Most ATL hip-hop fans probably haven't heard of Supreeme. But that will soon begin to change on April 25 with Supremacy, the group's second album and first to get national distribution. For starters, it's appearing on Record Collection, an L.A.-based imprint with ties to Warner Music Group. The group's mentor, Murs, is an acclaimed indie hip-hop artist who discovered the group during an in-store appearance at More Dusty than Digital in 2004.
"We're really brash, and we're real stupid kids," remembers Dope Pope, a producer whose pseudonyms include Shaka and Tom Cruz. After getting in Murs' grill ("I went up to Murs and told him, 'I peeped your record. It's pretty OK. Not too bad.' So Murs was, like, 'Who's this motherfucker?'"), Dope Pope and rapper Negashi Armada began freestyling to keep Murs' attention. "Murs was like, 'I'm not going to freestyle because I'm a grown-ass man. But that was pretty good,'" says Dope Pope. Supreeme sent Murs a copy of its debut CD, 2003's Church and State. "I was completely floored," he says via phone from L.A. "So I called them and said, 'Anything I can do for your guys, I will." A year later, Murs got an A&R deal from Record Collection. The first artist he signed to the label was Supreeme.
In person, 20-year-old Dope Pope, 18-year-old Negashi Armada, and 20-year-old King Self are hilarious shit talkers. "Hip-hop's about having fun," says Dope Pope. "Everybody's lost the big picture, you know what I mean? They're getting too serious about the different codes and laws and elements ..."
"... and periodic tables," adds Negashi Armada. "We believe in three elements."
"Money, cash and ho's," says King Self, drawing laughs all around. But wait, isn't money and cash the same thing? "That's part of the joke," he answers.
"We're very serious about my craft, but we don't take everything too seriously," says Dope Pope. "Even the underground rappers, they talk a lot of shit, but they like to fuck, and they wanna make -- they wish they could make money."
For now, Murs plans to take Supreeme with him on the road for the next several months, starting with a national tour that hit the Drunken Unicorn April 1. "They're not jaded. They just want to work. They just want to get out there, they wanna have fun, and be dope and be the best rappers ever," he says. "They're super-talented young men."