YHN HammerTime hails from 3 different countries, originating from Sierra Leone, West Africa. Coming from humble beginnings, the multi-cultured rapper has been through the most: surviving a gruesome civil war and witnessing much death and disparity.
Speaking on the reality of being from a third world country, he states, “Whatever poverty country that you think of, it’s pretty much everything right there.”
Now, real name Mohamed Sesay is here to tell his story from Africa, London, and America. Coming to the DMV area at age 17, he will be celebrating a decade in the States come next year. While there was no culture shock due to prior experiences living in different places, he injects real-life experiences and storytelling into his lyrics, detailing everything from the pain to the success.
YHN stands for Young Hustle Nation, with HammerTime playing the CEO to his own independent label. After a short hiatus, he returns to unleash singles “Back At It Again” and “Lift Off” — declaring his worth in the rap game once and for all.
AllHipHop: How was it growing up in the DMV?
YHN HammerTime: It gives you the best of both worlds depending on the crowd you mingle with, which is what every country’s like. Over here, it gives you the best of both worlds depending on the crowd you hang with. You could see the good side of it, then you could see the bad side of it. I’ve mingled with both, so I got to see a bit of both.
AllHipHop: When did music come into play?
YHN HammerTime: I’ve always used to mess with music since I was a kid, but I actually took it serious in 2018. The end of this year will make it two years. I always had my hands tied with music as far as record label-wise. I had artists all the way up to London at the time, but a lot of them were getting locked up, getting killed… it’s a long story. I figured if you want to get the job done, getting it done yourself is the best way.
AllHipHop: So you were managing artists before you became an artist yourself?
YHN HammerTime: Exactly. I still have an artist that’s under my label right now, that had a song with DaBaby.
AllHipHop: How did that happen?
YHN HammerTime: I have a record label team. I hit one of my assistants that’d been working for me for a while, told them to reach out to him for a feature. The feature got done through email. Right after that, he had a show in the DMV at the Fillmore location. At the Fillmore, we went there and shot the music video right then and there. It was a wrap from then on for him.
AllHipHop: Did y’all have to pay?
YHN HammerTime: Yeah, of course. An artist like that, if you don’t really have that type of relationship, I understand why he needs to charge everybody. He’s crazy hot. [laughs]
AllHipHop: How much?
YHN HammerTime: I have an eye for noticing an artist before they get crazy big. At the time, he was getting close to blowing up so the actual feature itself when it was recorded was $2500. The actual music video itself was $5000, so $7500 all in all. I held it for a year. When he blew up, I said “okay, time to drop.”
AllHipHop: When did you come up with Young Hustle Nation?
YHN HammerTime: At first when I started, I was the youngest. Since I’ve been in the DMV, a lot of people around me now are young and none of them have a 9 to 5. They have to make it happen somehow, some way to make it work. I came up with the terminology, Young Hustle Nation, stating what it stands for.
AllHipHop: When did you realize you could do music as your own artist?
YHN HammerTime: This was 2018. I always had a bad habit of having to stay behind someone’s back, telling them do this, do that. I’m very terrible at having patience, I’m not good at that. I get frustrated quick, so I figured I’d do it myself. Nobody will have to tell me to do this, do that. I’ll do it myself at my pace, when I want to do it.
AllHipHop: Have you always wanted to be an artist, or no?
YHN HammerTime: I’d say 50/50. The lifestyle I was living in, I didn’t want a public eye on me. 50/50 because I actually do like doing music, the only thing is the headache of dealing with what comes with it if you gain fame. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand. They always want to blow up and this and that which I understand, but are you ready to control the fame? Because you could lose yourself if you don’t know how to control it.
AllHipHop: You just released “Back At It Again” visual, what was the inspo behind this record?
YHN HammerTime: I took a pause. When I came back, that’s one of the first songs I’d done and put out. That’s why I named it “Back At It Again,” the verse itself explains what’s going on, still right now. Where I started at, from the same area, I could still pull up and get the same love. That’s exactly the visual I was showing them, back at it again.
AllHipHop: Best memory from the visual?
YHN HammerTime: It wasn’t actually caught on camera. [laughs] It was the scene of when we’re shooting dice, I actually won $3700 from shooting dice that day. That was my best memory from shooting.
AllHipHop: You just dropped “Lift Off” visual, what were the risks you took to make it this far?
YHN HammerTime: I can’t really go into detail. I’ll say life-threatening risks, meaning death or jail. To this day, I live that lifestyle. It’s still taking risks. If you want success period, you’ve got to take some type of risk. That type of risk comes with it, depending on the type of lane you’re taking to gain the success. The lane I took was a rough lane to get out of. It was really a risk to make it this far. A lot of people I started with, at the end of 2018, within three months I lost four of my homeboys. All of them got killed from gun violence. It’s a life risk to make it this far. I’m one of the few to come out.
AllHipHop: How does music help you cope?
YHN HammerTime: Makes me explain myself in a way that I don’t explain to human beings. I explain it to the mic, it’s easier. The mic just listens, it doesn’t talk back.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
YHN HammerTime: See, I don’t really have a necessity. I’d say water, pretty much. I’ve always been nervous of getting addicted to stuff, so I’ve always kept my distance. Water, snacks, food. Sometimes I might order pizza because it’s easier to deal with, or order some wings.
AllHipHop: You don’t smoke or drink?
YHN HammerTime: On and off, but I know how to control it.
AllHipHop: How was your pool party in LA? What happened with the shooting?
YHN HammerTime: It was real crazy. It was nice but it ended up crazy because a majority of what was actually planned itself didn’t go as planned, meaning a lot of people who weren’t even supposed to be there appeared at the location. It got crazy, but it was fun at the same time.
AllHipHop: What happened with the shooting?
YHN HammerTime: A lot of people that weren’t invited made it there, so it led to a situation where it got out of hand. People were playing defense for life.
AllHipHop: Goals for yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
YHN HammerTime: Getting my music rolling. I’m starting to see a difference, but I want to see a major difference. My social media: Twitter, Instagram, Youtube’s starting to pick up which is a good thing. “Lift Off” visual that dropped did 27K views within 36 hours. A day and some change, which is actually good because when I started, to gain 5,000 views would’ve taken me probably 2 months. It’s definitely starting to pick up.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let the people know?
YHN HammerTime: I’ma just keep working. Keep watching.