Hailing from Toronto, 21-year-old artist singer-rapper SAFE has garnered some much-warranted accolades. Since writing his first music on the age of 13, he is teamed up with DVBBS on the velvety clean “Listen Closely,” incomes a Platinum certification, and later appeared on Khalid’s Billboard Scorching 100-charting Free Spirit lower, “Don’t Pretend.”
The effervescent expertise (actual identify: Saif Musaad) has since garnered reward from music’s prime heavy hitters, together with rap juggernaut Drake. SAFE’s debut album Keep showcases his capability to glide by way of hip-hop, pop and soul whereas tapping into his Eritrean roots. This versatility has allowed him to stretch past his creativeness, and domesticate an album that options appearances by Quin and Playboi Carti.
Beneath, the multi-talented hyphenate talks with Billboard about these collaborations, in addition to what occurred throughout his file session with Khalid, and the making of his debut mission, Keep.
What impressed the title of Keep?
I would say future impressed the title — simply out of the truth that everyone from my household to mates needs me to remain in Toronto, however figuring out that to ensure that me to essentially like develop and transfer ahead in my profession, I should be on the transfer.
What music on the album was probably the most troublesome to finish?
“Are You Scared Part Two” — simply because when I was engaged on that observe, the primary time I heard the beat, my homie performed it for me and I did a freestyle to it, and that was the half one we put out. We dropped it on SoundCloud only for the followers, however it wasn’t completed. After we completed it [me and one of my best friends, Mustafa] wrote the music collectively, and I introduced in loads of totally different producers. There’s most likely like 10 to 15 totally different variations of “Are You Scared Part Two” on the manufacturing aspect. However sure, simply because it was actually musical with dwell devices being performed, that was undoubtedly the toughest music to place collectively.
There are two collaborations on this album — Quin and Playboi Carti. How did these collaborations come about?
Working with Quin was an concept that got here from my supervisor, Steve. Steve was the one who received Quin on the file. He was like, “I think Quin would be dope on this.” I mentioned, “Yeah, let’s see how it works.” After which, she did her factor and I was like, “Perfect!” I really feel prefer it match good on the file. With Playboi Carti, I knew him for a pair years when he first got here to Toronto. He was cool. We confirmed him round, after which, we turned homies. It felt proper to have him on the file.
Talking of collaborations, you latterly labored with Khalid on the Scorching 100 single, “Don’t Pretend.” Are you able to describe that studio session?
That studio session was nice! We did that music a pair years in the past and the music was sitting there… So I was like, “Yo. What if I was like I want to put this out?” And he’s like, “Let’s do it.” The music developed over time, however we each liked it.
Your video for single “Red Light” was just lately launched, are you able to inform me what impressed the therapy?
We wished to include some type of tradition and faith in it just a bit bit. It is like, if you recognize, you recognize. However we began brainstorming and we’re like, “Yo. We should always undoubtedly shoot it someplace the place individuals do not actually know the place it’s, however they know it is someplace that is sizzling — or like someplace that simply appears to be like like a vibe.”
We did not wish to pinpoint and let individuals know precisely the place it was, however I really feel like with the therapy, it was like we simply wished to get the right match. I really feel like simply getting the suitable lady for the video was necessary too, and I undoubtedly wished to make it extra of a cultural factor greater than something.
How necessary is it for up-and-coming artists akin to your self to get recognition from music business friends like Drake and the OVO crew?
I really feel prefer it’s at all times cool to know that persons are fucking with what you will have going, particularly coming from Toronto. There’s not lots of people making it up and out of there. There’s simply loads of nonsense occurring there, however it’s at all times cool to see when individuals from your individual metropolis are fucking along with your motion, or fucking with no matter you do, as a result of it offers you extra motivation and inspiration to go tougher.
When individuals hearken to your album for the primary time, how would you need them to explain your music to another person?
Effectively, it is onerous as a result of loads of these songs — I hate being positioned within a field. I hate being referred to as simply an R&B singer, as a result of there are loads of songs on the mission that fall into totally different classes like pop and might dwell on their very own. I recollect alone, like a ravish file that has dwell drums and can be very versatile. So I simply really feel like with this mission, I would name it soul, however like, futuristic soul. It is probably not a style, however it’s very avant-garde. I’m simply displaying off my capabilities.
What’s the very first thing you probably did to rejoice the Keep album launch?
A lot of my homies wished to exit — wished to go to the strip membership and stuff. However truthfully, I couldn’t go, because the album’s completion got here throughout Ramadan and I’m a Muslim. So I could not actually go and really rejoice. I’m not saying that I would go and get like shit-faced drunk if it wasn’t Ramadan, however I did not wish to take away from the holy month and make it about myself. I really feel that’s type of what I did unintentionally, however I simply chilled at my crib and smoked.
Being Muslim and in an business that usually invitations temptations, how do you deal stability these sorts of conditions, particularly as a your inventory continues to rise?
To be sincere, I’m related to God, and never even being corny. The extra you pray, the much less worries you will have, and the much less you decide your self and are much less insecure about who you might be. You understand what I imply? So, loads of instances, when I be in a scenario, I simply be like, “Is that this me? Is that this actually what I must be doing?” No matter scenario I am in, I at all times should hold that in thoughts. I really feel like typically it will get onerous, however I really feel like if I have been to do one thing fucked up, I will not bash myself for it. I simply attempt to pray extra.
The extra you keep related, the extra you pray, the much less you are worried, I assume. We’re human beings. We’re all sinners and that’s a truth.
With the album’s launch and your continued celebrations, what do you will have subsequent coming down the pipeline?
I undoubtedly have loads of catching as much as do to be sincere. I simply need to have the ability to put out some extra hearth and shoot some extra movies and put out some extra music. I simply need to have the ability to keep impressed as a result of I really feel like I took a protracted — I would not essentially say a break, as a result of I was working all through the entire time, however I type of fell off the map for some time.
I really feel like now that I’m coming again out, it’s all about consistency, and identical to feeding individuals with much more content material. So I really feel like simply staying on prime of all the things, at all times being within the studio, which I’m already doing. I simply really feel like hitting individuals with extra visuals, extra music as a result of loads of these songs on the mission, to be sincere, are songs I did two, three years in the past. So I have much more hearth coming.