The music of up-and-coming Bay Area rapper/producer Iamsu! may very well be some of the funnest hip-hop to listen to right now. It's catchy, the beat selection is immaculate, Su's flow is perfect for what he does, and it's varied. Everything feels like it was constructed with a purpose, whether that purpose is getting the listener to look up the nearest club and dial numbers for bottle service or be “that person” who looks funny having spasms in their car at a stop light while their music blares at unhealthy (and possibly unnecessary) octaves. It represents exactly what more accessible and masses-friendly hip-hop should be right now.
“I make party songs, I make more musical songs, I might sing on a song. Being where I'm from, there's just so many things going on at the same time they have to coexist,” says Su.
Just like where he's from and the overall feel of his music, his career has “many things going on at the same time” as well, and they all appear to be coexisting quite well. On “Who Booty,” his huge collaboration with singer John Hart, Su raps “Thank Suzie, heart breakers brought the bay back,” referring to him and his Heart Break Gang crew, and though there scantily were times when the Bay didn't play a role in hip-hop in some fashion, he's definitely proving to be one of the best newer artists to come out of his region of origin.
Only a few years into his career, Iamsu! has a few massive features on songs like E-40's “Function,” two major mixtape releases that have definitively pushed his name out there — Kilt N Suzy 6 Speed — and Million Dollar Afro, a collaboration with LA's Problem, and he's already one of the most important names on radio and on the Internet right now, with his hand in everything from production to hooks. This take on being a hardworking hip-hop jack of all trades harkens back to the work ethics of superstars like Pharrell and Kanye, two artists who influence Iamsu and his style, and his current ascension has opened the door to the possibility of placing his name in the same breath as other behemoths vying for all the accolades hip-hop can offer.
“I always feel like the things I do aren't good enough. I'm never really satisfied. I'm always chasing an impossible goal. That's why I'm always consistently working on music, I never enjoy my life's work,” Su remarks.
His desire to “be the best” and the near-superhuman thirst he has for his profession has served Su well, even if he believes what he's after is an “impossible goal.” Of course, if he's chasing perfection as hard as he says he is, his run in the hip-hop game will be interesting to watch.
“If it wasn't for music I'd probably go crazy,” states Su. “I'd have all these thoughts in mind and all these ideas I'd want to communicate to people that I wouldn't be able to. That's what I appreciate about music — it gives me an avenue to communicate how I feel without sounding crazy.”
Even if he does sound “crazy,” if the public's reaction to Su's style is any indication then that type of insanity must be something we all love.
IAMSU! performs tonight at the Observatory. For tickets and full details, click here.