The blending of R&B and hip-hop in 2017 is a thing of beauty. With so many new artists gaining recognition for both singing and spitting, West Coast crooner SiR is proving why he’s a leader of the pack. As an industry insider who’s lent his engineering and songwriting skills to Tyrese, Jill Scott and more over the years, SiR has been dropping music of his own independently since 2012. But it wasn’t until 2015, when he got in the right people’s ears.
Last month, Top Dawg Entertainment, the label home to Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, ScHoolboy Q and more, announced that they had signed the 29-year-old talent. SiR made his TDE signing official by dropping a video for the song “W$ Boi” to celebrate. But as we would soon learn, the Inglewood, Calif.-bred singer was just warming up.
Making his presence on Top Dawg Entertainment known, SiR dropped his latest project, Her Too today (Feb. 10) just in time to set the mood for Valentine’s Day. Her Too is the official follow-up to SiR’s Her EP, which came out last October when his signing to Top Dawg was still a secret. The Her EP featured Big K.R.I.T. as the lone guest on the six-track project but this time around, the crooner called upon Anderson .Paak, King Mez and Masego for assistance. Running the same length as the first project, two previously-released singles “W$ Boi” and “Ohh Nah Nah” featuring Masego, appear on Her Too.
Before Her Too arrived, which you can stream or purchase on iTunes now, SiR stopped by XXL to talk about signing a deal, working with his TDE brothers and planning his trajectory as an artist now that he’s rightfully in the spotlight.
XXL: Congrats on the new EP and announcing your signing to TDE!
SiR: Thank you.
But this isn’t coming out of nowhere. You’ve had a really long journey to get here.
Yeah, you could say that. I grew up singing in the church and was signed to DreamWorks Records when they first started doing music. We got dropped from the label when I was 11 or 12. I stopped doing music for a long time after. And that wasn’t anything…I don’t really include that in my musical career because that wasn’t my choice. My mom made me do it, but I’ve been around music my entire life and worked in the industry a while.
What led up to this TDE signing?
Man, it started with me working with Jay Rock on his 90059 album and just getting a chance to get in the studio with them, vibe out and really see where I’d be able to contribute or where my lane would be or where I’d be able to contribute. It really kind of helped me give me an idea of what’d I’d be doing once I got in there. Of course off top I was already excited to be working with those guys just because of who they are.
When did you start working with Jay Rock?
And what made you decide to sign with TDE over any other offers you had?
The musicality. It’s not just that they’re dope writers and artists, they work with the world’s best players, producers and engineers and stuff like that. I felt like if I was going to have my best shot at evolving my music, I definitely wanted to be somewhere where the best of the best were. I felt like it’s the perfect place to do that.
You’ve said earlier there’s definitely a pecking order at TDE. How do you feel you fit in the family vibe of the label?
Right now I feel like I’m the transfer from another high school trying to get on the team [laughs]. I got the talent, but it’s not always about that, it’s about being a team player. I’m not trying to force my way into anything. I’m trying to do my own thing and hopefully that will, you know, put me in the mix.
What can you tell us about your newest project, Her Too?
It’s another EP, six songs. I got a feature from Anderson .Paak. I got a picture with me and him way back in the day when he still had dreads and was going by Breezy Lovejoy. I loved his music back then. I mean, everybody loves his music now, but I loved his music when nobody knew who he was and it’s just a blessing to see his journey. But yeah, I got a feature from him.
I also have a feature from King Mez, whose also signed to Dr. Dre, and then I got the feature with Masego on “Oh Nah Nah.” So, no TDE features yet. It’s definitely similar to the first one but it has a slightly darker twist to it.
Even though you’ve got no features with TDE artists yet, have you gotten in the studio with them — Kendrick, Ab-Soul, ScHoolboy Q?
Definitely. Yeah. Just out of respect for what they’re doing, they got a lot, but I’ve been in the studio with them.
What else do you have in store for 2017? You got the music with them…
Will you be dropping any of that?
Maybe. We’ll have to wait and see. I’ve got a lot of big things though. After the EP I definitely have an album in the works. I’m working on getting more visuals and working on touring. I really want to set up a tour for myself or go on tour with one of the homies. I’d definitely love to get out with like ScHoolboy or Jay Rock or something, just to really be out there with TDE fans.
Is there someone that you haven’t worked yet that you want to?
Easy, Three Stacks [Andre 3000] just ‘cause he’s Three Stacks. He’s everything. [Quotes lyrics from OutKast’s “A Life in the Day of Benjamin André”] “I met you in a club in Atlanta Georgia/Said me and my homeboy were coming out with an album/You looked at me like, Yeah, nigga, right/But you gave me your number anyway, you were on the talcum.” Just all that. I love Andre 3000. I’m a super fan.
His sound has definitely transcended generations.
It definitely does! And that’s everyone’s goal as an artist. We want to fit the times and be current but we still want to have music that’s going to last, you know what I mean? A lot of cats out here don’t give a fuck about that. They’re just dropping whatever ‘cause it’s hot but that’s definitely not my goal and that’s another reason signed with TDE. It’s lasting. They produce stuff that you can go back to. Like Isaiah’s Cilvia Demo is still one of the hardest albums out. That’s what I want. That’s my goal…to be Andre 3000!
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