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Aime: “You Gotta Be Real With Yourself.”

June 2, 2011

Image of Verbatum Jones (left) and Aime by Brittney Bowers. Text by Sofiya Ballin.

See the companion story about Aime‘s protege, Verbatum Jones, here.

Aime arrives a little late.

The buzz surrounding his recently released video for the single “Who Can’t Rap?” has kept him busy, his hands glued to his phone.

He’s been promoting his new mixtape “Perfect Aime,” making sure the hard copies are in on time, planning for his next video shoot, talking to prospective management, doing interviews, and recording with other artists.

“I wasn’t always exposed to hip-hop music,” he says. “I grew up in a Haitian family. My parents didn’t want me listening to rap music. They thought it was bad – all about guns and girls.”

Aime, whose whose government name is Jean-David Aime, Jr., started rapping in the 6th grade for a D.A.R.E. project.

“Everyone loved it,” he says.

The real magic hit him when he was in the 10th grade.

“My boy Marcus asked if I rapped,” Aime recalls. “I said, ‘Yeah, I used to do a little somethin’ somethin’.’ The next day I came back with the greatest rap I had ever written at that time. We began writing more songs together and created the group “2-Thorough.” Our first official song was “Heavyweights.” Joint was banging. It went hard.”

The zealous duo started performing at all their high school talent shows and holding freestyle cyphers in the hallway.

While studying at Temple University, he began performing at talent shows around campus.

“I wasn’t sure I was good enough,” Aime says.

But he had support from friends. Eventually, in 2009, Aime dropped his first mixtape, Class Act. His popularity began to escalate – on and off campus. He met Paul Beats and they worked on Aime’s next project, a February 2010 EP titled When It’s Cold Outside.

His music touches on a broad range of topics, from gentrification to the regrets of cheating on an ex-girlfriend.

“You gotta be real with yourself,” he says gazing down.

While music was a full-time career – recording and performing almost daily, he was also a full-time student. He graduated with a 3.7 GPA and a rap career.

At that point people began to look up to him, and he quickly became the mentor, especially to another Temple student/ rapper, Verbatum Jones.

“I saw Verbatum perform at a spoken word event,” Aime says. “He was quirky, nerdy, funny. And the girls loved him.”

Jones would write stuff and get Aime’s opinion. The two share an appreciation for lyrics that aren’t crude or misogynistic.

“I don’t walk up to a girl and smack her on the butt so why would I rap like that?” he asks.

His ideology stems from his favorite artist.

“Lupe Fiasco,” he states. “Hands down. Period. Lyrically he’s thorough, in-depth, creative and really good with word play and punch lines.”

He’s ready to do a full album, maybe even join a label.

“But I want to create my own buzz before I do anything of that nature,” he says.

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