SSGKobe Lives By One Rule: "Don't Miss" [Q&A]

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The world of up-and-coming artists is decorated with a diverse range of talented stars ready to bend and break music's age-old conventions at a moment's notice, but none shine as bright as SSGKobe. The young rapper and singer spent the past year making waves with a slew of super-viral bangers, high-profile music videos, and even a debut EP,  KO.  His first formal release under Zack Bia's label Field Trip Recordings, KO.  arrived as a healthy dose of both genius and versatility from the burgeoning Louisiana artist.

Keen on making his mark in 2022, SSGKobe returns with a new track and visual for "Don't Miss," his first single of the year. Whether you're an old head reminiscing over hip-hop's glory years, or a Gen Z fanatic who spends more time browsing leak sites and r/PluggnB than going outside (guilty), the Louisiana rapper's newest track is a refreshing reminder of hip-hop's infinite potential. Armed with a high-octane mix and a near-prodigal ability for writing melodies, SSGKobe holds nothing back on the supernatural offering.

Prior to the release of "Don't Miss," I was fortunate enough to sit down and talk with SSGKobe himself. Our approach to the conversation coincidentally parallels his approach to music, covering a wide range of topics with a consistent and cohesive thread psychically linking them all together. We discussed our shared love of Pop-Tarts, freestyling over Harry Potter-type beats, and everything in-between.

 Ones To Watch: Your newest single "Don't Miss" is a departure from your usual style, trading your time-tested minimalistic vibe for a fast-paced and abrasive wall of sound. Were you consciously trying to do something different? Or do you feel like this is just the natural progression for you as an artist?

SSGKobe: Ever since I was 13 and making music, every time I experience new things, my music progresses. Honestly, I would say it’s natural, I’m trying different sounds, but I’m not trying to be different. I’m still trying to be myself. There definitely is a natural progression  

You told Pigeons & Planes that you have a new album coming this year. What can we expect from that?

I don’t want to speak too much on the features, but music-wise everything else is crazy. I have almost every different style while still maintaining my own style. We got lit hype music, sad slower music, calm peaceful music. We got pop, R&B, hip-hop, everything. I’m excited.

When people your age are indoctrinated into the music industry, a lot of times the relationships between them and label people can be pretty strict and professional. In your video for “FUK EM” with Lil Yachty, however, it seemed like you and label-head Zack Bia were more friends than anything.  

Zack is a great guy. He does a lot of stuff that a lot of people don’t know, and he’s a good mentor. As far as fashion and things like that, he’s been helping me trying to find my own in that fashion sense. Recently and even before now, he’s helped me a lot in those areas.  

Is there a brand or article of clothing that he put you onto that you couldn’t live without now?

He did a collab with Verdy, and so we got these jackets  

*stands up and turns around*

Look at the back right here. It’s the Verdy guy - anyway that’s one of my favorite jackets and one of my favorite designs. [Editor's Note: The jacket was sick.]

Pivoting a little bit, last year was kind of a crazy one for you. Multiple viral hits, releasing your debut EP, and a Rolling Loud performance to end the year. What was that experience like?  

I feel like with Rolling Loud, people don’t really know you too much, and I like having a feeling of winning them over. Just everyone having a good time and enjoying themselves together.

Was there a time during Rolling Loud where you had an “oh shit, this is real” moment?

I would probably have to say when I was on stage, like in the beginning. It started off good and I was still a little nervous about it, but as I went through the last two songs, the crowd was screaming my name. That was like, “Is it real?

Speaking of things that happened last year, I really hope I’m the first person to ask you about this. The Harry Potter freestyle that you did with Sparky, how did that happen? Are you a huge Harry Potter fan?  

I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I’ve read all the books multiple times, I’ve seen all the movies. multiple times. I’ve been to the store in New York, I like going there. I did a video and we were thinking of a thing, you know what I’m saying? Like, I had a chance to use my creative side. I was like “I want to try a Harry Potter-type video,” and then they did what they did. That’s how it came to be, it was fire.  

It’s clear from the Harry Potter freestyle that you’re a man of culture. You put a lot of references in your songs, your name itself is a reference to anime and sports. Infamously on “Calabasas,” you said you like to eat Pop-Tarts. What is your Mount Rushmore of favorite Pop-Tart flavors?

Blueberry, that’s an easy one. Blueberry, strawberry, brown sugar cinnamon, cookies and cream. That’s probably my top four. Oh, and strawberry milkshake - that was fire.  

Having already acquired a lot of the accolades that modern artists strive for - fame, viral success, Cole Bennett music videos etc. - you’re still pretty early in your journey as an artist. What are your goals now with your new record? What do you hope to accomplish this year?

I definitely want to get my project out. I feel like for a lot of people who are finding my music… usually when you do that, you try to find a project or album to try to dig more into the artist. But like for me, I don’t have that much music out on DSPs, so one of my goals is to get the project out. I want to get into more fashion things as far as being on covers and modeling and walking shows, things like that. Last one will probably be acting.  

When you look at all the attention your music has gotten from TikTok, what's the immediate reaction?

I see the numbers and I’m like, “Whoa, this is crazy.” I feel like I’m definitely appreciative of my new supporters, new opportunities.

Reflecting back on where you were a year ago, what’s one piece of advice that you would give yourself?

I would tell myself that comparison is the thief of joy. I feel like that’s one big lesson I learned this year and it’s helped me so much.  

Who are your Ones to Watch?  

PinkPantheress, she’s been doing her thing. Also Jace, he’s a rapper coming up right now in the scene.

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