It was Wednesday (March 15) of SXSW, the annual week-long music and film festival in Austin, Texas, and The Fader Fort proved to be the place to be. With artists like Lil Yachty, PnB Rock and Playboi Carti on the bill, festival-goers were lined up outside the building, eager to enter.
Backstage at the Dream Hotel Artist Lounge, HipHopDX had the pleasure of catching up with PnB Rock, who described himself as “just some young guy from Philly that be singing and rapping, trying to take niggas’ girls, ya feel me?”
When asked if he’d ever thought he’d be where he is now today, he quickly answered, “Hell no.”
In just two years, the R&B singer went from being homeless to signing with Atlantic Records.
He recalls, “I never would thought I’d be here right now. If you know me, you knew my situation, my story, two years ago, I was homeless. I had just came home from 33 months from upstate prison. I ain’t had shit. I ain’t had no families, no friends, no nothing. I had friends, but they wasn’t going to make sure that I was in a better situation than I was in. So pretty much, I was out there doing nothing. I had this book of music that I knew was going to take off. I start putting my videos on Instagram, and shit started getting lit.”
Giving credit where credit is due, PnB Rock thanks Instagram for jumpstarting his career (and the chains around his neck).
“Whoever made Instagram, shout out to Instagram, I owe you a check,” he says. “I wouldn’t have these chains on. Instagram was my platform to put my music out there and let people know what I had. Any type of social media you could do that though.”
Fresh off his performance of “Selfish,” which peaked at #51 on Billboard’s Hot 100, PnB Rock plans on staying transparent about his journey with his music.
“When you give out real music, that’s what people could attest to,” he explains. “When you put out songs, like regular everyday fun shit, it’s cool to put out, but when you put out the songs that people really can relate to, songs people can really put themselves in that position like “I’ve been there before,” that’s the song that’s going to stick with people. That’s the shit that’s going to be timeless music, where you could listen to that shit like next year, and the year after that.”
With another hit single called “Misunderstood” on the rise, PnB Rock confidently details what sets him apart from 6LACK, Tory Lanez, and the rest of the current wave of R&B.
“I’m just coming with my style,” he says. “I think I got a different, unique voice. I’m talking about shit that I’ve been through. Different shit. I’m from the hood. I’m from Philly. I’m giving you everything that I got in me with this music. So that’s why I feel like I can separate myself from everybody else.”
PnB Rock further explains how the City of Brotherly Love has impacted him and given him his own lane.
“Being from Philly influenced my music a lot because that’s where I get my street side from,” he shares. “A lot of street shit go down in Philly, especially the parts where I’m from. I’ve seen a lot. I been through a lot. And that influenced me … like putting my songs [on] everyday life shit. If it wasn’t for Philly, I wouldn’t be me.”
“It’s like a fucking revolving door,” he says of the prison system. “Once you in that probation shit, parole, any type of situation where you stipulated to go talk to another person, you gotta report to another person, you can’t do what you wanna do, when you wanna do it, that’s like a revolving door. It’s like a trap, kind of.”