Any preconceived notion you may have had about Safaree, throw it out the window now. The rapper/producer/now-star of “Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood” is the exact opposite of what you may hear or read about him. Safaree spent over a decade in a private relationship with one of the world’s biggest superstar, Nicki Minaj. Since 2015, the two have had a very public and nasty break up in the media, causing fans to turn against him and join the team of her new beau, Meek Mill. Now, Safaree is moving on from that chapter in his life and stepping into his own as an artist, a producer and as a man.
He’s charismatic, humble, charming and very passionate about giving back. Opposite of what you see of him online with the bling and wild dancing. Sarfee loves to entertain, and it shows in his public persona. But, Sarfaree the man, he’s kind, funny and soft-spoken. Blame Ebro sat down with Safaree hours before the “Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood” season three premiere to discuss moving on from his ex’s spotlight, moving to Hollywood, his charity “Stunt 4 Jamaica” and being mature enough to know when he’s ready to commit again.
Blame Ebro: Let’s get right into it. We’ve seen you over the last year show people how to move on from a relationship. You spent a very long time in a private relationship but had a very public break up. What are you doing here on “Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood”?
Safaree: You know, I’m just promoting myself as a brand and just letting people see that I have personality and I have talent. You know, I make music as well, I’m not just somebody who is associated and affiliated with a mega superstar. I had a very in-depth, helping hand in that entire process. So, you know I’m just out here using a platform to help expand everything I’m doing so that I can support my family and do stuff for my charity. Just helping out any way I can.
Blame Ebro: Let’s talk about your charity. Tell us more about it.
Safaree: It’s called “Stunt 4 Jamaica.” Every month I want to put a computer in a school that needs it. I also want to supply [the kids with] socks, uniforms, tee shirts, clothes, shoes, stuff like that. But, seeing that I’m doing it [by] myself, there’s only so much I can do. But, the more the word gets out, the more help I can get, then I can do ten computers to a school, or 20 computers to a school, and really go down the line like that. Because something as simple like that is so minor or regular, they need that out there. And when I say computers, I’m not talking about Macbooks and all that expensive craziness. You can get a Dell desktop computer for $200, $250. I just really want to build that up, because something that’s so minor or regular to us out here, they need that in Jamaica.
Blame Ebro: Is it just one specific city or the entire country?
Safaree: No, the entire country. My parents are from the deep countryside of Jamaica.
Blame Ebro: So, Let’s talk about your music. I’ve sat in the room at a couple of publications and discussed your music, and it’s really good! But, the gift and the curse of being connected to a superstar, people don’t want to give you a chance. How do you take that chance? It’s not about anybody giving you a chance at this point; it’s about you taking. How do you take that chance and show them “This is me, Safaree the artist and this is MY wave. This is who I am”?
Safaree: Pretty much it’s all about consistency. If I were to give up when people were telling me to “crawl up under a rock and die, when don’t want to hear you by yourself,” it would’ve been alright, you don’t want to hear anything. When you keep on doing something, it just happens. Over time people are going to start rocking with it. I’m putting out videos, I’m dropping Mixtapes, and I’m going out and performing. People are seeing me perform. Where I am now, I wasn’t there when I first started doing music by myself. NOBODY was listening to my music. I just performed at the biggest reggae concert in the world with the most legendary dancehall artist, Bounty Killer – at Sumfest. I wasn’t there for anybody else; I was there to perform MY song that I have with him. You know, when I was walking thru, people were coming up to me and saying “I like that song you got,” “I like that video you got,” they knew my stuff. It’s not like they’re coming up to me saying “that’s the dude that used to talk to…” Like, before that’s what it used to be. Now, I’m not going to lie; I haven’t heard that in a while. But, it’s not only about that, but I also love to make music, I love to entertain. It’s fun to do. That’s what I want to do. I’m not a sit inside office job kind of guy; I love to be on stage. That’s why before I had my own thing, I was on stage as a hypeman. It’s just in me to entertain.
Blame Ebro: Ok, let’s go into Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood. We see that you have a romantic relationship with Miss Nikki Baby. How did you guys meet and get together?
Safaree: Well, ironically enough, she lived five minutes from me. We’re both in L.A. I forgot where we were, but it was just an innocent introduction, you know? It wasn’t anything too crazy. Then we started being cool, talking and she was nothing like what I thought she was. Because the perception of her is like high saddity, stuck up, but she’s really nice. She’s so nice! I’ve met a lot of people in Hollywood, and I just think some of them are so fake, but she is so nice, and it really took me aback. She’s beautiful and all that, yeah. But I”m all about how you are and how you treat people. I grew up around all women, so my mother, especially Jamaican families are really big on raising you with respect. I see how Nikki is and how she treats people and she doesn’t look down on anybody if they have less than her, she doesn’t talk about money at all. There’s some people who have money, and that’s all they talk about. It’s like they want everyone in the room to know they have money. [He puts his fingers to his ear as if he’s on the phone] “Yeah, give them $10 thousand, I’ll probably send the $5 thousand later. They need $30 thousand?” Alright.” I’ve seen people do that in public and that’s disgusting. They’re in public talking about numbers and talking about money in a loud way, and it is really obnoxious. I’ve been around that; I don’t know if they’re trying to impress me or if they are really trying to show off who you are. But, that’s outrageous to me, no matter what. I don’t even talk about money; I downplay everything. There are people who go around other people who have less than them, and they don’t realize it, but they’re bringing them down in a subtle way when they just brag about all of the stuff they have. I used to be around people when I had all these crazy cars and stuff, and I would NEVER, EVER talk about it. They would talk about it, and ask me stuff, but I wasn’t bragging about “yeah, I got this car, I’m about to go get another car.” I would never do that, because you don’t have it. Why would I just throw it in your face? That’s something I learned, when I got into this business. I learned how people talk to other people. I’ve seen people belittled other people so bad it made them cry. I’ve also seen some people who are very respectful.
Blame Ebro: Do you feel misunderstood in the public eye?
Safaree: You know what it is? I don’t know if I’m misunderstood. I think people know; they just want to act like they don’t know because they might be a big Nicki fan or a big Meek fan and act like “I don’t care what he do. He can go feed the whole world right now. I don’t like him!” Or “he’s corny,” or “Oh. You fed the whole country. You’re trying to save Jamaica? You’re a cornball, get out of here.” There’s people who are that ignorant. At the same time, you have the little 12, 11-year-olds who go on the internet and talk a bunch of nonsense they don’t know.
Blame Ebro: Thumb thugs!
Safaree: Yeah. You said “thumb thugs”? I like that! Thumb thugs, you a dumb bug….
Blame Ebro: Alright, Freestyle Unity. What’s your current relationship status?
Safaree: Current relationship status… I’m just trying to rebuild myself as a human being. I don’t wanna put my burdens on somebody else at the moment.
Blame Ebro: That’s very adult of you.
Safaree: I’m telling you, this is what happened to me. ‘Cause when my past relationship was over, I said: “Ok, I’m single.” After two or three months went by I said to myself “I’m lonely, let me see what’s out there.” I met a girl, we were dating, and then I was like “whoa, I am not ready for this, mentally.” And I don’t wanna change how somebody is mentally. If you’re not happy with yourself, you really can change somebody. You can change their whole attitude and their aura. If I have a depressed spirit, and they come around me it can change them. I’m not saying I’m like that now, I was like that, and that was the issue.
Blame Ebro: It takes a real man to realize that’s the issue. You have to fix yourself before they jump into another relationship. Because you can’t go into a relationship broken.
Safaree: Exactly. You can’t go into a any relationship with bad energy. You can’t go into it broken; you can’t go in it with bad habits. It’s not good. I experienced it, so I’ve learned from it, and I don’t want to hurt another woman. I wouldn’t want to hurt another woman because I’m still broken.
Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood airs Mondays at 8 pm EST on VH1.