This Spring one the hottest tracks to come out of the States this year will grace UK airwaves courtesy of New York rapper, Shawn Mims. ‘This Is Why I’m Hot‘ exploded in the US last month topping no fewer than five charts including the Billboard Hot 100 and reaching ring tone downloads in excess of 1.5 million.
Hailing from New York’s Washington Heights is a debut release for MIMS who has experienced overnight success keeping the likes of R&B legend Akon off the top spot. ‘This Is Why I’m Hot’ is the first track from his forthcoming album ‘Music Is My Saviour‘ which stormed into the US charts at No.4 this week.
‘This Is Why I’m Hot’ is a skeletal tune that gives nods to classic New York rap with driving vocals and a heavy bass line typical of some of the best hip hop tunes to come from the US. Also featured is a remix which features North Miami-based dancehall artists Junior Reid and Cham.
Are you enjoying the UK?
MIMS: Yeah I definitely am, I’m having the best time. Everybody keeps saying that I came at a bad time because it’s been raining lately but I’m not worried about that, I’m just happy to be here. It’s a totally different experience to being in the States and I’m getting to see things I’ve never seen before.
What kind of tracks did you record for your debut album?
MIMS: I’ve got something on the album for everybody. The main thing I say is that it’s an album for a 5 year old, a 25 year old or a 55 year old to listen to regardless of creed and colour. I could make anyone listen to this album and they will love something about it and that’s my honest belief.
Do some of the tracks reflect some of your personal experiences?
MIMS: I think there are three tracks that are the most personal to me including Where I Belong, Doctor Doctor and probably the most personal would be Don’t Cry. They all come from a place in my heart and are totally honest.
Who did you work with while recording your debut?
MIMS: I worked with brand new up and coming producers on this album because that’s the lane I like to stay in. I wanted to give some new cats a shot. There are also some hot collaborations on this record with LeToya Luckett, Junior Reid, Cham, Bun B from UGK and some new artists as well like J. Holiday.
How do you want people to see you after having heard this album?
MIMS: I hope people realise that I’m a great entertainer and that I have an ability to stick amongst the best of them. I want people to learn about me and stick with me. I also want them to enjoy my music, enjoy reading my interviews, watching me on TV…I want to be able to deliver the whole package to the public and give them something to love.
What kind of example do you want to set for other rappers?
MIMS: I want to show the world that there’s a balance and not everything has to be extremist. Everything has two angles. There can be Gangsta Rap and Conscious Rap and somebody in the middle that can defend both sides. I’m here to set an example for the people who have been through a struggle and let them know that there’s more to life than what they see out of their window.
There are a few mixes of This Is Why I’m Hot. Which one is your favourite?
MIMS: My favourite one would be the official remix with Junior Reid and Cham which is on my album. There are a couple of others that make me laugh like the one made by some guy called Black Jesus called This Is Why I’m Black. I like R. Kelly’s mix with Twista called This Is Why I’m Cold. It’s cool that people like the track enough to put their own spin on it.
What would you say about people who are calling you a one hit wonder?
MIMS: I think that it’s rare that anybody gets to have such a big record so early on in their career and I’m glad because it’s set the bar even higher for my next record. I think I have the ability of becoming a great MC and hopefully the public will get the chance to see that I’m not just a one hit wonder.
Your surname is Mims and now it’s your artist name as well. What does that mean to you?
MIMS: People don’t know that Mims is my actual last name. I wasn’t really good at making up nicknames so I decided to use my real name. Mims has been with me since I was born and it’s something that I can easily identify with. Nobody can tell me that I’m not the real Mims and that’s why I love it.
Why is music your saviour?
MIMS: I’ve been through some tragedies growing up. I lost my parents at a young age and was introduced to music when I was very young as well. During the bad times I could easily have been swayed into doing the wrong thing. I decided to get involved with music and doing that kept me focused. That’s why music is my saviour.
What do you think you would be doing if you didn’t have a talent for rapping?
MIMS: I still think I would be successful and manage to be happy and healthy. As far as talent is concerned, there’s knowledge and there’s talent. You need to combine the two to make it somewhere.
Did you become a rapper after you were a DJ and producer?
MIMS: When I started engineering and producing, I was missing one element which was being an artist as well. I didn’t have too many people to reach out to so I ended up deciding to do it myself and that’s where I kept it. That’s why I started playing all of the different roles in the studio. Being a producer allows you to understand the process of making music and that’s why with this album I had the opportunity to executive produce. Since I was the executive producer of this album, I can now be pulling the strings and make the music how I want it to sound.
Who do you admire in the business?
MIMS: I admire people like Dr. Dre and Quincy Jones for their business savvy. I like The Neptunes and those that have passed like Biggie and Pac. If they were still alive I would have loved to duet with them. If I was given the chance I would use their vocals and make something new because they were artists who really contributed to music.
MIMS single This Is Why I’m Hot released 28th May 2007
MIMS album Music Is My Saviour released 4th June 2007
If you’ve got a talent whether it be rapping, breakdancing, singing or juggling, check out www.thisiswhyimhot.co.uk and you can upload videos of yourself for visitors to vote for who’s got the hottest skills!