E-40's "Function" is blowing up the Bay. It's a slap-happy track that also happens to feature a cameo verse from Richmond rapper IamSu!, who dropped his freebie KILT mixtape last week. So with Iamsu!'s buzz building, we checked in with the 22-year-old to talk about learning to produce under Trackademicks's tutelage, receiving his first ever toy drum kit, and the fateful day E-Fonzarelli cold-called him up.
How did you come to guest on E-40's "Function"?
He actually called my phone! It was a crazy experience, 'cause I grew up on E-40 and he just called my phone randomly with the classic voice and asked me to do the song.
How did the phone conversation with E-40 go?
He was just like, "I see what you're doing." It's crazy how humble he is. I got a lot of respect for how humble he is, like somebody with his status being able to talk to a young kid like me and give me advice and tell me he had a song for me in mind.
Which song from E-40's back catalog would you most have liked to guest on?
I would have to say "Tell Me When To Go." That song is crazy! I would love to just sneak my verse in there somewhere.
"Clothes, Shows, & Afros" from your new mixtape is produced by Trackademicks from the Honor Roll Crew. How did you hook up with him?
Actually I've been on Trackademicks since I was like 12. He works at a mentoring program called Youth Radio in Oakland; he showed me how to make beats and introduced me to different types of music when I went there. We have a long term relationship.
What sort of stuff did you learn to produce there?
All kinds of music. It was mainly hip-hop, but I also experimented with some house and some dubstep music and some weird electro R&B. They came out pretty clean, and I actually put out a dubstep song a little while ago.
What was Trackademicks like as a teacher?
He was great, he was always down to help and give me the time to experiment. Working with him for "Clothes, Shows & Afros" was like coming home -- he played me a bunch of beats and it was easy. He's got that melodic, breezy production.
On KILT you say that it would take $2 million for a major label to sign you. What's the thinking behind picking that figure?
That's a play on a 2 Chainz song, and I agreed! Also a lot of people try to deride his talent and the impact it has on people, so I was like, 'Just give me what I deserve.'
If you did get two million dollars to sign for a major label, what would be the first thing you bought?
I probably wouldn't spend it on anything -- I'd go straight to the bank. But it would be crazy to see my bank balance the next morning! But I'm not the type to go and blow money like crazy.
So are you looking to eventually sign with a major? Or are you going to try and stay with the independent route?
I'm just gonna keep my options open. I'm not gonna just accept whatever comes, but whatever's the best fit for my future. It's whoever has the best support system and allows the most creative control, just things like that. That's what I'm looking for -- someone to help support my movement instead of trying to alter it.