Kanye West’s Presidential campaign may have just been bolstered by a few Republican activists in the US, but Mr. West has said he might consider moving to beautiful New Zealand.
The hip hop luminary and activist was speaking with Kiwi rapper Lil Mussie (real name Mustafa Sheikh) on a FaceTime call at the end of June after producer Anthony Kilhoffer introduced the pair.
Kilhoffer is best known for his work on all of Kanye’s records, including The Life Of Pablo, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Graduation, Late Registration, as well as releases by Kid Cudi and J Lo, T.I., and Rick Ross.
Kilhoffer mixed and mastered Lil Mussie’s single ‘On Me’, which was released July 31.
The 26-year-old Auckland-based artist spoke to Kanye West for around 15 minutes. The pair spoke of their respective charity work (Sheikh runs a charity called Bread, which helps at-risk youths), the power of the people when it comes to activism, his music, and the idea of moving to New Zealand.
“It came up at the start during the ‘hey bro’ phase,” Sheikh tells Tone Deaf.
Sheikh says the pair were talking about how New Zealand has been lucky amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “[I said] we’re super lucky, life’s pretty much normal. Ye [said], ‘I’ve heard – might have to consider moving to NZ, it’s a beautiful place’.”
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Sheikh told Tone Deaf he was surprised by how “calm and down to earth” Kanye West was during their chat.
“I expected him just to talk for ages without an opening but he showed interest,” he says. “We’re so used to hearing him with a raised voice on social media – the real calm Kanye was so nice. I see him on social media breaking out and that’s not the guy I saw. I really feel bad watching those clips.”
Kanye West later complimented Sheikh on one of his ‘On Me’ lyrics: “He said he liked my line ‘slipping pesos to the state homes’.”
Check out Lil Mussie, ‘On Me’:
When asked whether Kanye gave him any advice, Sheikh says: “He really emphasised the power of the people. I told him about Bread and how I want to change education systems and influence generations. He just said stick to what I’m doing, that’s what’s really going to change the future of our society.”
Through his Bread charity, Sheikh has started a uniform fund to keep 200 youths warm and dry during colder months.
“I’m also looking to expand Bread overseas to children in countries like India and Thailand,” he says. “We’ve developed a working model over three years with the charity and I want to make a big difference. I’ve also written a book we use to mentor students with our programmes.”
‘On Me’, which details Sheikh’s life and his charity work, features a verse from Ohio-based artist King Chip (AKA Chip The Ripper), who is best known for his production and featuring work on multiple Kid Cudi releases.
Sheikh says the single was created as a means to raise funds and awareness for his charity work during lockdown. “Music is an amazing medium through one can deliver powerful messages,” he says.
Sheikh tells Tone Deaf he’s currently working on a charity EP with a few yet-to-be-named music heavyweights.
“I’ve talked to some amazing artists who are on my top 10 favourites of all time,” he says. “I have a charity EP in the works which is going to be amazing. Each track will detail each artist’s life till that point.
“[…] With me I intertwine the charity and positive messages into everything I do. Otherwise what’s the point of content with no meaning?”