Salomon Faye
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Salomon Faye

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Hip Hop Avant-garde


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Open Mind of New York’s Salomon Faye"

“These days I’m just trying to write as much as possible.” Perched in a computer chair on the upper floor of what looks like a mix between an artist studio and a fraternity house on the outer edge of Bushwick, Salomon Faye can hardly keep himself from giving impromptu demonstrations of tracks he’s been working on lately. On the eve of releasing his debut EP, Stimulation, the 21-year-old rapper shows no signs of letting up. “I dedicate myself to this craft, and I’m only looking to reach higher levels of impeccability.”

Born in Paris, but raised in Harlem, Faye is driven by a desire to excel. The tracks on Stimulation are laden with dense wordplay, self-empowering philosophy and delivered by way of carefully composed flows. On “Alchemy,” which Faye describes as his “mission statement,” he proudly proclaims: “I fight to be a conscious being, armed with dreams that I blast into reality.” Faye commands the beat with an idiosyncratic flow, adding melodic texture through dynamic rhyme patterns and traces of the kind of New York patois pioneered by the Boot Camp Clik. His style hints at golden era boom bap, but never feels derivative.

Elsewhere on the record, “Black Power” sees Faye dish out razor-sharp allusions to systematic oppression, while elevating the meaning of “black” in beautifully scripted rap poetry. The line “When you took mine you lost one, mathematically” could be understood as a nod to Faye’s greatest hip hop heroine. “Lauryn Hill is my favorite. She drops so many gems. There’s so much passion in her expression. Sometimes it waters the eyes to hear it, to feel it, to understand it better when you hear it again and when you’ve grown a little bit. Through her I really learned the importance of communicating in my raps, as opposed to just rapping.” Hill’s influence shines through in Faye’s music, from its penchant for the soulful and the organic, to the way each syllable seems uttered with purpose, an open invitation for his listeners to connect.

Faye’s full-on pursuit of rapping started about three years ago. It was also around that time when he moved from Harlem to Brooklyn. Faye linked up with brothers Ki and Sei Smith, and began to help them run the art gallery / event venue Apostrophe. It was his time at Apostrophe that brought him closer together with a crew that would have a significant impact on his rapping career, XL’s Ratking.

Faye actually crossed paths with individual members of the rap crew much earlier. After hanging out for a bit, they realized that Faye and Hak had gone to after-school together in third grade. Faye also connected with Wiki when his name first started to bubble up. “I was around 16 and I thought I was the best at my age,” remembers Faye. But when he first heard Wiki, Faye instantly became a fan. Fast forward a few years and Ratking is commonly hailed as one of the most promising groups from New York, and Faye’s feature on So It Goes album cut “Take” has carried his seething bars to new ears.

Their approach to rapping is compatible, as both Ratking and Faye boast an ability to juggle words with authority, reflecting their long schooling on the cypher circuit. But whereas Ratking channels the sensory overload of a life in New York City into high-octane cacophony, Faye tends to strip instrumental layers down to their backbone, leaving his words front and center. EP opener “Faye” exemplifies that formula. Booming low end, a dry snare, and the occasional synth streak are the only things added to Salomon’s lyrical acrobatics. “The mental temple but I keep it simple.”

Faye’s self-empowerment and wisdom seeking is reminiscent of another New York rap group, Flatbush duo The Underachievers. Although he’s never met them, they share a voracious interest in ancient Eastern philosophy and hermeticism. Faye’s eyes light up as he talks about the books he’s been devouring, reciting principles of the Kyballion and Falun Dafa with unmistakable passion.

“This is the stuff that drives me. This is the stuff I love. This is what I swim in on the daily. Those understandings, those curiosities, the exploring of them, is what life is for me and what comes out in my expression, in many different ways. I feel like being an artist gives you a special relationship with the divine because you interact with it all the time.” Faye approaches his art with clearheaded deliberation and acute consciousness. “I write very purposefully, because I’ve watched myself become things I write. I’ve watched my knowledge follow my curiosities.”

Towards the end of our conversation, Salomon obsesses over Jay Z’s rhymes on “Can I Live.” He pulls up the lyrics on the screen in front of him, but one gets the sense that the passage is firmly etched into his memory anyhow. “The homie said, ‘My mind is infested with sick thoughts that circle / Like a Lexus, if driven wrong it's sure to hurt you / Dual level like duplexes, in unity.’” Salomon catches his breath. “It’s just like, damn! That shit right there? Timeless. It don’t matter whether or not he’s spitting like that anymore, cause he did that. And that same mentality – actually the evolution of this mentality – is present in what he does and says now.” Salomon Faye is a mindful student, dedicated to perfecting his craft. - Red Bull Music Academy

"Best Songs of the Month (April 2015)"

Salomon Faye is a force. There is a beyond human energy you can hear in rappers sometimes, and you don't hear it very often, but New York's Salomon Faye has it. This doesn't always mean the best music, but when everything matches up, this energy is power.

Salomon's delivery is like Mos Def right after Black on Both Sides. It's still raw, but there's something way deeper there. From the message to the intensity in each word, Salomon Faye is the bearer of something great. On his new Stimulator EP, that is apparent, and it feels like the flex of a much larger muscle. The opening song "Faye" sets it all up perfectly in "Yonkers" fashion. Meet Salomon Faye.—Confusion - Pigeons & Planes

"Interview: Salomon Faye Wants His Music To Uplift Culture"

Harlem raised Salomon Faye’s is a lyrical altruist. Whether it be him laying stellar verse on Ratking’s “Take” or jamming with his fellow gangly artists in the IlluZiON collective, the elusive artist doesn’t rap just to obtain monetary riches.

For him, it’s about adding a new dimensions to his listeners’ lives. VIBE caught up with the upcoming musician at Manhattan’s Ace Hotel to talk about his nomadic life, influences on his Stimulation EP (which is available on iTunes), the model’s hustle, and more.

You were born in Paris, raised in Harlem, lived in Brooklyn, and now moving back to Harlem. Did moving around affect your music at all?

Salomon Faye:
Yeah, because it built to me the person I’ve become today, like the different experiences I’ve had. I’ve even got a song called “Brooklyn 11233″. That song is really like a direct expression of what I was going through [then] in Brooklyn. Every song is an expression of the experience.

“Fool’s Gold” was out on iTunes two or three years ago, but “W.T.F” just came out in March. Is there any reason for including songs even with such a time gap between them?

This is just like to introduce myself. I feel like this is the perfect package because it’s some old, some new. I didn’t want to leave anything behind.

For those that aren’t familiar with your history with THEiLLUZiON collective. Would you mind talking about that?

The name is an interpretation of society and the industry as an illusion. Our first step in speaking truthfully is identifying ourselves as the illuZiON, being that this is the vehicle we’re speaking through. We’re a collective of artists. We plan to takeover by producing content that is honoring and uplifting culture.

You’ve mentioned before spirituality is one thing that drives you guys, or at least you specifically?
I’d say me specifically, but I think the word “spiritually” takes away from the point I’m trying to make when I say something because it has extra connotations. My whole growth I’ve seen in my life — that people will see through my music — is a person who has realized the relationship between like man and spirit. I lean away from it being too much because it scares people away.

So that’s part of what goes into you creating a track?

Yeah. But what I do to represent that is the effort to know myself and communicate myself honestly at all times. So it’s all about being real. And for me, as a musician and a lyricist, it’s about using my influence responsibly. Just making sure that I’m using it to benefit my listeners to a way where they can perhaps use it. I’m just trying to be a healthy addition to hip-hop.

You discuss some social issues on your older tracks, but with your recent work such as “Black Power” and “W.T.”F”, you’re blatantly stating that something’s wrong. What inspired you to be explicit?

“Black Power” for me was about looking around at some current issues: a lot of problems with racism and addressing it. A lot of it seems self-defeating for a black man. It’s like “Okay, but what about the power that we do have, the power to overcome this?” I felt there needed to be a voice that strived to recognize that so we could focus on empowering ourselves and being stronger instead of asking a system not really in our favor to do better by us. And we can create and cultivate a strong community. From just an artist standpoint of view, I want to speak to the heart of the situation and from the position where my heart is in it.

“W.T.F.” on the other hand is a message to the haters?

It’s an expression of frustration really when I wrote that. It’s not anyway as political as “Black Power”. It serves the purpose of doing something hard—you got the hook, but when you listen to the lyrics I’m saying real things. You know [Rapping] “Niggas acting like they doing something, doing nothing, waiting on something to do/Don’t talk about it if you bout it/ be about you don’t gotta speak about it if it’s true.” It’s always going to be honest and beneficial to the listener.

i-D called you a modern Basquiat. Does that influence your music at all or do you keep them separate?

I was gonna make a song like [Rapping: “I got model bitches, I got I got”] ’cause it would’ve been funny. It influences my music in a sense of what I learn in about presence and being able to create value of a presence. Maybe I mention it because it’s part of the daily experience when I’m doing it.

Weren’t you in an Adidas shoot?

Yeah. It was the first time I was on big shit. I walked into the store and it felt weird. You realize people have these huge ideas of you because your picture is in the Adidas store. That’s when it came to me like, ‘Wow, perception is crazy!’

So Stimulation EP dropped this week, and you have the Book of Salomon Faye on the way, Do you have any recording or touring plans for the rest of 2015?

I’m sure I’ll push [the EP] and do shows. But I’m already working on Book of Salomon. It could come out anywhere from six months to a year, but I’m just focused on putting out music. Book of Salomon is gonna be a more multi-dimensional experience. It’s a variety of real instrumentation, singing, rapping. Real atmospherical experiences. We’ll see how people respond. - Vibe

"Saloman Faye Is Hip Hop's New Basquiat"

NYC Hip Hop crew Ratking’s So It Goes has been one of the breakout records of the year and features a guest rap from barely-known New Yorker Salomon Faye. 21-year-old Faye is like an early-Basquiat figure, skipping round the city, playing with the hair they share, living in a creative squat in Bed Stuy and surviving off free meals from NYU student friends.

i-D found him looking totally incongruous in the middle of flashy Times Square where he’s working in a free studio space finishing his next mixtape Stimulation, and his upcoming album Book of Salomon Faye. Over a ham, egg and cheese croissant he talks to us with serious stoner delivery (although he recently kicked the habit), but total clarity.

How did you end up working with Ratking?

I met them like four years ago. I thought Wiki was mad dope. Seeing him online at 16-years-old when I was 16 and convinced that I was the dopest in the city. Then I saw him and I was like, “Wow, this kid’s amazing. I want to work with him.” I thought, “Just some kid in the digital world I’ll never meet”, then I met him in the park.

What’s so special about him?

It’s raw energy. He’s a real MC. He’s not changing anything about himself trying to conform to industry standards. Like they say, “Real recognises real.” Even before I met him, I thought, “I know that guy.” My circle is a circle of conscious spitters and you can instantly recognise that. Conscious not in the sense of preaching conscious philosophy, but in the sense of being aware of your environment and being able to incorporate your different experiences in your craft or your raps

[Pull Quote]: "Some guys are just into sex and fun and fucking. I explored that phase and it became pretty obvious that I value a genuine connection and I’m kind of disgusted about some random sex because it feels so strange and empty!"

What’s this squat you’re living in in Bed Stuy?

We were trying to rent it out the normal way, but the landlords were shystie and there was lots not being provided. Then we found out they didn’t have a certificate of occupancy and they were stealing gas from the city. Our neighbours were living there for free, and they were like, “You’re not paying for this shit!” And we were like, “Word!” It’s a big space, couple of rooms. Young artists trying to build careers around things we’re passionate about. There are about seven or eight of us. It’s a family vibe and a little messy, but we’re more harmonised now. I’ve been there about a year. I’m ready for that penthouse in Manhattan now though – 54th floor, crazy view!

Me too! What have you got coming up with your music?

I’m working on Book of Salomon Faye, the album. Before that, we’re going to have Stimulation, which is a mixtape. My engineer and producer Lionel came back from Paris and the stuff we’re working on has more depth than what I was doing before. The other stuff was dope beats, but this stuff is really strong compositional music, with live instruments, so that will be Book of Salomon Faye.

You’re quite a lover boy from what I can tell in your music.

That’s what I’m all about. Some guys are just into sex and fun and fucking. I explored that phase and it became pretty obvious that I value a genuine connection and I’m kind of disgusted about some random sex because it feels so strange and empty! A little spark of chemistry is so much. It doesn’t mean you have to commit your life to someone, but it makes it a much more fulfilling experience. I feel like people are confused. They want the love and they look for it in that place [sex] and get addicted to that habit.

And you’re into meditation too?

I am. It’s a very necessary practice. It’s like resetting yourself. You wake up, you meditate, you release yourself of yesterday’s thoughts and you’re refreshed. You cut through the bullshit like a hot knife through butter.

Your Dad’s a Senegalese drummer. Have you been to Senegal?

No, but before I do, I need to learn French. My Mum was a singer too. I got into rapping and writing for the appreciation of it and the enjoyment I got from it. I was more thinking basketball, career-wise. I’ve started fucking around with drums and I’m pretty decent right now.

Where can people see you perform?
I do shows in underground spaces in Manhattan or Brooklyn, or in our own space in Bed Stuy – The Dojo. They’re word of mouth, or people could just find me on Facebook and say, “Yo, where are you performing?” It’s that simple!

So you’re not untouchably famous just yet. Can you imagine that?

Who wants to be untouchable? Not me! That would defeat the purpose. I’m out here to get close to people, to exchange the values of life. - Vice i-D

"Introducing, Salomon Faye. Watch His Dope New Visual Painting, “Quest”"

Salomon Faye crashed a fashion shoot we were having up here at The Source‘s offices about a month back, demanding that we hear him out and give his music a 15-minute chance. Generally, we frown upon this type of behavior but for some odd reason, our creative director Don Morris, who had his hands full with the shoot, decided to let Faye plug in his music and give everyone a chance to hear him out. The end result was an impressed staff, and Faye began to get into more details about his movement and the scene he was helping curate in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and the different places he wanted it to reach. It was a captivating experience to say the least, and Faye now has his latest video, in the form of a visual painting, ready for your viewing pleasure. Faye’s music can be dark and moody, but his philosophies and ideologies make for an overall liberating experience, and his crew of visionaries, artists, engineers and producers, collectively known as The ILLUZION, don’t cut corners. Check out Faye’s new visual, and get ready for a 2014 full of ILLUZION product.

You can stream the song and watch the video below. - The Source

"VIDEO: Salomon Faye - Alchemy"

You’re a young rapper. You read all the right blogs to know what’s happening in the world of independent rap (is anything really underground when everything is available? is everything underground because the world is so fragmented?). You might even listen to the radio and get a sense of the landscape at the highest level. You pull together beats–maybe from your own producers, maybe from the vast corners of the internet–write for months, even years on end, and step to the mic. You’re good, you might be great. You’re ready to show the world. Friends serve as managers and PR people; you send an endless stream of e-mails.


Perhaps you get noticed, garner a few thousand plays, plant the seeds of a reputation. Perhaps, and more often than not, nothing happens as you toss e-mails into what seems like the void, hoping to get noticed. Some of this difficulty to gain attention stems from the fact that so much rap–hell, so much music–seems unoriginal, whether because of sound, image, or some combination of the two. The difficulty compounds: There’s a treacherous line between finding a compelling, unique hook and slipping into gimmickry. To an extent, New York’s Salomon Faye provides an example of how to craft a sound that plants a flag in current rap fixations while cutting through a bit of the clutter.

This is not to say that Faye has cracked some sort of code for guaranteeing exposure (full disclosure: His music was initially passed to me by a friend, but I remained skeptical until I heard February’s “Fool’s Gold“). It is to say that his rapping possesses a certain purposefulness that differentiates it from the pack. Faye’s flow is more deliberate than what might be expected in a sea of wannabe Bada$$es, an inheritor of Mos Def’s occasional mystic energy and clarity that places special, measured emphasis on each word (so much so that when he occasionally speeds up and tries to pack more words into his bars, he loses a bit of the gravity that his style projects). Combined with his ad-libs (“hold up!” and “blow up!”) and a bass-y voice, Faye holds the building blocks for idiosyncrasy. His video for “Alchemy” is simple–a performance clip in a variety of New York locales–but it showcases the rapper’s striking look (another piece of the puzzle that could potentially push him forward) and focuses attention further on his developing style.

Watch the video below and download “Alchemy” here. - Pigeons and Planes


Stimulation EP (2015) 



Paris born, Harlem raised, and Brookyln based hip-hop artist Salomon Faye is an emcee whose music simultaneously embodies the gritty energy of his native New York while calmly transcending the frenetic rat-race to fame and fortune that consumes the bulk of its urban populace. 

The mesmeric sounds of his Spring 2015 debut EP Stimulation manifest that dichotomy, prophetically drifting between ethereal, soul-searching melodies and grounded, incisive lyrics laced over cement-pounding beats that strike base with his New York experiences. On the EP, Salomon aptly blends the introspective, jazzy stylings of his Parisian contemporaries; the hard-knock street sense of his Harlem adolescence; and the cultish, live-band dynamics of the Brooklyn DIY gallery scene, where he and his multifaceted cadre of creatives known as THEiLLUZiON have earned various artist residencies. 

Following his music video release of “Fools Gold”, shot in the basement of one such gallery called Apostrophe, where Salomon shared residency with XL’s RATKING, Complex parroted Salomon’s lyrics, insisting that he is indeed “front line for the blow-up.” 

The past few months have seen the first cracklings of that wick, ignited by the trifecta of visual treatments for “Luv,” “W.T.F.” and “Faye.” With the premiere of Stimulation, however, the full blast of Salomon Faye’s explosive energy has finally come to surface, no longer ablee to be contained. Tick, tock, tick, tock. It’s time to wake up. 

Band Members