The Contrast Man: Steelo Brim Talks 1,000+ Episodes of Ridiculousness, Shares his Art Collection
It’s not every day you get a chance to look into the home of your favorite tv-personality. I’m talking about comedian and co-host of MTV’s Ridiculousness, Steelo Brim. As we got a chance to tour his captivating home, Steelo lets us know that when you look around his house, it’s something he would describe as chic and stylish.
“I try to look at my house as “I’m an art collector”. I collect my art as one big canvas, and I like to paint my house myself with different pieces and different things. So I like it to all be a little bit of me, you know. Like when you look around my crib, I think it’s somewhat chic, stylish, and shit. I think I am as well, so that kind of fits.”
Walking on the levitating stone path towards the entrance, two french bulldogs greeted my team and I with excitement at a tall large glass door. Beyond those doors was a sophisticated living space that was filled with art such as tall KAWS statues and a vinyl sculpture entitled Elevate by artist Louis DeGuzman.
As we walked around his contemporary and modern home – with his french bulldogs right behind us- we discussed some of his favorite pieces in his house. We eventually came across his favorite hanging art piece by artist Jaime Holmes on his staircase. The painting depicts a young black boy sitting on a chair with his arm laying on his knee with a joint between his fingers. An emotional and astonishing piece that allows the viewer to take in the earthy tones and struggles people may face in everyday life.
Art in the physical wasn’t the only topic of discussion that day. Steelo has no problem letting people know that he’s more than a co-host that controls videos. Brim is also a music artist and recently released his debut project “Eldorado Excursions” and two freestyle records to familiar tracks.
“I was just like, this is an opportunity for me to truly do something that I know I love doing; and to be creative and represent the creatives and just being Like, ‘Hey, you can’t tell us what we can or can’t do.’”
Making our way to Steelo’s backyard, the sun shined over the tempting pool and ravishing and minimalistic landscape. As we walked past a well-designed pool house to a hidden basketball court, we discussed his start in Hollywood and the strategy for producing a successful and long-running tv show.
“We shoot with low budgets and have a great business return. You want to ensure you’re not putting that much into it and getting a lot back.”
A man that has also kept his parents’ values close to his heart, he’s humbled by the favor God has placed upon his life and for what’s next to come. When asked about the new Paramount Plus deal, Steelo responded and said ” It’s going to be pure storytelling from pure people at the end of the day.”
Spending the day in the humble abode of Steelo Brim and being exposed to the multiple black artists that comprise his remarkable collection, was a memorable experience that left my team and I feeling like we left an exclusive and curated gala event in downtown LA.
Steelo Brim is a visionary that has more to share and has only given a small taste of the artistic and comedic sophistication that he plans on sharing with the world.
A successful show on MTV, an innovative podcast, and now a deal with MTV and Paramount Plus, Steelo is keeping busy and doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.
Check out the full exclusive interview with Steelo Brim below.
Oliver: We’re so excited to get a deeper look into the life of Steelo Brim. Talk to us about your home. How would you describe your aesthetic? And what’s your favorite space in your humble abode?
Steelo: Chicago is home to me. When you say home, I think about Chicago. I try to look at my house as I’m an art collector. I collect my art as one big canvas, and I like to paint my house myself with different pieces and different things. So I like it to all be a little bit of me, you know. Like when you look around my crib, I think it’s somewhat chic, stylish, and shit. I think I am as well, so that kind of fits.
Oliver: And what’s your favorite space in your home?
Steelo: Ooh, my favorite space in my home? Probably the room we’re in right now, in my studio. It’s very therapeutic for me to come down here and just write and create.
Oliver: You refer to yourself as an art collector. Talk to us about your art collection and what makes it unique.
Steelo: I try to invest back, not only in my community but also in black artists. I’d say 95% of my collection is black. So for me, that feels strong. That feels unique to other collectors. I also don’t have a glimpse into everybody’s collection and everyone’s whole setup. So I think that walking around my house, you really feel like everything feels handpicked and not like I just had somebody do my decor for me.
Oliver: We all know you’re a huge fan of sneakers, and one may even call you a sneakerhead. Who are some of the favorite designers you pair with your sneakers?
Steelo: I wouldn’t call myself a sneakerhead, but my favorite designer? I’m all over the place. I try not to be like; I’m buying this just because of a designer’s name versus me liking a piece. That’s how I tend to look at clothes. Like, “alright, that’s going to be a staple for me for the next two years.” So I’m going to buy that piece, and if it’s a little expensive, that’s alright as long as I can get enough wear out of it.
Oliver: If you could collaborate with a brand on creating an exclusive sneaker, who would it be, and what silhouette would you choose?
Steelo: Kirby at Pyer Moss. I’d probably collab with him if I could. Again, I like working with black people, man. <laughs> I like doing my business with them and creating things. It’s always rich when we get in rooms together, pick each other’s brains, and create. So for me, probably that, and then, you know, a guaranteed answer is Nike, of course, or the Jordan brand. It’d be pretty cool to make a collab with them as well.
Oliver: You recently released your debut album, Eldorado Excursions. Let us know how you feel about stepping into music and dropping your first full-length album.
Steelo: I don’t call it an album because it’s not an album. [laughs] it’s a project. But like, Nah, it’s been amazing. You know, I have a music background. I used to A&R before any of it. So for me, it was an opportunity to get back into music. I moved to LA with a love of music, which is why I came here. So obviously, the last ten years of my life, I’ve been doing other stuff; I was just like, this is an opportunity for me to truly do something that I know I love doing; and to be creative and represent the creatives and just being like, “Hey, you can’t tell us what we can or can’t do.” As a dude that’s been on a show for ten years and I control videos on the show, people will look at you and be like, “you can’t do this,” and I’m like, I can do a whole bunch of stuff, you know what I’m saying? So that project, for me, was just about not limiting ourselves. I understand that we have one life to live, and I don’t want to be one who looks back and says, “damn it, I should have done that thing.”
Oliver: We’ve heard your ‘Knock, Knock’ and ‘Plan B’ freestyle. What inspired you to do those freestyles? Was it just random, or were you just sitting in a studio?
Steelo: The knock, knock freestyle was definitely random. It was like one of my first records; I think I recorded it, and it was my first video shoot. Then Plan B, I had that beat beforehand. My boy Rob Holiday did a couple of records on my project, and he produced the Megan Thee Stallion record. So I had already had a freestyle done to it. I hit him like, “Yo, you know, I ain’t trying to step on no toes, but could we find out if it’s cool from Megan? Can I drop this?” And he was like, no, of course. So I was happy that the freestyles got a good response.
Oliver: Any plan for new music coming soon?
Steelo: Yeah, 1000%. I got a new song dropping on August 26 with Larry June called ‘Summer Goodbye.’ I got a whole bunch of new music. I’m such a person that I take pride in what I do. I want them to come out and be done correctly. So making the new music, I’m just so critical. I’m also a Gemini, so I’m crazy. I will be in my head all day, but definitely, new music is on the way.
Oliver: You got your start in Hollywood by playing in the 2001 film hardball; who influenced you as a young actor? And what other roles would you like to dive into as an actor today?
Steelo: I didn’t even know that’s where I started. [laughs] I did hardball because I was playing baseball. I was ranked in the state of Illinois for baseball, and my principal had called me and said, “Hey, they have these auditions for this movie down here, and they want black kids that like baseball. That is right up your alley” I went and did that movie, and I was supposed to just be background, which I still was, but they ended up bumping me up to an actual regular, so I was getting paid as an actor because of child labor laws. Even with me doing Ridiculousness, for so long Viacom and MTV would hit me and ask me to do a show, and I’ll just be like, that’s not me. For me, it is still about ensuring the representation is pure.
Oliver: Let’s talk Ridiculousness. 27 seasons and 936 episodes. That’s amazing. Congratulations. What is it like working with MTV, and what lessons have you learned working on such a significant and long-running show?
Steelo: I have to come in and say we have over a thousand episodes filmed already because the thousands are such a milestone. Anything I do, I try to be a student. So even now, I started producing on Ridiculousness season two and I’ve also learned a lot about the business. As we look at it as a business, our show does well because of the profitability of the show. We shoot with low budgets and have a great business return. You want to ensure you’re not putting that much into it and getting a lot back. We were also looking at the efficiency of how we run it. We film six episodes a day right now, which we’re trying to get up to eight. So we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. I’m humbled by all of it just because it’s not what I came to LA to do. So it’s been nothing but the favor of God in my life, and I’m appreciative.
Oliver: I find it interesting that you grew up with a father, a Chicago fire department battalion chief, and a mother, a pastor. What values did they instill in you that have guided your journey today?
Steelo: They instilled a whole bunch of values in me. They have both worked in the community, and both are pastors as well. I always joke with my dad and say he’s Jamaican because he got eight jobs. At one point, he cut hair and worked for Soft Sheen while doing hair shows in Atlanta. He always instilled hard work. Then also, on top of that, we grew up on the west side of Chicago. So for us, they were like, just because we live somewhere doesn’t mean we have to be of that place. Even though they are pastors, they understood that God gives us choices. So growing up, they liked to provide us with choices within the household and make sure they told us they could only raise us so far and hoped that what they taught us resonated with us and sat with me, and It has, and I appreciate them.
Oliver: Speaking of your MTV Paramount plus deal, what can fans expect? And what can you tell us about it,
Steelo: Fans can expect what’s pure. If it’s not myself writing something, I’m trying to make sure I’m tapping into other vessels. It’s going to be pure storytelling from pure people at the end of the day.
Oliver: Lastly, the definition of Contrast is ‘to be strikingly different.’ What makes you strikingly different?
Steelo: It’s been a blessing to try to be yourself in an industry that’s mostly a facade, and that makes me somewhat different. Different friends within the industry, you know people for real and you realize that they can’t be themselves because they’re so afraid of the world, or the response, or this thing that may happen and I think I’ve been blessed enough to try to tell my truth and just live every day as myself, and it’s worked thus far. So for me, I think people will at least be like “He’s maybe reckless, but he’s real.”
Producer + Stylist: Oliver Brown
Photographer: Jon Dailey
Makeup Artist: Star Bahati
Fashion Lead Assistant: Nekeyta Brunson
Assistant: India Young
Assistant: Jazlynn Thomas
Videographer: Charles Hawthorne
Jacket: Dries Van Noten
Top: Steelo Owns
Pants: Enfants Riches Deprimes
Sweater: Enfants Riches Deprimes
Top: Steelo Owns
Necklace: Cello custom
Pants: Art on display courtesy of Josue Thomas
Hat: Enfants Riches Deprimes
Shoes: Steelo Owns
Top: Dries Van Noten
Hat: Steelo owns
Glasses: Steelo owns
Top: Saint X Denim Tears
Necklace: Steelo owns
Bottom: Art on display courtesy of Josue Thomas