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Shaheed and DJ Supreme’s new single “S.T.E.M., S.T.E.a.M”

The quality gap between indie songwriters and mainstream players has seemingly never been wider than it is today in 2023, and when listening to Shaheed and DJ Supreme’s new single “S.T.E.M., S.T.E.a.M., and S.T.R.E.a.M.,” it’s difficult to deny the truth behind the aforementioned statement. Shaheed and DJ Supreme have been working the underground circuit as a premier hip-hop duo for a few years now, having scored a couple of critical hits with just the last couple of tracks they’ve dropped, and in this new single, they aren’t shying away from the sort of ambitiousness that stardom is made of. 

Though the old school is one of this act’s biggest influences, there’s nothing about “S.T.E.M., S.T.E.a.M., and S.T.R.E.a.M.” that sounds like an homage to the bygone eras that have come to mean as much as they do to the modern rap lexicon. I can see where fans of OG beats would instantly feel swept away by the stylishness that a song like this is boasting – after all, the foundational hip-hop genre has been aching for some new heroes in the last few years – but as far as originality goes, there’s no accusing Shaheed and DJ Supreme of using watered-down material here at all. 

The drums in “S.T.E.M., S.T.E.a.M., and S.T.R.E.a.M.” could have used a little more of a kick in the volume department, but their distinctive impact on the mood in this track is undeniable. The beat comes close to eclipsing the verse with its relevantly evocative swing, but despite the aesthetical dueling they engage in, the mix here is so tight that we’re never pressed to focus on either element more than we are on the other. That’s not easy for any producer to pull off, let alone an artist who isn’t playing with major label money. 

After getting hooked on this song and the others that are found in the present Shaheed and DJ Supreme’s discography, I can’t wait to hear what this duo sounds like when they’re on stage. “S.T.E.M., S.T.E.a.M., and S.T.R.E.a.M.” is absolutely one of the flashier attention-getters out at the moment, but when consumed alongside all of the material that the rest of their catalog has to share with us, it feels like a mere piece of a much grander puzzle that needs a crowded venue full of eager concertgoers to be properly assembled and appreciated. This act has an “it” factor that can only be captured so much in the studio, and I for one am very excited at the idea of seeing it play out in the flesh. 

I’ve been hearing about this pair for a while now, and I must say that what they’ve recorded in “S.T.E.M., S.T.E.a.M., and S.T.R.E.a.M.” definitely lives up to the hype and then some. Shaheed and DJ Supreme do not hold back when they approach the board in this single, and if the charming personality they exhibit here is something they can put into all of their music moving forward, there should be no doubt in any critic’s mind as to their future in this business. 

Mindy McCall



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