As R&B continues to see a critical resurgence, Jeremih has been steadily rising, working on multiple projects at one time. He lent his voice to radio hits such as Fabolous' "Slim Thick," Vado's "My Bae" and his own hit single "Don't Tell 'Em" off his upcoming third studio album, Late Nights: The Album, his first studio LP in four years. His most recent project, No More, which dropped in July, finds the singer paired up with electronic musician Shlohmo for an impressive 6-track EP, intertwining Jeremih's radio friendly voice over Shlohmo's instrumental bass music.

Before Late Nights: The Album drops in the fall, Jeremih is also releasing a free mixtape, N.O.M.A. (Not On My Album) yesterdaywhich consists of seven songs that didn't make the cut for his upcoming LP. Over the last four years, the Chicago crooner has grown not only as an artist but as a person. He became single, improved as a songwriter and developed friendships in music. While in NYC, Jeremih chopped it up with XXL about Chicago, working with Shlohmo, DJ Khaled's next super collab and Late Nights: The Album. —Emmanuel C.M.


XXL: The No More EP was really good. How did you link up with Shlohmo?
Me and Shlohmo met back a year and a half, two years ago through this Adidas campaign. Adidas reached out to me. It was a song from scratch type of thing. Basically, linking a producer from a different genre and coming up with a record. So we did that, and made “Bo Peep” that went out in Songs From Scratch for Adidas. I saw a different world from him and his craft. That song was so slow. You would never think it. You would have thought it was a Juicy J song. It just kind of sparked the interest in me to do more work with him. “No More” was the second or third record we did and it was brought up we should probably jus throw out a quick EP. It was honestly supposed to come out during the top of the year. But I’m glad it came out recently because it gave people time to breathe.

Were you apprehensive to work with Shlohmo?
I just didn’t know. At the same time I wanted to try something new. I was a fan of Shlohmo’s sound, just that electronic kind of trap and going to his shows and seeing his fans. They were really embracing me. So I was like, I’m rocking, and we did a couple records and it ended up being the No More EP.

How was the EP idea brought up? Was it mutual?
It was a collective idea. Everybody was like, y’all just might as well do something. It had been like 3-4 records at that time. We just wanted to give the fans something. I know Shlohmo felt that way and I was down for it too because it kind of came too naturally organic. It all started from that one night, “Bo Peep.” One night can really change your life. That’s pretty much how it happened.


So tell me about N.O.M.A.
Seven songs, that’s my lucky number. I just felt like I had enough records sitting in the vault, we might as well give it to them. People just want music now, it’s a drought right now.

Why is seven your lucky number?
I don’t know, it just follows me. My birth is 7/17/87. That number, It never fails.

Is N.O.M.A. just you?
There are features on there. I collaborated with this girl form London. She just talking [on one record] but it definitely works for the song. It's just a different feel. N.O.M.A. is definitely not in No More lane but it's in hip-hop/R&B lane.


What do you think of R&B right now?
I think it's in a great state. I think music, period—everything sounding like it's joining. Whether it’s a rapper trying to now sing, or people hearing me on N.O.M.A. and classifying it as rapping. But I gave people a taste of that on almost all my projects—look at “Down On Me.” I hated performing that song because I couldn’t sing it. I can sing, don’t get me wrong, but it's no belting singing. I can’t really get everyone’s attention on that song because it's kind of rap-ish. I definitely was catering this album to that. I’m going to be singing on this album.

How big did you think “Don’t Tell’em” was going to be?
I don’t ever know. I feel the same way about all my songs. Like damn, if everybody put the same support to all my songs I think it hopefully would get the same type of results. Actually the day I recorded “Don’t Tell’em”... I had something to do with the record “Show Me,” the Kid Ink/Chris Brown record. Chris Brown replaced me on there. I felt a way that day [recording "Don't Tell'em"] because that day ["Show Me"] went No. 1. We were going overseas in Australia and everywhere and they was playing the hell out of that song and I was started to feel a way. They took me off that and “Main Chick.” But it’s all good, I’m not mad at them. That day I did “Don’t Tell’em,” I specifically was like, if that shit work, let me try the same formula. To see something go No. 1, truth is I just went back to look at some good old house music.

Did they tell you why they replaced you?
Well they're both on the same label, RCA. I felt some type of way about “Main Chick”; I didn’t really care about “Show Me.”

You had a nice run this year with music. You worked with Vado, Fabolous, have the EP. Do you ever sleep?
I’m an owl, I’m up. I probably go to sleep during the time when most people wake up. The first half of the day you might not catch me.


I really love that track you did with Chance The Rapper, “The End,” too. How did y’all meet?
I met Chance through my barber in Chicago because I never knew much about him. I heard about him. Benny Blanco was talking, saying Chance The Rapper is dope. I still had never heard of him, didn’t hear him on the radio and I wasn’t hip to none of his songs. Then we end up linking up; actually, there’s a version of “Planes” that he’s on. We just ended up doing records. Then while working on the Shlohmo project, he landed in L.A. and called me saying, “just landed in L.A. Where you at?” He was living with Skrillex in L.A. and Skrillex and Shlohmo are tight. Honestly it was a freestyle on “The End”—he hopped on it and did it in one take. We were working on the tape, he jumped in and that was it. But he’s dope.

Any Chicago artist you see that’s on point?
Lil Herb—Lil Herb's flow is stupid. I think everybody got it when they heard him on the Nicki joint ["Chi-Raq"]. Chi Hoover, he’s from the Chicago. I like Katy Got Bands, she’s dope to me. Tink, I actually did a record with her, too. She made a dope song out of it. Chicago is one of the cities.

The flood of young talent from Chicago is crazy.
Chicago, we always had it. People just shied away because it's nothing businesswise from the industry. Everybody from Chi will go to NYC or L.A. R. Kelly to Kanye to even Twista. Everybody is great from there but it's nothing downtown. I feel like it's getting more light because people are paying attention to music more then ever.

Jeremih - The End (Prod. By Shlohmo)


It’s been four years since your last album. What's the difference between then and now? What have you been doing?
Since I had been signed I was in a relationship, so I was restricting myself. I’m not just saying that’s the only reason why my first two albums were like that. I’m just in a whole different space right now. I’m confident as hell when I step in front of the mic. My recording style is different. I used to have pen and pad, writing down, taking forever to write songs; now, when I hear production, I just go right in on it. Just as an artist, people always say artists’ development will put you through that. I had my artist development just by being an artist. Over the years I’ve just been cumulating more songs. I got the chance to collaborate with more artists. I got peers now in the game I can get up. I got to know all these people during these four years. I didn’t really know anybody. I was just the black knight. I kind of still am. But now I feel like it's getting to the point where the more music I put out, hopefully people can really grasp it and really grow to love me more.

What’s the secret DJ Khaled track?
That’s Khaled for you. I was doing this the last four years as well. “My Bae” was one of those records, one take. All these songs were one takes that I had left. I just leave these records and I’m glad they're using them. Same thing with Khaled. I left a record for him last year. He was giving us the breakdown on how my year needs to go. He started to make me feel like, “You right, this is probably the time to turn up.” All the records he had with people, he chose this; a record that I wrote. Future ended up hopping on it, August and Chris. It’s one of those DJ Khaled specials. The only person that can do that, I’m going to use his exact words, are “Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson.”

He tell you the name of the record?
I wrote it, the name of it is... Damn. [Laughs] I don’t remember the name honestly.

Did you hear it?
We [already] shot the video in L.A., ten trailers, pool. I think all the ladies are going to love it, all the fellas are going to feel like us. It's just one of those DJ Khaled records, I can’t even explain it. It’s produced by Lee On the Beats. We was flipping through beats and we laid down our melodies and he made a movie with it.

What happened at Citi Field with 50 Cent and G-Unit? Did he give you a chain?
[Laughs] That’s my homie. He did give me a chain. That was one of them days if I had a movie, it'd be one of the scenes in my movie. When we did the show, right before I went on stage he was like, “Bitches like you, now they going to love you.”