He’s only 20 years old but his resume reads like someone twice his age. From spinning for artists like Rich Homie Quan, Young Thug and Jose Guapo, to flooding the streets with his aggressively raw mixtapes, Hakeem “DJ Lil Keem” Anderson has taken the crown as the new voice of the streets.
Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Keem grew up watching his grandfather, a DJ, work the turntables. He became fascinated with the process of playing records and also mixing various sounds to create something fresh. When the curious youngster turned 15, he began experimenting with songs on his laptop, which became a defining moment in his life. “I’d be on the Internet exploring the world and got hip to new music,” says Keem. “I’d burn cds for my brothers and his friends and I became known for having the hottest mixes.” Tearing a page from his parent’s entrepreneurial playbook, Keem turned his passion into a paycheck and began profiting from his hobby.
Keem earned his dues. Logging thousands of hours of practice by studying the techniques of established DJs, Keem became a product of all of their different sounds while adding his own finesse. The talented teenager began getting calls from local artists to host their mixtapes, which garnered him his own fan base, as well as coverage all over the web. “I started DJ’ing at a strip club, although my parents didn’t know at the time but I made so many relationships with rappers and artists that helped me with my career. I was also doing graphic design and viral videos so I was like a one-stop shop.”
Keem controlled the wheels of steels at every major concert, event and party in his city, including hosting a project for Yo Gotti. With a heavy presence on the net, in addition to being active on social media, Keem caught the attention of Hoodrich DJ and HPG producer DJ Spinz. On one of his many trips to Atlanta, the two met and instantly clicked and cliqued. Keem joined the Hoodrich family in 2012, moved to Atlanta and has been in the fast lane ever since.
As an integral part of the new young movement, Keem along with artists Pee Wee Longway and Migos came up with the term Lobby Runner used to describe their fun, energetic, no sleep lifestyle. “Everybody has their own lobby. My hours are from 10PM till 10AM.”
Keem has made appearances on BET’s 106 & Park and received plaques from 2 Chainz, Ca$h Out, Rich Homie Quan, Young Thug and Migos for his contribution in breaking their records. The humble and hard-working DJ may be used to moving and motivating large crowds, but off stage Keem prefers to keep a low-key profile. “I’m always out and about working, so I like to keep a part of me to me. I’ll go back home to reenergize and then give that energy to the people who are in my immediate circle. I try to keep my mind right and help those around me, which is why God’s allowed me to accomplish what I have thus far.”