-- July 28

    As a young emcee from California, Sareem Poems started the hip-hop group L.A. Symphony, describing the outfit as “the west-coast Wu-Tang without the profanity and drug addiction.” Now, with a solo career based in Michigan, Poems is dropping his new album with Terem, “A Pond Apart,” July 28.

    BOTH YOU AND TEREM ARE PROLIFIC MUSICIANS. WAS HIS WORK ETHIC A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR IN CREATING A PARTNERSHIP?

    Yeah, definitely. I saw how much he had and once we started talking I asked him to set me up with some beats and we sort of started crafting out the sound for the project. He sent me, probably, three folders with over 30 beats in each one. It was hard to say what I didn’t like.

    A LOT OF YOUR RHYMES ON “A POND APART” REVOLVE AROUND HONESTY; HONESTY WITH YOURSELF AND THE WORLD AROUND YOU. WHY IS THAT THEME IMPORTANT TO YOU?

    Say you’re a young male living in America and you commit a crime, you’re either misguided or a villain, depending what side you’re on. So, a lot of it was just being real, let’s call a spade a spade. And to me, honesty is the best policy.

    ON “WALK AND TALK,” YOU’RE VERY UPFRONT WITH THE LISTENER ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL LIFE.

    I’m very comfortable in my own skin. What I put on the album is what I’m going to be and I pick being myself. It’s hard for me to imagine trying to fit a mold so I can sell records or be more popular or any of that.

    WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MUSIC AND OTHER TYPES OF MEDIA THAT YOU TALK ABOUT IN "BREATHE?" Like that skit Dave Chappelle did, if the internet was a real place, it would be disgusting, with the pop ups and all this other stuff.

    But when it comes to music, I have control over what I listen to. If I want to listen to Stevie Wonder’s greatest hits, I can listen to that and be in complete peace.

    THE MUSIC VIDEO FOR “AFTER THE FACTORY” DEALS WITH DETROIT’S ABANDONMENT AND A CALL TO ACTION TO SUPPORT THE CITY, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT?

    We paint this picture of Detroit like it’s the most dangerous and vilest place on the planet. But I got a chance to witness people at their strongest. The place was at a terrible state in 2009 and I saw the people rally together. Anything I can do to see some type of improvement, to see growth, or to just give a better picture of what it means to be in Michigan, in Detroit, in Lansing, that’s a big deal for me.

    "A Pond Apart" July 28, 2017 $7.99 illect.bandcamp.com/ album/a-pond-apart, youtu.be/DkhzYjpU07s

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