The UK and its unique music scene is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Afro-fusion especially enjoyed a boost earlier this year thanks in part to Drake’s More Life mixtape featuring artists like Giggs and Skepta, who were already poised to take over the world without Drizzy’s help. The blend of afropop, rap, grime and dancehall has already been bubbling up for years on the other side of the Atlantic.
Exemplifying this fusion is rapper Yxng Bane, an MC who has been riding high this year after the viral success of his remix of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.” Bane transformed the ubiquitous earworm into a full-on dancehall smash, with the YouTube video racking up over 13 million views and a nod of approval from Sheeran himself.
Despite his rapid ascent, Yxng Bane manages to keep it real, casually snacking on french fries as he leans against a Maserati in the visuals for his Ed Sheeran remix. We caught up with the East Londoner during an outdoor pop-up show as part of Dr. Marten’s tour series to discuss his pick for song of the summer, when he’s most productive, and what’s next for the ‘yxng’ emcee.
What was the first album you ever bought?
The first album I remember listening to was Isley Brothers, as a kid my dad would play it. However, the first album I ever bought myself was 50 Cent‘s Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ when that came out, along with the 50 Cent G-Unit trainers… lol. I was a big fan.
You seem to be a fan of french fries based on the video for your “Shape of You” remix. Where’s your favorite place to eat fries and what are you favorite condiments?
When it comes to fries, I can’t lie, I actually like McDonald’s fries and I love sweet potato fries…. they’re on a different level. As for condiments, I keep it quite basic with ketchup and mayo, but I do love Peri Tamer from Nandos.
What’s your favorite thing about East London?
Its diversity. East London is very, very diverse. And I literally mean that in every way. I suppose it’s like London as a whole but a high-density, close-knit version. Since I’ve been traveling the world a whole lot more thanks to music, I see and appreciate its diversity so much more.
Your latest single is named after Rihanna. If you could take her on a date, what would you plan to do?
If I had a date with Rihanna, we’d chill in the studio, order a pizza and smoke all night.
Who’s a person you turn to when you need advice?
When I need advice, it’s either my old man or G FrSH (my manager). They’re both very experienced and intelligent men who have been through the stages of life I’m going through, and their advice always seems to work out the best.
Who’s your dream collaborator?
My dream collaborator would probably be Wizkid. He’s the big bro and we’ve got a track together called “Fine Wine” Remix, but it’s still a dream to do something new. If we’re talking something that hasn’t happened yet in any capacity, then I’m gonna go for Future or Chris Brown.
What sneakers do you put on if you need to switch to beast mode?
How does your creative process normally work? Are you more productive during the day or at night?
My creative process is quite straight forward, to be honest. I listen to the beat, think of melodies, and tell a story. I usually work in the evening but recently I’ve been working more during the day. I would say both times of day are equally as good, or at least I’d like to think so.
What’s the song that defined your summer 2017?
Yxng Bane – “Froze!” – you’ll understand when it drops!
What’s next for Yxng Bane?
Just some more music, some more videos, and yeah man just more work really.
For more of our interviews, check out our recent Q&A with Charli XCX right here.
- Imagery: Dr. Martens