Bi6 Steph is from the Southside of Chicago, and started rapping when he was 3. Now 18 years old, his life has been influenced by music and rhythm, as well as the search for wisdom, which he relishes in. “Bi6 means Born Into 6reatness,” explains the artist. “I chose a 6 instead of a G because I’m different,” he concludes. Bi6 Steph tends to favor warm, soul and R&B-inspired production with a hip-hop beat, and his delivery tends to hop seamlessly between rapping and singing or fuses the two entirely.
- Can you tell us a bit about how you got started in the game, and when you began to take it seriously?
Bi6 Steph: I’ve been into music my whole life. It’s always been a passion of mine to rap and sing, but I was always nervous about going public with it. Honestly, I recorded my first song in the Summer of 2019. I started to take music seriously after hearing myself back through the speakers. I found out that I possess the ability to master this craft in that same moment. I never looked back, or gave up.
- Do you handle both the songwriting, and beats on your songs, or do you collaborate with different producers?
Bi6 Steph: I’ve worked with a few producers, but honestly I get all of my beats from YouTube. I believe that there are many producers that go unnoticed because they aren’t mainstream. I had to break that cycle and mess with the YouTube beats.
- Who were your first and strongest musical influences that you can remember, and who are you listening to right now?
Bi6 Steph: 2pac has always been one of my strongest musical influences. 2pac is known for his realness. I used to study how he mixed smooth beats with an aggressive flow, which is hard to do. Especially when you’re speaking from your soul. Pac had heart no matter what people thought of him. His middle finger was always up; which to me is a symbol that sends negative energy back to its sender. When I’m able to see another perspective of myself in another person, that person inspires me to grow in that area. Pac, just so happens to love music, his people, and was a revolutionary as well.
- What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners?
Bi6 Steph: The message of the song. The message is key because besides all the punchlines and bars, my songs are about real-life experiences. The message is important because there’s always something to learn in my music. I’m always teaching people, and I’m creating a 50/50 bond with the listener. What I mean by that is I’m not the only one gaining. The listener is gaining wisdom and intellect while jamming to a hot single. Who’s doing that??
- For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style?
Bi6 Steph: I let my personality take over when I’m recording. This is very imperative because originality comes from purity. I can’t be original if I’m not being myself. I treat my music like art; so if I was dancing when I wrote it, I will dance when I record it. This most definitely helped me bring character to my songs.
- What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
Bi6 Steph: Music definitely plays a huge role on us spiritually. If I’m listening to the same song with the same message at the same frequency repetitively, that will be on my mind all day. The subconscious mind is programmed by habitual behavior/repetition. So if the topic of the song is about killing, then you know the rest…
- Do you write a song with current musical trends, formulas or listener satisfaction in mind, or do you simply focus on your own personal vision and trust that people will appreciate and vibe with your sound?
Bi6 Steph: I move at my own pace. Honestly, I try not to get caught up in what everyone else is doing because that’ll just slow me down. With me understanding that everyone’s timing is different, it’s easier to stay in my lane. Social Media combats this sometimes of course, but that’s when I’ll take a break.
- Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a beat or a narrative in your head?
Bi6 Steph: I’d get an urge to write. This is usually because something could have me reminiscing, and when I do that I almost go into a meditative state. From there I’ll shuffle beats for about 20-30 min until I found one or three. If I don’t spark up I just go for it. I usually start with humming melodies until they’re words.
- What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or career so far, and how did you overcome that event?
Bi6 Steph: My biggest challenge in life was facing myself in the mirror. At 16, I made the wise decision to discipline myself in all aspects of life. I isolated myself in a way and just focused on myself. Everyday I would wake up to strive to be the best version of myself that I could possibly be. This was difficult because I had to release attachment from anything that wasn’t serving me any purpose in life. That could be friends, material things, family, traumas, emotion, etc.
- On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or career so far?
Bi6 Steph: A successful point in my life is actually right now. I don’t think people understand how many interviews I’ve practiced in my room. Back to back interviews at that. I’m living in the now because this is where I wanted to be in life two years ago, and at the time it seemed impossible. So, I know that if my dreams seem impossible right now I can accomplish them two years from now.
- Putting aside any accolades or criticisms that fans, the industry, or the media may afford your persona or music, is there anything about you or your music, you think people may overlook, underestimate or misunderstand at all?
Bi6 Steph: Of course, people will try to overlook me, but it’s all about how I look at it. I’m the only one that can allow myself to be overlooked. As long as I am the best version of me that I can possibly be, I will never be overlooked. People only can be the best version of themselves, and with that inner stood I have no worries on how people view me.
- Do you think is it important for fans of your music to understand the real story and message driving each of your songs, or do you feel everyone should be free to interpret your songs in their own way?
Bi6 Steph: I would love for everyone to interpret my songs in their own way. That’s the thing with music. No one will ever see something exactly how you do, so why stress about it? It’s creating unnecessary anxiety worrying about how someone interprets my music. People are different, one person might listen strictly for the beat, another to study the song, and another because they like how I flow. People’s view on music is always different when there’s multiple influences in the song.
- With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the entertainment business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or do you simply ignore?
Bi6 Steph: I obtain constructive criticism as if it was wisdom and intellect, but I do not tolerate disrespect. I ignore the trolling because fuck em.
- If you had a choice to collaborate with any acclaimed international artist or producer right now, who would you choose, and why?
Bi6 Steph: Rashad Jamal, reason being because bro can rap his ass off. Like he’ll be teaching and shit on Instagram live, and turn around and put the same intellect in his music. Bro got heart and passion and from what I can tell from his music and lives, he’s a solid guy.
- Could you tell us something about your latest musical project, and what the highlights are to watch out for?
Bi6 Steph: I dropped an album back in January, it’s called Project X. This project was very important to me because “X” marks the spot, and was the spot for my breakout project/the start of my music career. The first song on that album is called “Nothin”. This song specifically will break down a lot about me as an artist. Look out for the EP coming this Summer.
- Do you have a personal favorite track amongst those in your catalog that has a specific backstory and/or message and meaning very special to you, and why is it so?
Bi6 Steph: My song Nothin is my personal favorite song that is released. This is because from the narrative of the song, all the way to my first performance, I freestyled my dreams into fruition. I wrote that song the same day I recorded it. I didn’t finish writing it by the time I got to the studio because I wanted to challenge myself to freestyle for a verse. It turned out beautiful. That’s only part of that song’s significance.
- Creative work in a studio environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excite you most, and why?
Bi6 Steph: Honestly, the creative work in a studio environment sounds more productive to me. Both sound good, I feel like I can gain more resources if I was in a studio. I feel like I can grow my audience more with the live performance.
- Do you have a favorite motto, phrase or piece of advice, you try to live or inspire yourself by?
Bi6 Steph: I love saying “You Already Know The Vibes Man” “Bi6 up ina building man” “Woah” “Gratitude” and “Yeaaaa”…..but, my artist name means Born Into 6reatness which is the phrase I got inked on me to remind me where I come from daily.
- How essential do you think video is in relation to your music? Do you have a visual you could suggest fans see, to get a better understanding of your persona and craft, or will you be working on something new soon?
Bi6 Steph: Visuals give your audience a better view on how you perceive your own craft. It will almost connect you to your audience. A good song with no visuals is like a movie with no audio lol.
- What do you find most rewarding about what you do? And do you have a specific vision or goal set in your mind that you would like to achieve in the near future?
Bi6 Steph: I will achieve peace. Like the peace where I can walk into a room full of pissed people and lighten their mood with my presence. You know how MJ walked on stage and didn’t even talk, but people were passing out & some more shit. That type of peace. MJ had all eyes on him and damn near had the influence to change the world. With one sentence I elevate the minds of millions.