What Salloum delivers is an eclectic mix of conscious lyrics with beat-blasting production. Salloum makes great music which is meaningful and fun to listen to. He makes you want to pay attention to everything he is saying.

Salloum is an American rapper who was born Suleiman Aloul in Charlottesville, Virginia. His parents moved to America in 1982 from Jordan. Salloum started writing rhymes at the age of 19 while attending college at Virginia Commonwealth University. After transferring to George Mason University in 2008, Salloum released his debut project Epitome Perennial (2013). In 2014 he released HollowDreamz.

As a Hip-hop artist Salloum has aimed his talent at his lyricism, which is consistent in the eye-opening social commentary in each of his songs. In “HollowDreamz”, that commentary is very present; however there is never a feeling of over-preachiness. 

Being able to make great music, which is meaningful and fun to listen to, is something that most in the rap industry can’t seem to do. Salloum shines with this album. Just as you get sick to your stomach with all the weak, money driven and platinum jewels crap, comes Salloum to save the day. If you are searching for the true definition of an emcee, pick this up. Then listen to “Late At Night”, “The Last Stand”, “Dark Jam (ft. Charles Manson)”, “This Is The Blues” and “Rock With Me”.

The first thing to say is that this album is absolutely amazing when it comes to lyrics. In my opinion, Salloum is one of the best lyricists out there. Salloum is a rapper who makes sure that our struggles are expressed in music. I feel that Common, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli are among the few who can keep this type of music alive.

After the “Al Falaq” intro, “Late At Night”, gets the album off to an excellent start, giving you an indication of what the rest of the album sounds like. Throughout, Salloum’s flow is incredible as he makes you want to pay attention to everything he is saying in the verses. Overall, Salloum delivers an album where all of the songs have a meaning. And a lot of them also have great production, thus making “HollowDreamz” interesting enough for both old and new fans.

Through Salloum’s music we discover an artist offering solutions to problems and someone who’s both faithful to the past and looking forward to the future. “HollowDreamz” is proof that rap music doesn’t have to be about Nike’s, bankrolls, and hoes, and that Nas was probably wrong; Hip-hop isn’t completely dead, it was sleeping…but Salloum is definitely trying to wake it up!

― Jeena Johnson, www.soundlooks.com and www.independentmusicnews24.com

Salloum started writing rhymes at the age of 19 while attending college at Virginia Commonwealth University. Inspired by hall mates on his floor to rap, Salloum started going by the name Provocator. After transferring to George Mason University in 2008, Salloum released his debut project Epitome Perennial in 2013. In 2014 he released HollowDreamz.

Salloum's music project entitled “HollowDreamz" contains sharp dynamic lyrical content complemented with lush synthesizers and samples dispersed throughout the compositions. 

Salloum, who has been creating a buzz on multiple music platforms, creates an interesting and effective contrast on his newest project, where the production is seemingly complex and the lyrics drop heavy knowledge with his intricate poeticism. Salloum definitely has an authentic feel to his music that is rare in Hip-hop today. The deliveries on this album are excellent and create a great supporting dynamic to the lead vocals and the complementary hooks. I personally admire when talented artists can bring back traditional styles of music and transform them into something new and authentic.

I think the word to describe Salloum’s style would be "refreshing" and this artist has definitely found his true north in the Hip-hop genre. There are far too many musicians out there that sound the same and do not possess enough assets that set themselves apart from others. I loved the analog warmth of the album; it brings out colored characteristics where saturators were prevalent from tape distortion. You can tell that this MC puts in a lot of work, not only in the studio, but on a production aspect as well. Most independent artists just want to push any song out no matter what the quality; you have to respect musicians who put that much time and dedication into their artwork. 

I would recommend listening to this LP with headphones to take in the minute details that highly distinguish the personality of Salloum’s songs. I am really excited to see this MC blossom and it seems as though he has found his mark in the music industry. Check out Salloum’s LP, “HollowDreamz” if you want to hear great, conscious music that is leading Hip-hop in the right direction! 

― Leecarso, Renman Music & Business 

HollowDreamz shatters the limits and expands the possibilities of current Hip-hop trends.

Looking widely across various genres you’ll find a category of artists like Bob Marley, Mos Def and Rage Against the Machine whose music hit on more levels; one, the sheer gut level – strong musicianship, attitude, and power; two, the emotional level – incendiary tirades about empowerment, poverty, injustice; three, the intellectual level - articulate, poetic and thought-provoking lines that stick with you. Salloum’s artistic prowess shown on HollowDreamz belongs to this same category of artists.

Before listening to a single note of music on HollowDreamz I read through the lyric sheet. Salloum’s messages go way above and beyond the ‘get-money-get-laid’ aesthetic that has swamped Hiphop in recent years. One track in, and the first six lines don’t fail to impress: “Blessing God with the press of competition aimed for best / A soul, mind, will, a swagger vexed to impress/ Addressed clean and clear when spoken from the chest / Fulfilling truth scoped whole amidst powers / there to lead and die for moral justice to survive / I’m leading on a tightrope / presenting hope to lead people…”

This is the real deal. Salloum has a lyrical depth all his own that few mainstreamers can touch. Salloum is for lovers of Hip-Hop who expect and require a positive voice, someone who represents the consciousness of the people. By the time you get to tracks like “Dark Jam” and “Silver Lining”, which looks at the Charles Manson perspective of events, you’ll be wondering why rappers like 2Chainz, Rick Ross, and a whole bunch of others are even in the game!

None of them are ever going to write lines (from “Dark Jam”) like: “I spend my lifetime scheming for my right minds dream fulfillment / Gleaming like a superstar illuminant / my energy encapsulates spoken word symmetry / my heart poetry reflects tones of sorrow misery / survived through and through / I lived to learn, guide through / hearken souls pious cries died to…”

Throughout the 11 tracks which make up HollowDreamz, Salloum captures the essence of Hip hop, which is communicating messages and thoughts that mean something. He looks at topics and themes from all angles without passing sentences or judgments. In short, Salloum eliminates the superficiality permeating modern-day Hip-hop, from his spoken poetry.

Besides shattering the limits and expanding the possibilities of current Hip-hop trends, as a conscious and cultural force, HollowDreamz shines for its blend of diverse samples, infectious beats, and intelligent lyrics. Moreover it’s Salloum’s fiercely intelligent vision and his compelling delivery that makes the album totally worthwhile.

I could go on for hours citing phrases, dissecting individual songs and their perpetuating themes, but this recording plays out like a concept album and needs to be heard as a whole for a 360° vision of Salloum’s range of thoughts. Suffice to say that songs which quickly capture the ear with catchy beats and smooth flows include: “Late At Night”, “Dark Jam”, “The Last Stand”, “This Is The Blues” and “Rock With Me”.

Kinetic, dense and urgent, the whole “HollowDreamz” project holds together as one collective hunk of eloquent socio-politics and sonic art. An album that every serious Hip-hop fan should own!

 Rick Jamm, http://jamsphere.com/reviews/salloum-hollow-dreamz-shatters-the-limits-and-expands-the-possibilities-of-current-hip-hop-trends

Review ― HollowDreamz by Salloum

HollowDreamz is a concept album that sets out Salloum's belief in challenging social constructs and the importance of the individual.

From this you can already tell that Salloum is a more intellectual and deep thinking artist than most rappers, with a strong spiritual message to his music. His rapping style is fast and flowing, with a great capacity for rhyme and wordplay, not dissimilar to Eminem in terms of delivery. However, in terms of his spiritual and political message he is more similar to someone like Chuck D from Public Enemy.

The album begins with a Muslim prayer that highlights the importance of faith in Salloum's life and music, before launching into Late At Night. It is a great opener as it comes close to what is Salloum's signature sound; a hard-hitting Hip-hop beat with rhythmic or melodic piano that acts as a hook, strings and organ further filling out the backing track for Salloum to lay down his rhymes. It features a hook that sums up Salloum's manifesto: "A soul, mind, will, a swagger vexed to impress, addressed clean and clear when spoken from the chest."

Through The Window features several melodic hooks with a truly addictive flute riff in the verse, then a memorable string line taking over. The Last Stand was the highlight of the album for me; the music creating a brooding intensity with an exotic sounding string line and an effective descending piano motif. Salloum's lyrics are equally intense, explaining his spiritual development through his real life struggles: "Looking to the world from without when the answers were within". Salloum always keeps the music progressing so it never drags.

Later on the album "This Is The Blues" and the final track "Rock With Me" bring guitars into the musical mix which adds variety to the sound. The latter features a mind-blowing guitar solo that entwines with Salloum's rhymes towards the end, and the unexpected combination of sounds makes this an original sonic blueprint that he should return to in the future.

Silver Lining was perhaps the only track I was not sure about as it contains audio samples of the notorious Charles Manson and Ted Bundy discussing how society views them and how it influenced their behavior (Dark Jam also opens with a Manson sample). Whilst this is very relevant to what Salloum means to convey about those with individual views often being shunned by society, the usage of two such controversial figures might prove contentious, and may well garner press attention.

Overall, this is a powerful and consistently strong album that packs both a lyrical and musical punch. While there is a lot of competition in the world of Hip-hop, Salloum's intelligent and challenging lyrics set to blistering beats means he stands apart from the crowd and can lay claim to a unique style. Now that Eminem is no longer such a potent creative force, Hip-hop has been waiting for someone else to step up to the plate with something important to say, and with this album, Salloum delivers.

― Alex Faulkner, The Faulkner Review

Salloum – HollowDreamz

Kicking off with AL-FALAQ, HollowDreamz starts off with an echo-laden unaccompanied voice with wide Middle Eastern tones, giving the feel of a call to prayer, before shifting straight into LATE AT NIGHT.

This first full track presents the rap vocal as up front and personal sounding, with a confident and unrelenting flow. It is tight, fluid, and immediately captivating, with the swirling organ tones in the background helping to maintain a sense of momentum.

DARK JAM and THROUGH THE WINDOW pack in a huge amount in their relatively short run times and do so in a creative and varied way.

THE LAST STAND makes good use of glitchy pitch-shifted notes that create an eerie feel. It puts the listener ever so slightly on edge, allowing for the Hip-hop vocal to act as a kind of trustworthy anchor as the music proceeds.

SEEN IT ALL starts out more delicate and glacial, with a lonely piano part and spirally tones that sound at points like the shattering of glass itself.

THIS IS THE BLUES makes use of a huge sounding rock guitar.

It’s on the closing track, ROCK WITH ME, however, where classic Motown tunes and well implemented percussion create a warm lounge feel with Salloum’s tight vocal unpacking the message loud and clear with that trademark flow.

It’s a rich album, constantly creative, and a worthy listen for any fan of Hip-hop who wants something a little different.

― CrossRadar.com, www.crossradar.com/salloum-hollowdreamz