“I flew the helicopter around the city, on some like Bad Boys 3 shit”: An Interview With Buddy
Interview by Husam Elgenied
Photos by Karan Teli
I had the opportunity to sit with Compton’s very own Buddy during his trip to UK, where he performed at The Shacklewell Arms and opened up for Wiz Khalifa at London’s Roundhouse. I first heard of Buddy through his break out hit ‘Shine’. Being signed to Mr Pharrell Williams himself, I held high expectations for his work, and for this reason, have been eagerly following his progress ever since. Buddy has dropped 3 singles from his upcoming album ‘Harlan and Alondra’, which will be released on July 20th – one of which is featuring Ty Dolla $ign, and the other featuring A$AP Ferg. I was more than looking forward to finding out what else he had up his sleeve.
Born Simmie Sims III, known by all as Buddy (a nickname coined by his sister), the 24-year-old Compton rapper was excited to be in London and to see what the Londoners had to offer. Buddy performed in musicals since the age of 7 and when asked about being in Dreamgirls, he responded with…
“I was Jimmy Early, at 7! I had sparkly overalls, I had background singers and a cap. I was hella extra.”
“I jumped of the stage and got in trouble because there was somebody’s grandmama at the front, so I picked her hand up and she looked like she was into it. I pulled her in, she was singing the songs; to be honest I thought it was a good part of the plan! Like, break the 4th wall. FUCK IT! But they pressed me after like “wow don’t ever do that again and keep your ass on stage!””
After seeing him perform in London, I could tell his excitement as a performer had only increased – “I be trying to get the crowd a better understanding of me in my performances, especially in the 10-15 seconds between songs.” I have had the opportunity to watch many artists live and only a few have had the energy that Buddy portrays. As a viewer and a listener, I was interested in knowing his influences when it came to putting together and executing his performances. “ScHoolboy Q is hard! I really like Anderson Paak, he be playing the drums on stage and is overall super talented. BEYONCE. She is so tight live. Have you seen her live show? Beyoncé live show inspires me hard.”
Buddy is going on tour next month as an opening act for A$AP Ferg on his Mad Man Tour. “He’s hard, he’s actually a really nice person too, really good friend of mine. I’ve only seen Ferg live once! He was dope. On the other leg of the tour they had Daniel Caesar but I think he’s busy so they picked me up! I gotta fill out the energy of the crowd.”
In my opinion, Buddy is in an extremely versatile genre where anything, and everything is possible. His music always conveys a message; whether he is rapping, singing or just generally giving a good vibe. Consequently, I was interested in his catalogue growing up; who he listens to and what genres stimulates his thought. “Biggie. Tupac. Andre is alive and tight. In the UK, I fuck with Jorja Smith, with Skepta hard and Mahalia; she tight. I be listening to Dancehall and Reggae like Burna Boy, Wizkid, DJ Tunes. I’m always like wow this shit is turnt.”
On to the album.
I was curious about the name ‘Harlan and Alondra’ and which other artists are on the record.
“Harlan & Alondra; it’s a cross streets to my parents’ house in Compton. Yeah, just bringing everyone to the streets. My whole family is on their; my mum, my dad, sister. Super family oriented; they on the cover. We had the shoot right there on Harlan.”
“I’m always trying to show off Compton in my videos, because I feel like there’s so many parts of the city that people don’t show. Everyone knows the hood, where the niggas hang out, but they never seen like the Compton airport and I used to live down the street from there! I used to take pilot lessons to learn how to fly down there – all this shit that people don’t want to talk about. The song I got with Ty Dolla, we went to the fucking airport to fly a helicopter and I flew the helicopter around the city, on some like Bad Boys 3 shit.”
“I worked with a lot of cool people on this album. Snoop Dogg, Khalid, Ty Dolla $ign, A$AP Ferg. A lot more too.”
Buddy, at the young age of 24, represents a hard-working artist trying to make an impact in a tough industry. Nonetheless, you can feel that he enjoys it and has a lot of fun along the way. “The homie Ciesay did his 5-year anniversary for Places and Faces, we got so drunk. It was hella fun. I’m at this part of my life where I’m at a party analysing the music and pick up different frequencies.”
What’s next for Buddy?
“Make money, buy a car, buy a crib, get a dog, learn how to cook more recipes, have a bunch of sex. Music wise; do another album. Tour, yeah.”
‘Harlon & Alondra’; the new album by Buddy is out July 20th!