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Chicago emcee/student Femi Adigun aka Femdot has seen a lot in his life. Through balancing the perspectives of the south and north sides of Chicago that he has inhabited, he’s garnered an unusual perspective that many cannot fully grasp. He has rapped since he was a young child and has developed the skill ever since his older brother nudged him in the right direction by putting him onto the early works of greats like Nas and The Notorious B.I.G..
This week, with the support of his friends and family he announced a new partnership with Closed Sessions, and released a new song, “happyoctober.” via Billboard News. In the days leading up to this announcement Fem was nice enough to sit down with us at rubyhornet to discuss the moments in his life and career that have culminated into this milestone.
Where are you from in Chicago? Where did you go to High school?
I was born on the West end of Evanston. Then from there I moved to the south burbs in a town called Glenwood, I split my time between there and up north in Uptown and Rogers Park. Really a constant balance between North and South. I went to Homewood-Flossmoor High School in the south suburbs.
When did you start learning to rap?
I been rapping. I wrote my first song when I was 6 years old. When I recorded myself for the first time I started selling my mixtapes in 6th grade. My oldest brother taught me how to rap and he was super mega hot fire and he used to rap. So thats kinda where it started, he introduced Hip-Hop to me and my whole family. Me and him were like 12 years apart. Now he’s married with a wonderful wife and kids, he’s a model son you know, (laughs) he’s like what everyone wants what their son to be.
How did you come up with the name Femdot?
People be asking me and I swear ill be wishing I had a super cool ass story. Really my siblings just call me Femdot at the crib because Reebok was doing the S. Carter joints and we were a Roc-A-Fella household. So they took my name (Femi) and called me Femdot and it stuck. The homies would always come by the crib and call me that and i’d be calling myself it too in the raps and shit. Then one day my friend in the hallway was like “Ay Dot!” so from there Femdot became a thing. I wish I could say it was an acronym or it’s a coded message, morse code, whatever, really its just… me.
What year did you start making rap official and taking it seriously? Why?
I mean I was selling mixtapes in high school, but I’d say like when I was 15-16 years old. 1. I just thought I was getting kinda good, I was in my high school, I went to school with Martin Sky and Ohana Bam. We were all kinda known for rapping and I was always known for doing way too much (laughs), but mainly rapping. 2. I decided to start going to YCA and YOUmedia. Its funny because I got there at the end, I only performed at YOUmedia like twice. Thats how I met Ric Wilson in 2012 which is funny because I still have the DM from that. Also I dropped a mixtape and it was trending on Twitter, I was in North Dakota at the time while it was trending in Chicago. So from that moment it was over with. It was like “I think I can really do this Rap stuff”.
What was your first show you remember performing?
I did talent shows when I was younger. I used to sing, but my voice dropped young. (laughs) I guess my first rap performance I remember I did this one thing randomly these dudes like bought me clothes, I cashed out on a whole outfit. (laughs) It was so empty but they couldn’t get their money back you know so i just ended up performing for an empty room. I’ve done that a lot, you know i’ve had so many shows where it would be me and the person who threw the show.
Your Song “Gold” produced by DJ CHI was written up on Ruby Hornet in 2013, reading through it seems the track was off your Hella Harolds Project. Tell me about Hella Harolds.
It was a 7 song EP based on a conversation you would have while you were waiting on your Harolds. So theres skits and stuff in between and they’re all based on people talking back and forth about nothing, you know what I’m saying? Because when you’re waiting on chicken thats all you’re doing. I dropped it on that Valentines Day in 2013 and it was Louder Than A Bomb that day and I remember it specifically because at the time Kevin Coval said “hey I heard your Hella Harolds EP”, now he’s just Kevin since we know each other, but back then it was like wow thats Kevin Coval saying that. Maybe i’ll re-release it one day in 7 years for my fans if I get famous.
What was life like post Hella Harolds (Feb 2013) and Pre King Dilla (December 2014)? Why the relatively long hiatus?
I started going to school, I went to Penn State for my Freshman year of college and I was still rapping, I was still writing everyday but I couldn’t drop music you know, I was at a state college I was 5 hours away from Philly. Thats where I was man, I was gone, literally gone. And its not like I was on some “oh I flunked out” stuff like really I just needed to get home for the music. Like if I had stayed at Penn State I would be a scientist, If I had stayed at Penn State right now I would be working for the CDC.
Whats Your Major?
So Im in Health Science with a Biological Science concentration and I have a minor in Peace, Conflict, & Social Justice. I’ve always loved science, like if I wasn’t rapping I would be a scientist no question. Back at Penn State I was studying to be an epidemiologist, someone who studies how diseases happen and how to prevent them. So yeah when I came back here I changed my major to health sciences but just not as focused as it was (at Penn). I always liked science and when it came to the peace, conflict and social justice aspect i’ve always been involved. I’m not an activist, I mean I am, but you know like Ric Wilson, Malcolm London, they really do this shit. So really those are the people I’m looking up to and where that social justice minor fell into place.
When did you start going to Depaul? How did it affect your music output?
Right after I left Penn State I just transferred to Depaul, I needed to be back in the city. I came back home with the mindset like: “i’ve already done that college life now I’m here to do what I wanna do” and I made that my priority. So yeah it helped a lot it, it allowed me to focus as much on the music as I can.
What was your favorite event or show of 2016?
Oh man, Red Bull Sound Select brought me out to Denver to open for Soulja Boy. It was super fun, that was the first big show I did out of town for a sold out large venue with a giant capacity crowd while getting paid for my music. The energy I got back from that crowd was dope, I remember performing the King Dilla Freestyle acapella and they were rocking with me. Also my brother came out and it was the first time he saw me perform out in a major show setting like that so that was huge. Its crazy too because I’m not realizing how crazy it was until like, right now (laughs).
You had your first headliner show this 2017 What was that like?
First of all we was prepping for like, I said we were gonna throw this event a year before we did. So we set it up with the homies, so much planning went in to that. The day of it was Ramadan, so I had been fasting all day I was being holy. By the time sound check came around all the will calls were getting bought up so we had like 10 tickets left. Then just as I finish sound check one of my best friends walks in after flying from DC and surprises me like… I almost uppercutted her (laughs). So that was dope and there was a lot of people, a lot of love there. So I go outside and I see theres a line, past the bar (in Schubas), so I’m like “Okay…Okay”. Then by the time the show gets going for doors to open there was a line around the block. I had people hitting me up telling me they couldn’t get into the show and I’m like “I told you to buy tickets ahead of time”. It was super humbling man like it was the first time I performed up on the stage and I would say my lyrics and then everyone in the audience would know them too. It was crazy because also the next day I had to be up because I had a final, that Monday I couldn’t like soak it up too much. It was surreal, I couldn’t remember it in the moment so after it looking back the show comes back in flashes and there was this girl in the front row and I was like, “I have never seen you in my life but you’re here to see me….And thats crazy”.