For nearly three decades Miami was the end-all-be-all of Florida Hip Hop from 2 Live Crew up to Rick Ross. After a recent wave of talent that included Kodak Blak, XXXTENTACION and Ski Mask The Slump God came along, the flood gates were open for good. After grabbing the torch in 2020 with songs like “Haters,” “1942 Vibes” and “Haha,” FCG Heem is primed for a breakout year in 2021.
Heem lost his older brother to the streets. That, juxtaposed with the blessing of having a son at age 19 gave him the motivation he needed to discipline himself creatively and take his game to the next level.
The 23-year-old rapper has honed his ability to drop catchy bars that sometimes moonlight as hooks. According to him, figuring out the melody allows the puzzle to come together organically.
“For me the whole song is a verse. I don’t try to make a hook if you get what I’m saying,” Heem told HipHopDX in an exclusive conversation. “When I hear the beat the first thing that comes to me is the melody. You get the melody right, you probably make your hook first. I really don’t make hooks though. I really just rap over the whole beat and my engineer will make it a hook for me,” he added.
Heem works in rhythms and when he finds his sweet spot, he can come out with nearly half an album from the right studio session.
“On a bad day if I’m in here just playing a game or something and I won’t be productive but a good day I come in here, find a beat and just do my thing,” noted Heem. “I think I recorded 5 songs in one day and they were all hits. There was nothing that was filler. They were all good songs. One of ‘em was a song I did called “Intro.” We got a video for that one. It was all good songs. We were just going all night. We went from like 8pm to the morning, non-stop,” he added.
Since becoming a part of the Universal Music family, Heem is looking to expand his reach, but one thing he’s not looking to switch up, is the formula that got him here.
“Nothing really changes [when I signed with the label],” said Heem. “We record the same way. Of course I’m thinking bigger cause I’m getting more and different types of fans so I like to switch it up and be versatile, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop making my music the way I’ve always made it,” he added.
Of all the artists to come out of Broward County, Kodak Black is hailed by many as the one that opened the flood gates for a wave of new artists. Heem credits the “Tunnel Vision” rapper with not only his success but the success of the region.
“He helped launch anything that comes out of there,” Heem said. “Anything that comes out of Broward County that has anything to do with music he really opened the door for that. He opened the door for Broward and Florida period.” I don’t know him personally but we got a lot of mutual friends but. I really got my buzz when he was locked up though. Free Kodak!”
In addition to his musical influences, the “4 Real” rapper’s late brother played a pivotal role in making sure the would-be artist’s path wasn’t clandestine.
“He was the black sheep in the family, but he didn’t want me and my little brother to be in the streets,” Heem remembered. “Even though he was in the streets he didn’t want us caught up. He used to talk to us about that all the time, how he didn’t want us to be in the streets. Losing my big brother just really streetwise made me be more on point with everything. It made me not have too many friends. It had me paranoid,” he added.
Losing his brother offered a somber perspective on what could have been, but the addition of a new blessing to the family got him thinking about what could be.
“Once my son came I had to tighten up,” Heem explained. “That made me go harder and that got me to where I am right now. Losing my brother, that put me in a position where I had to step up and handle everything, take care of things. Having my son made me really go hard because it’s all on me. I want him to have a better life than I had growing up. Whatever he wants to be in life I want him to be.”