The hip hop scene just gained a new up-and-coming sensation with rapper iAMPDZ, who brings us his awakend beats all the way from Nigeria by way of Tampa, Florida. iAMPDZ, or as his mama would call him, Oluwafemi Sanya, was able to give an exclusive interview to Tha Fly Nation to talk about his upcoming track releases, his newly-founded record label, the Tampa Bay hip hop scene, and his vision of creating a world of possibility through love and magnetic lyricism. Check out the interview below.
TFN: Okay, the first and obvious question is what does your name, “iAMPDZ” stand for, and what does it mean to you?
iAMPDZ: It means “I am paradise”. The words “I” and “am” are the two most powerful words in the English dictionary, because everything you put after “I am,” you become. I don’t want to wait until I die to be in paradise. I want to live a great life right now. I want my heaven today. That’s where it really comes from. I also like when other people recite my name, because they end up calling themselves “paradise”.
TFN: Then where does iAMPDZ hail from?
iAMPDZ: I was born in Lagos, Nigeria to immigrant parents and moved to the US in 1994 to Tampa, Florida. I ended up going to an outreach Christian school--only black student, mind you.
TFN: Did Tampa have an influence on you as a hip hop artist? Would you say that there even is a real hip hop scene in Tampa?
iAMPDZ: I wouldn’t say so yet. I think it’s been bubbling, but it needs a spark.
TFN: Are you that spark?
iAMPDZ: I might have to be. I have a song called “Clearwater” on Soundcloud. I wrote it with somebody named Aaron Little and it’s great; majestic. it’ll be released around summertime.
Demo track. Unfinished song.
TFN: What are your thoughts on the current direction hip hop seems to be taking with genres like mumble rap?
iAMPDZ: Oh man, we’ve been in such a dire state with a lack of lyricism for a while. As far as my vision for the future and what direction I’d like to see hip hop take, I believe Afro beats are the future. All the beats coming from Africa, like Yung6ix--there’s just so much talent in Nigeria waiting to come out.
TFN: How would you say you separate yourself from Nigerian or American rappers?
iAMPDZ: I just come with my real experiences and things I’ve imagined. That’s what you’re gonna get when you listen to the Paradise record--my thoughts, my reactions. If I’m talking about something negative, it’s always gonna end up positive. I don’t want it to end in doom. The written word is powerful and I believe what you write down becomes real life. I speak my life into existence, but I also write my life into existence.
TFN: You talk a lot about heaven and manifesting paradise. Does spirituality have any influence your music?
iAMPDZ: Yeah it does. As of right now, I don’t consider myself Christian--I just believe the universe works in mysterious ways. I don’t have a problem with any other religion. Just be good, do good, and in due time karma will manifest. We all have one mind, one thought.
TFN: It sounds like you fall into another emerging genre, which is ‘conscious rapping’.
iAMPDZ: I don’t want to think in a categories. It’s just real life. It’s dream making. Dream makers and doers will make this next century because they manifest their desires. Like Puff said, “Our generation will be the greatest generation the world has ever seen.”
Demo track. Unfinished song.
TFN: We heard you're working on your first album. Can you tell us a little more about it?
iAMPDZ: The album doesn’t have a title yet, but honestly I think I’m going to work on pushing the album of one of the artists I’ve signed to my label, Devie Ferrado, first before I continue with my own.
TFN: Wait, so you have a label as well? What’s it called?
iAMPDZ: El Dorado Rekordz
TFN: What made you want to start your own record label?
iAMPDZ: It’s always something that’s been in me. I have a lot of different projects going on. When I was still going to UCF, I told my friend at the time, “I’m gonna make it big in music” and he was like, “I think you really will.” It boosted my confidence. I was contemplating dropping out of school and the label came around when I was developing myself. I wanted to be like a Jay Z or Puff, who signed a lot of people and made people’s lives better. Those are some of my idols. As of recent, the new Nas song says “Start a label, sign yourself,” and I knew when I heard it that I was on the right path. it was an affirmation of what was already in my head..
TFN: What are your immediate plans for the future?
iAMPDZ: I need to find where my record company is gonna hail, whether that be Brooklyn or Queens. I may go to Queens to find my queen (laughs).
TFN: Any shoutouts?
iAMPDZ: Yes, my mom who I love. That’s my sacred heart. My dad. My boy, AB, my family in Nigeria, and a shoutout to everybody because I believe we’re all distant relatives. I love the world and I hope y’all will love me back.