In a time where most hype rap songs sound the same, it’s great to hear a song that is refreshing and goes against the grain. This happened to me 6 months ago whilst listening to New Gen Radio. I was introduced to Yxng Bane through his song ‘Villain’, a song that shows a vocalist describing the struggles of life on the roads with a mixture of singing and rapping. I later discovered I’d been late to the party when I got into more of his music on Soundcloud. Judging by the stats, Yxng Bane’s music has been gaining traction for a while now. With a chance to speak to the East London artist, I got into how he’d embarked on a new journey in music.
What was the first song you made?
‘Lone Wolf’ and ‘Pronto’ were my first songs. I released a teaser video for both and then we focussed on promoting the songs. It resulted in the release of 3 songs on Soundcloud.
Was the intention to make a full project or were you just releasing music?
When we were making these songs, we were just having fun in the studio. Then we saw the number of listens go stupid. The responses was great. It was then when I decided that I’d create a mixtape for the people. The energy in the studio was so positive. We finished the tape within a month. I was just in the studio focussed on creating music. I wanted to give the people who have been listening to the 3 songs that I’ve previously released a body of work.
And how was your relationship with music at the beginning of creating these songs?
I’ve always been a music head. I woke up every morning to check GRM Daily, SpiffTV and Worldstar HipHop to find new music. My relationship with music has always been there. I’ve been playing instruments from a young age.
I felt like the game needed me, my creativity.
I’ve been the same but I’ve never been inclined to make music. What’s the difference between me and you? What made you want to create music?
I’ve always been creative. I felt like the game needed me, my creativity. If I’m being brutally honest, I felt like there was something missing. Something that I could bring to the game. There was a lot of the same music being made and there was a space in the game. You mentioned ‘Lone Wolf’, I made that song about a year ago. I didn’t release it because the time wasn’t right. I had to wait for the right time to release my music.
Listening to those songs, it sounds fresh. Like it was made for todays audience. I brought up ‘Villain’ because I like music that talks about all aspects of life. From the good to the bad. In ‘Villain’, you describe doing things on the road, getting caught, being in trouble with your parents and trying to get a job. Is it important to you to express both sides of the story in your music?
It depends. When I’m in the booth, I’m just honest. Whether I cover both sides or not, I just go where the beat takes me. I don’t really think too hard when I’m writing, I’m telling a story of something that I know of and may have directly experienced. Of course I take time to make sure the syllables are right and it makes sense, but when you speak truth, you don’t have to think that hard.
Some artist tend to only tell half of the story…
The roads, it ain’t fun. Where I come from, it was hard. You have to keep it 100 with the listeners. Sometimes, it gets real so it’s important that I describe scenarios that others may relate to.
With over half a million plays in under 6 months of the first release and currently creeping unto 3 million, how does that make you feels as a new artist?
It’s good to know that people are enjoying my music. At the moment, I can’t see the hype. To be honest, in my real life, nothing has changed. So I still have a lot of work to do. I prefer it like that right now. My hunger is still here.
I’m always interested to learn what success means to artists in the music game. What would need to happen for you to say that you’ve made it?
To be honest, I don’t know. My first headline show was a milestone for me. It was mad. I couldn’t even get on stage. The place was ram. I had to barge my way through the crowd. People pulling me and shit. It was crazy. What that done was show me, yo, you’re popping now. Time to work harder.
You brought out your first mixtape within a month of releasing your first song. Soon after you performed in front of a packed venue at your first headline show.
The tape came out in January and the show was in May.
There are artists that have released songs and haven’t transformed it into creating a fanbase and doing shows. What made you take this route?
I was in such a creative zone. I was making music fast and I wanted people to hear it. I’m grateful that they wanted to listen. But I still think that I haven’t done anything big. I’m still at the beginning stages. Where I want to get to, where I want to take this, It’s a long road. You asked me about success and what it looks like to me. I could say Jay-Z, but there are things that are bigger. This music game is big fam. I’m aspiring to be the best. There’s levels in the music world and no doubt, Jay-Z is at a very high level. When it’s not just the music that matters and you’re able to make moves outside of the music world. That’s something like what success looks like to me.
You’re currently planning your second headline show in the same year.
Yeah, October 13th at Kamio.
Unfortunately I missed the first show. Tell me what I and every else should expect from your upcoming show?
A zoovie! A Bane show is a Bane show. It cannot be duplicated or replicated. A Bane show is a turn’t show. We turn up. We go crazy. It’s a bigger venue this time so it’s going to be even better than my last show. I’ve performed at Kamio before at New Gen Live earlier this year. But this time will be different. Everyone will be there to see me. I need to make it special.
With the 2 recent song releases, ‘Can’t hold me back’ and ‘Should’ve Known Better’ you show a variety of musical directions.
I like many different genres of music so when I create, I can bring different elements to my music. I want cover the whole spectrum. Whatever genre of music I choose to do, I’m always myself on it, so it works. You can listen to ‘Should’ve Known Better’ and then listen to ‘Doubted Me’ and you’ll know it’s the same person. Even though musically they sound different, you can tell that this is a Yxng Bane song.
Before I came to speak to you, someone asked me what type of music you made. I couldn’t give a straight answer.
It depends on which of my songs you listen to. Even I can’t answer that question. The new sounds that I’m making are different. Hopefully people will hear the growth in my music. I’m much more attentive when making music now. I made my first mixtape ‘Full Moon’ so quickly. I was raw. But with my new project, ‘B.O.E.’ I’m paying more attention to my tone and my delivery on songs. I’m aware of the metaphors and words I’m using. My music is made based on how I’m feeling. If I’m feeling raw, that’s how ‘Doubted Me’ came about. But songs like ‘Should’ve Known Better’ is a result of another feeling. Another mind frame. My energy comes through in my music.
How far into B.O.E. are you creatively?
I don’t know. I just know I’m dropping a project soon so I’m in the zone right now. Spending a lot of time in the studio creating different sounds. I’ve been releasing rough sounds via my Snapchat and the feedback from my supporters have been positive. They’re liking what I’m doing. It’s not like I’m working with different producers either. It’s the same people helping me make the music. But we are growing together. Working together, experiencing different sounds. I never come to the studio and say to myself “What should I write about today?”. I walk in the studio and say “What’s happen’ boys. Lets make another hit today”. I draw from experience and everything around me. I don’t have to make things up. I just need to be creative with how I decide to turn whats in my mind into a finished song.
I saw the vibe of the studio environment watching your documentary with BRMG.
Yeah man. It was filmed by Yanks. I grew up with his cousin so he made the link. What was captured is how it is. I surround myself with good energy. I can create in any environment. Whether the studio is packed full of my friends or i’m alone with the producer, I tap into different energies and get to creating something. When i’m in the studio, I know what i’m there for.
The last video I saw you in was ‘Fine Wine’ with Kojo Funds. I wasn’t clear on who’s song it was as the chemistry on the song was great. Both of you were featured equally on the song and in the video. Was that the intention?
Kojo and I are dangerous when we are in the studio together. We’ve got about 6 hits together. I’m honest when I listen to my music. If it’s wack, it’s wack. But the songs we’ve created are good songs. It comes easy to us. The idea and structure of Fine Wine was made in about 15 minutes. The mandem left the studio and went to the shop. By the time they returned, the songs was done. They couldn’t believe it.
I never know what to call bodies of work musically nowadays. Projects, mixtape, EP? How would you describe ‘B.O.E.’?
I like project. Yeah, lets call it that. It’s actually a present. Right now, I’m just having fun. I’m releasing songs that might not even make it on ‘B.O.E.’ An example is ‘Can’t Hold Me Back’, that’s not going to be on the project. It’s a good song that I wanted to give to my fans. Everything I do is based on instinct. Who knows what will happen.
You could end up with something like what Nas did with ‘Lost Tapes’.
That’s not a bad idea at all. I have enough music. Yeah, that’s a good idea. 2Pac is an artist that has hundreds of unreleased songs. That’s how I like to work. I get in the studio and it takes me away from everything outside. It’s like a holiday. That’s why I enjoy myself and it results in a very creative space. The studio is like a diary for me. I hit the booth and spar.
Well, i’m sure what you create for your new project will be a new refreshing sound. When can we expect to hear it?
You know what, I don’t even have a release date. I need to hurry up though. That headline show is around the corner. I keep on making songs that I want to be a part of the project. I’m like I need to set a time limit on myself. I just want this body of work to be strong as it can be. I haven’t been rapping for that long, under a year in fact. I want to make sure that what I release shows what I’m capable of.
To here Yxng Bane talk after he’s only been rapping for less than a year is interesting to say the least. November would make it 12 months since he decided to take music seriously. Considering what he’s achieved, it’s fair to say that a future career is there for the taking.