Music : Siimba Liives Long

June 26, 2018
               News

June 25, 2018

Siimba Liives Long is all about free expression, in whatever form he can get his hands on. 

"You have to be scared in order to be brave," the budding Ethiopian American rapper tells us. Siimba has filmed music videos with live lions, eaten fire, and recently released "Hooked," a performance art video in which he is hovering above the ground, clamped by metal hooks. 

It took no training, he says, an openness that seems to be part of the rapper's overall ethos. Having only recently made a splash within the "Soundcloud rap" scene, Siimba sets himself apart by pushing boundaries and taking his visuals to new, unexplored heights. We spoke with Siimba about pet peeves in the art world, his daring tendencies and his most painful experiences.

Siimba Liives Long plays Treble Tuesdaytomorrow night at House of Yes.

Interview by Janai IvanaPhotos by Mitchell Connell

How did you come up with the name Siimba Lives Long? 

 

Siimba Liives* Long lol. Siimba was a nick name my homies called me and my last name is Long. So I just threw a “Liives” in there and called it a day, it used to be my Facebook name then I just made it my rap name official.

 

How did the concept come about with ‘Hooked’? 

 

I was thinking about it for a long time. I had a song with an intense underlying message and I wanted a visual to match that. I eat fire and that community is linked with the suspension community. I was scared to do it but that’s kinda why I wanted to. I’m all about pushing myself and doing things I’m scared of.

 

Was there any training involved with the piercing hanging in your video? If so, how long did it take? 

 

No training. 

 

 

What can we expect live on Tuesday? 

 

A sick show. Imma fuck it up. It’ll be one of the craziest shows of my life. 

 

What current art trends would you say you follow or inspire you? 

 

I’m not hip to the trends. I just appreciate art and I’m inspired by everything I see. 

 

What is your pet-peeve within the art world? 

 

No pet peeve in regards to art itself, my only pet peeve is snobs, I think sometimes people get so involved in music or art to where they think their taste is better than everyone else’s and forget that art is fundamentally expression and people are free to do it however they want. 

 

Ethiopia, New York, South Africa, Washington, D.C. and New Jersey to name a few places you’ve lived. How has this shaped you? 

 

Living in different places gives you a broader perspective on life. It’s important. Changing your environment is one of the best ways to guarantee learning something new and keeping your mind open. I think it allows me to relate to a lot of different types of people. 

 

Growing up with hip hop as one of your favorite genres, who would you say is your favorite hip hop artist out right now? 

 

Kendrick. 

 

Does it differ from your favorite performance artists? 

 

I’m not hip to a lot of performance artists, I open to learning about some though, I think it’s tight. 

SIIMBA LIIVES LONG - HOOKED

Play video 

In reference to rapping with lions, eating fire, and being hooked: what is something you’re afraid of? 

 

I’m afraid of all those things, that’s why I do them! I wanna inspire people not be to fearless but to be brave. You have to be scared in order to be brave. 

 

What the most painful experience you’ve had?

 

Emotionally when my dad died. Physically, when I ruptured my eardrum. 

 

Is there any meaning behind the white clothes worn in your music videos? 

 

I’m Ethiopian. I wear traditional Ethiopian clothing but I have my own sauce to it. I was inspired by the old school Ethiopian Kong’s. If you look up Menelik I dress similar to him. I don’t think I need to subscribe to this western standard of what fashion is and I think the clothes I wear are beautiful, so I gotta kill these lames everyday with it. 

 

What are some misconceptions about you? 

 

That I’m like this holy or super righteous dude. Very false. People come up to me talking about which crystals do I think they should get to raise their vibrations and I’m like, “Nigga I don’t know, I’m drunk” haha. I believe in spirituality but I have my vices and my demons and I don’t try to hide them. 

 

What’s your greatest advice you can give to someone who listens to your music?

 

Express yourself unapologetically, love yourself, take risks, embrace the fear, be brave, help people, listen to your heart, and understand the more you do these things the more people probably will not like you......and that’s okay, because you’ll be happy and you’ll connect with the ones who accept you and love you for who you really are. #RIPTOTHELAMES

SOURCE: OFFICE MAGAZINE

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