Sam Hill is an emcee out of Whittier who is fully out here. Hill already has reached past success as a part of his group SELFKING with fellow Whittier emcee/producer AGE, but he has now released his own solo project to rave reviews from fans and supporters. His debut mixtape, Die In The Hype was released nearly two weeks ago and has him buzzing like never before. DITH is a rare complete body of work that has a particular sound and theme and seamlessly flows from catchy feel good music like 20 Summers, to 4(U)S the type of song that you will dedicate to someone special to “Thuggin” the shit you bump in the whip with your squadron back to Mama2k13 an introspective song that has real meaning.
I caught up with Sam to formally introduce you all to him, get to know his background, what his eccentric title DITH means, his relationship with group mate AGE and who his musical influences are and more.
Vic Stunts: What is the message and or meaning of your title, Die in The Hype?
Sam Hill: Getting older is super crazy cause you start appreciating the past and how it shaped you as a human being so “Die In The Hype” was based off me growing up in the West side of Whittier where people don’t expect to much from you. Its not the cliche “hood” but I did grow up around trouble so it made it real easy to get lost in the lifestyle. “DITH” was just me saying that the expectations and labels put on kids like us needs to “Die In The Hype” cause there’s talented and creative people everywhere. I didn’t want to get lost in the label. This is my way of letting me be me. It gets hard sometimes but we got to stand for what we believe in 100%.
Vic Stunts: Who were your musical influences growing up?
Sam Hill: I’m a huge Neptunes fan so anything Pharrell and Chad Hugo touched I gravitated to. With them being so diverse and working with different artists and different styles of music, I can be singing my heart out to Justin Timberlake one second then the next be thuggin to some Clipse. I was really big on Lupe Fiasco as well. His wordplay and his steeze was second to none. He was everything to me at one point in my life. Growing up in LA it was almost impossible to not be up on all the new hip hop in the city so I was onto early LA hip hop like Blu, Tiron & Ayomari, Dom Kennedy, U-N-I, Pac Div, Kendrick Lamar etc. really young. They kind of shaped me to be the person I am now.
Vic Stunts: What’s your favorite U-N-I song?
Sam Hill: man, thats a tough question. I’m a U-N-I stan. I’ve been to like 7 of their shows, I caught a pair of Jordans they threw out and they signed them for me, and I got a shirt they signed for me too. I’d have to say its a toss up between Halftime, Hammertime, Stylin, Land Of The Kings, Stakes Is High, Donkey Kong, and Soul Hop. I got too many to chose from!
Vic Stunts: If you could describe an event in your life that most inspired you to begin making music what would it be?
I’m not to sure I have an event or a specific moment that made me want to make music but I knew at a very young age that music was always going to be apart of my life. My dad used to play funk, freestyle, and R&B whenever I was in the car and I used to play air guitar or air piano cause I was into the music. It made me want to learn the music part of it all first which would be the grooves and the instruments so I took a guitar class at school and picked up a piano early high school and I kind of taught myself how to play. That’s what started it all. Hip Hop came after and thats cause I met A G E.
Vic Stunts: What made you decide to pursue it as a career and not just a hobby?
Sam Hill: The early success of SELFKING. SELFKING became something you needed to hear and people you needed to see. Adrian (A G E) and I never took music lightly. I was 15 when SELFKING started and we put a lot of our time and effort into making good music and giving the people a good show. At this time it was still just a hobby but when we were putting on shows ourselves and selling them out, random people coming up to us and telling us they like our music, and making DIY music videos that were getting thousands of views then I knew if I really gave this my all then I can be someone special. It went from appreciating the culture to what can I offer to the culture in a matter of a day.
Vic Stunts: You beat me to it, I was going to ask you about your group SELFKING next. So what is the working and personal relationship with AGE like?
Sam Hill: The working relationship with A G E works so well cause our personal relationship is so strong. For people that don’t know us personally, we’re always together. I’ve know him since I was 13. I can call and talk to him about anything. I literally see him like 5 times a week. With that being said our working relationship is dope. He knows what I like, I know what he likes, and we know what SELFKING fans like.
Vic Stunts: How does your music on Die In The Hype differ from a SELFKING project?
Sam Hill: “DITH” is a little more personal. I had to give my music a side of me that I felt I haven’t given yet. The sound is completely different as well. Its not as gritty. It’s a lot more softer, soulful, and melodic. I feel like the project was a testament to the person I am and to the sound the team (Never Ending) and I have been trying to push for years now.
Vic Stunts: Yeah, I noticed how transparent you are in your music for example in Mama2k13, and 4(U)S, have the people you’ve written these songs about heard DITH yet and reached out to you ?
Sam Hill: Actually, yeah. It’s all love. We’re good. As I said earlier, the past plays an important part in shaping the person you are today. I may not feel like I did when I wrote those songs anymore but I felt it was super important to put those songs out. If I was feeling like that at one point then I guarantee someone who listens or has listened to those songs is feeling or have felt the same way. I can connect to the listener a little more just by being myself.
Vic Stunts: That’s dope, I respect that. So one year from today where do you see yourself careerwise and geographically?
Sam Hill: Hopefully doing a lot more shows, making better music with a bigger budget, and just improving as a musician and a song writer. I plan on traveling a little more and taking my music with me but we’ll just have to wait and see. Expanding is definitely in the plan though.
You can give Sam’s very dope Die In The Hype mixtape a listen below