Words: Peter A. Berry
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.
Brooklyn’s Sheff G is one of the most important new faces in the borough’s drill movement. Since dropping his breakout song, “No Suburban,” in 2017, Sheff built his momentum by unloading five solo projects, including Chase a Bag (2018), The Unluccy Kid (2019), Just 4 Yall (2020), One and Only (2020) and and Proud of Me Now (2020). Using his granite-toned voice, blunt lyrics and U.K. drill beats to power his tracks, he’s solidified his spot as one of New York City’s fastest-rising artists. Speaking with XXL for Define Me, Sheff G breaks down some of his career-defining songs.
“It put Brooklyn more on the map. Some people was saying it was lit. Then you have people saying I sound like I was from the U.K. The nigga AXL [Beats] was from the U.K. They started comparing me to the U.K. people and the beatmakers started putting my name with the U.K. artists’ names. That’s how I got in tune with the U.K.”
“Flows” featuring Sleepy Hallow
“‘Flows’ was the first song to me that I ever switched up my flow from drill. It’s more relaxed. It’s more about pain. I was emotional when I made the song. I was really just talking. I was trying to talk to my fans and let them know like, it get better. I just was finding out myself. Like, I could make different types of music, I didn’t even know.”
“We Getting Money”
“I made that song after I got my first official check from this music shit. It was about, ‘This is the first step to us getting to where we got to get.’ It wasn’t the final step. We knew that. So it was just lit in that moment. Now, we know we on top of our game and it’s time to start doing what we doing.’ [On the hook] I was not playing. ‘Please don’t act like you know me.’”
“Play for the Members”
“That’s one of my underrated tracks. You got to really tune in and listen. I was switching up my flows on the drill side. The flows that I used on that track is the flows people use as the choruses for songs today.”
“Panic 2” featuring Sleepy Hallow and Double G
“[‘Panic Part 2’] showed that we was the first ones using the U.K. beats. That’s the song I came back with after I cut my hair. I got cut, [in a fight]. Got cut, cut my hair. Everybody already knew, but nobody knew what was going on because I was wearing durags. We already had the ‘Panic’ shit going on. It was ‘[Part 2]’ coming up, so everybody was waiting. They was expecting to see what’s under my durag.”
Check out more from XXL’s Winter 2020 issue including our DaBaby cover story, an introduction to DaBaby's Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment label roster, an interview with South Coast Music Group founder Arnold Taylor, who discovered and signed DaBaby, one of King Von's last interviews, how the coronavirus changed hip-hop, we catch up with Flipp Dinero in What's Happenin', Rico Nasty talks about rediscovering who she is as an artist, Marshmello reveals the rappers he wants to work with in Hip-Hop Junkie, Show & Prove interviews with The Kid Laroi, Flo Milli, and Iann Dior, we take a closer look at how rap music gets leaked, producer LilJuMadeDaBeat shares how he made Megan Thee Stallion's hit song "Body," Kash Johns, founder of Winners Circle Publishing, discusses what makes a hot producer, get to know hip-hop's hottest new collective, Spillage Village and more.
See Photos of XXL Magazine's Winter 2020 Cover Shoot With DaBaby