If you are a person of Christian faith, no matter the denomination, you’ve likely heard the worship song “Oceans” by Hillsong United. The powerful track has always had a chilling impact on believers, but for Jamaican-born BEAM, it had much more than just a spiritual effect on him.
BEAM came up producing for Christian hip-hop artists like Andy Mineo and Lecrae, who he won a Grammy with before even hitting the age of 18. His father was esteemed dancehall and gospel singer Papa San, one of Jamaica’s most beloved musical figures during his youth.
After his first phase with Christian music, BEAM began producing for rappers like 2 Chainz and Yo Gotti, which allowed him to meet people like Chris Julian, a famed fashion designer and entrepreneur who co-founded boutiques with basketball star LeBron James and assisted with Kanye West as a concept designer for Yeezy.
Once while BEAM was working on a trap remix for “Oceans,” Julian insisted he connect him with Ye, who had just begun transitioning to working on worship-type music, evident on his recent studio albums JESUS IS KING and Donda. Now that transaction has come full circle, as BEAM has been nominated for the Rap Album of the Year with writing and producing credits for songs like “Ok Ok, Pt.2” and “Pure Souls” on Donda. When speaking about working with West, BEAM gushed about his creativity.
“His presence in the room is large. He’s definitely the most creative person in the world, hands down. Being around him and getting to work with him, he’s 100% the most creative person in the world.”
Along with stars like Kanye, BEAM has now created music with pop titans like Justin Bieber. While also being nominated for Grammys for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for his contribution as a feature on Justice‘s deep cut “Love You Different,” BEAM recruited Biebs for his own project ALIEN, on the song “SUNDOWN,” released last month on Feb. 3. He says he wrote the song while he and his fiancé were arguing during her pregnancy.
“Sundown was just one of those nights, I was going through it,” he said. “Stressed. Can’t get worse than this. When you’re going through something it looks bigger than what it is. The sun was down, it was about to come up, early morning, It was just me talking, there was no concept for the song. Each line, it was just me talking.”
ALIEN also includes features from fellow pop and R&B artists like Vory, Landstrip Chip and Zacari, who paved their way through songwriting for superstars, and seek their own individual success now. In line with the motivations of these peers, BEAM says he won’t be fulfilled until he gets Grammy nominations for his own work.
“That’s what I really want. I’m nominated five times and I’m very grateful. Bieber, I consider him my brother, he treats me like family, like we’ve known each other for 10 years. Grateful for the Ye shit, grateful Major Lazer. But I don’t think I’m gonna FEEL IT feel it until I’m nominated for (my own work). I feel like they’d feel the same too.”BEAM
What makes BEAM’s solo work special, particularly with ALIEN, is that it paints a clear picture of who he was and who he is striving to be. The song “2ND SAMUEL” brought forth another full circle moment for him, as the feature from his father, which serves as more of a skit, shows how even though his father does not align with his message musically, he is supportive of his goals.
“My faith is with Jesus Christ,” he said “We have the same faith, but different convictions. What I’m talking about might not be something he wants to be a part of, since he’s a pastor now. But he knows my heart. I think it was the perfect song because my dad is one of the most understanding people… Having him on the song, I knew I didn’t want him to perform because that’s what everyone thought. If you’re a fan of Papa San you think he’s gonna spit a verse. I want him to preach a message, I want him to talk about the topic I was talking about. It was beautiful because he never heard the song until the album came out. It was divine.”
BEAM has always felt the same divinity in his career that his father Papa San preaches, and wants to be a tool for bridging ideas and people together, which inspired his artist name, given to him by Chris Julian.
“To me, it’s Be Everything And More,” he said. “To me, BEAM is what holds the bridge, literally. It’s what holds that bridge up. I want to be the bridge of understanding, the bridge of two parties not agreeing, the bridge of multiple genres, that sh*t can come together. That’s who I am as a person. I love bringing things together.”BEAM
On this road to stardom, OGM host Hakeem Rowe paid BEAM a visit, as the two Jamaicans (both born in 1995) had a fruitful, immersive conversation. The duo discussed their homeland, BEAM’s admiration for Frank Ocean and Kanye West, being surrounded by music as a youth, his projects 95 and ALIEN, working with Vory, and much more in our latest Our Generation Music exclusive interview.
Watch BEAM’s OGM interview below!