Words: Caroline Simionescu-Marin
Meet Shane Chubbz. Just 18 years old, this Nigerian/London bred rapper is tuning the ears of international executives and labels alike. The IMC spoke with Chubbz about his latest movements including a video release directed by Chief Videographer, Jon J, of Maybach Music Group , family ties with Jay Z and global label interest.
Why not take a listen to his latest track “Holiday/Where I’m From” whilst you read?
IMC: Was music something you always wanted to do or was there a milestone event which encouraged your seriousness about the music industry at such a young age?
SC: I’ve been into music forever, but to be honest I have always regarded it as just something I enjoy doing, and I’m seemingly relatively good at. Even now, I wouldn’t say I’m “so serious” about the music industry, I’m just taking everything as it comes.
If there was a life event that educated me on the industry it was when I dropped a song in 2012 called “Bella’s Paradise.” It was a one-off release, but things fell into place, it picked up a lot of buzz. The track ended up doing 15,000 downloads in 24 hours. Straight after that I was approached by EMI Africa, which of course was really exciting for me… Looking back in hindsight it is pretty ridiculous that a label could hear one song and be ready to throw things at you. I was cautious and didn’t go with it. It definitely made me wary of the industry.
IMC: Have you had any mentors or people who have influenced you to pursue a career in music?
SC: I’m heavily influenced by my peers; it’s important for us to push one another so that we can all do better. Whether that’s DAP or Phlowz and Uzzee [London music movement – Creative Elevation], we all push ourselves on every level. From the videos to the content of our music and the way it’s released. With relation to mentors, I would say I have a big one in Carline Balan. She’s a friend of my family, and has definitely helped me in finding my voice as an artist. She helped a lot in the EMI situation.
IMC: Let’s discuss your latest track… “Holiday/Where I’m From”. A combination track which features US artist DAP. What was the reason behind the track merger? How did it come about?
SC: It was a massive discussion point between DAP and I, whether to do it or not. I wrote “Where I’m From” in April. DAP goes to college in the States, so when he came over to London in June I rapped it to him. He loved it but said it was too dark just to drop in the middle of summer. We spent the whole evening looking through R&B albums for samples for an interlude. We didn’t find anything, I went home at 4am and by the time I woke up “Holiday” was in my email. He’s a genius.
IMC: You’ve recently released the visuals, directed by Maybach Music Group videographer Jon J. Jon has directed for the likes of Rick Ross, Wale, Meek Mill, French Montana, Ace Hood, T.I., Fabolous, Pusha T and Sean Paul. How did you manage to work with such an established name on your first video?
SC: The Jon J connect was straight through Carline. I played her the song when I was out in Miami for the NBA finals after my A-Levels, and she was like this needs a video. I already had a few concepts for the video in my head, so I told her, and she put me on a conference call with Jon J.
IMC: Tell our readers the story behind the video? Where was it filmed?
SC: It was originally meant to be a lyric video. But the more I spoke with Jon, the more ideas we would come up with. I pitched the concept for “Where I’m From” to Jon straight away, and it came out perfectly. “Holiday” was a bit harder, at first I wanted a “Big Pimpin” type of scene. We spoke with DAP and decided the contrast was too stark. We shot the video in Miami and conceptually centered it around the actor and the scenery.
IMC: Lets take it back to one of your older tracks, “Where I’ve Been”. The song features a Jay Z sample through the beginning. I know you have close ties with the Carter family, was there a specific reason for putting that sample on the track?
SC: The sample was taken from Jay Electronica’s signing party at The Box. It’s basically the last time Jay has formally introduced a rapper to the people as part of his crew. It reminded me of Kanye’s chaining day as seen in the “Through The Wire” video. There is no real significance I think it just went really well with the message of the song and gave a good intro. It would be cool in 10 years time to dig that track up and it turns out to be some weird omen, but as of now, no specific reason.
IMC: Another section of the track quotes, “I’m turning down deals…word to EMI, Universal and Roc Nation.” You’ve mentioned you were potentially involved in a deal situation with EMI in the past. What about Universal and Roc? Would you ever propose yourself to Jay if you were in the situation?
SC: The situation with Universal was far less serious than EMI. It was very early stages, more of ‘interest’ paid on their part. I turned it down almost straight away. I have a few friends who are currently signed to major labels, they’re great artists but in 360 deals and have no control over their music. I would have hated that as an artist, hence instantaneously shutting the proposal down.
Roc was more of me saying if I did get a deal from them, I would genuinely consider it, rather than throwing it out straight up. I’ve been in situations where I could have been cheeky and told Jay about my music but I was introduced to him on a personal level, rather than music, so I didn’t want to cross boundaries. When the time is right though, I’m sure something will happen and you’ll be the first to know!
IMC: Favourite album of 2013?
SC: Crazy Question. For me, has to be Nothing Was The Same. If Acid Rap was an album it would definitely be up there, too.
IMC: Who you would most like to collab with?
SC: The xx. I would love to work with them one day on a joint album. I don’t know if they’re even into hip hop/rap like that, but yeah, them.
IMC: If you could have one persons iTunes for a day who would it be?
SC: I’d love to know what the hip hop OGs listen to. Like does Eminem listen to Chance The Rapper? Or does he only listen to old stuff? Or does he even listen to rap at all? Because I remember when Jay-Z was on tour opening for Coldplay, in his dressing room he had 2 iPod’s: 1 with just Blueprint 3 (his latest album at the time), and another with a massive library of music, but no rap whatsoever- mostly Amy Winehouse music.
IMC: When can we expect a body of work from Shane Chubbz?
SC: I’m working on it as much as I can now! I’m looking to release it in February, hopefully the 19th.