Free-spirited California rapper and producer Iamsu! is no stranger to Las Vegas. He’s hosted many a club night on the Strip; his synth-heavy slaps blare out of dance-floor and car speakers alike. But the 25-year-old musical mastermind has yet to rock a proper show here, that is, until now. He brings his Eyes On Me tour to Hard Rock Live March 27. While the tour—his first as a national headliner—is taking him to new territories, the rapper (born Sudan Ameer Williams) says he’s most excited about playing Las Vegas. “The energy out there is always crazy,” he says. “It’s always fun. We get fucked up and have a good time.”
No doubt Iamsu! will bring the turn-up. He and his HBK Gang are credited for revitalizing Bay Area rap and projecting it onto the national spotlight with the high-energy “Only That Real” and icy minimal banger “Gas Pedal.” Iamsu!’s distinct style has had everyone from 2Chainz to Wiz Khalifa calling for features and production, with Rolling Stone ranking his proper debut Sincerely Yours among the top hip-hop albums of 2014. “I’m a big fan of a lot of different styles of music, and I try to incorporate it in my sound,” he says. “I’m a big fan of moog bass, 808 drums, different synthesizers and music with a lot of groove.”
But for spitting so many carefree, braggadocious raps, Iamsu! is focused and humble. He’s skipping major label offers and staying independent for his second studio album, which he expects to drop this summer (he refuses to reveal any other details about it). He understands his impact on the youth—“I just want to push the culture, inspire the next generation, make great music and be a prototype in the business for kids to follow.” He still lives at home with his family—“It just keeps me grounded”—and kicks it at local events as if he isn’t a rising rap superstar. “I’m just a regular person,” Iamsu! says. “Musicians get put on a weird pedestal but we’re just like somebody who works at the grocery store or works at the hospital. We all have a role in society. I can’t hold myself as being better than anybody else.”
8 p.m. March 27, Hard Rock Live, $22 and up, 702-733-7625, HardRockLive.com.