Yxng Bane bangs his hand on the couch to punctuate his words as he speaks, especially when talking about what the world can expect from him come 2018. The 21-year-old East London rapper has surged the U.K. charts and received viral attention for his remix of fellow Brit Ed Sheeran‘s “Shape Of You,” (which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100), but he’d like to take a few minutes to introduce himself beyond that.
Currently, Bane sits at No. 14 on the U.K. Top 40 (No. 4 on the R&B Single chart) with his feature on Yungen’s “Bestie,” which peaked at No. 10, and broke into the chart at No. 40 with his current single titled “Rihanna” (currently No. 17 on R&B Singles chart).
Read Bane’s conversation with Billboard below.
Why are you Yxng Bane?
Because when I first started — I never watched the Batman movie, which is quite ironic, but when I first started making music I didn’t like to show my face. I really like the Bane mask. So that’s where Yxng Bane came from.
What drew you to “Shape Of You” as a song that you’d like to remix?
Initially, I was just a big fan of the record and then I remember one day I was in the studio and [his manager] G called me and he told me to do a remix. “Do a remix! Do a remix! Do a remix!” And I was in the studio and did the remix, put it out, and the reaction is just crazy. I mean, I think it’s got the most views across platforms in the U.K.
I assume based on that answer that you weren’t anticipating this reaction?
No. Not at all, not at all, not at all. Ed’s made it official now — it’s actually an official remix now as well, so I definitely wasn’t expecting it to go this far. I mean, I’ve been performing this song live to people, but I definitely didn’t expect it to go this far.
So how did the concept for the video come about — mixing french fries, a luxurious car and a beautiful woman all in one?
The video was shot in the area where I grew up. It was shot in my local area. We just decided to keep the video very simple. I knew the female already. She was a dancer, so I just hit her up. We just wanted it to speak for itself, really.
Did Ed Sheeran acknowledge the remix?
Yeah, yeah, before it’d gotten out actually, it was sent to him. He gave it the green light and said he kind of liked it. And then, after that I met him at an event and when I met Ed at the event, he obviously complimented me and the remix as well.
What was your reaction to landing in the U.K. Top 40 with “Rihanna”?
Oh, it was crazy. Definitely wasn’t expecting that. “Rihanna” was just a track we wanted to use to give back to fans after the “Shape of You” remix. We just wanted to give them something from myself. And once that was accomplished, the reaction — and now it’s in the Top 40, it’s on the radio, I seen it on the TV. It’s gotten crazy. It’s something I’m just happy for, I’m grateful for.
It seems that every time you make something without trying to get a big reaction, you’re getting a big reaction.
[Laughs] I go into the studio every day. When I do go, I go in open-minded. I just go into the studio and just talk about one experience or another. Do you know what I mean? It’s all a natural process. When the reactions come, it’s crazy.
The song is actually not about Rihanna at all, but why did you choose to use her name as a metaphor?
Because of the persona of Rihanna and the affection that I have for Rihanna. So, my perception of her is a good girl, a hard-working female. She is on the edge — really not scared to take a risk, isn’t scared to be bad. Do you know what I mean? So that was me just paying homage to all the females who [possess those qualities].
What would you say is the musical achievement that you’re most proud of so far?
My proudest musical achievement so far would be a Top 10. A Top 10! With Yungen, we’ve got a Top 10 with “Bestie.” We shot the video for that in Dubai. It’s been in the top 10 for 10 weeks straight now.
You seem to be quite fashionable. So, if you would, would you describe to me an outfit that best represents your style?
Off-White, that represents me. What We Wear (founded by Tinie Tempah) — I like a What We Wear t-shirt. Dope Chef, I like them. They do sick t-shirts. I’m going to be releasing my own t-shirt soon, too. VLone, YSL and Gucci — that’s a lot, sorry. You asked me for one!
What do you think sets the U.K. music scene apart from the rest of the world?
We got our own genres. We got grime, we’ve got afro-swing. I think naturally that sets up apart, but I think our flows as well as well. We’ve got our own flows. Me, as well. The fact that we’ve always been looked at as underdogs against Americans and the rest of the world — the world of music. I think it’s forced us to be more creative.
For those not familiar with you or your music yet, how would you introduce yourself to them?
First of all, I’d introduce myself as being a 21-year-old from East London. In terms of music and artistry, I’m an artist who doesn’t belong to a genre. I express myself however I need to express myself. Whether I need to rap about it or sing about it, however I need to deliver the message, it will be delivered. In terms of genre, I think — no, it’s not ‘I think.’ I know I don’t belong to any genre because, for example, I’ll the “Rihanna,” which is a slow, afro-swing vibe and then I go and do “Froze,” which is more the trap sound — more U.K. drill sound. So it’s more about however I need to express it rather than belonging to a genre. It’s more — I’m diverse.
When it comes to you and your music, as we almost head into the new year, what should we watch out for?
We can expect a body of work put together. I’m going to be working on loads of new music, loads of new bangers — just to give back I think I’m going to put them together and piece together a piece of work to kind of symbolize HBK, which is Heartbreak Kid, which is Baney Boy, which is Yxng Bane. I think we can also look forward to a tour. My first tour. After traveling this year city-to-city, I think I want to revisit every single one — bigger venues, times ten the amount of people in there, just go crazy in there. We can look forward to festivals. I mean, this year, thank you to Wizkid. He brought me out. So next year, I want to be somewhere on a stage with my name on it this time. Should be bigger and better next year — bigger and better.