Meet Your favourite uncle, new generation ring leader, million miles wonder, UNCLE KAREEM.
Who are you isolating with and how has that been?
I am basically with my producer at home OR in the studio.. We are really just trying to make the best out of the situation and use the time where we HAVE to stay inside.. Most of the work can be done on the couch! It‘s just about how you approach it!
How has the isolation of your community affected you? Now that it’s quiet, and the dust has settled so to speak, are there things you notice about your community and home that you didn’t before?
I kind of feel like it was good for the people in my community to take their time off and stay home. Sometimes going out can be a big distraction for you too! So I see the change in their GOALS! Everyone is working in some sort of Art direction since Isolation! Doesn’t matter if it’s drawing or writing songs or cutting music videos.. Everyone is focused as hell. Since Isolation I am less focused on meeting people in clubs and whatever. It gave me and the people around me the chance to see that you don‘t really miss out while going out! I think I’m missing out more when I don’t finish my work at home!
How has your production process changed?
It hasn’t really changed. We are in the studio daily making songs and planning promo and music videos. We just have more time and energy now because that’s basically ALL you can do in this situation.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Do you feel that the sudden change in your surroundings and life will affect your writing whether conscious or subconscious? If so, how?
At this point I think it’s important for people to know that ALL my songs and ALL my projects come from real life situations! If something really touches me or hits me in a positive OR negative way I write about it. I can’t be creative if I don’t experience. I am always trying to be conscious. I want to know what’s going on with other people in other life chapters and surroundings! The sudden change made me look more towards other lives and how it affected them. Looking at myself I think the situation hasn’t hit me too hard so I’m just glad about that!
How are others in the hip hop community in Austria handling this?
Well, of course the Hip-Hop community here in Austria wasn’t really prepared for this, so a lot of UPCOMING rappers and singers are in a bad place right now because they had to cancel whole shows and events and so on. We are trying to stick together as much as possible and help each other out! I gotta say my community and fan base is more in “Vienna” then in “Tirol”! Which is where I am actually from.
Who are some of your favourite Hip-Hop artists?
Well it’s only right to give credit to the Original Hip-Hop artists like Biggie, Tupac, Eminem and so on but right now I am really into new artists too like Trippie Redd, YUNGBLUD, Rae Sremmurd, Logic, Jaden Smith, Joey badass, Flatbush Zombies, Drake and so on! The list goes on and on but I think everyone knows what I’m talking about. I LOVE the way they represent themselves. They are looking and acting so different than most people and that’s what really inspires me. The music part is one thing but being a whole Character in the music industry and having your OWN style is the true treasure to me. Sending a message in your music AND your looks AND your behavior..
What can we expect from you in 2020?
At this point I pretty much want to put as much content out as possible! Fans can expect a different type of approach towards all my projects including more features with other artists from my home country! I want to form my character as much as I can this year! I want to do more interviews and shows and everything as soon as possible but for now I am locked in the studio with my team trying to be as “creative” and “weird” as possible! I don‘t want to fit in someone else’s shoes I want to have my own vibe! I am currently working on a lot of collaborations with artists from Vienna and the USA.. I am SOO excited for what’s to come in the future and I want to thank EVERYONE from my family to my friends and to my fans for always having my back on this mission!
Hi Kareem, thanks for joining us again. In our initial interview we said “Now that it’s quiet, and the dust has settled..” and we couldn’t be further away from that statement. Since talking to you we’ve seen the horrifying murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and many other Black citizens at the hands of the police. How has this made you feel? How is Austria and the Hip-Hop community reacting?
I am glad to finally see the world starting to act up for these inhuman acts. This debate about racism and police brutality (mostly in the US) has now reached its peak in the last couple of years and it would be wrong to still look away and swallow this pill. I am angry and disappointed that there‘s still SO MUCH RESISTANCE. This should not even be a thing anymore but it‘s global and it’s HUGE. At this point it’s important to stay consistent and not let these protests go to waste. It has to change now because if it’s doesn’t I don’t know if it ever will. Austria is really doing its part in this. Me and my friends just recently took part at a huge protest in Innsbruck! We were almost surprised about how many people took part! I’ve seen many artists from Vienna who were doing their part really well as well!
Hip-hop has always been a channel and a global platform for Artists to voice their shared experiences and traumas when it’s come to police brutality in the Black community. Some anthems, like N.W.A’s iconic 1988 “Fuck Tha Police” has been recognized globally for decades and while many people can recite the lyrics, a lot of fans would never join the protests for equality. Do you think that the real messages are often overlooked?
Well I’m pretty sure that many fans still really “feel” those songs. Especially now in this time. Right now is the time where we relive those lyrics. I’ve seen people on the streets with huge speakers at a protest pumping N.W.A songs. I’ve also seen people rapping Tupac’s song “changes” out loud at a protest!
I think that a lot of Hip-Hop fans nowadays don‘t really “care“ about the message of it tho. Of course there are always the ones who understand the song and it’s meaning but most people just feel the “gangsta vibe” to it if that makes sense. They dance to it and know all of the lyrics put mostly just rap them out loud on parties when everyone’s watching. The meaning is often missed.
Do you think that Artists today should be vocal and advocate for change?
I think that every person who has a opportunity or platform to make a statement about positive change in the world should feel responsible to push that mindset AND knowledge! We need people who have a following to be consistent about that! A lot of young people will take statements from their Idols or mentors very serious. Every artist or celebrity in any way should be a positive mentor for their fans. You shouldn’t hide your opinion in times like these where it’s obviously necessary to speak up and tell people to believe in themselves and their rights.
“Meet: UNCLE KAREEM“
Photographed by Patricio Darone