By: Seamus Fay
To make music and to be a creative, in general, is to make a promise of dedication; dedication to constantly improving one’s line of work and dedication to never compromise artistic vision. Few artists within the Boston music community exemplify this trait as well as RAMS. Whether it be writing songs, making clothes, or directing visuals, he always seems to have his hand on projects that work towards the end goal of improving as an artist, and in this way, it only follows that RAMS has grown into one of the most polished, sophisticated artistic minds in the area.
He’s been a noteworthy figure in Boston dating all the way back to the very roots of the current scene, and we here at Graduation Music had the opportunity to talk to the Dorchester native about a variety of topics pertaining to his hometown, JMP, “Diablo”, NSFW, Cam’ron, and much more. Read our conversation below.
Where are you originally from?
I’m from Boston – Dorchester. Columbia Road, to be specific. My family is from New Orleans and I used to live down there when I was super young for a short period.
What was your childhood like and where did music first come into the picture?
My childhood was pretty similar to anyone who grew up in the hood with a single mother, I think. I just always remember my mother constantly feeding me knowledge and creating such a great home environment – sometimes it didn’t feel like we were fucked up and I’m super grateful for that. Music has always been around me because of her as well, since forever.
What artists were you influenced by as a kid and why?
I would say I was influenced a lot by artists like Sade, Erykah Badu, Luther Vandross, etc. That stuff pretty much came from my mother, but one day my sister had given me all her old CDs so I started to really get into Tupac, 112, Nas & artists like that. I also went to a school with a lot of Hispanics so I was super into reggaeton too.
How did Diablo come together and what does that project mean to you? How about ‘Fear & Loathing’?
DIABLO came together pretty organically. I like to put out conceptual projects rather than singles all the time. That project means a lot to me. Everything I make is like a child of mine.
Fear & Loathing holds a special place in my heart because I feel like that was sorta the blueprint of my overall sound. [It] showed myself and others that you can make more out-of-the-box stuff. People from all over tell me how much they love that project. I love inspiring people in any way I can.
What did it mean to you seeing the Diablo Racing Club shirt in Vogue?
Shout Out to my brother Rah. It was dope! It was just some street style shit but it was still dope to me. Like damn, we did that, lol!
What is your creative process when writing treatments or making music?
Well, first things first, I have to be in my zone. I don’t have an exact process, believe it or not. My mind is just super random so things usually pop up randomly then I just make sure to get it out. Sometimes its hard to force myself to create if the right energy isn’t there.
Lately, we have seen you doing a lot of work with JMP. When did you first meet him and how has your working relationship evolved and come together?
I met JMP in like 2012. That’s my brother so I wouldn’t say we really have a working relationship. It’s definitely more of a friendship first. I appreciate him a lot for giving me the opportunity to showcase my creativity in other fields. I look up to all my friends. They all inspire me more than they know.
How did the Cam’Ron opportunity come about? How did it feel seeing your name on a music video from such a cultural icon?
Well, actually that was kinda random. I had just written like 3 Playboi Carti videos at the time (they didn’t get made) and told one of my close friends, Pat. Pat was working at the label that Killa is on, and was like “Oh shit Rams, I didn’t know you were writing videos! Wanna write one for Cam?” And of course, I said fuck yea. That’s the first video that I did that came out and it was Cam’ron. That’s so crazy to me.
Me and Cam had a long convo on set and he basically said that he fucked with me and what I’m tryna do. After hearing that, it was lit. I made sure to put a lot of people from Boston in it too, just cause. So yea, shout out Cam, Pat, & Cinematic Records.
Why did you relocate from Boston to New York? How do the two cities compare?
Cause I needed a change. I was doing the same things over and over again. Kind of felt trapped. And it’s so easy to have done everything in Boston. Sometimes you need new land to conquer, and they are just two very different cities. The comparisons would take all day. Love both cities but Boston will always be home. 4L.
Being around when Boston’s “new” music scene was first forming, what are your thoughts on the way it has grown and the success of artists like Cousin Stizz and Michael Christmas, for example?
We were the cool, new, young faces so it gave the city a brand new energy. We still need a lot of help in the city. Years of hidden racism and venues not wanting anything to do with hip-hop acts have really hurt the music scene for young black kids that are trying to get into music and that needs to change. I hate it. We have a long way to go.
With that being said, there are a lot of kids doing dope shit and taking things into their own hands, and I love seeing that. Stizz and Xmas popping off is great cause now the doors open. More importantly, they are able to provide more for their families and where we come from – that’s what matters the most.
What can fans expect from you and the NSFW family in 2018?
Everything. We are just gonna start hitting people over the head with great art. Keeping it raw, real, and genuine. I have visuals and videos I’ve directed coming out soon, too. I’m dropping an EP called CHOKE very soon. Then the next album, Fear & Loathing 2.
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