Raised in South­ern Cali­for­nia by his immig­rant par­ents, HASEEB is an emcee and pro­du­cer who cur­rently resides and cre­ates out of Los Angeles. As first gen­er­a­tion Amer­ic­an, HASEEB is a prac­ti­cing Muslim. His exper­i­ences as a Muslim Amer­ic­an mil­len­ni­al cre­ate the cul­tur­al back­drop for a unique nar­rat­ive not often found in Hip Hop music.

With a dis­tinct golden age meets con­tem­por­ary sound, HASEEB’s music provides his listen­ers sounds of rhythmic nos­tal­gia coupled with deep thought. His influ­ences include Hip Hop legends such as The Roots, Mos Def, Bin­ary Star, 9th Won­der, J Dilla, and those from a sim­il­ar ilk.

HASEEB recently dropped his latest track ‘Fri­day Fish’ and off the back of that we decided to find out more…

When was the moment you real­ised you wanted to do rap?

3rd grade for sure. I was maybe 8 years old when I had to read a poem in the front of the class. The class clapped after I fin­ished and told me I did a great job. I could tell that they genu­inely felt it. That’s when I knew.

Com­ing from a Asi­an, muslim back­ground — did you face any obstacles get­ting into hip hop?

Nah not really. My par­ents have always thought it’s pretty dope. Shout out to them for under­stand­ing. Also, Hip Hop draws a lot of influ­ence from the Muslim com­munity. Hip Hop and Islam in Amer­ica have strong roots in NYC and there’s a lot of cros­sov­er cul­tur­ally. Many of my favor­ite rap­pers grow­ing up were Muslim and/or made Islam­ic ref­er­ences in their music.

How import­ant is it for you to address soci­et­al issues in your music? And are there any themes in par­tic­u­lar that are close to your heart? 

I see it as my respons­ib­il­ity. I try not to be preachy or con­trived. I like my music to feel authen­t­ic. So it’s really me express­ing my thoughts and feel­ings about issues that are import­ant to me. I’d say my music is less about speak­ing on par­tic­u­lar issues, and more so just express­ing what I’m think­ing on a per­son­al level.

Last year you released you LP ‘Growth’, how was it received? 

I’m so grate­ful to how Growth was received. Though I didn’t have any major press or mar­ket­ing behind the album, it still racked up over 2‑million streams and was placed on major edit­or­i­al playl­ists on Spo­ti­fy. It also allowed me to tour around the world with a couple of my favor­ite rap hom­ies.

Tell us a bit about your latest track ‘Fri­day Fish’? Where did you get your inspir­a­tion from?

Well the hook is derived from the Jefferson’s Theme Song. That’s a clas­sic that I wanted to flip and put my own cul­tur­al spin on it. For me, a brown South Asi­an kid grow­ing up in Amer­ica, black cul­ture is what I learned and iden­ti­fied with early on. We didn’t really have rep­res­ent­a­tion in pop­u­lar media. So Fri­day Fish is a per­fect example of me being inspired by black cul­ture while still main­tain­ing my own cul­tur­al iden­tity.

Whilst you grew up in South­ern Cali­for­nia, where in the world feels like home to you? 

The Palms Dis­trict in Los Angeles, CA. Also, my parent’s house out in the burbs.

You have been extremely pop­u­lar on stream­ing plat­forms, how has the digit­al world helped you get your music across, and what doors has this opened for you?

It’s been everything for me. I’m one of those artists that was around to sell CDs. I used to sell CDs out the trunk, at the mall, at Venice Beach, etc. I’m young enough to effect­ively under­stand and use the digit­al tools we have now, but I remem­ber what it’s like burn­ing my music onto CDs.

What are your thoughts on the glob­al Hip-Hop scene? Is there any­where in the world where you really want to go and make music? 

I’ve played shows in Cairo, Lon­don, Par­is, Ber­lin, Dub­lin, Ams­ter­dam, Toronto, and all over the States. The glob­al­ism of Hip Hop is hon­estly one of my favor­ite aspects.

What is the greatest gift Hip-Hop has giv­en you?

Allud­ing to my answer above, the abil­ity to travel around the world and meet people that appre­ci­ate my music means the world to me. Music has also been the tool I’ve used to be more social and out­spoken.

What are you doing when you are not mak­ing music? 

Play­ing bas­ket­ball, snow­board­ing, and doing mar­ket­ing for a major cor­por­a­tion that shall not be named.

What have you got in store for us? 

Def­in­itely more music and more visu­al con­tent in 2020. My next drop is a song called “Lem­on­ade Stand” so look out for that. I’m plan­ning on drop­ping my pro­ject, Grow­ing Pains, at the top of 2020 as well.

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.