Miami-based rapper-singer-songwriter OYABUN, 23, was born and bred on Brooklyn’s South Side. Living most of his life in the Canarsie neighborhood, OYABUN was raised in a Caribbean household, his father from Jamaica and his mother from the U.S Virgin Islands.
His diverse upbringing heavily influenced his sound, blending contemporary R&B, rap, trap and reggae into his music. The youngster’s wide-ranging sound harvests everything from soothing R&B-inspired sounds paired with sensitive come-ons all the way to braggadocios fifty-fifty sing-raps.
1) Talk to me about the making of your latest project. What was the inspiration behind it?
I haven’t released my debut project yet. I’ve been working on releasing just singles at the moment. More music is coming so be on the look out.
The inspiration behind my music comes from various outlets — what goes on in the world, my taste in music, and just culture.
2) With the music industry tanking and record sales falling, how do you envision yourself earning a living as an independent hip-hop artist?
Revenue in the music industry has shifted, but the profits are still there. An independent artist makes money now from endorsements, touring, selling merchandise, and now streaming services. That’s how I plan to make my living.
3) From a business point of view, which independent artists in the game do you think are really pushing the boundaries and changing it up?
I think Chance the Rapper is someone who is pushing boundaries. He’s making a movement to have the Grammy’s open up a category for awarding free music. Essentially artists can win Grammy’s off of mixtapes, which is definitely changing the game.
4) What business lessons have you learnt from the music industry so far?
Don’t trust anyone until you give them a reason to be trusted. That is the number one rule I’ve learned.
5) What do you love about hip-hop music?
I love the versatility of it. It constantly blurs the lines between genres. It encompasses various types of music from reggae to jazz to even rock in some cases. I love that is constantly evolves and reflects our culture.
6) What still surprises you about hip-hop?
It’s ability to always change. That always surprises me.
7) If you had the power to change one thing about the hip-hop industry to help independent artists – what would it be?
If I had the power to change one thing about the hip-hop industry to help independent artists it would be funding. Many artists have the talent, the image, and the full package but lack the resources.
Venture capitalists, angel investors, and online resources would help surface the talent that’s already there and deserves to be recognized.
8) So what are your plans for the future?
Become a mogul. I want to be influential. I want people to hear my music mostly and affect people positively. I want to contribute to the culture and leave my legacy.
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