January 1st, you kicked off a new series called The World According To Sulaiman. What inspired this project?
People have been waiting for a long time for new material, and as a self-professed hermit, I’ve made so much music that I didn’t drop…I felt like the top of the year was finally an appropriate time to reintroduce myself to the world. The World According To Sulaiman is a refresher course as I gear up for more full-length exploratory releases as the year progresses.
The first song you dropped on January 1st was called Merch That, and the first line was “take notes how I carry out this year”. What are we going to be expecting this year from you?
This year’s all about exploration and tackling the tough subjects we’re all dealing with, but learning how to balance out the highs and lows. Everyone’s a little depressed whether they choose to admit it or not, and I want to be an example of how to deal with frustrations and successes appropriately. The music will teeter between simple bursts of pure energy and long concentrated pieces of depth, hopefully touching each side effectively.
One of my favorite joints from the project is Safe and sound in Chicago. Talk about this record
That’s a favorite of mine as well, and one of the few on the scratch releases on Soundcloud that I didn’t produce myself. Hattori Rhodes shot me the beat and it was so jazzy that it reminded me of Old Chicago. Being that it’s been over 6 years since I’ve been away from the Chi, I’m always a spokesperson for the city when I’m traveling, and the question about violence back home always comes into the conversation. This song was a way of me expressing through lyric the ideal that poet Nikki Giovanni evoked in her poem “Nikki Rosa” when she said, “…they’ll probably talk about my hard childhood, and never understand that all the while I was quite happy”. Hence the chorus “Here I was thinking that I wasn’t enough..you got me fucked up!” Haha!
With releasing 24 songs, and a record a day, did you like the way you rolled out this project than previous ones?
I’ve done some exploratory rollouts before (check out the D’ecent EP on Bandcamp where I wrote-recorded-did artwork-released a project in 6 hours flat, from start to finish). These types of things are creative exercises for me, meant to draw out subconscious ideas and leave me with no time to sugar coat anything. I love the thrill of working under constricting conditions because it reminds me I don’t need the big lights to do my best work, it’s already in me. Of course, as an artist, I’d always love to see MORE plays than I receive but that’s part of the game. The people who stay persistent are the ones who win.
When you first started dropping these records, you put #1 of 365… Are we going to be expecting 365 songs this year?
So even though I stopped posting the roughs on Soundcloud once February hits, I’ve still been recording every day and offering behind the scenes footage through my subscription-based service. If people want to tune in to the development they can visit Sulaiman.bandcamp.com/subscribe and do just that.
Do you feel like you get the proper respect or love here in Chicago?
Man, energy’s super relative, and things rarely reciprocate from the people, places and things you put your energy into. You can drive yourself crazy looking for validation from certain spots. What I’ve learned to do is let go and try to add positive, undeniable value to the whole of Chicago. I think as a trendsetter, leader, and ambassador of the city I’ve done well and I feel the love from those who’ve accomplished the same. It may not touch those who don’t know me as well (yet), but that’s a task I’m willing to take on because I have the support of the leaders that DO command the audiences of the city. That means just as much to me. It’s now my job to keep putting bricks in the building and making the city stronger than ever.