BardoAF is an upcoming artist from Atlanta by way of Chicago that is making a fresh new sound that is soulful but still hip-hop and Latin/Caribbean influenced.
Check out what he has to say about, how he started rapping, being a bilingual rapper, staying motivated and his top three most influential rappers.
Q: At what age did you start rapping and how did you get into rapping?
A: I can remember playing around with rhyming and goofy little songs when I was really little, but the first time that I can remember writing and recording a verse was in the beginning of high school, around age 14. I always loved hip hop music for as long as I can remember. I always tell people that I was born the day after The Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest was released. Tribe’s music is a big part of a lot of my earliest memories as my dad was a huge fan. Both of my parents were into hip hop so I was exposed very early. I also being really inspired by the movie Hustle and Flow. It was one of the only movies that I had seen to that point that took you behind the scenes of the recording process and I was pretty much obsessed after that.
Q: Where are you from and how has your environment helped your music career? If it did at all.
A: I was born in Atlanta, GA and raised for most of my life in Chicago. My parents and I traveled and moved around a lot when I was young, spending a lot of time in Italy, Spain and Japan. Those experiences, although they came at a young age, along with the music of my parents that I was constantly surrounded by while living abroad, really helped shape who I am today and my desire to see the whole world.
Q:Are you steering more towards the America music scene or your country music scene or both?
A: I’m steering towards anyone who shares a similar open mindedness and love for different cultures that I have. I think the multilingual nature of my music allows me to cast a wide net but at the end of the day, I’m just trying to make great songs that make people dance and can stand the test of time. Where it catches on isn’t so much up to me.
Q: What is it like being a bilingual rapper?
A: It’s a super liberating feeling to be able to rap, sing and express myself well in multiple languages. I look at it as one of my biggest assets and one of the things about myself that I’m most proud of. It not only allows me to approach songs in a variety of different ways, I think it also opens me up to a much broader audience. My mission is to shrink the world and help people from different backgrounds relate to one another better and being able to communicate with someone in their native tongue is the most powerful tool that I’ve found in taking steps to achieve that goal.
Q: How would you describe your style of music?
A: I describe my music as a live, hip hop rooted experience with a lot of soul and Latin/Caribbean influence.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration from to create?
A: I’m gonna sound like a broken record here but I get most of my creative inspiration from traveling. The experiences that I gain and the personal changes that I go through while I’m traveling inform the titles and the content of my music as well as allow me to approach each new project with a fresh perspective and a new set of sounds.
Q: Since its difficult being a rapper, how do you stay focused and motivated?
A: I have a lot of confidence in my abilities as a musician so as long as I’m creating, I tend to feel pretty encouraged and focused. I find that when I’m not able to create quite as much because of things that come up in life and my business that I start to feel frustrated. I also practice Transcendental Meditation, which helps get me back in my rhythm and keep me neutral when that frustration starts to creep in.
Q: What are your top 3 most influential rappers to you and why?
A: The rapper that has been most influential to my music is definitely Andre 3000. In my opinion, he was one of the first to take real risks and buck the trends within hip hop. Whether it was his clothing, his willingness to use melody and sing, or his still underappreciated production, Andre was way ahead of the game and the vast majority of what’s popular right now can be traced back to his catalogue.
My second I would have to say is Black Thought. He never gets the credit that he deserves for having the absolute most bars and I don’t know if he ever will because he’s not flashy but the man can rap. Period. He was also one of the first guys I heard rapping over live instrumentation and I can relate to his style really well because he has a deep, heavy voice like I do.
The third would have to be Kanye West. I’ve always placed rappers who produce their own music on a higher pedestal than everyone else and he is one of the best at both so it’s a no brainer. Despite some of his current personal beliefs and behavior, his influence on music is undeniable. His constant evolution gives me the courage to keep growing and searching for new ways to approach my production and my writing.
Q: How do feel about Chicago’s rap scene at this moment?
A: I think Chicago’s music scene as a whole is in a great place. We have so many diverse artists and bands making great music and representing the city in a variety of different ways and I’m super proud to be a part of it.
Q: You have some rappers from the south sounding like rappers from the east coast and vice versus, how do you stay true to your sound and what makes your sound different from others?
A: I think what helps me stay true to my sound is that I listen to a lot of non hip hop music in my spare time. My sound is comprised of elements of genres that aren’t quite as trendy as hip hop like reggae, ska and samba, which allows me to remove myself from what’s hot and focus more on what’s good and what’s going to sound just as good in 15 years as it does now.
Q: Do you have a goal as a rapper? If so, what is it?
A: My goal is to be respected as an overall musician and to shrink the world through my work. I want to become proficient in as many instruments and languages as I can so that I can continue to grow and find new inspiration and that my sound can continue to evolve.
Q: Where can people listen to your music?
A: My latest project Gringo is available on iTunes and everywhere music is streamed so definitely go check that out. Also tune into my Youtube channel AFTillDeath for exclusive content such as my live collab series Live AF and official music videos.
Q: What are your social media handles?
A: You can follow me @whereisbardo on Instagram and Twitter and you can find me on Facebook.com/bardoaf. You can also find links to all of my socials and updated content on whereisbardo.com
Thank you to Briahna Gatlin from Swank PR for connecting me with Bardo to do this Q&A
Bardos new single Longboard off of his new EP “Gringo” made me want to do a Q &A with him because it is such a well done visual, with a great vibe.
Check it out below!