Move over Fetty Wap, New Jersey has a new rap sensation in town. Introducing SkinnyFromThe9, who made a name for himself through teasing clips on Instagram and uploading songs on SoundCloud. Aside from his smooth flows and melodic hooks over hard-hitting beats, it’s his story going from nothing to something that fans can’t help but gravitate toward. Read more…
With the release of “Love Blast,” the 22-year-old garnered attention from a number of music execs across the country. Eventually, he signed with HitCo, where he was able to fully live out his dreams the way he saw it, while staying true to himself. Now residing in sunny Los Angeles, Skinny is ready to inspire all those who aim to make it out the struggle.
For those who don’t know, who is SkinnyFromThe9?
SkinnyFromThe9 is a rapper from New Jersey who didn’t have a lot coming up and finally just got his big break. And he’s trying to show the world that if you believe in yourself and you chase your dreams, that anything is possible. All you have to do is just work hard towards what you want and ignore the hate.
You’re from Jersey. How does that play into your life and music?
Jersey didn’t really have a lot of rap artists to blow up worldwide, besides Fetty Wap. Fetty Wap is big bro, I’m cool with all of them.
Where do you fit in the realm of R&B and hip-hop?
I kind of just stay in my own lane and do my own thing. I don’t try to act like anyone else, I don’t sound like anybody else. I just do my own thing.
Talk about coming up on SoundCloud and what the internet has done for you.
My whole life changed when I dropped “Love Blast.” That was the song that took me off from having no name, no following, no nothing. Then when I dropped “Love Blast,” my whole life changed. First, I took a video of me previewing it in a car. I had just braided and dyed my hair. I looked like mad normal before. So I had just changed my whole look and no one had seen me yet. And then I made “Love Blast.” So I took a video — I put it in the car and everyone was like, “Who the fuck is that?”
Damn, it was all strategic?
I didn’t know that was going to happen. I had just got out of a relationship so I just kind of went through a transformation, I guess you could say. Then when I put it out and I previewed the snippet, everybody was going crazy. Everybody was like, “Yo, who is this kid? Why does his hair look like that? That song’s actually good. Oh, he looks like Lil Pump. He looks like this, he looks like that. But he doesn’t sound like them. He sounds so different!” ‘Cause my music is really melodic and very sing-y. Everyone was like, “Who’s that?” I checked my DMs and everybody was saying, “Put out that song, put out that song, put out that song…”
This was before it dropped?
Yeah! Everyone was just going crazy. I was getting so many notifications. Then I put it out and within two days, it went onto the SoundCloud charts and it went Hot. It was like number nine on New & hot. As soon as it hit the charts, everybody was calling me: record labels, managers, everybody. Within a month of that, I ended up signing to HitCo. I had like… Interscope wanted to sign me, 300, Alamo, APG, Atlantic. Everyone wanted to sign me.
So why HitCo?
Because HitCo was just starting. I wanted to be like the name, the face of a new label. A brand, basically. We could grow up together, and we could make history.
Talk about your relationship with L.A. Reid.
L.A. Reid is the best guy ever. When I first met him, we instantly connected. I’m so grateful for him because he really changed my life. He’s just a great guy all around. I could tell the dude is so genuine. I had only played like two of my songs for him. He was just like, “You’re the next big thing. I see it now.” It was good to hear that from somebody like him who’s worked with so many artists. He’s a legend. So to hear that from him, I really felt it. In my heart I knew that this was the right decision to make.
In your last single, “Back When I Was Broke,” you talk about going from broke to success. What do you want fans to get from your story?
I was born in Miami, Florida, and I lived in Hialeah for a little bit, probably since like two years old. From then on, my real dad had went to jail, and my mom found a new guy which is my stepdad. To put everything in a short story, they were scamming, doing lots of credit card fraud and community fraud. So I was always moving around. I didn’t really have stability. I lived in Mississippi. I lived North Carolina, South Carolina. I lived in Connecticut. I lived in Philly. I lived in Georgia. I lived everywhere. I lived all around New Jersey. I lived in Atlantic City, Patterson, Union City… I was always moving around. I had no stability. Times got hard because my stepdad had went to jail. So when my stepdad went to jail, it was just my mom with seven kids, so we lost everything.
I was really poor. We were sleeping in shelters. I was sleeping in parks, sleeping with strangers. My mom would just leave us with strangers. So the message that I want to give out to people is no matter how low you are in life, it’s temporary. You can get out of there if you really work hard towards what you want and if you believe in yourself. No one is going to take you serious until you take yourself serious. The journey of getting to the top is not going to be easy. No one is going to fuck with you when you’re down. But the moment you’re up, everybody is gonna call your phone, everybody is going to say I always believed in you. You gotta know who’s genuine, you gotta make that decision. You gotta block all that out and just keep doing you.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
I’ll wake up and if I don’t have nothing planned music-wise, I just go shopping. I go shopping and then people will hit me up, and we’ll go shopping together. Or go out to eat. Then I come back home, probably watch Netflix, play Playstation.
What did you do with your first advance?
I called my brothers and sisters because… my stepdad got out of jail, so they live in Florida right now. So I called them, I told them all the news. I flew out two of my brothers. I took them shopping, I bought them cell phones because they never had a phone. I bought them their favorite video games. I took them out to eat. I showed them how I want to show the rest of the world, that everything is temporary. You guys aren’t in the best situation right now, but all that is going to change, so I showed them a preview of what’s going to happen.
Now I’m going to go to Florida to take care of my sisters. I wasn’t able to fly out my sisters because they’re girls and it’s different. Now I’ma fly them out. I’ma do the same thing I did for them that I did for my brothers. I went shopping with my brother. We bought Macbooks. We bought mad clothes. I always wanted to buy a Gucci shirt, and I was finally able to do that. I bought mad designer. I took care of my dad. As soon as I signed, I gave him mad money.
That wasn’t even a question. I pay my dad’s bills, I took care of grandma, I took care of everybody. I didn’t even go that crazy on myself. I literally helped everybody that I felt needed to be helped, and then I splurged on myself just a little bit. As time has been going on, I take care of myself. But as a whole, I helped everybody who needed help.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
I always used to think about that and I don’t know. Even before I made it here, before I was famous and stuff, I always used to sit at home and think, “What would I do if this doesn’t work?” And I never had a clear answer. I literally would sit down for hours. I went to college for one week just to show my dad, ‘cause my dad was one of those dads that was like, “Go to college or get a job.” And I would tell him, “Just give me some time. This music stuff is gonna work, just wait.” He was like, “Alright, just at least try to go to school.”
So I went for like a week and it was ass. I never went back. I didn’t even drop out the normal way, I just never went back. I didn’t withdraw, I just never went back. And then I got a job and went crazy on this music shit. I was paying for all my stuff. I didn’t have no budget or secret loan, or anything like that. I had a normal job, I stacked up my money, I paid for my own studio time, I paid for my own marketing, I paid for everything myself. When I say work, that’s the stuff I’m talking about. No one is going to give you a handout. You gotta just do it yourself.
What can fans expect from one of your performances?
Everyone who’s seen me perform, it’s very energetic. I go out there bugging out. I feed off the energy of the crowd, the crowd feeds off the energy off me. It’s always a movie. I go into the crowd. I be bugging. I take off my shirt, I dive in the crowd, stuff like that. It’s exhilarating.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
I just came back from Jersey, maybe like a week ago. This was my first time coming back home since all this happened, since Worldstar, the deal, and doing all these songs with people. Everybody back home watches me, and it was my first time coming home. The moment I got into my neighborhood — I had a Lambo – I kid you not, the whole town, my town and the town next over, because everybody knows where I live and I stopped back home for like two seconds to see my dad and grandma, and the whole town came to my doorstep. It was insane.
Everybody was screaming my name. Everybody was taking pictures of me. This one little girl, she probably was in the middle school, she drew a picture of me. It had the braids and everything in my hair. She was like, “I love you so much.” And as soon as I grabbed it, she just started crying. It was so nice because she was such a little girl, but it was cool. That really touched my heart.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
I kind of listen to everybody, but when I’m in the car going somewhere, I always listen to Fetty Wap. I listen to all his old shit.
I’m a stoner —“Wake Up” is my favorite.
I don’t smoke.
Good for you. Do you drink?
What do you do in the studio to get inspired?
I drink a bunch of Red Bulls. When I hear a beat, I just get happy. I don’t really need anything.
Last question, dream collab?
I wanna work with Drake. Drake is the GOAT.
Anything else you wanna let us know?
My name is SkinnyFromThe9 and that’s because I’m skinny. But from the 9 is New Jersey. The area code in my town is 908, so I put the 9 there.