Iman S. is passionate about everything he does. The Denver native ("It's all Denver everything -- I'm from Park Hill," he says) has only been rapping for two years, but to hear him tell it, he's the best out there. Known for releasing mixtapes with upwards of thirty songs, the MC says Imanster, his new record, will be no different and already has 27 joints so far.
We got our hands on a pair of those tracks -- "LMFAO v.1" and "Don't Stop," produced by Kajmir Royale -- and chopped it up with the rapper (also known as Iman Samuel) about the new record. The title, he says, is a throw to his entrance into the game. When an artist that he was managing encountered some legal troubles, Iman picked up the mike in his stead.
"I'm the CEO of No Half-time Inc," says Iman. "I was managing several artists, and one guy I was working with, unfortunately, went to jail, so I had to pick up his torch and carry his buzz. I went to New York, and when I met with a friend from XXL, he encouraged me to keep going, so now it's like they've created a monster, 'cause I can't stop."
"I've only been rapping for two years," he goes on, "but in these two years, I've done a lot of things out here that a lot of rappers who have been doing it for ten years haven't done. This mixtape is like me going full throttle. When I get left out on shows and write-ups, it bothers me, and it's kind of like fuel to the fire. This is the aftermath with everyone putting me on the back burner for so long, and this is like unleashing the beast."
Clearly not lacking in confidence, Iman says rap is a competition sport, and he's willing to put his talent and rhymes up against anyone. "I'm like a shark in a goldfish tank," he declares. "I study people and watch how they do things and try to do it better. I'm always trying to one-up somebody, and I've always been that way. I know I'm the flyest, so I just have to exude that and communicate it to other people.
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"I'll go up against anybody," he goes on. "I'll start something with anybody if I had a valid reason. For the most part, though, I'm focusing on my crew and what I'm trying to strive for, and that's not mediocrity."
While his self-assurance may come across as arrogance to some, the MC says he's just passionate. "The whole reason I really rap so hard and my raps are so passionate -- the things I rap about are really my life," he reveals. "I'm trying to avoid a persona. Colorado rappers rap about shit they see other people do. It's cool to rap to aspire to have things, but if you're not doing it, that takes away from the truth. If I'm not doing it, I don't talk about it.
"My mom listens to my rap," he concludes with a laugh. "So she knows what's really going on."