The spark to chase a dream can happen early on in an artist's life. When he was just a child, Bino Rideaux was already immersed in hip-hop. From freestyles during recess in elementary school to writing his first rap in third grade—it was over Nelly's trendsetting 2002 hit "Air Force Ones"—Bino loved rap, and was committed to finding success within it. Catching an Usher and Nas concert with his mother as a kid only served to seal the deal. He witnessed how much love the crowd showed the two legendary artists.

After high school, Bino went full steam ahead with music, and now he's one of the most-loved, homegrown artists from Los Angeles. Between his solo work, like his Def Jam debut project Outside, released in 2020, and his collab projects with Blxst (the Sixtape series in 2019 and its followup in 2021) and his late mentor Nipsey Hussle (No Pressure in 2017), Bino has been remained consistent through the years. He also boasts notable streams across songs like "Lemme Find Out" featuring Roddy Ricch (nearly 3.5 million in two months) and the Blxst collabs "Movie" and "Brand New" (at 4 million and 6.8 million, respectively). The respected rhymer has even bigger things ahead as he continues to deliver with his talent.

Before he was known for those projects and tracks, Bino made "100 Days 100 Nights" in 2015, a song dedicated to his fallen friend. The effort set the framework for his current creative direction. At the time, Bino started to make noise around L.A. for the unique tone of his voice tone, with or without the oft-used AutoTune. His music has the brashness of street rap, but is vulnerable and thoughtful in a way that is exclusive to him. That kind of groundwork led to a 2017 call from Nipsey Hussle, by way of Casey Veggies' phone. Nipsey invited Bino to come over and work on music. That session birthed "The Field" with Bino, Nip and the late Young Dolph, a turning point that made the young South Central, L.A. rapper believe he could make it in music.

In late 2017, Nipsey and Bino made the No Pressure mixtape, a moment that changed Bino's career and profile. By 2019, Bino was working with Blxst, another buzzing California artist that Bino found through Kalan.frfr. Together, Bino and Blxst churned out Sixtape, a collab project that elevated them both in the L.A. rap hierarchy. Then last January, the rapper signed to Def Jam Recordings, a result of the momentum he had already built. Shortly after came Outside, released in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, when it wasn't safe to actually be outside. Bino still persevered through this downtime.

Now in 2021, he's fresh off a successful headlining tour with BlueBucksClan, and has only improved upon his buzz through a time when it was most difficult to do so. As the release of his next project nears, Bino checks in with XXL via Zoom for this week's The Break.

Age: 29

Hometown: Los Angeles

I grew up listening to: "I grew up in a big family household. That's great grandparents and all that shit—uncles, aunties—we was all in the same house. So, you got oldies, but me personally, I used to listen to a lot of ’Pac as a kid. That's what my uncles was on. Westside Connection, Dogg Pound. I like all that shit. In high school, I used to tell Nip[sey Hussle], 'I used to listen to a lot of Dom [Kennedy], and then I'd listen to you.' Shout-out YG, putting on for the city. My favorite rapper of all time is Future. I think he's the most influential next to Kanye West in this rap game."

My style’s been compared to: "People say I'm like Slime [Young Thug]. People say they can't understand what I'm saying like Young Thug. I think it's just like unorthodox style. Like back in the day, you had Ol' Dirty Bastard or Suga Free. It's unorthodox. You gotta keep up."

I’m going to blow up because: "I feel like I done met some individuals who I kinda already had respect for. The people who inspire me. And just seeing they real-life program, and  respecting them as men, it kinda let me know maybe this is where I'm supposed to be. I feel like that's a big deal for me."

What’s your most slept-on song, and why?: It's a song from 2014, 2015, you can go search it on YouTube too, it's a song called 'Roley' I made back then. I swear to God, I smashed that bitch. It prolly sound like a nigga made that yesterday. Go tap into that shit. You gonna be like, 'That nigga was on some shit back then.' The whole hood thought that was the one. They was like, 'We outta here!' I swear to God, that shit was hard as hell. We didn't know what the fuck we was doing. We just drop some shit, put it on SoundCloud, YouTube. I was just posting it on Instagram for my 300 followers every day. We ain't know no better. We was just vibin' out. But that's the game."

My standout records to date have been: "'Lemme Find Out,' of course. Even beyond the success of that song, that's a big song for me. The whole everything behind that song was just perfect timing I feel like. I feel like that's a big song for me. I feel like 'Movie,' off Sixtape 2, me and Blxst. I feel like that's a big record. That joint went crazy. 'Mismatch (The Remix)' with Thug. That's one of my favorite records. That's probably my favorite song in my catalog right now. That's for sure my favorite to perform right now. 'Miss It' off my Sorry 4 tha Wait tape. And I think that's probably my most timeless record. Every show it just don't get old."

My standout moments to date have been: "No Pressure. [2017 project with Nipsey Hussle]. Just ’cause I still can't fathom why Nip wanted to do that. I feel like that was the most transitional period in my career to date. I don't even know if I was ready for it. It's just like, Damn, this shit happening. Everything about it, it's just A1. I feel like that project worth a plaque. I ain't used to hearing Nip like that. It was kinda vulnerable on this project. In all aspects of this shit, I feel like I owe so much to the development of that project and to bro himself. I learned so much, I gained so much. I'm forever grateful for that."

Most people don’t know: "In interviews like this, people be telling me, 'You funny as fuck. I ain't even know!' Usually in interviews it be hard to get me to talk. I just be like, 'Bruh, what the fuck we doing this for?' I don't know why though. I be dancing and shit. I be doing all types of lame-ass shit. People say they don't know my personality."

I’m going to be the next: "I'm tryna be the first something. The shit that I wanna do, the shit that I wanna accomplish, in music, in life, in my city, just the impact I wanna make, the changes I wanna make, is like some shit nobody's done before. The closest person I really seen do it was Nip. But the vision I got is even, in all respect, far beyond that, and it's like I really can't put it into words everything I wanna do."

Follow Bino Rideaux on SoundCloud and Instagram.

Standouts:

"Brand New" featuring Blxst

Blxst and Bino Rideaux's "Movie"

"Lemme Find Out" featuring Roddy Ricch

Bino Rideaux and Blxst's Sixtape 2

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