Philly-bred, San Francisco-located producer Yameen has held several aliases, but one thing that has remained constant is his powerful fascination with all things music-related. Even as a child, he was sneaking tape recorders into school or onto the bus, always on the hunt for new sounds to capture.
Then, as a teenager (and known as Stinke), he was the Webmaster for the Hieroglyphics.com site and essentially wrote the blueprint for indie hip-hop on the Web, garnering praise as one of URB magazine’s Next 100. His music production debut came under the moniker SupremeEx, and his work with Tajai of Souls of Mischief garnered hefty critical praise for its high quality as well as its integration of multimedia to enhance the music’s concept.
In 2008 — under his given name Yameen — he released his debut solo album, Never Knows Best (Ropeadope Records), moving away from the highly conceptual work of the past and focusing more on creating great music with an impressive roster of guest stars.
Drawing on past experience working with artists like Goapele, Shing02, and a pre-Hollertronix DJ Low Budget, Yameen corralled an impressive list of collaborators, including the legendary Shock G (Digital Underground), Azeem (OM Records), Lady Alma (4Hero, Black Lily), Georgia Anne Muldrow (Stones Throw), Casual (Hieroglyphics), DJ Icewater (Pharcyde, Quannum) and Maylay Sparks (!K7).
A remix album and EP followed in 2009 and 2010, respectively, affording Yameen the chance to work with some of his favorite producers including Blockhead, Mark de Clive-Lowe, and Mike Ladd.
Yameen returns to the production helm in 2014 with his latest full-length album, Come On & Go Off (in stores September 2nd, 2014). The title — not just a classic hip-hop chant — is a directive. A command to get up off your ass and jam. That’s what Yameen’s saying with his latest album: Everybody join together and dance to this. This isn’t sit-around-and-nod-your-head music, it’s get-down music.
If you’re looking for the sonic inspiration for Come On & Go Off, you need to go back to the classics. Specifically, O.G. Chicago house and Philly hip-hop (Tuff Crew in particular — the record’s single biggest influence is the E.C. LaRock house remix to Tuff Crew’s “What You Don’t Know?”). And to really capture those times, Yameen used his newest piece of old equipment, the SP-1200, which completely transformed his sound.
But don’t go thinking this is a tired throwback album. The sound is old and gritty, but the flavor is future. It’s next-school hip-house, full of syncopated rhythms, tight arrangements, fresh sounds, and inventive programming. And to keep things lively, Yameen invites a couple of vocalists aboard, with Lady Alma doing the honors on one track and Ty spitting on another. The inspiration stays the same throughout the album, but the interpretation is widely varied and always funky enough to make you want to come on and go off.