The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

LiMM balances being a student and musician

LiMM dropped a new album called “The Statement” on March 29. PHOTO: LUKE MALANGA ’20/THE HAWK

Alex Hargrave ’20 co-wrote this story

With over 1,500 monthly Spotify listeners and thousands of streams, rapper Alim-Karim Kamara ’20, better known by his stage name “LiMM,” has made a name for himself at St. Joe’s.

LiMM will be a student opener along with the Sweeney Sisters for the 2019 Spring Concert on April 10, featuring Sean Kingston and DJ Pauly D as headliners. He was also a student opener for the 2017 Spring Concert that featured Mac Miller.

“The first time I opened up in 2017 was actually one of my very first shows,” LiMM said. “Looking back at it now, I don’t feel like I was ready to take on the stage. This year feels different.”

Three years into his career, LiMM said he has performed over 40 times.

In his first year at St. Joe’s, LiMM released an EP “The Effect [demo]” and a year later he released the EP “Lessons You Should Learn” and the mixtape “The Hawk Tape Vol. 1” with his friend Noah Gansallo ’21, better known as NxG. The album includes songs like “Anthem,” “Come Up” and “No Luv.”

LiMM was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on the west coast of Africa.

“I was born into the civil war,” LiMM said. “My mom and I ended up in Canada, and my dad ended up in Philly. We split up.”

After about 10 years in Canada, LiMM moved to Philadelphia when he was 12 years old. His classmates at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School came up with the nickname “Limmy,” which is the source of his stage name.

“When I started making music, I found the name to be kind of childish, or not what I wanted it to be,” Limm said. “I shortened it I guess so people could take it more seriously.”

Managing a music career as a student keeps LiMM busy. He heads to studios in South Philly and Manayunk to record his music and work with producers one to four times per week, depending on his schedule.

“It’s almost like having two jobs,” LiMM said. “The morning and day time that is school time, but when your done with that and it’s after hours, that’s studio and music time. It’s a lot of sleepless nights.”

John Grady ’21 met LiMM last year through mutual friends and started hanging out with the rapper. That friendship comes with some fringe benefits, like being able to preview music before LiMM releases it.   

“It’s cool being friends with him, because I get a behind-the-scenes look of what goes into what he does, like his practicing, his work that goes into his music,” Grady said.

Grady also appeared in a few of Limm’s music videos such as “Who Run It (Freestyle),” “Shoot to Win,” and “Come Up” which was released in December 2018.

“[My experience in ‘Who Run It (Freestyle)’] was actually really fun,” Grady said. “He had this whole idea from the start, and we just followed his lead. We got to film it in a local convenience store, blasting music around, going crazy in the dorm room and Drexel Arms.”

LiMM said he is inspired by Drake and other artists who are able to make a living off of music without being mainstream. He described his composing process as “freestyle.”

“I will play the beat over and over and catch a vibe, and I’ll voice record it, then go back and write it down,” LiMM said.

LiMM also said he writes his music from personal experience as well as others’ experiences. His most popular song on Spotify with over 111,000 streams is “Come Up,” which is based on personal experience. 

“It was just the fact that I had been working so hard in school and in my music, I was just overwhelmed with the feeling that as crazy as it seemed, no matter how bad I wanted to stop, I knew it was going to pay off,” LiMM said.

LiMM said he hasn’t experienced any criticism for explicit language, but Grady said otherwise.

“People have questioned him about it,” Grady said. “But, I think it’s just kind of a form of expression in a way, it’s not meant with any malicious intent. I don’t have a problem with it, but I know some people may.”

On LiMM’s Spotify account, there are 11 songs that are flagged as explicit content. On their website, Spotify notes, “Our explicit content tags are applied based on information we receive from rights-holders. We can’t guarantee all explicit content is marked as such.”

Beth Hagovsky, director of Student Leadership and Activities, oversees the Spring Concert. Hagovsky said that all performers, both headliners and student openers, agree not to sing songs that contain any sort of offensive language.

“They also are not supposed to play a song that bleeps those words out, because then it still encourages people in the crowd to sing along and say those words which we’re trying to avoid,” Hagovsky said. “LiMM agreed to that. That was the only way he got through the contest.”

Performers who auditioned for a spot as a student opener for the 2019 Spring Concert had to follow these guidelines in their audition videos and the audition in The Perch as well. Hagovsky said that LiMM did not adhere to these guidelines in his initial audition tape to get into the contest.

“[LiMM] re-submitted a tape and it was considered appropriate, so he was able to be in the contest, and then he won, so that’s great,” Hagovsky said.

LiMM said he created music that fit Hagovsky’s guidelines specifically for the concert on April 10.

“I don’t think that’s going to be an issue for me,” LiMM said. “I’ve actually had performance tracks made specifically for SJU’s Spring Concert for a while now, honestly before the contest that decided the Spring Concert opener. You always gotta be ready just in case, and since last year I have been preparing for the day I may be able to perform on that stage again. ”

In an earlier version of this story a song, album and EP were incorrectly named. These errors and details have been corrected.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Hawk News

Your donation will support the student journalists of St. Joseph's University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hawk News

Comments (0)

All The Hawk News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *