We had the good fortune of connecting with Anwar Karim and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Anwar, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I love this question. This has been heavy on my mind in the last few years. As someone who just graduated from high school, I’m transitioning from a child depending on their parents, to a young adult sufficing on their own. As high school progressed, I had less time to create. I was spending more time studying for SATs and applying for college than I was writing rhymes or recording them, and that frustrated me. However, this actually brought me closer to my craft. The longer I spent away from the studio, the more energy and determination I brought once I finally got a chance to record again. Before I had *deep sigh* responsibilities, I would actually create less often. In middle school, I would drop maybe four songs annually. This was because I didn’t have other tasks in my life that made me yearn for music like I do today. Now, I’m working a job, and I rap every day. When I’m at work, most of the day I’ll be thinking of fly rhymes in my head, which I’ll immediately pen down and recite once I get home. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that balance is an everyday occurrence. Too much of anything isn’t healthy for us as humans. I now understand that balance is the ability to jump between two worlds at a pace that allows us to be stimulated when jumping between these worlds.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art will always do one or both of the following two things: elevate or motivate. What makes my art different from most is that it provokes action or thought. I choose to discuss topics that make people want to take action. Whether it be picking up a book to educate themselves, or hitting the gym, I aim to make music that sparks action. This is a theme of my upcoming project I AM A MAN, which is produced by my uncle, musical mastermind Shafeeq Beats. I AM A MAN is a project about the child-adult transition I spoke on earlier. With that transition comes knowledge, commitment, and duty. On my last project Ayah’s Sun, I was still enjoying the innocence of my youth. Now, I am a man, and this project is me dealing with all that comes with being an eighteen year old Black man in America. Getting to this point was not easy, but I did not do it on my own. Organizations like The Academy DC and Words Beats & Life have supplied me with the tools, put me in rooms, and introduced me to the people I needed to meet in order to advance my artistry. For that I am forever thankful. When challenges presented themselves, I was able to fall back on the people around me and they always picked me back up. Having a strong support system is so important, and I’m grateful to have people that I trust surrounding me. I just want people to know that Ice Karim is a student of the game with a love for music and a passion for evolution. Evolution is sometimes difficult to accept, like the truth, but like Nina Simone said, an artist’s duty is to reflect the times. I will always reflect my life, the times, and reality in my rhymes.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I think food says a whole lot about an area. As a vegan, I would probably try to halfway-convert my friend by taking them to some of my favorite local plant-based restaurants. Fare Well in DC would be our first stop, and then we’d take an obligatory trip to a Busboy’s and Poets. While it’s a heavy experience, I think a visit to the Museum of African American History and Culture would be riveting. I love art and my name means collection of lights, so a visit to Artechouse would be in order. I also love movies, but I love hip-hop too. Therefore, the perfect attraction would be Can I Kick It?, an event by Shaolin Jazz. Shaolin Jazz is compromised of Gerald “G Money” Watson and DJ 2-Tone Jones, and Can I Kick It is an event where they screen kung-fu flicks, while 2-Tone scores the movie live with a selection of classic and current-day hip-hop, R&B, neo-soul, or whatever he pulls out of the crates that day.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to shoutout my mother, Ayah Davis, and my brother Taajudeen Davis. My mother is my hero, my rock, and on many occasions, my therapist. More so than those qualities, she is the vessel through which I was blessed with creativity. She is a painter with a unique signature style, and is always dressed to the nines. Not only that, but she has supported my dream from day one, and remains my #1 fan. I’d like to shoutout my brother Taajudeen as well, who is my partner in rhyme and my biggest role model in life. Despite our seven year age gap, Taaj has always had my back. He’s always one call or text away. Taaj and I are like peanut butter and jelly. There’s no Ice Karim without Taajudeen. Since we recorded our first track together in 2018, I’ve approached music with a linear dedication and passion. This stems from knowing that my craft can take me far in life, and it was Taaj who planted that seed.

Website: https://www.elevatemotivate.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/icekarimraps/?hl=en

Twitter: https://twitter.com/icekarimraps

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOGv5G76DvuSXUrrFg4LMJw

Other: https://linktr.ee/icekarim?utm_source=linktree_profile_share&ltsid=54455b22-0a46-4a6e-8c51-923f66b02c3d

Image Credits
Colin Jarratt, Dominic Turan, Joshua Love, Ayah Davis

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