When we think of Anaheim, California, we may think of Disneyland, L.A. Angels or even the Anaheim Ducks. But for rapper B-Rhye being from Anaheim is more than fun tourist attractions, it’s home.
22-year-old Brian Fombona set to release his latest track “I just pray” on July 6th, hopes to one day work with the likes of Noah “40” Shebib, Nipsey Hussle and more. Crediting Drake, J. Cole, and Kendrick Lamar as influences behind his music, Fombona plans to drop his EP this year and to “hopefully collab with more artists and continue to grow.” I spoke with the California rapper about the first song he ever wrote, how he feels about Jay Z and 6LACK, and finding a balance while writing.
MA: What albums do you remember listening to growing up?
B-RHYE: I grew up listening to a lot of west coast hip hop like 2- Pac and Dr. Dre. Lots of Weezy (Lil Wayne) in elementary school. So I would say I grew up listening to records like The Chronic and All Eyez on me. I also vividly remember listening to Tha Carter II when I was in third or fourth grade because of my older cousins.
MA: What was the first song that you wrote and what was it about?
B-RHYE: The first song I wrote from start to finish and recorded was called 3am Thoughts. I was a senior in high school. It was about teenage heartbreak.
MA: Who do you see yourself collaborating with in the future?
B-RHYE: I would love to collab with any of my influences mentioned before but besides them, I’d love to work with Noah “40” Shebib from the OVO camp, Erick Arc Elliot from Flatbush Zombies, Jesse Rutherford from The Neighbourhood, Nipsey Hussle, I have a pretty long list.
MA: Tell me a little about your latest release, “I Just Pray“? What inspired it?
B-RHYE: My latest release is called “I Just Pray”, it’s sort of a story of modern age infatuation. People are falling for others online and have these ideas of what these people they’ve never met are like but can be completely off. I produced it, wrote it, recorded it, mixed, and mastered it.
MA: How would you best describe your writing process?
B-RHYE: Very random. Sometimes I’ll be driving and come up with lines or just a melody and fill in the words later. Sometimes I sit with a beat forever and crank out lyrics. Sometimes I’m in the shower and just hum things. I try to find a balance between not forcing it while also consistently writing just so things are as organic as possible and I don’t get lazy.
MA: When did you know that music is something that you wanted to do?
B-RHYE: When I graduated high school and I had just started community college. I was having a conversation with one of my older cousins I really look up to and he was asking me what I was doing and what I wanted to study. I responded by telling him that I was studying mechanical engineering because they make good money and I had heard a story of a relative of a friend I knew that would get flown out to foreign countries and I said it sounded kind of cool. He responded by saying, “that’s cool but it doesn’t sound like that’s what you wanna do, your eyes didn’t light up when you talked about it. Is that the life you want, maybe that guy hates being flown out every week to another country. Don’t do something because it sounds kinda cool, make sure you love it”. After that conversation, I really started to evaluate my life. I thought about it for weeks and decided that I didn’t want to look back and have regrets or waste my life doing something I didn’t fully love.
MA: With the constant comparison between the older generation rappers and the newer wave rappers, what is your opinion about Rap game today?
MA: How do you want your listeners to best perceive you?
B-RHYE: I just hope they give the music a chance and are open to seeing things from my perspective. Also, I hope they give Anaheim a chance, the city is so complex and it has so much talent coming out of it. The west is a huge hub for great talent.
MA: What best advice do you have for musicians who want to get into the rap game?
B-RHYE: In all honesty, I don’t feel like I’m in a position to be giving advice. I’m still very much a starving artist and I am still finding my own path. The one thing I would say is if you pursue music to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and most importantly for yourself.