mind feat. Kool John & Skipper
11. What You 'Bout feat. Wiz Khalifa & Berner
12. T.W.D.Y. feat. Too Short & E-40
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(Photo: Roger Kisby/Getty Images)