Weasel Sims is far more than just a recording artist, he’s a motivational speaker in his own right. Hailing from Chicago and son to popular drug kingpin Rufus Sims, Weasel first gained notoriety when his picture was shown in A&E’s television show Gangland, capitalizing on the moment by releasing his own single and music video with the same title.
Releasing and promoting his music through his own R.A.N. (Real Artist Network), the rising rapper is the perfect blend of a new age Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Griselda—keeping hip-hop alive in all facets of his life. As an integral member of the group The Lil People alongside Jae Haze and Tae Butch, their 2020 project Coke Raps charted the #6 spot on rap charts, completely indie.
Speaking of his greatest indie influences, Weasel praises Nipsey Hussle, Tech N9ne, and Master P for their hustle and grind. He states, “I started by studying indie artists, people who represent indie artists and who have grown in their right. I’ve never been a whole fan of Tech N9ne the music, but the grind. They got warehouses and swag, I’m heavy on that shit.”
Now, Weasel unleashes his new EP titled Aim High, 8 tracks reflecting on his come up. Beyond the music, Weasel has his own clothing line with the same name: R.A.N., with hopes of blurring the lines between fashion and music videos.
Flaunt caught up with Weasel Sims via FaceTime, who was posted in his house in Chicago on house arrest. Read below as we discuss his roots in music, time on house arrest, making money from home, how his sister’s death affected him, his group The Little People, inspo from Nipsey Hussle, new project Aim High, love for fashion and selling clothes, and more!
Being a son to such a popular drug kingpin, Rufus Sims, what is that like?
In regular life, it’s fascinating for everyone who’s not a part of that. In street life, it’s being royalty almost. I was watching Coming To America, it’s almost a version of that. My dad’s been gone at the same time. I’ve been in the streets a lot but I could’ve done a lot more if I wanted to. Almost like inheriting a company business.
What made you not go that route in the streets?
I’m smarter than that. I saw everyone go to jail or die. I had a passion for music. When I first went to the county, I got out and went to Columbia [College]. Now I’m in Columbia seeing all this systematic shit going on. I come from seeing artists come from the streets to Bump J’s, learning about Lupe. Whoa, there’s a whole other side of music out here? I had a song doing real good, I got locked up. Timbuck2 was pumping real heavy for me, RIP. I made a decision like “man, this shit’s not going to help me.
When did music come into play?
I was always rapping, I was always with a gang of rappers in prison. The crazy part is I was the weakest in the group. I started getting my street reputation the same time when I started getting better. All of a sudden, I was the best at it. Because of the following outside, the shit I was doing outside, then having a platform to talk about it. I’ve been rapping my whole life but once I got out of the county the first time and went into Columbia, that’s when I started taking it seriously. Learning about the music business, seeing how to grow above and seeing my peers doing it, it changed me. I didn’t even want to go to the neighborhood anymore, I wanted to stay downtown.
What was the inspiration behind your name?
I came out from jail, this the first time I ever had a PR. She’s from the neighborhood, I went to high school with her. She asked “you ever thought about the Rick Ross type thing?” I said “you mean my dad’s name?” She said “that’s exactly what I meant.” I’d been thinking about it, and ended up doing it. He told me it was my birthright, and started running with it. If I was in the mentality I am these days, I would’ve used my government name. My dad’s whole name revolves around street shit. I want to do business deals, all kinds of shit. Even though I make street music, I’m from the streets, I want to be known and seen as much more than.
In 2015, you released “Money Come To Me Now.” What was Weasel like then?
Even though Weasel was trying to be out of the streets, he was more in the streets then. Genius gave me an artist check, and I don’t think I lived up to that at all. My sister ended up getting shot in 2016, I got so many stories of me trying to be way too to the left and the most outright shit happened. When my sister got shot, I fell back out of music for 2 years, right after I got all the biggest write-ups of my career. Me trying to do this rap shit has my family out here in the summer, people who’ll never get past my past so let me put myself in a position to move my family into the burbs. I couldn’t afford to move to the burbs and support a rap career at that time.
How was music a coping mechanism for you?
Music is therapy. The mic’s like a psychologist, I’m running to the mic every time some shit happens damn near. My sister’s doing good, she stays in Cali. She’s a hippie from Cali, ended up getting a tattoo around her bullet wound that says “warrior.” I had got shot before so I matched hers, we got these matching warrior tattoos.
Talk about being a member of The Lil People.
Me and Jae Haze give off a modern Redman, Method Man type of vibe. We talk a lot of shit to each other, like Stepbrothers type shit but it’s all fun. Some people get around, cameras come on, this is how we kick it. Smoke weed, talk shit, but we involve the whole room in our shit-talking amongst each other. We like to have a lot of fun, the music’s more fun. Our next project, we got a song with Icewear Vezzo. We got a song we wrote for Jeremih. 3 of us really came up doing music together. The other guy’s signed with Jeremih, but we still all make music together.
Why are you guys The Lil People?
I don’t know if every sound is a big, national sound, but there are viable sounds within the music industry. Everybody wants to be this big dog on the top, but the big dogs can only remain big or get big with the little people that help them. So don’t forget the little people.
What does a song like “Malcolm X” mean to the current times?
It’s a lot of instances, not even a fucking race thing because that’s too transparent in these times. For me, by any means necessary. I’m on house arrest. Been on house arrest for 18 months, I’m making more money than n*ggas outside. We charting, doing all types of things. I don’t think we made the Chicago list, but we got nominated. They put out this list every year of who’s the top 25. We do popular music too, but some people compare us to an Outkast. We do current, but we do hip-hop too. There aren’t many hip hop acts on that list, it’s more the young drillers. This shit’s helping me out because I can’t kick it, I can’t spend no gas money. I sit at home, smoke my weed, and create. Be with the kids.
How’s your mental state? 18 months is a long time on house arrest.
At first, I was stressing a bit. Not being able to move the way you want, watching this go on. In this pandemic, there’s a lot of money out right now. All of a sudden when shit really slowed down, damn this the perfect time if I had to be on this shit. I got my music business together. A lot of aspects where I wasn’t together but created my publishing company. Made sure I was registered on every end, from Sound Trust to Sound Exchange Harry Fox Agency, everywhere my music’s tagged and back. This gave me time to really get my shit together. It’s allowed me to save money, I’m getting money while on this shit. Spending a lot of time on my kids. I’m not all the way ready to come out yet, I need $100K.
How are you making money from home?
I’m selling clothes. You know, I got my whole career publishing. I never had my publishing, never knew you could collect your backend unless you have your own publishing company. I learned that from Clubhouse. [laughs] I started my publishing company, I’ve been collecting some decent backhand checks.
Talk about the Trap N Grow EPs being inspired by Nipsey Hussle.
Going back to my family, my pops spends a lot of time either in Chicago or Cali. The end of his bid, he’s in Cali. He has relationships with people or friends in Cali. When I came to Cali, this one particular woman escorted me around. Came to find out, she connected me to Nipsey. Her son and Nipsey were best friends. I had came out there to do a show one time, she said “I wanna introduce you to Nip.” We ended up talking on the phone, he said “look man when you come up here, we’re gonna sit down and figure something out.”
At the time, I had went broke. My whole career, I’ve been preaching independent shit. I’m thinking even he might have offered me a situation but I didn’t want to be in a situation where I have to take anything. You offer me, whatever I take it. I wanted to get myself more together how I usually am. That’s when I tried to reach back to him. At that time, he’s working on his last CD. He’s on a whole another different position. He did a deal with Atlantic, paper and all that, but the relationship was still there. He’s on his promo run, unfortunately that shit happened and I was never able to talk to him. He was doing The Marathon, his shit was a series: Marathon, Victory Lap. Man, it made me really want to give my fans something they can follow and grow. That’s why I came with the concept: I’ma do Trap N Grow 1, 2, 3. As I grow as a man, as an artist, as I get more chains: Trap N Grow 3, he had 3 chains. He used to have one chain. People could follow the growth with me, I was inspired by how Nipsey did his Marathon series.
What are you most excited for with your highly-anticipated project, Aim High?
It ain’t even popular raps. Some of my favorite rappers are Griselda, Freddie Gibbs, the Grammy rap shit. A lot of bars on there for sure, I’m fucking shit up. I’m talking street shit, crazy bars about getting out the streets, growing, ownership. It’s all leading up to me doing a big project in October called House Arrest. I already shot a documentary about the 10 projects I completed since I’ve been on house arrest, 30 videos. This is the first solo CD I put out in 3 years.
I’m excited I’m even able to have enough people listening that I could put out a solo CD. When I first got on house arrest and couldn’t do anything, me and haze figured “you know what, let’s do something together.” We started growing back out movement that way. At the time our movement was at its highest, I was the top artist with us. This is my first time putting out solo music again, I’m excited to see how it’s received.
What’s your love for fashion?
There’s a lot of shit going on in Chicago. Joe Fresh Goods is a real staple now, I watched him grow. I got to be around a lot of people in the fashion world, that grew up from the mud. I came to love the fashion as much as the music. I worked hand in hand with this guy named Pugs Atomz real big in the fashion and music world in Chicago. Definitely trying to sell some clothes out here. I’ve sold thousands of shirts, but on the cheap end. I’m pressing up these shirts that say “real ass n*gga.” It says real artist network on paper, but real ass n*gga in the streets. Once I started watching the Virgil’s, Don C’s, all these people that had Kanye, damn we weak as hell how we making this shit. This shit weak so I put it on pause, but we’re still selling. Everybody called me crazy. Man, who wants to sell a bunch of trash? So I spent 4 years making designs, studying fashion. Now, I’m waiting on my samples to get here.
Anything else you want to let us know?
Aim High out now! The next Little People project Randemic in June, we got some big big features. If you wanna stay in tune, text RAN to 545454. Check out our website: rannation.com.
Follow @weaselsimsran on all social media platforms.