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Shawn Tapiwa Mims (born March 22 1981) is an American rapper from Washington Heights, Manhattan. He was signed to Capitol Records (now Geffen Records) and serves as president and CEO of American King Music. Mims rose to fame after the release of his popular single "This Is Why I'm Hot" and his debut album Music Is My Savior. Mims also owns his own production company, which is co-owned by Blackout Movement. In 2006 along with his business partners Corey "CL" Llewllyn and Erik Mendelson, they founded the record label, American King Music.
Shawn Mims was born in Washington Heights, Manhattan, to a family of Jamaican heritage. His early dreams were to be a music producer, and at the age of twelve, his mother bought him a DJ system. When he was thirteen, his mother died while giving birth to his sister Alexis. His father, whom Mims did not know well, had died two years earlier. After his mother's death, he lived (along with his brother and sister) with his aunt and his grandmother. Mims was a straight-A student during junior high and high school.
After graduating from high school, Mims attended Nassau Community College. After two months of classes, Mims left in order to pursue a rap career. Forming an acquaintance with Cam'ron, he began spending time in Harlem, where Mims was discovered by Push Plan Records. In 2001, he was featured on a compilation called Private Party Collectors Edition Vol. 2, by Toronto's Baby Blue Soundcrew. His appearance on the single "Love Em' All", alongside Choclair, briefly made him well-known in Canada. The music video was also nominated for an MMVA award. (The song was unreleased in the United States.)
Soon after the Canadian success, Mims left Push Plan, believing the company was slow in promoting and releasing his music. He began to record with Latin hip hop label Urban Box Office Records, albeit without a record deal. He met Blackout of Blackout Movement at his friend's wedding, and, along with Digiwaxx, recorded the Blackout-produced track "I Did You Wrong", in which he talks about past relationships.
The song was popular in New York City, and led to him working as an opening act and hype man for Method Man on his tour. He continued to record with UBO, but without signs of career advancement. He decided to leave UBO in order to avoid an impending dispute. The label shut down and Mims attempted to find a solo deal with a major label. He contacted Universal Records, J Records, and Interscope Records, each of which turned him down.
In 2006, formed his own record label, American King Music, with business partners Corey Llewllyn and Erik Mendelson. He attempted to secure distribution through Atlantic Records, but they declined to distribute another New York rapper. Other labels were similarly uninterested.
Mims then released "This Is Why I'm Hot," which became a hit. Labels that had previously turned him down, such as Interscope Records, began to pursue him and attempt to persuade him to sign with them. Mims decided to sign his American King imprint to EMI's Capitol Records in December 2006. This move attracted some criticism; according to Mims, Capitol understood him better than the other labels. He then began work on his debut album, Music Is My Savior.
Music Is My Savior (2007)
On March 27, 2007, Mims released his debut album, Music Is My Savior. The album marked the first release on his American King Music label. The album's sales were propelled by the hit single "This Is Why I'm Hot", panned by some and praised by others for its simple, catchy chorus. There are also three other singles from the album "Its Alright", "Like This", and "Without You". Guest appearances come from J. Holiday, Bun B, Seed, Letoya Luckett, Cham, Junior Reid, and Purple Popcorn.
The album debuted at #4 on the charts. Digital sales attained platinum status, however only 300,000 physical copies were sold in the United States. In response, Mims said that the RIAA needs to include digital downloads and CD burning in its sales records.
Mims was criticized for his album being unoriginal and only featuring one other New York rapper on the album and one who is relatively unknown to the public. Mims has also been critized for relying on ringtone sales rather than album sales.
After the release of his debut album, Mims participated in the Microsoft Zune tour and announced plans for his second album. In early 2008, he left Capitol Records and announced a new deal with Geffen Records.
The Autobiography (2008)
The Autobiography is the upcoming secon album from Mims. The album was announced in September and "Like This (remix)" featuring Sean Kingston, Sha Dirty, Red Cafe, and N.O.R.E. would soon follow as a warm-up single. On February 14, 2008, the lead single, "Amount To Nothin'" featuring Kimberly Hall was released. The album is due in June on American King/Geffen Records
In April 2007, Mims was booked to perform "Like This" at a women's conference at a New York City venue. Mims was to make $50,000 for the short appearance. In the end he would not show up. He was then sued for $7.5 Million. He was sued for misogyny. They would later settle out of court.
In May 2007, Mims had some dispariging words for fellow New York rapper, 50 Cent. It was reported that Mims had said that 50 was no longer the rap kingpin of New York and that he was jealous of Mims' newfound success. Mims said that 50 should be worried because of all of the success that he is experiencing. He would say that he is the new king of New York and all of the money and women now want to come to him more than 50 Cent. Mims had openly told 50 Cent to be worried. Later in an interview, 50 Cent was asked about the comments that Mims made. He would say that Mims just wanted attention because his album didn't sell. 50 also said that people were not comfortable buying an album from a New York rapper that sounds like Ludacris. Mims would later come back to deny what he had said and say that his words were taken out of context. Mims said that he spoke highly of 50 in the interview and that he owns all of his albums and that his next album, Curtis, would be his best album ever. This did not stop 50 from dissing Mims on his "I Get Money" song. Mims would respond with a line at the end of his "Like This (remix)." The feud between the two camps has died down some since then, but both have albums due in June.
In October 2007, J-Hood, would diss Mims for misrepresenting New York with his singles. J-Hood would release a vicious diss track, "One Hit Wonderman." J-Hood admitted that Mims had done nothing to him personally, but that someone needed to ckeck him. The track accused Mims of being disloyal to the New York sound. Mims said that he would refuse to respond to J-Hood because he would end his career before it started.
Mims runs his own label, American King Music, which operates under Geffen Records. Artists on the label include Jason Derulo, Kimi, Prince Ty, 2 Pistols, Class The King, Ava Denera, Black Heff, and others.
In 2008, Mims plans to open up his new clothing line, American King Clothing. It is unknown about the other details at this time.
- The Future
- Released: 2007
- Label: American King Music/Capitol
- 2001: MuchMusic Video Awards, Best Rap Video, "Love 'Em All" (Nominated)
- 2007: VMA, Monster Single of the Year, "This Is Why I'm Hot" (Nominated)
- 2007: BET Awards, Best New Artist (Nominated)
- 2007: BET Hip Hop Awards, Rookie of the Year (Nominated)
- 2007: BET Hip Hop Awards, People's Champ (Nominated)
- 2007: BET Hip Hop Awards, Best Ringtune (Nominated)