Brandon Bill$ went from being a celebrity barber cutting hair for the likes of Travis Scott and Eric Bellinger, to going on tour with his sister DaniLeigh, to now collaborating with Dani on the official bop for the summer: “Unlimited Skills.”
Born in New York, raised in Miami, and going to high school in Orlando, Brandon sees himself as a rockstar. He states, “I got a lot of energy, I’m a rockstar. I’m a pretty fly guy. I’m pretty cool, I step into the room and people feel my presence. I get along with everybody. I’m a pretty likable person. I’m very confident, I see my vision. I’m very ambitious and motivational.”
The rising star has been surrounded by music his entire life, influenced greatly by the genres of hip-hop, rock n’ roll, and Latin music. Being 100% Dominican himself speaks volumes to his roots, and whenever Brandon wants something he’s going to get it. That’s how he’s always been.
You may have seen Brandon’s name featured on “Yo No Se” from DaniLeigh’s debut album, but he’s here to step into his own as a recording artist. AllHipHop caught up with Brandon via FaceTime, who was posted in North Hollywood, California.
AllHipHop: Being from South Florida, what was the household like?
Brandon Bill$: It was good. My mom was a realtor, my mom and dad owned restaurants all throughout my life. I started working around 8 or 9 years old with my mom and dad. I was working in the back of the kitchen, washing dishes, making pizza. My mom had a New York style pizza shop.
AllHipHop: I’ve met your mom before, she’s super sweet.
Brandon Bill$: My mom’s a super hard worker, she’s a hustler. Both of my parents were born and raised in New York, so I got that New York state of mind. Growing up, we’re not from the hood. We come from a good family. My mom moved out to LA when I was 17, so I stayed in Florida and started doing my own thing. At a young age, I was already paying rent and paying bills, which was good because I started early saving my money working. I’ve always been a hard worker. I’ve done construction, pizza, Blimpies (the Subways). I’ve barbered at barber shops, I’ve done it all. I’m a hard worker all-around.
AllHipHop: Talk about your celebrity barber days and what that was like cutting Travis’s hair.
Brandon Bill$: It was dope. When I first moved out to LA, I was a barber. I wasn’t even an artist. I started cutting up a lot of different people, people talking about me about my hair. I started cutting Eric Bellinger. I started cutting Travis Scott. I used to cut Travis Scott before he even blew up. I knew Travis Scott before everything. Just coming up, living in my boy’s house. He was super cool. I used to be in the studio with him and watched him create music.
That’s what really inspired me to do music, being around the Chris Brown’s, the Eric Bellinger’s, the actors. I loved being in the studio. I always thought of doing music, but I never thought I could do it. I never had an opportunity to be in the studio, see how artists create. Cutting hair gave me the opportunity to be in the studio and see how people create music, I thought “man I could do this, and I like it too.” That definitely built a lot of relationships for me, being a barber.
In the 2 years I did it in LA, it was great. I cut J Prince and his whole family, his brothers, his dad, the Rap-A-Lot people. I cut Travis Scott, a lot of actors on set. I worked with Meagan Good for a movie. I cut Trey Songz before in LA, it was dope.
I had to step out of the barber world after I became an artist, because people were putting me in a box, expecting me to be just a barber. I’d moved back to Miami, then came over here 3 years ago. From there it was only music.
AllHipHop: Who are your biggest influences?
Brandon Bill$: Definitely Drake. I always felt like “man, I can sing like Drake. I can do melodies like Drake.” Drake was definitely one. Biggie Smalls, Jay-Z, Tupac, Nas. The new school guys: Travis Scott, Post Malone, Gunna, Young Thug, Future, all those guys inspire me. I don’t listen to too many of them and their music, only when I’m out or doing something, but I definitely respect everything they’re doing.
Every one of those people have brought something new to the game, have changed the game in some type of way and bring a different style. I respect them, they all inspire me. I see myself as one of them real soon, taking over.
AllHipHop: New single “Unlimited Skills” with Dani out now. How are you feeling?
Brandon Bill$: I’m feeling great about it. It’s doing good organically, I’m not forcing it on nobody. I put it out, and people are loving the record. It’s a very hype record. It’s a record you can workout to, you can listen to in your car. You can be at a festival and listen to it as we’re performing it. In the club, it’s a great record. It’s uptempo, it’s fun. I don’t even curse in the whole song, so little kids can listen to it. Matter of fact my sister curses, I didn’t even curse.
It’s a dope record. It’s fun. “Unlimited Skills,” let me see your Trillers and TikToks. Let me see your skills. It’s so easy to become a trend where people can show their skills: you interviewing people, other people cutting hair, boxing, and playing basketball. Anything! Everybody has a skill. It’s a great record, it really has potential to blow up and go global. I love it.
AllHipHop: How’d the record come about?
Brandon Bill$: The funny part is I did this song way before COVID, a year and a half ago. The producer, my boy Milian, after recording it for a couple of months — it was during COVID Dani recorded on it. He said “yo bro, you should get your sister on this. She sounds hard on this.” I listened to it and said “You know what? You’re right, I could see her on this. I’ll have her rap on it, not on some singing.” She don’t really rap like that, so I wanted her to rap on the record. We recorded it during COVID in the studio. She did her verse in 30 minutes. We did it, it was fun. It was organic.
I’ve been planning it out this whole year during COVID, waiting for the right time to drop. I dropped it at the right time. Last year wasn’t a good time to drop with COVID and everything going on. I dropped it at the perfect time. The summer’s coming, everything’s starting to open back up. Hopefully by summer, LA’s completely open. It happened organically with my sister for sure.
AllHipHop: Where did you shoot the video?
Brandon Bill$: We shot it in Dominican Republic. We shot it in La Cabanas, that’s what it’s called. It’s a little house in DR. DR is pretty big, if you drove around DR it’d take you 10 to 12 hours. Where we drove was 2 hours from where we were at. We Airbnb’d 2 different mansions. We wrote a treatment, I came up with the treatment with my mom. She helped me direct the video.
I had an idea, she helped me put it together. We shot it in 2 days: one part in one house, then the other part in the other house the next day. It was fun, we killed it. It was a 4-hour shoot each day, we edited it in 2 days and it was done. I had that video ready to go for the past 6 to 8 months, waiting for the right time to drop.
AllHipHop: Why’s now the right time to drop?
Brandon Bill$: Dani had dropped her album, so I didn’t want to drop anything during her album. I wanted all her attention on her album. It was my birthday, I wanted to do something special for me. I dropped it April 9th, it was only right. In the song, Dani says, “we’re going to kill the summer with this song.” Summer’s in June, songs don’t blow up overnight. In the next couple of months, this record has potential to blow up. I thought it’s the perfect time to drop now.
Leading into the summer, millions of people know the song and are vibing to the song. By June or July, people will know the song already. It’ll be going global hitting the charts, Billboards. I like to speak s### into existence.
AllHipHop: How did Dani’s ascent in the music industry affect your artistry?
Brandon Bill$: It’s dope, it’s awesome. All the time, the sweat, the money, everything you invest, it’s good to see it all coming back. As an artist, we put in so much work. Sometimes people don’t realize how much work artists put in. Money, especially for independent artists. An independent artist like me, I’m the one putting up the bread. I don’t have a machine or a label behind me. If we really want to talk about it, all the money I’ve invested in the past 3 to 4 years, I’d have a house and a barbershop. It’s alright because at the end of the day, it’s all going to add up and be worth it at the end.
Seeing her grow and become the superstar she is, it’s awesome. I’ve also learned a lot from her being signed to Def Jam: being in the label, being in the office, seeing what she goes through as an artist with the label. I’ve learned so much. I’m 29 years old, I’m not a little kid. I’ve been through a lot in life.
Before the industry, I was doing other stuff. My trials and tribulations, I lost everything. I had my ups and downs, I had to go through mad stuff. It’s great seeing everything starting to come and fulfilling our dreams, just go crazy. It’s great.
AllHipHop: Best memory touring with Dani?
Brandon Bill$: The best memory was every city doing a show, that to me is the best part of being an artist. I remember performing in every city, seeing which city shows the most you love. Ohio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, they showed us mad love. Texas showed us mad love, New York City showed us mad love. I’ve learned so much while on tour.
Tour is fun and it’s hard work, but at the same time, it’s not hard work if you love what you do. You have to stay consistent. You gotta make sure you have the right team because everybody has to play their role while on tour. If you got somebody that’s not playing their role, it’s going to f### you up as the artist. You have to make sure you have everybody on your team doing their part. If not, you’re not going to level up as an artist.
People like that you can’t have on your team, you have to cut them off. That’s the reason why my circle is so tight and so small. Everybody around me plays their part. I can’t wait to go back on tour and start performing again. Doing festivals because that’s the best part, being able to perform.
AllHipHop: What can we expect next from you?
Brandon Bill$: A project. I’m going to be promoting this song for the next couple weeks, months. Either you’ll be getting a single or a mixtape from me, for sure. I already have all the songs done. I already have the name of the tape, I’m not going to say because I don’t want anyone to jock my title. It’s a mixtape, 9 or 10 songs. Straight trap. It’s going to be hype, and mellow at the same time. Different types of vibes. All my new listeners want to hear more of what I got so expect a tape from me real soon. This month I’ll be getting everything ready, everybody can listen to the tape during the summer.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let us know?
Brandon Bill$: Go stream “Unlimited Skills”, go do your Tik Toks, go do your Trillers. Let’s go up, let’s get it on Billboard. Be ready for what’s coming because Brandon Bill$ got a lot in store. I got a lot going on, we working.