When Neelam’s “I’ll be the King” video surfaced online, I was immediately compelled to find out who was infiltrating our popular page. Neelam Hakeem is a Muslimah hip hop artist dedicated to representing modesty in her ideals and rap bars. The west coast MC was recently featured in an all-female cypher during the BET Hip Hop Awards, which was most notably the best cypher of the night. Neelam’s career has been on the rise with co-signs from Diddy and Will Smith; this Queen is not new to trending.
In her most recent rap video “I’ll Be The King,” Neelam sits on a throne like Black Panther‘s King T’Challa, flanked by armed female guards dressed in all black. Looking undeniably regal, Neelam shook something inside of me that I haven’t felt in a long time regarding music and entertainment. Queen Neelam looks militant AF–something rarely seen in today’s trap-laden hip hop. Her originality, and persona are a breath of fresh air among her peers. For women in rap, the landscape is comprised of pop-leaning artists chasing Billboard slots with dull lyrics and horribly repetitive beats. Brash sexuality and bragadocious money bars characterize the ladies of today, who are undoubtedly angling to reflect much of what their male counterparts deliver. The beauty of realism and relatable emotion has taken a back seat in popular rap, while simultaneously being replaced with the abuse of drugs, sex, and wealth. I say all of this to say that Neelam’s version of rap is the balance that we all need. With the world’s children being directly influenced by rap music, powerful and thought provoking lyrics are more important than ever for today’s youth.
“Tell him Tell him Tell him if he wants me, then he better asks nice on one knee”. Neelam’s lyrics are unapologetically empowering and tell the story of a woman that simply knows what she wants. The Internets and the streets want Neelam’s new music–and this is a great thing. Follow her on IG @neelam_ for links to her music and content.