London-based emerging artist sbk recently dropped his highly anticipated mixtape, 'HANXIETY,' marking a significant milestone in his career showcasing sbk's artistic growth as both a producer and rapper, whilst introducing a fresh and alternative-rap sound that draws influence from emo, punk, and trap genres, evident in his previous releases this year.
All self-produced by sbk, blending thumping 808s with ominous synths, he seamlessly creates a unique downtempo club-leaning energy that allows sbk's lyricism and flow to take centre stage.
What sets sbk apart is his willingness to address powerful and emotionally charged themes in his music. Tracks like 'BREAKING APART,' 'EVERYDAY,' and 'MAMAS BOY' reveal sbk's vulnerability as he speaks openly about his mental health, experiences of heartbreak and his upbringing.
Through his music, sbk aims to connect with his fans on a deeper level, providing encouragement and support to those who may relate to his experiences.
We caught up with SBK to talk about all things HANXIETY and his impressive journey from the start to now.
So you've recently dropped your project HANXIETY and it's a blend of genres, how did this affect the creative process?
Obviously, I come from the grime scene and stuff, but I found myself not really listening to grime in my spare time and I find that that's the case with a lot of grime artists. It's like we love grime when we're performing, but in my personal time, I wasn't really listening to it like that because I come from a different generation. I'm only 21, and the music I actually enjoy listening to is punk, emo, and trap sound.
Because I produced everything, I kind of just took my grand DNA and kind of fused it with the music that I liked to make it more listenable. I feel like that creativity was my process in it, I just wanted to make something that's more listenable and that's got more substance than I consider grime to have.
So throughout your lyrics, you become very vulnerable and open about your everyday struggles, mental health and personal experiences. How do you find writing about that when it comes to music? Is this you something can do quite freely?
No, I don't feel like that's hard for me, I feel like it's easy for me to do, I'm basically just venting in it.
I just treat it like it's therapy, it is therapy, it's a therapy session for me. All of my songs are a therapy session for me. With me being so open and vulnerable, I don't even like the word vulnerable because I don't even think me doing that is a vulnerable thing to do, I feel like it's quite a strong thing to do and I feel like it helps other people in the process as well because I know I'm not the only one that feels that way for me.
It's easier, it feels good to be so open and stuff. It helps me work through it.
How do you try to balance your two styles of writing? You've got your more open side, and then you've got your other more fun stuff, creating two sides to your music. When you work on a project, do you try to balance them or do you not really think about it and just put out what feels right?
When I'm making a project, I definitely think about it. I don't want to do 10 songs of just sad music or 10 songs of just hype music. I feel like when it comes to building a project, it should have a good balance of everything.
For example, the last song literally was quite vulnerable. I tend to do that at the end of the project, put the deepest songs there and then at the beginning put songs like "BRUDDAS DEM" just to catch people's attention and hype it up.
So I definitely try and spread it out when it comes to projects and stuff, but when I'm releasing singles, I kind of just release what I want to release.
Talking about "BRUDDAS DEM", you decided to release this before the project. When you were making it, did you decide this was the one, or was it more of a thought process?
"BRUDDAS DEM" was the last song that I made for the project and it ended up being the first track, it was like I decided that it was the one.
It ended up being kind of the focus track of the project, so there are really no rules in it. I could be recording a project for months and the last song that I make is my favourite one, you know what I'm saying? Or I feel like what I feel like is the strongest one.
So there's really no process. It's just like what I feel is the best, even when I'm making a track list, that's how I'm as well.
You're still a young artist but you've got a lot of co-signs and already achieved so much, do you think these experiences have shaped you?
100% man, like the fact that I'm so young, is definitely a blessing, but I've been doing this for a very long time, nearly a decade, and it would be a lie to say that doesn't contribute to my outlook and to say that it doesn't contribute to the music.
I just got a lot of experience and a lot of my sadness comes from, as sad as it sounds, the fact that I've been doing this so long. It definitely comes out in the music, again, it's just therapy init, so in the music, I'm really just letting out my true feelings and it's helping me get past that.
Has there been one standout co-sign or moment for you throughout your whole career?
Definitely working with JME and the Legends of the grime scene, JME, Skepta and Wiley, working with them people was literally a dream come true. They're pretty much just like the grime greats and it's kind of like when I worked with them, that's probably the height of my career so far.
But now I'm in a different space. I wouldn't even call myself a grime artist anymore. So now it's like I've achieved that and climbed up that ladder, now I'm on just a different journey, I want to be recognised in the UK rap and work with people in this kind of rap world.