Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan but based in Los Angeles, Sam Baker, aka Samiyam, is an underground producer who makes instrumental hip-hop beats. Stylistically cut from the same cloth as J Dilla but with a tendency to incorporate synthesizers as well as samples, he is associated with the city's beatmaking scene, and was one of the first artists to release music on Flying Lotus' influential label Brainfeeder. Baker and FlyLo produced music together as FLYamSAM, first surfacing on Rush Hour Recordings' 2007 compilation Beat Dimensions, Vol. 1. Baker's solo debut, Rap Beats, Vol. 1 was self-released in 2008 as a limited CD-R, and had unique artwork for each copy -- collages made from magazine cutouts. He made his vinyl debut that year on the British label Hyperdub, which issued the Return EP. Baker's Man vs. Machine 10" EP appeared on Poo-Bah Records in 2009, and FLYamSAM issued a mixtape titled Bootleg Beats that year. In 2010, Samiyam released a split 10" EP with Ras G as part of All City Records' series spotlighting producers from the Los Angeles beat scene. Following additional compilation appearances, production credits on albums by rappers Blu and Pharoahe Monche, and remixes for producers like Shigeto and Illum Sphere, Samiyam released his proper debut full-length, Sam Baker's Album, on Brainfeeder in 2011.
Following that album, Baker became much more active as a behind-the-scenes producer than a solo artist. He contributed to 2012 albums by the Gaslamp Killer and Flying Lotus' alter ego Captain Murphy before releasing Wish You Were Here, a cassette-only solo album on Leaving Records. Later that year, he produced "20 Wave Caps" on Earl Sweatshirt's major-label debut Doris. A 2014 vinyl reissue of Danny Brown's 2008 debut Hot Soup included a Samiyam-produced bonus track called "Radio Head," and Baker produced a track on Joey Bada$$'s 2015 full-length B4.DA.$$. Also in 2015, Baker and Earl Sweatshirt collaborated on a song titled "Quest/Power," and the MC made another guest appearance on Samiyam's 2016 full-length Animals Have Feelings. Released by Stones Throw, the album also included collaborations with Action Bronson and Jeremiah Jae. ~ Jason Lymangrover & Paul Simpson