Interview: Sneakbo talks new mixtape, dream collabs and being certified
South London rapper Sneakbo is nothing short of a sensation within the highly competitive UK Rap scene. Since emerging in 2011 with a string of crossover and hood hits , Bo Bo has made his name with a very distinctive sound.
Delivering his tales of the harsh realities of life over not just hip hop beats but bashment and Afrobeat instrumentals too, Sneakbo has emerged in one piece with a rap career and clothing line. Racking up over 20 million YouTube hits and co-signs from Drake and Rick Ross, Sneakbo is clearly not a fly-by-night kind of rapper, and is testament to the idea that hard work pays off!
1. Was there a turning point in your life where you decided to take music seriously as a profession?
I would say the turning point was when ‘Touch a button’ came out, people were offering me cash to perform at their events all over the country, that was my main major turning point.
2. All of your previous singles ‘The Wave’, ‘Zim Zimma’ and ‘Ringa A Ling’ have charted in the UK – what strategies do you take for ensuring your releases get the love they deserve?
It (consists of) a number of things; from making sure the music is right to A&R’ing so that it works, right across the board. Also putting the right marketing team around it, it all counts.
3. There’s an on going debate about whether musicians have a moral duty to their fans. Do you feel your music speaks to your fans in an influential way and does any responsibility fall on the artist?
I make music for people to have a good time, to have fun, to vibe to. And as I say, to jump on a jetski wave that’s my wave. So that’s why I make music.
4. The beats you jump on are always pretty distinctive – what are the most important aspects of a track when deciding which ones to vocal?
I couldn’t say what specific thing that makes me want to jump on the beat, its more the vibe. If I just like the vibe to it, words come to my mind and the flow comes to my mind. It just works. It could be any genre, when the beat is wavey, it just talks to me and I can write straight away.
5. Your mixtape cover features your face set to an ancient Egyptian style – is this symbolic of anything relating to your music?
I was having fun with the cover, I wanted to have an element of humour to it and an element of seriousness too. In terms of the Egyptian Pharaohs, once you’re a pharaoh you’re kind of certified and that’s why I put my face on that, because it goes with the ‘Certified’ title of the mixtape.
6. Who would be your dream collaboration with? (Alive or dead)
It would definitely with be Tupac and Michael Jackson as they are the artists I listened to as a kid, and up till now I still listen to them.
7. What do you find is the most challenging aspect of being a rapper in 2014?
As a rapper I think it’s very hard to stand out from the crowd as there are so many rappers around. And to stay consistent – keeping your name in people’s mouths is very difficult and I think that will always be a struggle. On the other hand when you do become successful as a rapper you get the most amount of hate – a lot of people making stuff up, stories flying around that are untrue.
Sneakbo’s new mixtape ‘Certfied‘ is out now –