By Jamel Johnson
The future of hip-hop has always been uncertain. From its beginning, when many thought it was a passing fad all the way up into when Fat Joe took his shirt off at MTV Spring Break. Somehow there are always new artists willing to steer the genre through uncharted waters. Such as one Mr. Farma Wes. When BYT asked me to interview Farma before this Saturday’s Super Sampler concert at the Howard Theatre, I jumped at the opportunity to chat with a fellow Woodbridge Alumnus. Enjoy my attempt at being Connie Chung.
When was the last time you were in Woodbridge?
It was probably Christmas, but I don’t really go back there very often; I love my hometown for what it is but I got out of Woodbridge for a reason. It’s just too negative. When you’re trying to do something that’s different, a lot of people try to shoot your dreams down, because nobody’s made it out of Woodbridge because it’s a small town. Like when it comes to rap, Woodbridge people just try to play you like “Oh, everyone’s trying to rap”. Like, what are you trying to do? Woodbridge is more of a lifestyle for people who are gonna go to school and make something out of themselves through school or sports. It’s just the suburbs. A lot of the popular people in Woodbridge are focused on being fresh, being popular, social networks, they get carried away and start to live within that lifestyle.
Once I moved to Richmond, I stopped focusing on all that stuff. Even though I love my Instagram, I love seeing my likes on my social networks, but it’s a different lifestyle. I started focusing more on creativity, rather than my social popularity.
You’re working with my friend Virtuoso The God, also from Woodbridge.
Yeah, he sent me two beats recently actually. One of them was a Beyonce beat – sounds like a spiritual Beyonce beat. It’s actually pretty crazy.
Do you believe that Beyonce is gonna be Oprah? Like, that’s the end of it, right? There’s just gonna be the Beyonce network.
Yeah, the thing about Beyonce is she’s a very beautiful person but she’s just very humble. If you watch an interview with her, she almost acts like she’s not even beautiful. She just gets straight to the point – there’s no attitude, there’s no foxiness, it’s just her. But when she’s on stage, that’s when she’s just all over the place. In her videos, she’s just wild. The thing is, a lot of girls look up to Beyonce, but a lot of girls aren’t like Beyonce. A girl can be as beautiful as Beyonce and not be famous but won’t be as humble. And I respect her for setting that example.
Yeah, I been to Park before.
Psssh I’m scared to go to Park! But any girl who’s as pretty as Beyonce won’t act like Beyonce. She’ll act like Rihanna. She’s gonna turn up.
What’s your favorite Beyonce song?
It’s actually “Mine” featuring Drake. I could listen to that song all day. Her production is getting very wild. You can tell that Jay-Z is actually stepping in.
I’m just kind of stuck in ‘80s R&B. I never stopped listening to it.
It’s the best!
I really enjoy that song “Wesley” where you use that Sade sample.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7L2VK0nRfo
To this day, I would marry Sade.
Sade’s like 200 years old and she’s still beautiful.
Sade could have her face falling off into a black hole and I would still wife her. I saw her at Nissan Pavilion when I was in fifth grade.
My first concert was sixth grade. I won tickets on the Donny Simpson show to see Brandy at Merriweather Post Pavilion, with opening act Silk. With my parents.
Was that an awkward concert?
It was Brandy at her wackest, and Silk definitely at their wackest.
I have no hard feelings against Brandy, but after seeing Moesha, it’s just wild. Brandy was like a dark-skinned Aaliyah when she first came out, really urban. For real, I don’t think artists should be on reality TV shows. It takes away from your legacy. Even on Moesha, it’s just like, girl.
I had a math teacher who thought Brandy’s real name was Moesha.
OK, music questions.
I’m ready for some serious music questions.
The last song you listened to today.
The last song I listened to was Chief Keef, “Save Me.” It’s this Lex Luger beat that sounds like if Lex Luger was a producer in 2005 for Dipset. It’s a beautiful beat. I actually really like what Chief Keef is doing this year. I know a lot of people are like, Chief Keef can’t rap. It’s not about being lyrical. The song I came out with, “Feng Shui” – this is the first song girls ever listened to. People tend to think if you’re not being lyrical, it’s not good music. Basically everybody wants you to be like Kendrick Lamar. Everybody can’t be Kendrick Lamar. Everybody can’t be Eminem because then we wouldn’t have Drake, we wouldn’t have Juicy J. We need versatility. Everybody’s a character.
How ridiculous is it that Juicy J is a pop star now? Dude’s been rapping about doing coke and killing people and robbing people for years.
I feel like it’s great because obviously he’s in this state of mind where he’s not gonna be trapped in this hood civilization. The thing is, I love Three 6 Mafia – the ’92 through ’94 tape with “Ridin’ in Da Chevy” and “Niggas Ain’t Barin’ Dat” – all those classic Three 6 Mafia songs. Just seeing that he went from rapping those low quality beats all the way to being mainstream and entertaining people – how could you knock that? I didn’t know how I felt about it at first but you gotta give time to everything and now it makes a lot of sense.
Do you think that rap music is going to go back to something like a Dipset sound, like old Kanye, something out of the early 2000s?
Basically, as an artist, you’re either really different – which doesn’t work because people like to hear what they’ve kind of heard before, but just a new version. People don’t like when you sound exactly like someone else, especially in rap. That’s the thing – I feel like music is only going to get better. Like A$AP Rocky, people say he stole this flow or he stole that flow – he just took everything he was a fan of and put it all together, and that’s what makes him A$AP Rocky.
How often do you release content?
Here’s what people don’t understand about me. Back in the earlier years when nobody knew about me, I dropped a three song project called “Genghis Khan” then a 15 song project called “The White Book” and then in 2012 I didn’t drop anything. In 2013 I dropped “Wesley” and “Feng Shui.” “Feng Shui” was when girls started listening to my music. Girls were like, “Ohh, what is this?” Like my ex-girlfriend who I was beefin’ with called me at 2:00 in the morning…
That’s the worst, when exes like your shit. It’s like, how dare you?
Yeah, like, you don’t even like me! You got a new boyfriend, you got this great, fabulous, heroic boyfriend that you’re showing off and now you wanna see what I’m doing because I dropped some music. It’s crazy.
There’s something about pain though. It just makes you better. It forces you to grow.
Yeah, rappers who say I’m getting all these girls and all this money, like, what’s fabulous about that? It’s more heroic when you weren’t getting any girls and any money. And now you are.
The balancing is tough. I don’t want it to be all money and girls, but I don’t know how comfortable I am with Donald Glover like pump fakin’ on threesome, but then also I never had the opportunity to blow a threesome, like I never had the opportunity to be nervous in that situation.
You’re a cool guy. I know it’s weird to consider yourself a cool guy. It can come off arrogant real easily. How do you feel about that? How do you feel about the term “hipster”?
I don’t know what people think about me; I don’t even really know what a hipster is. I don’t wanna look up any definitions because I don’t think anybody really knows what a hipster is. They think anyone who’s into new fashions, skinny jeans, anything that looks a little too artsy and modern, they think is a hipster. And I think I might fall under that category but I don’t really care, because I don’t think that takes away from me as a person. But I feel like I have put myself out there as far as my image because I do a lot of photo shoots and I always try to stay up on fashion, but basically I’m just really into – like you said – looking cool.
It’s just weird how they’re pigeonholing people into that shit. And how it relates to the music now – I feel like all of it’s just about the ‘90s right now…
Here’s the thing about that – it’s all ‘90s but that’s about to die. In 2012 it was really ‘80s,then going into 2013 it was straight ‘90s. But all that’s going to die. It’s about to become more modern. Because keeping it trill, rocking bandanas, doing all this ‘90s shit – it’s getting old. Like, A$AP Rocky rode that wave and he reintroduced it along with Raider Klan and everybody started dressing like that. When something is that high, it has to come down. So I feel like now, everything’s about to be a mix of kind of ‘80s, kind of ‘90s, but just a new millennium or something, pretty much.
What can people expect from you next? What’s your game plan?
Basically my album’s done – it’s called No Love, No Peace. People can pretty much expect a big sound out of me. My project has “Feng Shui” on it but everything’s bigger than “Feng Shui.” It’s darker, it’s more hungry, it’s harder. There’s some really, really hard songs on there. The way I want to come into the game is intimidating, sharp and very aggressive but at the same time smooth. People can just expect a really strong project with a really serious approach with a universal, somewhat mainstream approach that everybody can relate to.
After I drop this video, called “Death Wish,” I will have a lot more shows after that.
Who would you give it to besides yourself in this area?
The only person I would give it to besides myself is GoldLink, Ras Nebyu. Those are the only people I’m really feeling right now. Oh, and Kali Uchis and Peter Maher. Kali Uchis’ videos are very good. You gotta catch her videos.
I just feel like in the DMV people are just borderline basic. I’ll take the bullets for saying that. I feel like people just do enough, just do what they have to do. It’s not really anything that’s different. And I respect Fat Trel too. He’s like in that lane of hood music. But he did that differently. His flow – he doesn’t just use the same flows. He has multiple flows. And that’s what people need to understand about Fat Trel. Yeah, his music is ignorant and all that but he’s artistic with it. His flow is all over the place. I just feel like the DMV – there needs to be a bar that’s set. We can’t just keep having just basic music. I remember when it was only Wale coming up, there was no good rappers. And that’s why I appreciate shows like we’re having at the Howard Theatre because they’re highlighting artists that are trying to do something different. I would just say in the DMV we need a new wave. We need to be like L.A. and New York.