Who Is King Salomon?
Rapper Salomon Faye is on a mission to conquer hip-hop. After releasing the J. Cole and Eryn Allen Kane-assisted “Live and Learn,” Faye is keeping the momentum going with his forthcoming EP, King Salomon. The three-track EP finds Faye offering his social commentary on the state of the world, inner conflicts and seeking God.
He even describes his pensive bars as lethal on the track “1984″ featuring Nas Leber, where he spits, “Mind is a weapon, so don’t make me have to shoot ya.” With roots in Paris, Harlem and West Africa, the conscious MC is putting his higher state of mind on full display. Consider his forthcoming three-track EP a sampler for his debut album, Book of Salomon.
Until King Salomon drops, get more familiar with the TIDAL Rising MC below.
From being born in Paris to being raised in Harlem and now residing in West Africa, how did these locations shape your love for music?
I swear living in West Africa has just made me a nicer person. Embracing the tradition here has reinstated some of my best qualities that were previously compromised by living in America too long… I came to Africa seeking higher knowledge, and that’s how I see it shaping my new music. Harlem gave me my slang, my walk, my talk, my edge. Growing up in Harlem is what made me hip-hop, giving me real experiences and perspective in street culture even to the point where it shaped a lot about my attitude. Being born in Paris just gave me something outside of NY to come back to — maybe it’s love, maybe it’s jazz, maybe it’s family, I don’t know. I just started visiting more frequently. Whatever it is, I’m working on improving my French so I can get to the bottom of it.
How did you fall in love with hip-hop? Was it a specific song, artist or album? Who are your influences?
I fell in love with hip-hop because of the swag of rappers in the ’90s. Everyone looked so cool to me, the music videos, the attitude, all so alluring. I think the culture just seduced me as a youngin’ and the energy fields that’s what I picked up from artists like DMX and Tupac [whom] I immediately felt connected with before I knew what they were saying. Just the passion and poetry had me hooked to the point [where] I started jotting down rhymes of my own. Like in first grade, I was writing rhymes. The furthest rhyme I remember is something I wrote in third grade:
‘I stay helping my moms almost everyday
Try to stay out of trouble so I bend down and pray
Hoping to God that he will save my life
So I don’t worry about doing everything right’
My biggest influence to date is still Lauryn Hill. Her work with The Fugees, on Miseducation [of Lauryn Hill] and Unplugged really established a sense of responsibility in myself with the music I make and really gave me guidance in times of searching. Sometimes, I can still listen to a song from Unplugged and shed a tear because of the strength it gives my faith in God or light it throws on a blind spot, or a fog in my vision it makes disappear. She may still be my favorite MC, judging by her skills in her prime, ’cause she could flip a bar and hit a note. Also, as I got older, JAY-Z’s music really grew on me. He is a wizard disguising all the codes of heaven in street rhetoric and manifesting it all in front of us. May God continue to bless him, both of them, all of them.
What inspired the title track “King Salomon”?
“King Salomon” came about when I was spending a lot of time in a very aggressive environment being challenged and forced to really consider and reconsider a lot of my core beliefs. I took that energy and put it in this song as a way of forcing my honest perspective on the record on some of my world views and destroying the filters in myself that might influence me to say less or say something differently. For the sake of being free within my music to do and say what ever I want, and for the sake of hip-hop, never losing that component to the opinions of outsiders looking in, I presented a perspective that might challenge the listener.
How did you collaborate with J. Cole on “Live and Learn”?
Me and Cole have a natural workflow. We didn’t even try to make the record. It just happened, he made the beat, I laid [down] a verse, I went upstairs, he started a melody, I came back and wrote the hook. Eryn Allen Kane laid [down] the vocals for it, then in another day or so, I finished the song with my final verse.
It’s like the same way I met him kinda. We just ran into each other on the street randomly after being introduced via e-mail several months prior. I think we have one of those special MC to MC relationships. By that, I mean the bases of our friendship is the respect we have for each other’s talent, and from there, the door opens to seeing more about the artist as a person and seeing the human or spirit behind the art.
Cole is a great dude, and an OG to me, regardless of how good I may or may not be, he’s a multi-million record-selling, platinum recording artist and I’m somebody nobody really knows who probably hasn’t even sold a thousand records yet. And he gave me a shot and made a record with me just off the strength of something he saw in me or my music. I thank him for that. I think that shows how big of a person he is and how humble I need to be. Shout out to Cole. I’m grateful to have made this record with him.
Describe the motivation behind “1984.”
The title of “1984″ is inspired by the book 1984 by George Orwell. If you know this book, you know it’s about a society under a crazy dictatorship being force-fed propaganda and closely monitored by thought police because anyone who doesn’t comply with the fake ideals of life is basically a traitor. So I’m doing the same thing I think the author was doing — I’m comparing this place to America. I would really recommend the book to anyone who hasn’t read it. And if you read it when you were younger and not again as an adult, I recommend you read it again.
What do you hope this EP tells new followers?
There’s a new New York artist on the map that is really worth paying attention to and his name is Salomon Faye.
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