Photo: AlenPopov via Getty Images
  /  02.17.2023

Hakeem Rowe is a New Jersey-bred media sensation making big waves in Los Angeles, California. After getting his main start with Adam22 at No Jumper, his drive and tireless work ethic helped him become the face of Our Generation Music. Known for his taste and knack for highlighting the next generation of music stars, Rowe is becoming a staple in the media’s ever-changing landscape. After receiving a co-sign from the Jamaican tastemaker, artists like Yeat, Nardo Wick, Ken Carson, Cochise, and more have flourished.

Rowe has elevated his status after becoming one of the hosts for the official Rolling Loud live stream, broadcasting on-the-ground interviews, news, and reporting from the biggest festival in Hip Hop. With over 100 interviews and more than 10 million views under his belt, it is only suitable that Rowe was one of the first guests on Spotify’s “RapCaviar Podcast.” His musical opinion is respected by many today. Rowe’s route is as unconventional as his approach, but his goal is to be the hardest-working person in entertainment.

Hakeem Rowe sat down with REVOLT to discuss how he discovers new music, his time with No Jumper, and his rise to prominence in music journalism. Check out our exclusive interview with the new voice of the youth below!


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How would you explain what you do and who you are to a fifth grade student?

I am a host! I interview a lot of new artists. I am a tastemaker, so my job is to put a lot of people on to artists they have not heard of before and help them become fans.

Talk about where you are from, and how it influences you and your music taste.

I am from Jamaica, and I moved here when I was 9. So, the music there has always been significant to me. Whether it be riddim or anything because I just loved the vibes there. When I was young, I moved to New Jersey in the suburbs, which helped me grow my range for music. I was skateboarding, playing basketball and football, and just around different experiences than before. Therefore, I listened to rock, rap, and man a little bit of everything based on the places I had lived.

You’ve been early with some of music’s most popular acts. How do you discover new music?

It is interesting. It’s not like I visit a website or anything. I just exist in so many different places, and it’s like music finds me. I understand other sonics, sounds, and niches because my friend groups are so broad. I do not try to find new music. It just finds me in my everyday life. I might find it online or in person, but I do not search for it. It just happens to see me.


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Being known as an early adopter of music must come with a lot of unwanted attention. How do you deal with people feeling entitled to your ear?

It gets annoying and frustrating. People are always trying to force things on me, and realistically, I come across things naturally. Putting someone on and forcing someone to listen to the music are two different things. Suppose you think about how Lil Wayne discovered Drake. Jas Prince was playing music in the car, and Wayne asked who was playing. You must create a more natural vibe to put someone on to your work.

How did you become the host of Rolling Loud’s live stream, and how was that experience?

I got the nod because I knew people around that camp for a while. Being first to many of these people made Tariq Cherif naturally reach out to me. That is their origin, that underground sound, and they just respected what I do for the scene, so they brought me on. Whether it be someone like Yeat or Nardo Wick, they know I am tapped into the scene.

How do you choose who you are going to interview?

I truthfully just have to be a fan of it. I love connecting with the artists, and I do not just accept every interview that comes around. Many places feel like a press stop, but I must rock with the music before doing the interview. If I sit down with someone, I am genuinely curious about the artist and their music. I love music, so I just want to know more about their process and the thought behind creating the music I love.


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Who are some of your inspirations when it comes to media personalities?

I would say Jinx from Complex and Speedy Morman. They were into clothes and fashion. I would come home from school and watch their interviews. They are more technical, discuss the music, and stray away from the drama. I connect more with their style of journalism.

With someone who’s always on the go like yourself, how do you stay balanced in your free time? 

Man, I am curious to know if I am balanced. Bro, I am Jamaican. I want like seven jobs. There is no balance, and I just want more to do consistently. When I grew up, everyone was always working, and I did not feel the need to take a break. I always want to do something. I always look for what is next because music is like a drug. 

Your time at Victor Victor has been well spent. Can you give us any updates on some upcoming projects from that camp?

I signed Highway last year, and we put out his first project and a new mixtape. So I have been learning from this. Many executives reached out to me to A&R, but this situation felt right. I did not realize that I was an A&R ahead of time, but I live and breathe music, so it made sense. My lifestyle gives me great insight into who I should work with next.

Suppose you had to take five artists you are watching to dinner. Who would those artists be?

Highway, Luh Tyler, DJ TOPGUN, Ken Carson, and Homixide Gang.


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You’ve done over 100 interviews. Which would you say is your favorite?

My interview with Big Scarr, you know, he was just himself. Even with Southside, he is someone who is genuinely just him. They are not acting like they are something they are not. He was just a human. Those are my favorite conversations when they are casual and authentic.

What are some takeaways from your time at No Jumper?

It was interesting, you know. I was around and a host, but I was always just early, you know. It was fresh and new, like an internship stage. I was not getting paid that much, but I am thankful to Adam22 for that first opportunity. Your dreams are genuine, and you can make things happen for yourself. Leaving there showed me I could make something happen for myself. 

What are some of your goals for 2023? 

I just want to keep my promises to myself and not make too many excuses. That is my biggest goal this year. It is nothing material, and I just want to be honest.

Who are some of your dream interviews?

My dream is to interview the next Drake or Ye of my generation. I do not want to avoid talking to anyone who is already established, and I want to find the next superstar before they get to that big space. I want to discover the next Kendrick Lamar. I like stuff that moves the needle. Those big interviews are cool, but they do not change anything.



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