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Shawny Binladen Interview: Queens native stays ‘dropping bombs’ in studio

Queens-based rapper Shawny Binladen is a testament to the grimy nuances of New York drill.

Outgoing and approachable, his humble nature illuminates on the steps of his native borough, as the 25-year-old up-and-comer revealed his moniker magnifies both his music and persona.

“Honestly, it’s the way I come up on these tracks,” he said. “It was like I was dropping bombs on them… like Bin Laden came through.”

With just over 50,000 Spotify monthly listeners, Shawny’s come-up is coupled off the back of hits in “Whole Lotta Wickery,” “Wockhardt” and “Faith” off his 2020 LP Merry Wickmas. However, Binladen’s stayed quite busy over the years — releasing a total of six albums since his debut tape, #O3WOODCITY, in 2018 and even earning a co-sign from the Certified Lover Boy himself, Drake.

“Drake is the biggest co-sign I got. He was bumping all my [music], knowing it word-for-word so shout out to him. I got a video of him on IG live playing my sh**. It was crazy. He a real one for that, I f*** with Drake.”

Shawny’s latest effort Wickipedia (Aug. 2021) is his most cohesive project to date. Flaunting his talents over the course of its 17-track, 30-minute run time, Shawny executes his verses with a steady poise and visceral delivery — showcasing his knack for enveloping listeners into his mindset and morals. Developing his talents as a teen, Shawny has always strived to be true to himself and remain consistent since first stepping foot in the studio years ago.

“[I’ve been making music] since I was 14, 15-years-old, and I’m 25 now. The first real studio I went to, I made some shit called “Sick” and it was such a good experience. After that, I just ran with it like ‘now we rapping, rapping.’ I opened my own lane, staying me and staying consistent — that’s the key to this.”

As the founding member of YTB (or the Yellow Tape Boys) in 2016, the cautionary tale of the group’s entrance into the game is spearheaded by Shawny and close collaborator FOUR50 — knowing him since elementary school. Together, the two grew both sonically and stylistically, as Shawny now looks to shoot into the spotlight of the underground.

As the self-proclaimed “King of Samples,” Shawny detailed his eclectic ear for music, early adversity in the rap game and what he looks forward to — eyeing to catch his big break sooner rather than later. Speaking on his influences, he also mentioned that New York legend Jay-Z is at the top of his list — hoping that Hov would “drop some jewels” of knowledge about how to take care of his loved ones through the music.

“I would ask [Jay-Z] what advice he could give me, and what better strategy in how to go forward with this shit. I still got people under me, my brothers, I’m trying to find those jewels. That’s honestly all I’d ask him for.”

Striving for stardom out of NYC, Shawny Binladen sat down with OGM host Hakeem Rowe to discuss Drake, Wickipedia, Whole Lotta Wickery, Virgil Abloh, Jay-Z and more in his Our Generation exclusive interview.

Time Stamps

  • 0:57 Shawny Binladen’s apartments
  • 2:13 Growing up in the environment learning the word isn’t sweet, love for the block
  • 3:33 Where the name Shawny Binladen came from
  • 5:17 Sports growing up
  • 6:17 First studio session
  • 8:02 What Shawny listened to growing up
  • 8:40 His uncle being Stretch from the Live Squad
  • 9:57 Self proclaimed king of samples
  • 10:06 Favorite Sample flips
  • 10:40 Sampling “Encore”
  • 12:02 Clearing Samples
  • 13:56 John Wick influences
  • 15:30 Favorite movies growing up
  • 16:30 His conversation with Jay Z
  • 20:40 Biggest co-sign to date
  • 21:50 Founder of the Yellowtape Boys
  • 24:00 Locking in with Virgil Abloh & Louis Vuitton, Shout out Bari
  • 27:24 Energy before his first show
  • 28:53 love for Jamaican cuisine
  • 29:58 Recording process
  • 30:38 Message for Our Generation
  • 31:31 Whole Lotta Wickery