Who is PnB Rock? The versatile Philly artist with superstar potential

This is a repost of an Original Article by BY JESSE VARGAS of kulturehub.com, original article can be found here.

So I know you’ve heard “Too Many Years,” or better yet “Selfish” by the lanky light skin that’s seemingly taking over the charts — PnB Rock.

That was a while back, so by now you’ve definitely peeped his “Unforgettable” remix that we can’t get out of our heads or maybe even his second studio album “Catch These Vibes” that just dropped late last month.

All I know is this man is next up — you tell me the last time you heard an artist this versatile with the same finesse as Drake?

Rakim Hasheem Allen, better known as PnB Rock, isn’t just a music genius. He’s a Philly bred fashion icon and future star in the game.

He’s a trendsetter — the reason behind when you hear “Louis X Supreme” your next thought is “that’s limited edition” and why your girl is pressing you to be selfish all the time.

Now Rock’s always had that sound, since day one, but what we don’t know is how he developed it to become the idol that so many are looking up to today.

I swear I haven’t seen another artist rap AND sing with the same quality as Drake, since DRAKE. And these two aren’t even comparable.

Whether it’s a smooth cuffing melody or some authentic trap music, Rock’s got hands in them all. Out of his three songs that made the Billboard charts, how do ALL THREE give you different vibes?

Everyday We Lit” is a soul-hitting track featuring PnB Rock that gives you no extra energy other than to be successful. I want to hear the struggle and I want to hear the outcome, and he makes sure to leave listeners with all this in mind.

There are 10,080 minutes in a week, and besides being lit, I think we all have an idea how he spends ’em to be one of the hottest new artists out.

I don’t think I have to say much about this song besides the fact that ya girl sings along to it weekly. The same way Bey had girls going wild after Lemonade, Rock had girls wishing they had a man that was everything he talked about being in “Selfish.”

What’s unique about PnB Rock is that he genuinely addresses all the obscure, real issues people deal with, especially in his more melodic songs about women. It’s not all Trigga Trey “Slow Motion” and not all Chris Breezy claiming “these hoes ain’t loyal.”

Rock gives a sense of authenticity that’s pretty rare these days in this industry of mumble rap. For starters, you can’t classify him to a single box — he’s way too versatile.

You can’t say much about a rapper/singer that talks about everything from the struggle to the come up, and stardom. Some artists move out the hood and never look back, but it’s different for Rock.

In an interview with Atlantic Records, they put PnB Rock at the center of attention answering some questions about his life. When asked where he got the name “PnB” from, it was simple:

“PNB STANDS FOR PASTORIUS AND BAYNTON, IT’S MY BLOCK IN GERMANTOWN. PRETTY MUCH EVERYBODY AROUND MY NEIGHBORHOOD GOT PNB IN FRONT OF THEIR NAME.”

He’s not in it for the brand new lifestyle of fame and doesn’t want to leave his day ones, which isn’t just respectable, but admirable. Think about how many A$AP Mobs there are out there, because it’s uncommon. Drake talking about “No New Friends,” but the only Canadians we see him with are the Weeknd and Nav.

According to The Fader, Rock was raised in and out of shelters with his single mother and four siblings.

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His father wasn’t around so he looked to his uncle for that foundation, but after his murder, 15-year-old Rakim quickly hit the streets. A couple years later, he was locked up for about 33 months for selling drugs and robbing people, but that was just the beginning.

If you can imagine the scene from “Notorious” when Biggie was locked up, we got to see and understand the time progression and how much effort he really put into songwriting on his dolo. It was the same for Rock, spending his time tirelessly writing tracks inspired by the life he once lived as a kid roaming the rough streets of Philly.

When he got out of jail, he caught a buzz dropping two tapes, but got roped back in by the system around 2014 when he broke probation for leaving his halfway house without permission.

What gave him a lil’ more than “just a buzz” was his video for “My City Needs Something” being aired on MTV while fans rallied, starting the #FreePnBRock trend on social media.

The video depicts Rock with his crew backing him in his Philly territory. He talks about having no help from the cops because they were doing more bad than good, and even shows a kid getting shot playing ball. He put it simply:

“PEOPLE WERE DYING, PEOPLE WERE GETTING KILLED BY THE COPS… IF I LISTEN TO THAT SONG, I’LL CRY.”

According to Complex, Rock flexes his PUMA partnership, Billboard Hot 100 hits, and a sweet spot on this past XXL Freshman Class.

“WE’RE GOING TO HAVE OUR TIME. PNB IS LIKE A MOVEMENT, A WHOLE MOVEMENT IS GOING ON.”

On top of his latest hot album, “Catch These Vibes,” Rock’s a smooth fashion icon in the making, if not already. In the weeks and days leading up to the release of the album, he posted wild flics wearing the flyest brands.

But that doesn’t knock him too far base from his roots. He constantly references his home in Philly and leaves everything on the track with “Pressure” off his latest album.

He reminisces about his brother who was killed, his boys who got caught up in the system, his mom, and his daughter Milan, giving listeners a real taste of the real him.

He prides himself on authenticity and that’s what’s lacking in a lot of artists these days.

It gives him a relatability unlike most other people, let alone artists. He puts his heart and soul into his art and that’s why he’s made some Hip Hop and R&B hits that will stay in your playlists for years to come if we’re being honest.

We need more artists like Rock willing to use their voice to educate the youth, by relating to them and showing by example what happens when you put your grind first.

I don’t think we could ask for a better message for the youth right now. Rock knows exactly what this generation goes through which is why they rally behind him.

Lyrics aside, Rock knows how to connect with us on this insanely personal level by being exactly who he is. He manages to essentially succeed at life while dealing with the constant pressures that society puts upon him all while never changing who he is.

The way he’s giving love back is even more lit, going city to city covering both coasts, stopping by schools and turning up with college kids.

The tour kicks off this February with up and coming artist Lil’ Baby so you already know I’m hype to see what PnB Rock has in store for us and you definitely should be on the lookout too.

Cop your tickets here.