Caught In Conversation With North London Prodigy 5EB

Mixtape Madness Bloggers

By Mixtape Madness Bloggers

Mixtape Madness Bloggers

15 Oct 2021

Rising through the ranks as a dynamic, multi-talented musician in London has never been an easy feat – aged just 19 – 5EBFENDI has been making it look effortless.

Since dropping his debut single ‘5UNNY’ featuring Dreadz, one of his most streamed songs on Spotify, the artist hasn’t looked back. His discography speaks for itself, whether it be a feature, freestyle, or solo, 5’s authentic sound is unique. With his beat selection and ability to sing or rap, he has built a core fanbase, racking up over a million streams on his debut album ‘childi5h’ in 2019. Since, he has also released an EP, several singles, and performed at lock-off, his first stage appearance post-lockdown.

Following the release of his ‘FENDI5IVE’ project, we caught up with 5EB to talk about his experiences over the last few years, his growth as an artist, and what to expect from him in the future. Take in what he had to say below! 

Having entered the music industry aged just 16, how have you tackled the journey so far?

The whole mindset for me is prioritising longevity over virality, it’s my biggest mantra. You’ve got to think to yourself, oh, what do I want to be remembered for? Who do I want to go out as? The artists I look up to can’t fall off, because they were never on through a viral moment. They reached their positions through graft and gradual development, so I’ve just stayed true to myself and worked consistently.

Tell me about some challenges you faced on your journey to date and how you responded.

Bro, when I started making music there were people around me that laughed, took the piss, you know how people are. Anytime you take a risk or do something they wish they were doing, they’re going to hate, Crabs in a bucket type shit – that was the whole Nines tape. I clocked from early as a human I’m capable of so much, so I made sure I tapped into my potential and never let myself get boxed into certain situations out of fear, peer pressure, or anything like that.

Your new tape ‘FENDI5IVE’ is about to drop, what do you hope to achieve with this project?

This tape is like my f*cking baby. It’s basically the end of my childhood and the beginning of my adulthood all in one body of work. What I hope to achieve with it is to cement myself as one of the people to know in terms of the new music that’s emerging. I’ve not ever tried to step on toes in terms of the current scene. I’m not going to lie, it can get repetitive and boring, but I want people to understand that when we’re actually trying to listen to some real music. I’m, the person you need to look out for.

What have you learned through the experiences this past year has brought?

I’ve just had to rethink my approach to music and what I want to do because when I get to the point I deserve, I want to be able to stay there. At the start of the first lockdown, due to all of the time I had on my hands, I started to produce beats. When all is said and done, I want to be someone who has done more than just rap for the scene, across different genres. Even if people hate me or dislike what I end up doing, the one thing they won’t be able to deny is my talent.

I recently saw your fans getting 5EB inspired tattoos. How creative have they been in showing you support during this period and what does this mean to you?

G, when I saw someone get ‘the world is yours’ tattooed, that was probably my favourite moment in music over the last year or so, because that is going to be with you for life and supporting the movement like that. It’s like, bro, you manifested it onto your skin, that’s insane. I might not have the biggest support base in the world, but my supporters are the best supporters in the world.

Credit: @tj.saw1

Looking back at your last tape ‘Highbernation’, how have you reflected on that body of work, and what have you tried to do differently?

I think of ‘Highbernation’ as a tape I dropped literally just to give people some music, that wasn’t a serious project like that. The thing is, even when hibernation dropped, FENDI5IVE was still in the works. It’s its own calibre of a project for me, I couldn’t really compare it to anything I’ve previously put out. That’s what most of the guys have been telling me when we actually speak about the music now.

The industry can be very unforgiving at times, does the pressure ever take its toll on you?

I’m not going to lie, there’s always an easier option, I’ve thought of quitting a billion times and just going ahead and getting a nine to five, it’s easy to do like. But the thing is, you’ve got to keep pushing! The way I see where I’m at right now – using a baseball analogy – I’ve started swinging, I’ve got to follow through now. You may as well never swing if you’re not going to follow through, even if you don’t make a home run, at least you can say you tried you know?

Musically, one of your biggest attributes is versatility, how did you work on perfecting your sound?

I feel like the reason is partly that I listen to fucking EVERYTHING, I think that’s vital. I sing a lot, I don’t even usually write anymore, I just freestyle my shit. At some point, I was like damn, I need to see if I can get people to prefer rap verses. So, then I started challenging myself to not sing in songs at all, crafting that whole part of me. You just have to seclude yourself, focus on that part of your art, and expand it.

Your love for music is clear to see, when did you realise that it was going to be the thing you pursued?

My Godmother gave me a lyric book when I was like 10, like a little notebook, and said write some lyrics because I know you have it in you. Believe it or not, I found a post on my cousin’s Instagram from when I was eight years old in 2011.  She says, ’oh – this is my cousin – he’s gonna be the next generation’s biggest rapper’. Like this was always what I wanted to do, but when I saw that picture, I didn’t even believe it myself because I didn’t know what I wanted to do at that point, it’s just always been what I’ve loved since I can remember.

It’s no secret you have over 250 unreleased songs, studio must be like your second home by now.

You know what it is, I feel like you need to love the music before there’s a possibility that you can do it. Music has been such a big part of my life since I was a kid, I still have memories of being like four years old listening to candy shop, genuinely thinking it was about candy shops lol. I have moments in the studio that only music can create for me. For example, I remember one time I was just smoking my zoot, I took the fattest drag, went up to the mic and I was just humming this shit when the engineer goes, ‘what the fuck did you just do?’ It was just some beautiful melody, it just sounded dreamy and fun. I couldn’t replicate it now even if I tried.

What does the future hold in store for 5EB? What does success sound like to you?

My goal in life is – and I’ve said this before – when I wake up, to get to be creative and choose what I want to do. That is freedom. There’s one currency more fucking valuable than Yen, Bitcoin, Ethereum, or any of this shit. Time. As soon as I’ve spent it, there’s no way I can get it back. It’s priceless. Musically, I want a legacy that lasts long beyond me. To be able to give back to the industry using my experiences, through producing, managing, or creating labels for the next generation? That’s the dream. 

Any wise words of wisdom for the next wave of young artists coming through?

If you’re actually going to do something in your life, there’s a moment when it feels like the world is yours. If you approach everything with that thought process, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have what you see other people have. All they did for 90% of getting to their goals is just doing it, bro, putting themselves out there. I know so many people who’ve told me theoretical good ideas but never went through with them. It all goes back to self-doubt bro, your idea will always get called mad till it works, that’s when you know you’ve cracked it. Perseverance is crucial, before you know it your life could be changing purely because of consistency.

Words by Buez. Listen to the full project below.