Many musicians may find writing to be the most difficult part of music creation, but for this poet turned performer it is quite the opposite. yusef slim is a Croydon-based rapper who recognized his talent while studying English Literature at Dundee University. It wasn’t until graduation when his Garageband experimentation shifted towards official releases. Despite being hesitant to join the industry, slim’s music became an emotional outlet that was warmly accepted by others. 

Today, after the release of five singles, yusef slim has developed a discography of low-fi beats masked with smooth alternative rap. Each of his songs explores his personal emotional journeys, described through complex and compelling lyrics. Unafraid to reveal his true feelings, slim creates therapeutic sounds that others can relate to in their own lives one way or another. With his recent releases of “I Just Ghost” and “Kaká” we look forward to seeing what the future holds for this young, innovative artist.

We met with yusef to learn more about his story. Get to know him below:

What’s something people don’t know about you? 

The first album of any genre I remember getting was Big Willie Style as a present for my 4th Birthday.

How and why did you get started with music?

When I was at University I used to write poetry and in my 4th year I sent a collection to my English Lit professor. He said he enjoyed it but I should consider setting it to music as it was written with a rhythm to it, so on the back of that I bought a mic and mac, and started recording stuff on Garageband & releasing once I graduated.

How would you describe your music?

It’s a real mix of flavours and influences to be honest, I could say ‘Alternative Rap’ but that doesn’t tell you a lot. It’s mostly like sad-boy Tumblr vibes mixed in with a bit of a more chilled vibe. Occasionally, I do experiment with Trap or Drill sounds too but the lo-fi sad/chill aesthetic is more my bread and butter.

Where do you draw from for inspiration musically and lyrically?

Musically, I quite like artists who are able to make music that is chilled or relaxed but able to express different emotions within that soundscape. So artists like Isaiah Rashad, Kota The Friend and Mac Miller I find really inspiring, so I try to make sounds that are in that realm but still uniquely my own.

A big part of the stuff I do involves issues around mental health & relationships, so much of my music talks about that kind of stuff a lot. I try to make lyrics that show my personality and how I think so really I kind of just draw from how I’m feeling at any given point.

Who would be your dream to collaborate with?

Probably Earl Sweatshirt or Jesse James Solomon. I think I could blend my sound quite well with both of theirs.

As an artist, what are some of your major goals in the next five years?

To be honest, I’m just having fun creating stuff and seeing what I can make and how I can push myself. I’d love to do another full-length project so hopefully put one of those together, do some more shows & work with some different artists/producers. Really just take this music stuff as far as I can I guess.

Any near-future plans? What should we be on the lookout for next?

I’ve got a few singles, a quarantine music video, and a couple of EP’s almost finished and ready to go. Just waiting on the artwork for them and they’ll be ready to go.

What are you listening to right now?

To be honest, my music tastes have kind of switched a little during the lockdown. So right now, I’m listening to The Gorillaz, Sugababes, Blur & The Strokes but usually, I’d be listening to Lucki, Smino and Westside Gunn. Or depending on my mood some Drill like 22Gz, Dutchavelli & Zone 2.

And finally, can you tell us a little more about your recent single “I Just Ghost”?

I actually made ‘I Just Ghost’ around the same time as the single that came out just before it, ‘Kaka’, and they’re both just me making my version of Drill music really. Lyrically, it’s just about how I am cos I’m quite a lowkey, quiet guy but at the same time when the time is right I can turn up and do the most.

To stay up to date with yusef slim and his latest tracks, follow his Instagram and listen to his music below: