Artist Spotlight: Los Angeles Hip Hop Artist- F.Y.I.
F.Y.I is a Hip Hop Artist from Los Angeles. He created a buzz for himself with years of grit n grind, along with lyrical skill and the ability to craft a song. His stellar song catalog reflects the experiences in his life. The L.A. wordsmith’s music has spread to the furthest corners of the map. Collaborations with artists like Ab-Soul, stay on repeat for those who are in the know. Get familiar with F.Y.I.
How did you get started in music? Who were some of your earliest inspirations?
I was always inspired by music from a young age. It was a part of my upbringing. My moms and pops would always play music; it was the soundtrack playing in the background to my life since I could remember.
I remember running home from school and on the weekends watching MTV, BET for the countdowns. Music videos intrigued me. Michael Jackson fascinated me. My mom had her favorite rapper at the time as a customized license plate for her car.
The aura of the rap star or music celebrity was always around me and I wanted to be a part of it. By the end of elementary school, hip-hop culture started to really shape me and my step-father is a major reason for expanding my ear to hear other types of hip-hop that I wasn’t familiar with that was coming from the East Coast.
Being from Southern California, I heard all the West Coast hip-hop but hearing New York rappers and then discovering Southern rappers I realized that this culture was everywhere. It made me feel proud to be black and I learned that no matter where someone was from; we as black people were going through the same struggles and had the same aspirations.
Without a doubt the Dungeon Family specifically OutKast and Goodie Mob were early inspirations. But also vintage Ice Cube, A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, and Common were my go-to artists and in a lot ways still are to this day. I’m a student of the game and lyricists so there’s really too many to name. I’m up on everything but don’t necessarily have the time to listen to everyone anymore like I did growing up.
Tell us about where you grew up?
I was raised all over Southern California but my formative years were mainly in the Inland Empire area (an hour away from Los Angeles/LA County area). But since 2011, I’ve been repping Mid-City Los Angeles, so this is home.
Your album “Yo the Places You’ll Go” garnered a big buzz on the underground scene and featured collaborators like Ab Soul. Tell us about creating that project, and what it did for your career?
That project officially launched my solo career in 2014. Prior to that I was in a group called Those Chosen. The group disbanded in 2011. At that point, it took me about 3 years to put that project together. A lot of transition was happening in my life personally and the music on “Yo The Places You’ll Go” captures that period of time in my life. Ab-Soul was on the record, “Dopamine”, along with my former group and the producer homie Rich Kidd from Toronto made several beats and also featured a verse on there.
I also had the homie Early The MC on there as a guest feature and he recorded some of my vocals on that project as well. That project got me highlighted in some major publications like The Source as a soloist for the first time and I rocked my first shows as a soloist in LA and other cities from that project. Some of my favorite songs from that project are “King Technology” and “Sucka Niggas (20NOW Version)”.
Both songs are not highlighted on iTunes or Spotify due to sample issues. I’d recommend people get the 15 track version only available on my bandcamp page – www.fyipsalms.bandcamp.com . But since then I’ve dropped several other projects! I hope ya’ll at Yaheard, heard them too! (laughs).
What are the subject matters and topics that mean the most to you within your music?
I make music for huemans. Any fan of F.Y.I. is a hueman. When I say hueman, I mean that we have a hue (a color) and we are part of mankind. People are colorful and multi-dimensional, no one is one thing at all times. So the subject matter in my music reflects that.
I talk about the hueman experience so if you’re reading this then I’ve probably written a song that you can relate to. My music talks about everything. Like my song, “King Technology” (Yo! The Places You’ll Go – album) is about the digital age that we live in and the issues that come with that.
Or my song, “Ammosexual” (Herecember 20NOW – album), is talking about gun culture in America. Then you have my entire project, ameriBLACKKK, which touches on racism, mental health, the black experience, and coming of age. ameriBLACKKK came out in 2017 before the current wave of racial issues that society is trying to tackle since the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbaury, Breonna Taylor and countless others.
My music is “life music” so as long as I’m living as a black man in America then my perspective about love, politics, family, God will reflect that point of view. I’m not afraid to share my perspective and lend my experiences to my music. I don’t have to talk shit on social media to show my personality or project a persona, my body of work within the music speaks for me.
Tell us about your current projects, and what you are working on?
“Bounze Houze” is my latest project. It’s a music project plus a short film. It’s a must-hear and must-see event. Trust. This project is special because it gave people an opportunity to have a FREE link to a short film inspired by the project upon proof of purchase of the music or merch!
It’s an exclusive piece of content because it’s not on any social media platform only purchasers will be able to access this content. Go to www.fyipalms.com. The film is a thank you to all the huemans rocking with me. Bounze Houze has allowed me to show my creativity within a new medium outside of music which is film and film making.
The short film was directed by Marlon “Hightop Bully” Womack, a longtime collaborator who does alot of my visual content. Also, shoutout Mariah Shelayre (model), Marcela Osegueda (make-up artist), AG (rapper), and Deejay Senze (my performance DJ) for lending their talents to the film.
Who is a Hip Hop producer you would like to work with in the future?
I enjoy working with my in-house team of producers that I’ve made some dope records with already. Much love to Dual Output, K-Wiz on the beat, and Sir Jon Lee. I put any of them up against whoever is “hot” and they will hold their own for sure. Also, I’m excited to showcase some new up-and-coming producers I’ve been working with as well. So stay locked in.
Already I’ve been blessed to make records with !LLMind, Iz Avila of the Avila Brothers, and Rich Kidd. All three producers have been nominated for major music awards like a Grammy (U.S.A.) or a Juno (Canada) so God has positioned me to work some of the cream of the crop off the slap.
I have a record with another big producer that I haven’t released yet but Lord willing the public will hear that soon. But to answer the question, there’s a lot of producers I’d like to cook up with for many different reasons, but off hand I’d like to hear a what a F.Y.I. and No I.D. song would sound like, a F.Y.I. and Alchemist song would sound like, a F.Y.I. and Pharrell/Neptunes song would sound like, a F.Y.I. and Adrian Younge song would sound like, etc.
Once again, there are too many producers to name but I look forward to cooking up with everyone just to see how far my artistry can stretch sonically and expression wise.
Do you think Hip Hop Music is heading in a good direction?
Until we eliminate the hypocrisy within the music industry then rap music is not heading in the right direction. Hip-hop music does not get the respect it deserves within the landscape of music and it’s the most popular genre. Let that sink in. I would argue because it’s a genre that discusses black life.
Even in the midst of every corporation in the world saying Black Lives Matter, we won’t truly know if the corporations are sincere until black people are consistently in positions of leadership in the music industry. Not just content creators and brand ambassadors. We need equity in companies and ownership.
Period. I see it from the inside and there continues to be a marketed narrative of self-destruction that actually destroys the community that creates the content. Creatively, there are bright spots and then there are some real dark dank out of alignment spots.
Some, NOT ALL, major radio, labels, and other music agencies make millions of dollars yearly off the commodity of black life being cheap. Hence the on-going promotion of all artists that mainly perpetuate the gun talk, drug glorification, and violence within their music. Like the sports industry, especially the NFL or NBA; the majority of the talent is black, but the gatekeepers (i.e. owners, coaches, agents, etc.) are non-black.
Hip-Hop is the same way and that needs to change. No shade, but that shit has to change because I believe if there were more true gatekeepers at all levels of distributing the content then fans would get a better balance of the music/culture to the world right now. We need more LA Reids, Diddys and Jay-Zs at all levels of the industry and across the board.
What is the meaning behind the name F.Y.I.
It’s an acronym. F.Y.I. stands for Foreshadow Yahweh Included. Yahweh is Hebrew for God. My previous moniker was Foreshadow within my group, but I wanted to change it once I established my solo career.
The name Foreshadow was too lyrical miracle so I wanted to make it more simple for folks. So when I say Foreshadow Yahweh Included I’m saying God is always with me. It can also stand for Forever Yahweh Inspired or For Your Inspiration.
Do you have any ventures right now outside of music?
Yes, I’m getting ready to launch a new website that re imagines history in a new animated way. The goal is to touch the young and the young at heart that are interested in going deeper than what they may or may not have learned about African-American History. I narrate the series. The plan is to launch the series soon. Make sure to follow www.deeperthanread.com and stay connected.
How has the current global pandemic affected how you promote your music, and have you found any new opportunities because of it?
Prior to Covid-19, I shifted my thinking in regards to marketing my music so I was already implementing these new strategies before the global pandemic which I praise God for because Covid-19 has shaped how an artist has to market to people. Thus far there have been new opportunities and overall people are more interested in hearing artists than ever before. The numbers have been spiking upwards so it’s been good. It’s all perspective.
What’s the next move for F.Y.I.
Right now, I’m on the pots and pans so hopefully I can serve up a new project soon. Also, continuing to oversee the creation content for the new web series, Deeper Than Read. And Lord willing travel overseas to perform for tunes for the people.
Any last shout outs? Where can we find you on Social Media?
Get your free short film with any proof of purchase of Bounze Houze, merch or music, check out www.fyipsalms.com for details. Follow F.Y.I. on your social media of choice at @fyipsalms for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, Youtube and Soundcloud.
Much Love & Respect,