5 ON IT
Oklahoma... To outsiders their is a picture of hills and unpaved roads. Pastors filled with hundreds of cattle and livestock. Ford trucks and everyone riding horses down dirt roads. The life of a cowboy. And for Oklahoma the cowboy is an image that is still true to this day. But the cowboy has evolved from the textbooks we grew up on, because cowboys don't just live on farms anymore. They're in the streets. The same gun totin, tobacco smokin, denim jeans wearing cowboys. But cowboys aren't the only ones, just like the textbooks say Indians are a major part of Oklahoma's history. Indians are a family-based culture and take pride in their people. The images of peace pipes. family gatherings, and doing whatever it takes to protect yours hasn't gone away. And just like the textbooks say, when cowboys and Indians collided it created a battle, that same battle is still going on to this day. Hakeem Eli'juwon's project "Cowboys and Indians" is showing that Oklahoma isn't just a place for cows and rodeos, and explain why these two groups are important and necessary. Yea, they still here. So let's get to know Hakeem Eli'juwon some more and hear this centuries old tale.
When did you start rapping? I stole my first raps and combined them when I was 7.. no like 10. I took some old LL Cool J bars from here and a couple bars from there and combined them. Tried to show my people and he was like, "Nigga I know every one of them words." He old school. You know what I'm saying. But I was like, "But I put that shit together hard didn't I". (Laughing) But I really started rapping at age 12 tho bro. My homeboy Chris from Little Rock (Arkansas) he was on #MogulMinded he is Buku Paperstaccs on track 7 called "Bust Up A Pack". We linked up in Owasso (Oklahoma), cause I lived in Owasso from 6th to half-way thru 9th grade when I moved back to Tulsa, and he was the only nigga that I knew rapped. I didn't rap either, I just knew a lot about hip-hop. You could ask me any question. And I could answer it.
What was the first song that you heard that got you into rap? The first song that probably maybe me wanna officially do it was gonna be Young DV "Mister Like A King". But I really started rapping and was certified after Lil Boosie dropped a freestyle. Everybody knows the freestyle with Big Poppa. When that shit came out. It was locked in. It was over.
What do you remember about your first performance? This is crazy because the first song I really made was in 2010 with the homie Freddie Moss. It was the Young Boss Click. I was already Dup CG at this time. I'm still Dup CG to this day that will never change. But CT$ is the movement that were pushing now. But I was Dup CG and we ended up doing a show the weekend before I went to the boys home. That weekend before I went, we went to the Otherside Event Center on 61st and Lewis. I still remember to this day. I had the fresh white and black J's on. And I had the mutherfuccin Jack Daniels race car jacket on. And I was stuntin on niggas in that bitch! Had my baskets in at that time. That was my first show. I was really trash, but I did better than I thought I would've did. When I got off stage people said, "Damn that seemed natural to you". And I was like, "Forreal!. I thought I was trash". But they was like, "Keep at it. Keep at it". And I did.
Why the name Hakeem Eli'juwon? It was crazy. A lot of people don't know this, but my step pops, who raised me, I'm adopted. My step pops, he used to sell out shows in Tulsa under the name Bermuda Boy back in the Playya 1000 days. You wouldn't know it cause he's a cool ass dude but he's Chinese. Back in 80's that time he was a breaker, he did that type of shit, he's from that era. He had a song with his homeboy. I thought I heard him say, "Hakeem Olajuwon" but I felt like he was saying "Eli'juwon all them years (laughing). It just made me say, "Eli'juwon". And it wasn't until my later years, cause that was a childhood memory and I didn't know who Hakeem Olajuwon was. And later down the road I realized. Damn. That's 'The Dream' nigga. Hakeem Olajuwon. And I ran with that. I thought it was going to be beneficial and authentic.
Can you explain a little bit what is CT$. CT$ is the movement. Of Marquise Johnson, Hakeem Eli'juwon, and St. Domoniiick, and all of our brothers. But Cost To Smoke (CT$) is much bigger than Cost To Smoke. It's about us becoming the strongest in this game, and how we are establishing ourselves, and our brand. Cost To Smoke, it's a universal term. It's no where you can go that you ain't gotta pay for weed, or pay for a cigarette, or a black, or a Cuban cigar, where you don't gotta buy it. It Cost to Smoke. It cost to get high, it cost to get smokin hot in this game, it cost to sip, it cost to swang, it cost to structure correctly. You know what sayin. It cost to speak sometimes, you pay the consequences for speaking in this world. And a lot of our black people have been victim to that. You know what I'm sayin.
So let's get into your project. Cowboys and Indians. What's the concept behind it? It's very well known our terrain. The terrain in Tulsa, Oklahoma and any where in Oklahoma, the terrain. If you know the terrain then you know your going to drive pass big pastures and big ranches. And you gonna go pass acreage of just cattle and horses. And you got these niggas out here in the streets that still be totin they hammers down on they hip when they walk around like they cowboys. You got outlaw Native Americans all over this place, because we on native land. I'm a Native American. But I'm a Native American and Black man.
What yo step on native land,
On the song Seminole you spit "Watch yo step on native land they drove up in here... "(Hakeem starts rapping the rest of the the line.) "What yo step on native land, they drove up in here like a caravan, took that lady from a married man, and did the money dance." Can you explain that line? Watch yo step on native land, whenever I was saying that it was like.. you can't just be out here wildin'. They drove up in here like a caravan. Niggas will just come up on you, niggas will creep up and get at you. They'll take your woman from you and you a married man, and do the money dance all up in the club.
What line on the album do you think goes over people's head the most? Let me say "2Sen$e" when I said, "Song for song, still I stand alone, and I ain't even in my zone". Song for song in Tulsa, Oklahoma, name 'em, besides Dom "Flight" (St. Domoniiick) and Fooley. Back-to-back, to-back every song on the tape hasn't failed. Maybe it's not your favorite, but I got somebody that's telling me that's they shit.
Do you have song that's hard for you to perform because it sparks a certain emotion? Man I can say that but niggas love to hear us turn up at the shows and get the crowd jumpin'. That's all good and fun but I done told anybody that I ever fucked with in this music that when I come out to the stage I'm more happy whenever I get to do "Rotten Love". and I get to perform "Heart of the City". The one's where it's completely slowed down and I not gonna do nuthin' but let tell you the pain I'm feelin' and what the streets have done to me, and give you me. I want people to know me for who I am. You can turn up with me much more when you know where I'm coming from.
So let's talk about collabs. You and St. Domoniiick collabed on "No Spark". How did you and Dom get linked up? Like I told you before I went to the boys home about 2010 or 2011 and I was in there for like 9 months and whenever I got out I started making music. And I wrote like I told you about 200 songs in there, I got the studio the same year when I got out. I got Pro Tools 9 and it was over with. And after a year I came back St. Domoniiick was in there, in the boys home. I brought a whole bunch of blank CDs, a bunch of my CDs, and I brought my laptop with me. He got an hour cause the dude who ran the music room was my mentor so I got everybody a free day that day. And I brought a bunch of blank CDs and slipped them to St. Domoniiick, instramentals, my CDs. He listened to my CD the whole time he was in there. The whole time he was in there he was just craftin' and probably came out with 200 songs his damn self. And we always gonna be brothers now.
So who are your Top 5 rappers? My top 5. I'm going to give you the top 5 of all-time and I'm going to give you my top 5. OK. It's your list:
Top 5 of All-Time:
My Top 5:
Since your named after Hakeem Olajuwon. If you could compare your rapstyle to a basketball player who would it be? Shit. Who's the smoothest nigga out there? I'm Kyrie Irvin. And on the field I'm Todd Gurley or I'm Zeke Elliot.
So what's next? All original work man. Puttin' it together. My nigga Dom Flight's (St. Domoniiick) working right now man. We're waiting to put out new music from Dom Flight coming up in the next few months. And when that comes I hope ya'll are ready for it cause it's all original.
You have a lot of different merch for sale. When is the new merchandise coming? I'm working on a whole different type of inventory this time. I want to make sure that I can deliver a few hats here and there. Depending on the weather there is going to be more to it. It's going to be more professionally driven. It's over, we're taking off.
Thanks again to Hakeem Eli'juwon for the interview, looking forward to hearing more of his dope music in the near future.
Check out his music and social media here:
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