8 months ago, Brooklyn drill was in a period of exponential growth behind the larger-than-life presence of Pop Smoke. New artists from the area were emerging by the day, and in less than a year’s time, New York had birthed one of the most dominant new frontiers of music in recent memory. In the months that followed, Brooklyn drill continued to spiral toward the top of the charts, naturally attracting the participation of some of rap’s highest-flyers; Drake, Travis Scott, and Quavo, just to name a few.
Around the same time, eight months back, 26AR had just finished a 4-year bid. After hearing about the scene happening in Brooklyn over the phone, he began writing lyrics while locked up, and quickly turned to rap upon his release. Today, as time has gone by and Brooklyn drill has cemented its spot in popular music, the Crown Heights native has become a rapidly-growing fixture in the scene, with a consistent catalog of releases to prove it.
We had the chance to speak with 26AR about his beginnings in rap, hearing about the Brooklyn drill scene while locked up, Raps & Hustles, and more. Read our full conversation below, and be sure to pay attention to one of Brooklyn’s most promising new talents.
LL: Brooklyn drill has been on a massive rise over the past year plus. I know you were away for some of that time, so how long have you been home?
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LL: What was it like to get out right when Brooklyn drill was on the rise? It feels like good timing.
Yeah, but it’s so much competition, so it’s kinda hard. I got the ambition, though, so I’mma keep going. Brooklyn going up shows me that I got a chance, that I could do the same.
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LL: Where are you from originally?
I’m from Crown Heights, Brooklyn – born and raised there.
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LL: Where did music come into the picture?
I just came home after doing 4 years, but before I came home, my friends was rapping and I was usually in the background. When I was locked up, I started playing around with it. I was just writing my thoughts down, really, but people were telling me I was nice. So when I got home, I just started rapping.
LL: Were you hearing about everything happening in Brooklyn while you were locked up?
Yeah, I kept hearing that Brooklyn was going crazy. I would call people, and they’d just be telling me what was going on – that was motivation for me while I was locked up. They would play me [the music] over the phone, but I couldn’t really hear it – I’d only hear bits and pieces.
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LL: Before you got locked up, did you ever think you’d end up doing music?
Hell nah, it just came up – I never thought I’d be doing music like this. I never thought I’d have so many songs, too.
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LL: COVID-19 also happened just a few months after you got home…
Yeah, I was about to go crazy, it slowed me down. I was going to the studio here and there before [COVID-19], but I’ve been inside just writing different raps and stuff since it happened.
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LL: You’ve released a majority of your videos through Raps & Hustles, which has become a hub for a lot of the Brooklyn drill stuff. How’d you get tapped in with them?
When I came home, my man Tazzo B was going crazy – that’s my little man from my hood. I started rapping with him, and he introduced me to them. Shoutout to Raps & Hustles.
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LL: Where does inspiration come from for you?
Real life shit. And when people are doing good, that inspires me. Lil Durk, for example – I know he’s from a hood like me and now he’s got a song with Drake. That makes me know I could do something like that one day, too.
LL: Over the next few months, what can people expect?
Over the next few months, the people can keep looking out for new music. I’m just trying to reach heights that I would never expect, and I’m not stopping ‘til I make a hit. I’m coming for that spot, whoever got it.
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