By Aisha Graham -
I finally got the chance to speak with the wonderful FMSupreme, a Chicago native who’s not only up and coming in the rap game, but also leaving a huge mark in the community. As the middle child of 5 who were moved between the foster care system and her grandmother’s home, FM sought the attention of her mother who was a local talent manager in Chicago at the time. At the age of 10, FM got the opportunity to accompany her mother to Chicago Track and other big named Chicago studios. Immediately she knew she wanted to start rapping, thinking it would grab her mom’s attention and allow her to spend more time with her in the studios. Once she expressed this to her mother, she suggested her rap name be Supreme Being. Her mother explained there is only one true Supreme Being, but FM can be the Supreme Being of rap.
The name stuck until FM was about 15, freestyling in the high school cafeteria. She found herself using the name “Supreme FM” in her lines. She didn’t quite know what the FM would stand for, but she wanted it to have an actual meaning, so that people wouldn’t immediately associate it with the radio. Soon after she read Assata Shakur’s autobiography, in which she kept mentioning the term “maroon”. Maroon refers to runaway slaves across the world, including the Canary Islands and the southern region of United States. FM decided her name would stand for “Forever Maroon Supreme” and the name stuck with her ever since.
She continued to write raps and even had a rap mentor who at the time was dating her older cousin. They eventually had a child; however her mentor was abusive to her cousin, so it left FM with conflicted views of him. When FM was in the 3rd grade in 1999, her cousin was shot in the leg. FM was devastated when she learned her mentor was the one to inflict this pain on her cousin, but this didn’t stop the couple from reuniting. Around the same time Eve dropped her hit single “Love is Blind”. It spoke to FM because she felt as though her story was being told. She could see real-life situations portrayed through hip hop. Eve instantly became her favorite rapper. FM realized she could write truthful events that she experienced for other people to relate to. She finally got the opportunity to rap for Eve at the age of 13, before ever recording music in a studio. Eve was impressed, and at this moment FM knew she could put her energy and talents into the rap game.
FM has released 7 full length projects in the past 10 years, including “Beautiful Grind” which was released in 2008. With this project FM feels she found her voice. In 2009 she toured Europe and the following year she dropped “FM Supreme Project”. In 2011 she released “Beautiful Grind 2” and is currently working on “Beautiful Grind 3: The Transformation” which includes her single “Push”. FM is making it a point not to rush production, drawing major inspiration from her favorite artist, Bob Marley. She hopes to make music as feel-good, truthful, and prophetic as he once did. Her influences also include other originally dynamic artists such as Tupac, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, David Banner, and Public Enemy. Aside from hip hop, FM draws influence from artists of all genres, including Nina Simone, Theory X, and Whitney Houston.
FM has not only been leaving her mark in the underground hip hop industry, but also leaving a substantial influence in her community. In 2012, she had a spiritual awakening and grew a relationship closer to God after battling an extreme bout of depression. She then started teaching at a high school where she hosted a program called “Her Story”. She found herself becoming very involved with the students during class and after school, which took her attention away from being an artist and put it toward being a mentor. She realized this didn’t mean she was wasting her time, but that she was fulfilling part of her purpose by helping young people to be motivated and inspired.
The same year she got invited to host the “You Teach” rally for Chicago Public Schools, attended by over 1,000 of Chi city’s youth. This was the moment she knew that her presence on stage was bigger than herself, and was an opportunity to upliftthe voices of young people and share, with them, her own unique, candid experiences. In January 2012, she took the Youth Peace Movement to South Asia where 6 peace leaders from south and west side Chicago visited cities such as Thailand and Berlin. She noticed that although these countries were viewed as impoverished, interpersonal violence was very rare, proving that poverty is not the only reason for violence between America’s youth. She’s currently working on another Youth Symposium with the theme of “transforming pain into power”. She plans to have a panel of people share their personal experiences in order to promote nonviolence and lead up to the Chicago International Youth Peace Movement conference in 2015.
FM makes it a point in her music to change the sensationalized view of violence. She achieved this with her “Heal Chiraq”, Nicki Minaj Remix, where she discusses Chicago’s violence on a level of understanding and resolution rather than promoting it. She strives to ensure her actions match her music’s messages, like artists such as J. Cole who wrote the song for Ferguson and went to the protests shortly after the killing of Mike Brown. FM is making sure her purpose to bring peacefulness and insight to our youth is fulfilled and she is continuously hard working and diligent in doing so. Her upcoming events include the “Stay at School Bash” in Chicago and the national event “Facing the Race” to be held in Dallas, Texas in November.
Check her out at www.FMSupreme.com or on Instagram and Twitter at @fmsupreme
You can also check out a clip of her performance with the talented Angelique Kidjo on her website www.fmsupreme.com.