IAmSu! Talks Being in College, Avoiding Groupies, and Tour Life

As rappers like Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q continue to take over hip-hop, a new, unique voice from California joins the fold. IamSu! has enjoyed indie acclaim for his $uzy 6 $peed mixtape as well as the collaborative Million Dollar Afro with Problem, but is still bubbling just below the rap radar. During soundcheck in NYC for his first headling tour, the Bay Area rapper spoke to VIBE about what it’s like to still be in college, working with Wiz Khalifa and why hip-hop just doesn’t understand him. ---Sowmya Krishnamurthy

You’ve been buzzing on the indie scene for some time. Is hip-hop is late to the party?
Mmhmm. Maybe it’s just the kind of person I am. Maybe it’s the energy that I project, maybe I attract different kind of people. I don’t know. I feel like I’m not hella like, just “rapper-ish.”

You’re not wearing a chain right now.
I am wearing a chain, but it’s tucked in. It’s not a diamond chain. It’s a pharaoh chain and it’s Jesus. It’s small.

What do you say to the hip-hop heads that aren’t feeling you?

I’d say, “In due time.” You just have to keep putting out good music, keep being progressive. Being innovative. Then more people will catch on.

Does it matter to you if hip-hop heads like you?
No. It doesn’t matter.

You’re on the Million Dollar Afro tour now with Problem. Despite being a working rapper, you’re still enrolled in college.
Yeah. I’m about to go back in the fall. I’m going to SIT in a classroom. It’s really hard, especially because I’m going to school in an area where everyone knows my music. I got to Cal State East Bay. It’s close to Oakland. It’s going to be a trip. For my major, all of the classes weren’t available online.

I went to University of Michigan where athletes were gods and nerds like me were at not. On your campus, who’s at the top of the pecking order: Rappers or Athletes?
Uh, the athletes probably. I don’t know. We’re going to see. People are probably more mean to me. Schoolmates are nice to me but teachers and stuff are really mean like, “So what you have to leave school for? A week to go to New York?” They think I don’t care about school. I sent my teacher a long ass email like, “I’m about to go on tour but I’m trying to finish school. I’m hella serious.” No response.

People think touring is all “Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.” Is it?
Not for ME. Maybe for somebody else. I go, do the soundcheck. Then I probably get in the bed. I might smoke. That’s probably the most “turned up” rapper part, that I smoke a little bit of weed. Then I come back here. I perform. Then, we either go home or I go to sleep.

You don’t partake in any of the uh, “fringe benefits” of touring (Translation: Groupies)?
I try to stay away from that. Every other day I see somebody getting caught up. She might do that or do a bunch of other weird shit. She might try to rob me or set me up to get robbed by a bunch of dudes. I might get a venereal disease. She might have a baby. I don’t want a baby right now. I’m kind of young. Or, she might just be a fucking creep.

You recently dropped a video for “Goin’ Up,” your collaboration with Wiz Khalifa. Are you going to be on his new album?
Hopefully so. We made a bunch of songs. We always make songs. Hopefully something ends up someway. He’s going to be on my new mixtape out June 6th.

You’re from the Bay Area. How tired are you of people saying, “YOLO”?
[Laughs]. I was never an advocate of “YOLO.” I thought it was stupid from the start so, I’m in agreement with you, I think it’s weak. It’s a Drake thing. You heard of the store Chic Shoes? Maybe it’s just a Cali place. They make shirts with whatever popular rap phrase is in, like a YOLO shirt.

I hate “Turned up” and “Ratchet” too. Don’t ever say “Turned up” on stage.
I might say it…If it’s necessary.

Fine. Then I’ll say, “YOLO.”
Fuck it. If it’s needed, though. I’ll never say “YOLO” in a song. I pray to God I don’t start.

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Barack Obama Says He Doesn't Like The Term “Defund The Police”

Barack Obama's advice about the using the term “defund the police” is receiving mixed reviews. The former commander in chief explained his issue with the “slogan” in an interview on the Snapchat show Good Luck America.

Obama cautioned against using the term as he feels it to be exclusionary. “If you want people to buy your sneakers you’re going to market it to your audience. It’s no difference in terms of ideas,” he explained. “If you believe, as I do, that we should be able to reform the criminal justice system so that it's not biased and treats everybody fairly, I guess you can use a snappy slogan, like ‘defund the police.’ But you know, you lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done.”

He also suggested that instead of “defund the police” people should say: “Let’s reform the police department so that everybody’s treated fairly.”

The 59-year-old politician seemingly theorized that the use of “defund the police” may have cost Democrats House seats in the recent election. “The key is deciding do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with? If you want to get something done in a democracy, in a country as big and diverse as ours, than you got to be able to meet people where they are and play a game of addition and not subtraction.”

Read some of the reactions to his comments below.

With all due respect, Mr. President—let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr. We lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence.

It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police. https://t.co/Wsxp1Y1bBi

— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) December 2, 2020

Imagine if Obama came out and gave a quick speech about how Defund the Police means reallocating resources to organizations that can help, instead of using cops to deal with things like mental health situations.

Says a lot about the man that he instead criticizes slogans.

— Dave Anthony PHD, MD, Esquire. (@daveanthony) December 2, 2020

obama doesn't like "defund the police" as a slogan because it is a specific actionable thing with a clear goal in mind. hope, change, yes we can & all that are better because they don't require you to actually do anything after saying them

— Shaun (@shaun_vids) December 2, 2020

What if activists aren’t PR firms for politicians & their demands are bc police budgets are exploding, community resources are shrinking to bankroll it, & ppl brought this up for ages but it wasn’t until they said “defund” that comfortable people started paying attn to brutality

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 2, 2020

The phrase 'defund the police' is awkward and misleading. It doesn't accurately convey the need to reallocate funding so that social services and policing are properly weighted.

The phrase mangles the meaning in a way that guarantees that many won't ever even hear it.

— Floss Obama🎅🏾 (@FlossObama) December 3, 2020

Obama is right. Defund the Police is a bad slogan. Reform the Police is better.

— PoliticsVideoChannel (@politvidchannel) December 2, 2020

obama is right. y’all need to stop saying defund the police when we mean abolish the police

— anti-lawn aktion (@antihoa) December 2, 2020

No one can push neoliberal thought like Obama. Suddenly, EVERYONE has decided that "defund the police" is just a slogan, and that it is responsible for Dems losing even tho none of them supported it.

The aim is to undermine activists just like he did w/ the potential NBA strike.

— Honeyves (@AdamantxYves) December 2, 2020

I need Barack Obama to leave the sloganeering to the movement.

Defund. The. Police.

We are keeping it. We are demanding it.

— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) December 2, 2020

We lose people in the hands of police. It’s not a slogan but a policy demand. And centering the demand for equitable investments and budgets for communities across the country gets us progress and safety. https://t.co/Vu6inw4ms7

— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 2, 2020

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Juice Wrld’s Mom Shares Touching Tribute In Honor Of His Birthday

Juice Wrld would have turned 22 on Wednesday (Dec. 2). In honor of his birthday, the late rapper’s mother, Camille Wallace, shared a touching message posted to his social media accounts.

“Jarad and I both loved celebrating our birthdays — mine is just two weeks before his. On our special days we used to wish one another Happy Birthday dozens and dozens of times throughout the day. Now I like to think of all the ‘Happy Birthday’ we saved for the future.”

The statement adds, “He will forever be the light of my life. Today, we celebrate him, his immense talent and creativity and his contribution to this world. Through his art, he spoke his truth.”

Happy Birthday, Jarad. We miss you. #lljw🕊 pic.twitter.com/TCoNQRLvuq

— . (@JuiceWorlddd) December 2, 2020

The “Lucid Dreams” rhymer, whose birth name Jarad Anthony Higgins, died from an accidental drug overdose last year. He passed away six days after his 21st birthday.

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G Herbo And Crew Charged In $1.5 Million Federal Fraud Case

G Herbo and several others including his manager, have been charged along with a few crew members in a $1.5 million federal fraud case. The 25-year-old rapper, born Herbert Wright III, is accused of committing identity theft by using stolen credit cards and IDs to pay for lavish gifts and vacations over a four-year period, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The 14-count indictment, filed in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts in September and publicized on Wednesday (Dec. 2), alleges that Herbo, his manager and promoter, Antonio “T-Glo” Strong.

The other defendants named in the case are Joseph “Joe Rodeo” Williams, Stephen Hayes Jr., Demario Sorrells, and Terrence Bender, obtained stolen credit card information, including cardholder’s name, addresses, account numbers, security codes and expiration dates. The information was reportedly obtained on the “dark web” and used to pay for luxury hotels, exotic car rentals, a personal chef, private security, commercial flights and private jets, two designer puppies, vacations and more.

The group faces conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft charges. Strong, who is alleged to be the ring leader and faces wire fraud charges, was arrested on Sept. 25. Williams reportedly turned himself in to authorities.

Herbo has yet to publicly comment on the matter. Earlier this week, the Chicago native was named among Forbes annual 30 Under 30 list.

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