Sitting on a black leather couch in a dimly lit room down the hall from his Cedar Riverside studio, Tae Supreme lights a Backwoods with ease. As the smoke gently rolls out from between his lips, fellow Minneapolis rapper Lil Crush’s auto-tuned voice comes floating down the hallway from the studio; Supreme is in his element.
“I haven’t had a real job in like a year,” he said. “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life."
Hailing from East St. Paul, Supreme, born Shawonte Lewis, has always had a love for music. In sixth grade, he was suspended from school after a teacher discovered his notebook littered with original rap lyrics.
He continued to write music throughout high school, but his main focus was basketball.
During his first year of college at St. Cloud Technical and Community College, Supreme says he had a stark realization about his future.
“I had an epiphany in college, like, ‘This is my calling. This is what I want to do, 100 percent,’” he said.
In the age of SoundCloud, Supreme’s journey to stardom might seem unconventional by today’s standards. Rather than posting track after track online, hoping something would stick, Supreme went out and created his own buzz, attending parties and playing his own music for crowds.
After people began recognizing him around campus at St. Cloud Tech for his music, he decided to pursue emceeing full time, leaving school and moving back to the Twin Cities.
Upon returning to the Twin Cities, Supreme began going to open mic nights at The Red Sea on Cedar Avenue every Monday until he had garnered name recognition around the area.
It was around this time that he, along with rapper Al Pako and producer JTC Beats, formed the music group Modern Day Hippies, or MDH for short, which also includes artists KP Skizzo and Swavey.
Supreme describes this time in his life as a formative period; he experimented with his sound, like on his 2016 single “Gambino,” where he can be heard rapping nonchalantly about weed, Xans, lean and Percs.
For Supreme, old tracks like “Gambino” remind him of where he came from and the progress he’s made as an artist.
Since the “Gambino” days, Supreme has dropped numerous singles and a few projects. Most notably was his 2018 EP, “Trap in Peace,” which features high energy bangers like “Absolute” and “Charger.”
For fans who have been waiting since 2018 for another major offering from the Twin Cities rapper, Supreme says a new project is slated to release in 2020. Until then, he says he’s got a few singles he’s ready to drop before the end of this year.
Long gone are the days of hitting Monday night open mics. Supreme’s music has taken him around the country, performing shows in Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles and even Austin for the SXSW music festival.
Regardless of where his music has taken him, he still does plenty of shows around Minneapolis and St. Paul. On Oct.13, he opened for A$AP Mob member A$AP Ant at First Avenue's 7th Street Entry. Between the projects and the shows, Supreme is excited for what his future holds, saying from here on out, there’s no holding back.
“In 2020, I’m coming out swinging,” he said.
What: Comethazine with Modern Day Hippies
When: Wednesday, Nov. 20; Doors at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Where: The Varsity Theater, 1308 4th St. SE., Minneapolis
Cost: $25 general admission
Ages: All ages