Salim Graham aka S.G. the Iron Lion is a professional musician\producer, writer, for DEK Records and Hanan Music Co. He created the label in 2004 because he wanted to build a music organization filled with talented artists, musicians, vocalists and dancers from all backgrounds. After studying the art of production, he began scouting talent from all across the country, developing young men and women into becoming great talent. He then saw a vision to expand his label into schools. In 2010, he did his first project with a senior in high school, assisting him using his music knowledge, to help him graduate. To Salim, this was monumental, so he traveled the east coast promoting his free studio to teens all over.
By 2014, his music has traveled all across the world, featuring in mixtapes hosted by Lil Wayne, and several Digital Dynasty mixtapes (which were produced by Tha Advocate). He also has an album coming soon produced by Tony Tone, a Wu-Tang DJ from Germany. He currently resides in Pittsburgh PA and he can be reached at [email protected] On a hot day in the East Coast, right before labor day weekend, we had a chance to catch up with the homie and it went a little something like this.
1. Whats Good S.G.?
2. You have such an intensity in your raps when you spit them. When you rhyme is that a way for you to relieve stress?!
Yea, man when I rhyme it releases all of the tension and stress collected living under these harsh conditions. I been living hood to hood state to state grinding, so yea, my rhymes are my way out…
3. You have been on a lot of high profile mixtapes and also dropped a few solo projects as well. What’s next on the horizon for the rest of 2015?
So, since I just bought into my own publishing company DEKADE PUBLISHING CO, its going to be my job to put out as much music online as possible and spread the word globally so we can start buzzing even more. The goal is to sell a million records na mean!!
4. Off subject .. you’re from Pittsburgh .. are you a Steelers fan? What do you think their record will be this year (laughs)?
ah man, most def a steelers fan. I can’t see them not making play offs but if they do i can see them at 9-7 like in 2009..(laughs)
5. We heard you started your own publishing company. Congrats on that! Word is you already have 100 tracks logged under the company. What made you grab the bull by the horns and start your own publishing and how important do you think it is for artists to do the same in this game?
Well like I mentioned earlier, yes I did grab that bull because I study the greatest artist and none of them went in empty handed. I seen that my online numbers are crazy and one of my pages generated over 24000 plays in two months, and I wasn’t seeing no bread. So once I got my own publishing company, my first international royalty check was well over 2500, so with that I was like, if your an artist with mad music like I got with no publishing, your missing out on all that money. So it is extremely important for any artist to go all the way in if your serious and boss this shit out…you have to if your serious. Real talk.
6. How does it feel to have created The apollonightla.com theme song (that’s played after every show every Monday night 7pm PST — and is hosted by Jocko Simms, Karen Simms and Roz Washington.)?
So, yo, every Monday there is always a celebrity host and for them to here me and I’m not even on the roster to be heard is saying a lot. I mean, that every artist dream to get your own theme song for a well known show. Some of them shows got like 45000 youtube plays, and it’s my song ever time..na mean, so business wise its a blessing but from an artist perspective its just a dream come true for real..
7. One of your biggest singles, “Bronx Ninjaz”, is being released in Germany on vinyl. Do you feel that overseas still embraces that raw hiphop a lot more and do you get a better response overseas then in the states?
Truth be told, YES!! They still appreciate that raw hip hop unfiltered. They still appreciate our 90’s style music to the fullest and the producer Tony Tone has nothing but respect for me and my sound. But don’t get it twisted. Every hood in a America appreciates that real raw sound and there is just not enough music out right now the the hood can feel. So J. Cole is leading the way for that right now, but I’m coming up next with some raw shit that the world needs. With the Advocate on my side dropping these dope mixtapes, I can’t loose.
8. Word is you got some new hotness that is about to drop. Can you let us what’s in store in the future?
Yea, bro, My dude Antlive vs Skeletor, out of Detroit produced a banger for me. My late cousin Norman Solomon aka Norman Feels had an archive of classics in the Paramount volt that we have access to. So he grabbed a sample and chopped it up. When I drop this it will be a tribute to the greatest artist time that paved the way for us. Be on the look out for some classic Crate Logic music too. They out of Cali. They are a chapter of Zulu Nation. They produced some fire for me. Exclusive.
9. Advo told us you been in and out of the Hospital this year. Is your health doing better, everything ok?
Ah man, so I have this hernia with fire breathing acid reflux. I’ve have more tubes in my nose and throat than a premature baby!. I’ve had 4 biopsy’s this year alone, and they have finally scheduled the surgery to correct the hernia soon. Thanks for asking yo…real talk…been suffering.
10. So let us know .. who were S.G.’s musical influences that made you pick up a mic?
Growing up n Bronx NY in the early 80’s it was RUN DMC, LL Cool J, and Sugar Hill Gang.Hearing hip hop at such an early age, I was just embedded in me. Then honestly when more and more hip hop came out, I was like yea, I need to take it over cause, I felt like Hip Hop was mine!! lol
11. Can you tell us about your label? Are you the only artist or do you have more?
My label is DEK Records. My dad came up with the name. Its short for decade. It is also the name of the DEK block when building the foundation to your home. The deck block is the first block laid down. My label core value is to promote and expand every 10 years, hence the name DEKADE Edition. We will grow every 10 years and expand. right now I”m in my second decade and we are now global.
12. In 5 years from now where is S.G. gonna be?
S.G. is going to be sitting on top of a million records sold, a movie production company and a couple a painting sold in art galleries all across the world. I have a hell of a vision.
13. It was good chopping it up with you homie. The floor is yours .. give any shout outs, let the people know where to check you nad we look forward to hearing more from you in the future.
Peace Fam! Much respect!!. So, big shout out to Jock Simms, and Karen Simms for dropping my joint at the end of the show on Apollonightla.com. Shout to the Advocate for putting me on them exclusive mix tape features. One Love!! S/O to Tony Tony, Crate Logic, and Nary Da Producer for hitting me with all those classic tracks. S/O to Venchete, Bull Roc, Halo G, Ci Fu La, Wali El, Yahya, my mom Mahasin Shakoor, and my dad Wali Muhammad, and my sister Hanan, Big Shout to all those who follow, tweet, share and post my music, and most of all Shout to MTK (Mixtape Kings) for dropping this interview. Stay tuned for some classic live shit!!!! All the Bronx Fam, White Plains Fam, Finale, Melvin Sparks, and all my down south fam. Peace!!!