"I represent New York/. . . niggas say that we lost it/so I'm-a bring it back," raps Shawn Mims on his hit "This Is Why I'm Hot," which goes on to reference how he's touched every corner of the countr
"I represent New York/. . . niggas say that we lost it/so I'm-a bring it back," raps Shawn Mims on his hit "This Is Why I'm Hot," which goes on to reference how he's touched every corner of the country with his rhymes.
It's precisely this MO that's driven the New York-based MC's single: touting his song to clubs and radio stations far beyond the Big Apple. After writing the track last May, Mims toured instead of trying to work it to local mixtape DJs, contests and radio stations.
The artist found winning over hearts in Florida easiest, considering he tapped the talent of hot Miami-based producer Blackout Movement for his beats.
"I love [New York] to death -- it runs through my veins. But I had to prove myself as a different MC. I had to to show them that I could be heard in other markets," the 25-year-old says by phone from Boston.
"Hot" was The Billboard Hot 100's fastest-growing track at radio for three straight weeks earlier this month, propelling to where it currently sits at No. 1 for a second week.
His debut album, "Music Is My Savior," arrives March 27 on Capitol. The title is apropos of Mims' path to stardom. His father died when he was 11, and tragedy struck again at age 13, when his mom -- who had raised him -- died due to complications from the birth of his sister. To cope and stay out of trouble, Mims leaned on a gift his mother had given him only weeks before her death: two turntables and a mixer.
"Playing music put me in a position where I had to go one way or the other. I could be the biggest negative person in the world, or I could turn around and turn it into something positive," he says. "This record is about that. You hear a lot of fun in there. I love all hip-hop -- I love listening to the struggles, talk about the 'hood, how it's hard where they come from. But what I don't hear enough of is the fun side of hip-hop. That's the other side to New York and I want to show the rest of the country that we know how to party."
WATCH NOW: Billboard's Video Interview With Mims