Sneakbo is the south London rapper that quickly rose to fame as part of the new wave of rap talent to grace the UK. His sound is so unique that Drake has cited him as his favourite UK rapper, calling him an inspiration for his ‘Take Care’ album. The Wrap Up’s Shireen Fenner talks to him about Drizzy, changing negatives into positives and his new music, which includes a mixtape dropping in August and a 2013 LP…
The Wrap Up: Hey Sneakbo! What have you been up to?
Sneakbo: I’ve just been working hard in the studio; I’m working on new singles. I’ve been doing shows all over the UK… just working hard!
TWU: How did being in prison change your outlook on life and what did it teach you?
Sneakbo: It showed me that the road I was walking down really wasn’t worth it. Now I’ve seen what I can achieve from music, I’d rather stick to it and just stay positive.
TWU: Do you feel that there you may experience setbacks due to your time in prison?
Sneakbo: Yeah, the police might stop a show if they feel the area isn’t safe. But I’m not really sure if anyone’s trying to bring me down; I haven’t really come across it yet.
TWU: Your musical influences range from afrobeats to rap music. How would you describe it yourself?
Sneakbo: I’d say it is a ‘Jetski Wave’ because I do all kinds of things, that is why I named it that because it’s got its own type of sound. I wouldn’t say [‘The Wave’ track] is afrobeats music; I’d say it’s a dance vibe with a bit of emotion to it as well.
TWU: How’s the Jetski Wave clothing going?
Sneakbo: The clothing’s going well; most of the fans are supporting it. Hopefully I’ll be doing some stuff for girls as well!
TWU: Your own music is very distinct. How do you make sure you remain different?
Sneakbo: I just come with new and different angles all the time; it just comes from my mind when I’m chilling and stuff. I don’t follow the crowd; I just go with whatever I think sounds right and whatever I think is live.
TWU: How does it feel knowing Drake cites you as his favourite rapper and your music was influential on the recording of his second album?
Sneakbo: I was happy because I’m a fan of Drake and everyone I know is a fan of Drake! I’ve been listening to him for at least 3 years, so when he said I influenced him I was overwhelmed. I listened to his album and I heard the track ‘Cameras’ where he actually does use a part of my lyrics. He also said that I influenced his track ‘Take Care’ with Rihanna.
TWU: There are rumours you two will release a track together. Can you tell us anymore on this?
Sneakbo: Yeah… I can’t really say anything about that to be honest! It’s up to everyone to think what they want to.
TWU: What has been the best advice you have received from another artist?
Sneakbo: I haven’t had an artist support me throughout my whole career, but I’ve had chats with people like Chip, D’Banj and Drake. They’ve all told me that if I keep positive, focused and out of trouble then I’ll get far.
TWU: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind ‘Sing For Tomorrow’?
Sneakbo: I was going through some rough times and I just thought about it and wrote down what I was going through. I added a bit about what my friends were going through, because some of them are in a bit of trouble right now. One of my mates died in a car crash too. Essentially, I’m just talking about going from negative to positive.
TWU: How did you and L Marshall get together to collaborate on the track?
Sneakbo: When I was looking at singers for the track, I was listening to different songs and I came across L Marshall’s mixtape. I liked one of his songs on there so I showed my manager and he hooked it up. We both went into the studio and we just connected; he wrote the hook and blessed it.
TWU: ‘Sing For Tomorrow’ is quite different from ‘The Wave’ and ‘Fire’. What can we expect next?
Sneakbo: I’m definitely going to be doing a dancehall track, that’s the route I’m going down. As for ‘Sing For Tomorrow’, I’m going to do a couple of tracks like that as well, but the party vibe is more my scene.
TWU: What would you like to gain from your music career and where do you see yourself in the future?
Sneakbo: I just want to be successful and make sure I can help my mum and my friends if they are in trouble. I want to be a big star, but I’m not really after the fame to be honest.
TWU: Is there any advice you would give to up and coming artists who have come from similar backgrounds?
Sneakbo: Just work hard and stay out of trouble. Don’t hang out on the streets with friends, read your books. Just be focused in whatever your doing, It doesn’t even matter if it’s not rap, you know?
TWU: Can you give The Wrap Up any exclusives on your album features? I’ve heard names like Jessie J, Roll Deep and WizKid being said…
Sneakbo: [Laughs] I can’t really say. You can expect more songs like ‘The Wave’, and just a few like ‘Sing For Tomorrow’. The producers I’m working with are Ill Blu and some others that aren’t really known that much.
TWU: In between now and the album dropping early next year, is there anything else happening?
Sneakbo: I’m going to be releasing a new single, but right now I’m doing shows all over. I’m working on a mixtape that should be released in August and that will feature a couple friends I grew up with. There are a couple tracks on there that are already done.
TWU: Last word?
Sneakbo: Hopefully I’m going to open a Jet Ski shop in a hot country!
Stay up to date with Sneakbo by following him on Twitter.
Interview by Shireen Fenner (@Shireenxoxo)