OBN Jay is ready to take over the rap game, once and for all. Hailing out of the Southside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Southern rapper injects nothing but the real into his music, with heartfelt lyrics telling his story from the trenches to where he is now. After a short stint with Columbia Records, the rising star now enters his new deal with independent label EMPIRE, inspiring the masses all over the world that they too can make their wildest dreams come true.
OBN translates to “On Bro Nem,” which means he stays loyal to the soil and never switches up. Having only made music starting January 2018 when he was still in high school, Jay built his own fanbase from the ground up organically, creating songs that chronicle the journey of someone who came from the struggle. With both his parents with disabilities and even worse, separating at a young age, Jay had to build up his mentality to hustle and make it out.
Most recently, Jay released the visual for “Rasta,” who’s music video sees him and his friends riding bikes and ATVs through the state that birthed him. This follows his project released last year called No Commercial Breaks, with guest appearances from Jackboy and the late King Von.
Flaunt caught up with OBN Jay via Instagram Live who was posted in Houston, just one of the places he resides. Read below as we discuss his versatile sound, influences in his city, favorite Lil Baby song, relationship with cannabis, creating “Rasta,” his drip, favorite brands, advice for up and coming artists, and more!
How you been since the last time we chatted?
I’m good, I’m just working in the crib. I’m in Houston right now.
Is that where you live?
I can’t say where I live on Instagram Live. I stay everywhere though. It’s hard. I’m never in one place for more than 2 weeks, so it’s hard to say.
Do you like moving around?
Yeah, it’s cool. I’m never home for a week and a half out the month. Out of 3 weeks, I’m somewhere else.
How would you describe your music if you could?
I’d describe it as very versatile. I can be on some super hard, trench-like, gangsta tip sometimes. I can be on some rockstar tip sometimes. Some melodic, I’m always on the melodic tip. Not always, but most of my songs I’ve got a good bit of ‘em. All the way around, whatever, however. It’s versatile, that’s how I explain it.
What artists were you bumping? Who made you wanna rap coming out the gate?
Everybody from my state, I’m from Louisiana. Before I got to the level I’m at, even though I’m still growing and progressing, I was listening to people from here. Even before that, even before I had rap on my mind when I was 6, 7, 8 years old, coming up in elementary school it was only Louisiana people. People from Louisiana whether you were from Baton Rouge, Lafayette, New Orleans, Shreveport, wherever, it was my city. We were always on top of who’s hot in the city. It was more a cultural thing. If you’re from Louisiana and you made it to a certain point, I listened to you.
When we did that interview at Power 106, you said your favorite song was Lil Baby “Pure Cocaine.”
Yeah, I fuck with that shit. Matter of fact, that’s on my Story right now. That’s a coincidence, I posted that song on my Story. That’s one of my favorite songs. Lil Baby, he’s not from Baton Rouge, he’s from Atlanta. But I like a lot of different music now that I’m really in it. Since I’m so versatile, I can listen to Ed Sheeran if you put him on. It don’t even matter, I’m real musical now so it’s different.
What’s your relationship with cannabis?
It does good for me, I can’t even complain. My favorite flavor, it changes every day, I be running into so much stuff. I just left LA and the flavors I was looking forward to that I got was Gushers, Cereal Milk, and Wonderbrett’s Pink Picasso.
Do you remember the first time you got high?
Yeah, but I don’t remember it thoroughly like it was yesterday.
How old were you?
I ain’t gonna expose that, it’s crazy. People gon’ think I’m crazy, ‘cause it was too young of an age to do anything. I was a minor for real, that’s how we grew up. You know I’m from Louisiana, Baton Rouge. Everybody’s family don’t keep them away from stuff. Sometimes their family just hung (?), they do stuff with you other than you going and doing it somewhere else. The lifestyle, the mentality, and the survival tip out here is way different than everywhere else. That’s why it’s easy to survive other places, Louisiana’s way different.
How’s your hometown presence compared to elsewhere?
It depends on where I’m at, what side of the U.S. I’m on. My home presence if I’m in Louisiana, people know who I am. They show love. They see me, they pull their phone out like “Oh, that’s OBN Jay!” Most times when I’m home, I be chillin’ because of that fact I think I’m well-known in my city.
What inspires you the most when you’re locked in in the studio?
Seeing other artists being able to do certain things even while we’re locked in. That made me think there’s no excuse, go ahead and get your work in. Go and put your feet work in. Whatever some of these rappers are doing, they’re succeeding and doing positive stuff, just working, that’s what inspires me and motivates me. I don’t be hating on people, I ain’t got that in me. If somebody’s doing something good, if anything I’ma learn from him. Understand what he’s got going on so I can use it in my own craft. “That’s successful, that’s working.” That’s how I be thinking.
New song “Rasta” out now. How are you feeling?
Oh yeah, “Rasta” got the city going crazy. People are calling me telling me about how they bumping that “Rasta.” “Rasta” going crazy. I was in Baton Rouge recording that one, you probably can tell if you listen to it. I was in Baton Rouge on some turn up type tip. “Fuck it, let me go hard.”
How would you describe your drip?
I’m a fresh ass little dude. That’s how I feel, fuck it. I’m fresh as a motherfucker, I’m fly. I don’t need no stylist, literally.
What brands do you like?
It depends, not all of them. It depends on the top and the bottom because my pants are different brands from my shirts and my tops. Well, let me go back to before the money. I was buying Levi’s, the SERENADE stretchy jeans. My go-to was Levi’s, but when I got some money my go-to started being Balmain’s. I still wear the little stretchy jeans too, them fire. Amiri’s. I still wear Polo, I’ve got the new exclusives. I only buy the high shit though, I don’t buy the regular shit. I only buy exclusive top and bottom sets or short sets, some little fly shit. For my tops, I buy all kinds of shit like Dior, Givenchy, Moncler. I wore Moncler this year, for the first time ever.
How did that feel?
It felt raw. I’m like “Shit, I’m doing too much.” I like all brands, especially designer. I like all that shit. My go-to is still Polo, I could wear a Polo tee like everyday. The slim-fitted Polo tee, I could wear that everyday.
Any advice for up and coming artists who want to do what you do?
I got advice, hell yeah most def. I say network forreal. Get your feet wet with people who are important, not with people who are trying to judge how you sound, what you doing or what you not doing right. Because you might drop a few times and not know what you’re doing. Even if you be successful or not, you still need to network and figure out who are the right people you need around you. You need to know everything about what’s going on around you. The music part is the easy part. You can be ass but if you know the right people, doing the right thing and being consistent with your ass music, you’ll still be successful a little bit.
Anything else you want to let the people know?
I’m dropping soon, be on the lookout. It’s going to be a big ass surprise because it ain’t gonna be like nothing ever before, and that’s a promise.