Published on May 15th, 2019 | by Guest Editor0
Yung Knxw, Son of Legendary Rapper, Bushwick Bill:
Yung Knxw, Son of Legendary Rapper, Bushwick Bill: “I Have No Choice But to Be Great Because I’m Surrounded by Greats All The Time!”
Yung Knxw is determined to create his own legacy while keeping the legacy of his legendary father’s name alive.
Sometimes the pressures of being the son of a legend could literally be too much to bear. The expectations can be so high that it’s impossible to meet or exceed them. There are several instances where the son of these legends suffered severe ridicule because they weren’t close to who or what their fathers were. Basketball great, Michael Jordan comes to mind, Chicago Bear icon, Walter Payton and his son also comes to mind. But then there are the rare cases, it appears, LeBron James’ son will be a basketball phenom. Peyton and Eli Manning definitely come to mind as well. Rapper, Yung Knxw is definitely trying to fall into the latter category. As the son of legendary rapper, Bushwick Bill, Knxw, who has an uncanny resemblance to his father is destined for greatness, but he wants to do it his way. Determined to carve out his own niche, Knxw, is making his own connections, his own noise and with the guidance of his father, the right moves to become the success that he is confident he can accomplish in the music industry. Fresh off of dropping his first EP, “Nobody Knxws,” Yung is already in the studio working on his second album.
I caught up with the energetic, Yung Knxw, who opens up about his fathers cancer diagnosis, talks about learning from greats and explains why his next project is way better than his first one.
Hype Magazine: Yung Knxw, what’s good, my man?
Yung Knxw: Chillin-chillin! I’m working on a new project. I got a lot in the works; visuals on the way. I have been doing that as well.
Hype Magazine: Definitely want to take time out and let you know that all thoughts are with your father, the legend, Bushwick Bill. He recently came out and revealed that he was diagnosed with cancer. So, definitely let him know that we over here at, The Hype Magazine is thinking of him.
Yung Knxw: For sure. Much love. Pops is strong. He survived a lot he’s going to survive this. He’s just taking a lot of medicine right now and resting. I appreciate the love.
Hype Magazine: You’re already working on a new project, but you recently dropped, “Nobody Knxws” which is a very hot album.
Yung Knxw: Yessir!
Hype Magazine: You have, Lil B on the album, Craig Xen and Pops is on there of course. What was it like putting that album together?
Yung Knxw: It was crazy because prior to the project releasing, I was on the road with my pops for a few months. He came to me and was like, “You got songs with 100K, 80K and 70K on SoundCloud, why haven’t you dropped a project with those being the lead singles or on a project?” As an artist, you gotta have something to fall back on. Your project is something that builds you towards your career and I had never dropped a project. Once I got on the road with him, the first thing that came to mind, put these songs together, get the tracks that I recorded with him, get the new tracks that I recorded and get this project to move. Have everything in rotation.
Hype Magazine: How did you hook up with, Lil B?
Yung Knxw: That’s my bro. I talked to him this morning. He has been the person to help me through this whole situation with my dad. I talk to him every day about deep stuff. He’s been there for me. He gives me advice and guidance and tells me how to move about with things. He’s really been there for me. He’s a good friend and he is really a good person.
Hype Magazine: One thing I see in you and I really respect it; you almost seem determined to do things on your own and use your father’s name as little as possible to get where you want to go.
Yung Knxw: Facts! At the end of the day I look just like my dad. If they see me and my dad together, they are going to know that I’m his son. That’s already over stood. Now, it’s about establishing myself, so people respect me as an individual. Get them to respect me as an individual separate and then it’s like, oh, that’s your pop as well, that would just be another accolade. I want to accomplish my own things and let him being my pops be the bonus. I didn’t want to just lean on that or depend on the fact that I’m, Bushwick son or call myself, Lil Bushwick. It puts me under. When he came out, he didn’t name himself after my grandpa. It didn’t work like that. I want to pave my own way and make my own lane and now it’s like our fanbases are emerging. I made my own fanbase. I did shows of my own, I traveled on my own and now we are coming together and combining our two worlds.
Hype Magazine: As much as you are trying to be your own entity, I’m sure it was imperative to get a few tracks with him on it.
Yung Knxw: Yeah! Actually, probably the first song we ever made, I was 17-years old and I was still trying to figure myself out as an artist and as an individual, so I wasn’t as comfortable with myself as an artist. So, that wasn’t my best material. It was just something we made together. As far as my project, we talked about it prior to doing an interview we did, and he wouldn’t even let me get on songs. He wouldn’t put me on songs. I was debating that myself. I didn’t want it to be like, your song is booming, or your career is booming because of your dad was featured on it. For my first project I wanted to get features from people who are my friends I definitely had to have my dad on there because we had never done nothing together, so to have him on my debut EP, it’s crazy.
Hype Magazine: Do you view it as added pressure being the son of, Bushwick Bill or do you use it as fuel?
Yung Knxw: I use it as fuel because he let’s me be me. He doesn’t confine me to a certain standard. He knows I’m very talented. It’s just hereditary when it comes to music, so I’m just being my true self instead of following his path. There can’t be another, Bushwick Bill. I can look like him, rhyme like him and have his mannerisms, but at the end of the day, there is only one, Bushwick Bill and there is only one, YK.
Hype Magazine: Being that you have been around the industry your entire life, do you feel more equipped to deal with the highs and lows of the game?
Yung Knxw: Yeah, I experienced it early. My first time going on tour with my dad and seeing how the road life was, I was 17-years old. In that one summer I experienced everything an artist could experience in terms of understanding the ups and downs of the industry. Moving how I was moving at 17 and experiencing all of that, of course I use that now to fuel me. Being around so many legendary artist and music, I have no choice but to be great because I’m surrounded by greats all the time.
Hype Magazine: You are constantly surrounded by greats. When would you say you realized how legendary of a figure your father is?
Yung Knxw: When I first started to recognize who my dad was… I remember being like, “Why people keep taking pictures with him? Why we can’t just chill and mind our business? Why they keep asking for pictures and autographs?” After a while, I understood it. It’s like, “Okay, he’s important.” I realized he was a big deal. Being younger, he was just my dad. He was nothing more than that because that’s all I knew. So, to actually see him in the real world and as I got older, I understood how important he was by the way people reacted to him and I researched his music. I was like, “Wow, he really did all this.” This man has made history and he accomplished all of that in such a short time. In his first 5-years of being an adult he has Gold and Platinum plaques. He was on “The Chronic” album and going platinum with “Mind Playing Trick On Me.” The “Ever So Clear” hitting Billboard Top 200. All of these songs, all of these albums, all of these accolades and him being a superstar since 1991. “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” has been one of the biggest songs in the world and it’s crazy to me.
Hype Magazine: I was listening to, “Phantom of the Rapra” the other day and he had a lot of dope artists featured on that album, but you can’t find anything on them today. Do you know what happened to some of the features from that album?
Yung Knxw: I love that project because “Only God Knows” is on there too. That’s my favorite song. It’s a lot of artists who he featured on his work and they don’t really do music anymore. Back then during that timeframe, there was a shift and a change and a lot of them didn’t adjust to the times.
Hype Magazine: I like your approach because you understand the art of being patient. You also pride yourself on being diverse and being able to bring different rap styles to the table. How important is that in today’s times when you’re trying to reach the masses?
Yung Knxw: I want to be patient and time things. My dad is always like, “Why don’t you remix “Mind Is Playing Tricks On Me? You got full rights and full responsibilities, you could go ahead and do that. You could have been did it, why you let, Kodak remake it?” I don’t want to touch those tracks yet. I don’t want to touch his hit singles and not do it the right way. I’m eventually going to get to it, but I’m going to do it the right way. It’s different from me rapping on those songs and another artist rapping on those songs because he actually got on those tracks. That was his songs. It wasn’t a remix. Patience is key because I already have all the resources, I need to be a prominent artist. Throughout my career, I built a lot of stuff myself, so I got a lot of connections on my own and now, being around my dad, he’s introducing me to certain people, so we are combining our connections. I have a whole urban, youth fanbase who tap into the graphic designing. I have friends who really control the internet. They control the marketing, the control the clothing industry and the graphic designing part of it. Most of the artist I know have been on world tours and I know them from doing shows with them.
Hype Magazine: You put so much into your performances and understand the art of working the crowd. Is that something you learned while being on the road with your pops as well? And why is it important to you to give so much during these performances?
Yung Knxw: It’s so important because people remember that. They may not remember your name yet, but they will be like, “Man, that first artist or that third artist that performed killed it.” I crowd surf and everything because I know they feed off of your energy. Me… I be having so much pain and so much inside of me, when I get to that stage, I’m no longer who people see me as. I may be shy if you meet me, but when I’m on stage my mind goes blank and I go into my true self. I turn into who I really am, and the crowd just feeds off of that energy. They know what’s real. And the fact that I rock my music so heavy and I know my music is hard, they feel that. With me, I’m very personal. I don’t like having a disconnect with the fans. That’s why I go around the barrier and move around the stage. I never want to act like I’m too good or like they are at a lower level than me because they are distant. So, I get in their face with it. I stay on top of the rail; I go in the crowd and I show that I am one with them. I’m not no greater or better than you. I’m human just like you.
Hype Magazine: You know I appreciate the, Drew Brees line on “Steve Nash.”
Yung Knxw: Yessir (laughing).
Hype Magazine: Much respect for that. I appreciate the time, best of luck to you and your father with his situation. Before I let you go, tell us about what you working on.
Yung Knxw: Man, the new album, I’m not going to lie, I have some industry producers working on it; DTB. I’m working with a few other artists. I gotta send something to, Lil B later on because I want him on the new album as well. It’s crazy, it’s way better than my last project. I tapped into every aspect. I got the vibe for the females; real life. I got the turn-up and flex music. The club music. I have every aspect on here. You ain’t going to have a favorite song. You may pick one or two that’s your favorite, but if you’re a diverse person and you have an open mind to music, you’re going to love the whole project. One love to you, man. I appreciate you taking the time out to even interview me. You took time out of your day to do this and I appreciate that. Shout out to everybody. Keep pushing we going to keep this thing going. We going to make sure we do it the right way.
By Percy Crawford