Baltimore-born/Los Angeles-based artist Naeem today releases a new single/video, “Woo Woo Woo,” (Feat. Amanda Blank, Micah James) from his upcoming album, Startisha, out June 12th via 37d03d. Following Startisha’s lead single, the “woozy, deconstructed hip-hop track” (Stereogum) “Simulation” (Feat. Swamp Dogg & Justin Vernon), “Woo Woo Woo” highlights the album’s organic collaborations as regular collaborators Amanda Blank and Micah James throw down over its fast-paced and clubby instrumentation.
“I wrote the first verse of this song in a weed coma in a warehouse in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, with producers Sam Green, and Grave Goods,” says Naeem. “Amanda and Micah heard the demo and demanded to be on it, the bars they added made it better than I could’ve ever imagined, and Amanda, once again, shows up everyone on the track.” Vernon agrees, “Blank’s verse on ‘Woo Woo Woo’ is pure rap fire,” he says.
Bobby Whigham directed “Woo Woo Woo”’s accompanying video. “I loved to be able to create and collaborate during this time with friends,” says Whigham. “The internet played such a huge part in this from online shopping for set design items, to the facetimes, zoom meetings and text messages of this whole process. We really took a tongue and cheek approach to what’s happening with staying at home right now.” “We wrote and recorded [“Woo Woo Woo”] all in this really fragmented way,” adds Blank. “Initially, I think we were all really psyched to make a video together, but then when this happened and we were forced to make this in isolation, the video ended up being made in the same untraditional and pieced together way as well so it all kind of came full circle which feels very preordained in some strange way. I never really believed in all that but now maybe I do.”
Watch Video For “Woo Woo Woo” (Feat. Amanda Blank, Micah James) –
Studio work on Startisha started four years ago after Naeem linked up with producers Sam Green and Grave Goods in Philadelphia. After sessions in Philadelphia and New York, he decamped to Minneapolis and holed up in Vernon’s home studio, where Startisha continued to come together with contributions from Vernon, Ryan Olson (Gayngs, Polica), Swamp Dogg, Velvet Negroni, Francis and the Lights, and regular collaborators Amanda Blank and Micah James.
In Naeem’s words, Startisha presented an opportunity to move on from past work under different monikers, and strike out under his own name, with the experimentation in the music a parallel to the personalization of its subject matter. Throughout, he sings about the ideas of self-care and the attention economy, the love for his boyfriend, and personal memories of growing up in Baltimore. Startisha is impressionistic and genre-bending, exemplifying artistic, daring and emotional intelligence while exploring new ideas and sounds, and philosophically excavating the artist’s histories.