Interview: Pablo YG Talks Dropping Out of School for Music, Journey So Far & ‘Bad Juvi’ Mixtape

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Interview: Pablo YG Talks Dropping Out of School for Music, Journey So Far & ‘Bad Juvi’ Mixtape

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when the world was about to grind to a halt, then 16-year-old Romeo Hines, nestled in his quiet community of Shaw Park in Ocho Rios, found himself at a crossroads. On the verge of a personal renaissance, the Ocho Rios high school student had to make a decision – honor the obsessive attraction to music in his blood or return to school.

Hines bet on himself. Although he entered the pandemic as a quiet and dedicated high school student, he emerged from it as Pablo YG – a fast-rising Dancehall star who earned the respect of some of his greatest contemporaries.

Recently “Bad Juvi’ sat down with DancehallMag to reflect on his journey, the release of his mixtape and plans for the future.

“I sing about real things. Yes, there is exaggeration and dem ting deh, but it’s normal music. All a mi song dem, all mi pain song dem, real. Mi get fi express misel inna mi music, ’cause music inna mi blood”, the 19-year-old shared. On this matter he did not exaggerate.

Hines’ father was a respected musician named Mr. Groove, who was known for songs such as Yes love and High evaluation. Unfortunately, he was killed in 2011.

“Losing my father didn’t come out in my music,” Hynes revealed, noting that there are things he feels should remain private. However, Mr. Groove’s undeniable affinity for music served as a solid foundation for his son, and the seeds of this were eventually nurtured by Pablo’s brother YG, as well as a few friends who would show up at their informal vibe sessions/backyard gigs. That support remained intact even after the budding musician showcased his skills at his community’s annual talent show.

“A mi bredda really mek mi start music like dat innuh,” he explained, adding that the idea of ​​taking it seriously never occurred to him. “Because of the way mi usually freestyle and dem ting deh, and even wid di community talent shows dem, a from deh suh dem start push mi. Dem jus’ see di talent and di vibe done well so jus’ try it.”

Although Richer N richer The singer’s decision to pursue music is now justified by his growing success, the decision to take the leap – to leave school – was a nervous one.

Doubts and early concerns

According to Pablo: “I was definitely concerned about the negatives and positives of this decision. Even my teachers similarly said “beam” but I just did it. And I can’t tell you that I don’t pray what might happen in the future, but you know in life you have to take risks.

He admitted that he was aware that things were not destined to work out in his favor, but in retrospect he believes it was simply his timing. He muses, “A whole bunch of artistes doin’ somethin’ way before me, and dem nuh reach, we reach. Yeah, even there’s some yute pon di corner weh very bad, and even dem nuh reach, and it might be time yet.’

Not backed by an inflated sense of self or ego, Pablo YG further added that even after deciding he would pursue music, he was still plagued by doubts.

“Of course I had my doubts,” he declared. “I don’t know what your future was before. At the given moment [when he chose music], I thought about all this. Mi nuh waa nobody feel like seh mi neva done it medz. At that point I pree my future and told myself seh mi affi know wa mi want. I really don’t know if I’ve become a great artist. My only solution was to just go ahead safe and sound.

That leap of faith paid off for the young artist. This gave way to his debut single, Ready, which was produced by Spinaz YG Muzik, as well as several other attention-grabbing tracks. Since then, Pablo YG has been on an unprecedented rise through the ranks of new school Dancehall artists. He has even worked with one of the talents he looks up to – Dancehall powerhouse Skillibeng.

Two weeks ago, the two debuted the result of their collaboration, abundance, whose official music video was released yesterday.

“I’m not the biggest artist,” he explained, reflecting on his current state, “and don’t go telling me yuh seh mi a dis and mi a dat, but…” he paused, seeming to choose his words more carefully. “But… I reached you. And I’m grateful for that. I am grateful for everything.”

Although his notable achievements – performing with Sting, working with Skillibeng and racking up several million views on YouTube – came relatively quickly, Pablo revealed that he was never one to wait for the “big things” to celebrate. It’s an exercise that keeps him humble and continues to keep him grateful.

“Even before all of this, I felt good about myself,” Pablo explained. “Look, when I was only getting 1,000 views on YouTube, I thought that was a big achievement. 1000 views was the millions for me, so I always celebrated. At the end of each day I get my 1000 views and I feel good about it. It may never have been enough for the next man, but it was enough for me. I was proud and still am. Every time I climb the ladder, I feel good.”

The “Bad Juvi” mix.

He believes that this distinguishes him from most of his contemporaries. Small gains, he reasoned, counted, and he would always find time to acknowledge them. That is why he feels such enthusiasm for his own bad junior mixtape – which he describes as the most important project of his career to date.

“This is really my first project and it’s very important to me. I’m not going to say I’m going to be easy or I’m going to be hard on it, that’s for people to decide. I just don’t know what they were thinking,” he said of the 14-track project. “The bad junior mixtape a fi mi supporters dem, and mi released it deh cause as much as i want to i just cant get fi to release so many songs pon mi Vevo. So this is really fi mi supporters dem. This catalog is a song and I share it with them so they can understand my way of thinking.”

He explained this point by stating, “Dem can tell how I feel or how I think feelings. When mi drop songs like slums, they understand it. They know I can give them that. I’m 19 and some people took me for these little young people who have nothing up here,” he said, pointing to his head. “They think I’m a fool. Literally. They think I’m just a young man who comes to try music and it works, so my opinion. They think nothing is in my head.

That’s why he has such a passion for bad junior mixtape. This is meant to be a behind-the-scenes look at his thoughts. This, he says, is meant to give his supporters a body of work they can hold onto and be proud of.

When asked what specifically he hopes his supporters get out of the mixtape, he wastes no time answering. “Everything,” he said.

He explained: “Mi waa dem listen to it and listen to it carefully. I can’t say everything, but I said what I had to. This is a mixtape where I express myself, so I share these things with my supporters. So if you know how you think, listen to dee mixtape.”

Perception vs reality

As a youngster in the heaviest genre, as well as one of the pioneering figures behind Trap Dancehall, Pablo YG discussed the shortcomings of how he is perceived by fans and peers alike.

He shared, “Dem tek mi fi a baby weh nuh know nothing. Usually they find it’s nuh di case, but that’s why we prove them wrong like Bad Juvi. Dem a use di fact seh we young and a gwaan like a bay nonsense we talk like we only talk about things that don’t matter but some truth. Dem think we got stupid thinking. But this is not true. He then promises that listening to his mixtape will be all the rebuttal he needs. “People listen to them because they have heard the truth over time. I just need to listen to them,” he pleaded.

Despite what has largely been a meteoric rise to fame, Pablo YG has learned to separate his persona as a performer from who he is as an individual. The teenager, whose personal mission is to live honestly and stay true to himself, is anchored by a strong sense of humility – such that, regardless of his achievements, he cannot see himself as a star. He echoes this point when reflecting on fame, as well as how he manages not to get lost in the Pablo YG spotlight.

Achieving balance

“Well, I think I’m still famous and the way I look at it, if he comes, whether you like it or not, you can sign up with him. Some are into fame, some are, but honestly, I don’t care. I know it’s hard to balance, but I don’t see myself as a big artist or a big star.

For Pablo, he just shows up, has fun, then retires to his home – where he often watches TV. “For me, everyday life is like a normal ting fi mi. Go to a stage show, fill them with people, have fun and go home. When mi a entertain, mi a entertain, and mi do dat fi di fans dem. My personal life and fi mi. To me, Pablo YG and Romeo are two different people.” Looking at his public appearances, people wouldn’t know that in “real life”, as he describes it, he is a quiet person.

“After I’m having fun, I connect with people, but I realize that’s not me. I am a quiet person. In public, I will most likely keep to myself. Mi jus’ know seh when mi affi go on stage to entertain, mi affi interact with people. After I quit, I’m me again.’

Keeping the vision alive with gratitude

Such rigid lines between personal and professional life haven’t hindered Pablo YG’s ability to envision more for his burgeoning career, and he shared this with us, putting a refreshing twist on the old mantra “the sky’s the limit.” For Pablo, he only aims to be an internationally recognized artist because that is the pinnacle of what can be achieved here on earth. If he had access to other issues, he would probably seek to be recognized there as well.

“There is no peak and every time we level up, even a little bit, we celebrate. My peak is the next level until I get to the next. I have a vision to be an international artist because that’s the best you can achieve right now in music, but I only have that because I want the world to hear what I have. There is no limit to how much I want this.

Until then, he’s content to just put in the effort, celebrating every step of the way. Although the life of a rising Dancehall star comes with its own sets of stresses, Pablo YG has found a reason to be motivated and proud of it. As for what he’s most proud of, he paused before offering an upbeat answer.

After a while, he told us, “I’m most proud of the fact that we’ve gotten somewhere. I’m just proud of it. And we’ve risen from the earth stage to, so, wherever we end up, that’s what I’m most proud of.”

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