SimxSantana is here to deliver on behalf of Philadelphia. The 19-year-old exploded onto the scene with his breakout single “FLEXIN N’ FLASHIN,” which yields an even more impactful visual. This is a kid who traded his hoop dreams for rap bars, putting his all into perfecting his craft. Read more…
Sim describes himself as a “rare breed out of Philly,” but it’s the fact that he already has the cosign from his biggest influence: Meek Mill. No matter what the situation is, it’s his “trenches to riches” mentality that keeps him pushing. Most recently, he celebrates a new deal with Columbia Records, ready to take his career to the next level.
“FLEXIN N’ FLASHIN” has over 6.5M on Youtube alone. Did you foresee it blowing up like this?
No. When I was first making the song, I just wanted it to hit 100K. That’s it, that was my main goal. When it hit 100K, it didn’t stop. It kept going, kept pushing.
So it was all organic?
Yeah, everybody from all around the world be doing the dance. All different places I never think they’d hear me, doing the videos.
Bring us back to that studio session.
The studio session was somewhere in the hood, in somebody’s house. I made this song in 15 minutes. The next day, I’m in the studio and just recorded. A week later, I dropped it. Matter of fact, it was on my birthday. I’m like “alright look, I’ma shoot the video for my birthday.” I ain’t got nothing else to do, I’ma shoot the video. Shot the video. My birthday’s in March, it came out in April. April, it started going.
Best memory from the video shoot?
Just the fact that my whole squad was there, that’s it. The whole gang was there, everybody was turning up for my birthday.
How would you describe your sound?
My sound is unique. I don’t know anyone who sounds like me. I never heard I heard sound like anybody. People try to force it, saying I sound like Jim Jones. That’s an honor, but I don’t feel like I sound like him. Maybe because it’s the deep voice? But nah.
Being from Philly, how does that play into your life and career?
I mean, we was wildin’. We was always wildin’ in Philly for years now, before I was rapping even until now. It’s harder to come out of Philly so if you do that, that’s a big accomplishment.
You were raised by a single mother & your sister. What was the household like growing up?
My mom was incarcerated for 3 years, so it was just me and my siblings. We kind of took care of each other, with the help of my older sister.
What are your thoughts on the justice system?
What everybody is thinking. Sometimes, it just be nitpicking with people. I don’t even want to get to deep into that though. All of it’s bullshit.
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
I was 15, I’m like “yeah this what I wanna do.” ‘Cause I had dreams of playing basketball first, but I had to realize “it ain’t gon’ work.” There’s a lot of young prodigies out there who are really nice at ball out there, and they don’t even make it to the NBA. What am I doing? I wanted to make it to the NBA, but I had to be real with myself. Like “alright I’m good at rapping, let me see how this works out for me.”
Talk about trading your hoop dreams for the music.
It’s a grind. It’s grinding, either way no matter what you do. If you play sports or do music, you really gotta grind day in and day out. In comparison, it’s all hard work at the end of the day. No matter if you’re practicing or if you’re in the studio, it’s all hard work.
What was the inspiration behind your name?
When I was 15, me and my cousin were in his room. I’m like damn, I‘m gonna be rapping so I need a name. Sim is my nickname to my real name, I just put the Santana on it because it’s got a nice ring to it. When I was a youngin’, I was always listening to Juelz Santana. SimxSantana, that shit sound hard.
How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
It’s important because there are a lot of different things you could see out here, Especially when you from the hood hood, when you come out here this a whole different world. You even get many more things to rap about, you’re consuming stuff. Different experiences you usually wouldn’t get from Philly or wherever you’re from.
Fav part about the West Coast?
I just like the vibe out here. It’s always nice out here. Everybody always in a good mood. It’s genuine out here.
Talk about your Trenches To Riches mentality.
To me, that means we came from the actual trenches, like the jungle. We trying to switch that. We don’t want to be in that our whole lives, we trying to change into the riches thing. We’re trying to get rich out here. We’re going from the trenches to the riches. We been through the trenches, now we experiencing being rich. That’s what we’re trying to do.
Talk about your drip.
I dress like I still have my Philly swag on. I like to throw on what I throw on, I don’t really do too much extra stuff.
What is it you want fans to get from your story?
That anything’s possible. I ain’t ever think I’ll be here, but I am. Whatever you do, don’t stop. Keep grinding. Anyone can make it. Not saying anybody can make it but you gotta feed it to yourself, that’s all that matters. Just keep pushing, you gonna get it one day. Only way you ain’t gonna get it is if you stop grinding, so never give up on your dreams.
Talk about your interest in philanthropy (financial Literacy, single mothers & the youth).
I’m trying to get the word out there ‘cause there are a lot of single parents in Philadelphia, and in the world alone. They need more recognition. They’re actually hard-working. However many kids you got, taking care of one kid by yourself is a lot. They don’t have that extra support they need. We’re getting started very soon, dwelling on ideas. I still have a lot of stuff going on but this is something I’m really trying to do. Trying to make that a major thing.
How important is social media for your career?
Social media is very important because I want my fans to feel like they’re with me some of the time. Know what I’m doing. When I put up a video on the Insta/Snap story, I go Live, they see what I’m doing. That’s very important for me.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Shit, the studio. If I already did that with the homies… just regular shit. I don’t do too much. I’m a calm person. If I ain’t in the studio, I’m probably out with the guys or we chilling in the crib. Play the game or something if we could. I try to stay out the way.
3 things you need in the studio?
Water, food, and I need the guys in there so I can get that certain vibe. I could be in the studio by myself and I won’t get the same vibe as I’d get with 10 of my homies. They’re really my hype men. [laughs] I need gas.
You’re only 19, what are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
Right now, I should just keep doing what I’m doing. Just the average young person/guru coming up, getting my mom out of the hood. Make sure everybody I care about is cool before even myself too. Just regular shit, having fun. The most important thing is having fun while I’m doing this shit.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
It was a lot of them, I can’t even pinpoint one. I did a show one time, we was getting back in the car. We happened to park right next to a group of little girls so when they saw it was me, they just went crazy. They went wild, it was funny.
Is your fanbase primarily back home in Philly?
You plan on staying there?
No. [laughs] I love Philly to death but sometimes there don’t be that same love back. It’s a lotta hate.
Who’s in your Top 5?
I say Meek, Tory Lanez, G Herbo. Tory raps but he’s not really considered a rapper. I can’t just say Top 5, but I fuck with a lot of people as far as rapping. Especially from my city: PnB Rock, Uzi, a couple people.
What was it like seeing Uzi blow up in your city?
That shit was wild. It was really wild because for instance me, I didn’t know who Uzi was before I even saw him around. When he blew up from my city, he actually blew up blew up. Like damn, that’s love. Somebody from my city, they got it.
What’s your favorite Meek song?
Damn there’s a lot of them, I don’t have one favorite Meek song. I don’t think anybody does. “Dreams and Nightmares,” “Moment 4 Life,” etc. A lot of his old freestyling shit too, that’s what I really grew up on. A lot of his new shit like “Trauma,” “Intro,” a lot of shit.
Meek, everyone that’s popping from my city. We got a lot of people coming up or are already there. My homies too: Kydi, D4MSloan, D4MSkiano, D4MGotti a lot of young artists starting to pop. We got DiamondStreetKeem, I could go on and on. We got a lot of young ni**as in Philly just working.
What’s the tat on your hand?
It’s a microphone to show my passion for music.
Anything else you want to let us know?
I got some shit coming on the way. A lot of shit. I been out here lately so I got a lot of West Coast vibes, but still on some Philly art shit. It’s gonna be something.