Emcee/producer Yinka Diz presents “Night In Dubai”, his new single produced by Joe Prime. Born in Chicago to a mother from the infamous Cabrini Green projects and a Nigerian immigrant father, Yinka spent the early years of his childhood living in and around the city before moving to the Inland Empire, just outside of Los Angeles.
A constant world traveler and student of culture, Yinka effectively canvasses his experiences in what he refers to as a ‘street-cosmopolitan’ sound. His music propels the listener into his cosmopolitan frame of mind, full of explosive wordplay and nuanced messages. Yinka recently dropped a video for “Hear Me, Tho” (watch).
His 2011 mixtape New Art, New Money featured Glasses Malone, Marky (watch the “Wind In My Caesar” video), Nike Nando, Annimeans, and producer/rapper Dae One and singer Kree (watch the “Done It All” video) as well as production from !llmind (watch the “Overnight Scenario” video). He also released the mixtape The Radiant Child in 2013 (listen). “This is Passport Music,” Yinka says of the new single. “Witness the world through it. #ThatLife” Yinka currently resides in Washington, D.C.
Who do you think the best candidate in this presidential race is and why?
I can’t say I’m thrilled about any particular candidate this time around. If I had to choose a candidate I’d probably say Bernie Sanders and that’s just because I have a personal issue with corruption in politics and the prison industrial complex. His is the only campaign that addresses these issues head on. So yea…..#FeelTheBern.
Do you think we will soon see a breakthrough of African hiphop artists into the American scene? Why or why not?
I think we’re already seeing it with artists like D’Banj, P Square, and Davido collaborating with major American hiphop acts. The world is getting smaller as the power and influence of the internet grows. I think for now the real missing link is promotion. The African artists promote these crossover collaborations heavily in Africa, because hiphop is seen as an American art form so it gives a validity or almost a “street cred” to what they’re doing back home. However, most times the American artists aren’t promoting these collaborations as hard in America.
What do you consider the hallmarks of the “street cosmopolitan” sound?
I’ve lived in a lot of different places, both in the US and outside of the US and I think that has influenced my perspective a lot. I translate each of those experiences in my music, from the way I talk and my slang to my subject matter and the types of production I’m into. The dictionary definition of cosmopolitan is “free from local, provincial, or national ideas, prejudices, or attachments; at home all over the world.” So in this case, it’s hip hop, which is characteristically street music, but it contains perspectives from everywhere I’ve been and everything I’ve seen.
What advice do you have for upcoming rappers?
My advice is be yourself and be consistent. As long as you keep doing your brand of you, you’ll break through eventually.
What do you think surprises listeners the most about you?
Hmm. I think good music is just good music (no pun intended), and I’m not a big fan of labels beyond that. A lot of people approach me about “real hip hop” and how we’re all doomed and hiphop is dead. Those discussions irk me because dope music is present and will always be there. If we put as much effort into creating platforms to showcase the music we love as we do condemning the music we don’t, I think there would be a lot more major looks for dope artists today. Hopefully we can level the playing field and create platforms for all different sounds and styles.