Milwaukee-based wunderkind Sam Ahmed has been a busy boy. Despite being barely legal and in the business for less than a blink, he’s been making waves as experimental rapper WebsterX and spits the kind of catchy hooks belonging to someone twice his age. Undergoing his own time of personal growth and change, it’s only appropriate that we caught up with the fresh-faced artist on the eve of his “Renaissance” (featuring Lex Allen and D. Bridge) music video premiere to talk about his rapid rise, teaming up with Chance’s crew and, of course, his very own “rebirth.”
What kind of “Renaissance” are you going through right now?
The renaissance I’m going through is about how deeply intertwined I am with the mix genre scene in Milwaukee. It’s the renaissance that the Internet has fully allowed for us… subgenres are being born within a lot of things. It’s just so free nowadays and anybody can really do this.
How long have you been at this game and what changes have you undergone since the beginning?
I’ve literally only been releasing music to the masses for a year now, the masses in terms of the Internet. In front of friends, I’ve been cyphering at parties, lunch tables or in my room by myself for at least seven years now. I used to be involved in poetry in 7-11th grades, but then fell off for a while until my freshman year [of college]. Then I pretty much gave up school this past semester to truly live my art.
My first album, which was released as a “Hey guys, I rap now, will you like my stuff,” actually spread and people liked me. I’m still so blessed, as secretly I always felt I was made to be somewhat of a helper, but still strong enough to be looked up to. After the first album, I realized that I’m molding [myself into a figure] respected in the indie scene. [So many] opportunities are being thrown at me and I feel it is my job/pursuit of fun to go out and do this.
What was the writing process like?
The song came about post-Desperate Youth. I went through a small weird ass depression funk three months after the album was released. I felt overwhelmed by the growing attention. I got pissed at people and I was like “Nah don’t praise me, do something with yourself.” So every move I made was so self-conscious. Plus I was going through dark feelings about continuing school and financial problems as well. My parents also wanted me to make good decisions as every parent would.
Tell me about teaming up with Lex Allen, D. Bridge and Mic Kellogg for this track. How’d you guys get together?
Mic Kellogg’s my good friend and producer counterpart from Madison. We took [Twista’s] “Overnight Celebrity” sample and completely reversed it. Once the instrumental was finished, I wrote a chorus while the beat was not even finished. I was just that into it. Then I realized I’m only okay at rap singing so I enlisted Lex Allen and D.Bridge, an ex-collaborator with Chance The Rapper. It all just made sense and finally we mixed and mastered the song with THEMpeople, another big name in Chicago, so having awesome visuals for this was a must. In my mind and it all came together so naturally, not rushed. Truly a six-month song to make. The rest of the album hopefully won’t take that long now that everything is in full gear.
What about the video? Where’d the green screen/color effects concept come from?
Charlie Koss possessed most of the ideas in the making of this visual. I helped with my VHS approach because I really enjoy that stuff, so all the psychedelic funk was both of our heads put together. But will I ever do green screen again? Probably not, but a lot of my musical image is experimentation and the “let’s give this a shot” mentality.
What else do you got on the back burner? What’s next?
This next album will be way more conceptual, but also free in arrangement. It won’t be your everyday hip-hop album but it also won’t be far from your everyday hip-hop album. My goal is “recognizable but still new every time you listen to it.” So this new album is curating, at least two more videos and whatever cool things are headed my way, radio interviews, fall festival performances, blah blah, riding the wave of life. Hoping I see tomorrow and the next day, year, and month.