By: Shirley Ju (@Shirju)
If you’ve seen that dance where people move their knees and sway their arms at a rapid speed, then you’ve heard of its founder.
The Backpack Kid, real name Russell Horning, is here to prove he’s not just a viral kid who created The Floss dance, but that he can actually create fire music too.
The Lawrenceville, Georgia native recently unleashed his "SwagPack Kid" EP, proving he has the sound and swag to hang with his Atlanta peers.
AllHipHop: For those who don’t know, who is Backpack Kid?
The Backpack Kid: The Backpack Kid made that dance famous The Floss. He does dance videos. He’s just a content creator.
AllHipHop: Is it called The Russell or The Floss?
The Backpack Kid: It’s called The Floss. It was called The Russell at first when I first started doing it and then the world called it The Floss
AllHipHop: That kind of blew up because of Katy Perry on SNL right?
The Backpack Kid: Yeah. She really, really, really expanded it.. I didn’t ever think I would go on SNL with Katy Perry. [laughs] Katy Perry emailed us and was like “hey, I want you to come on SNL with me.” I was like “nah, there’s no way.” Then just went on a plane to New York and filmed it.
AllHipHop: How’d you get the nickname Backpack Kid?
The Backpack Kid: I got the nickname Backpack Kid after SNL. People just started calling me the Backpack Kid on Twitter and Instagram, that name just stuck with me.
AllHipHop: Did you think you would go viral with that dance?
The Backpack Kid: No, I did not. I was just chilling, living my life. It just kind of happened and I went with it. I was just going to school and doing my homework. Everything that a normal kid would do at the time.
AllHipHop: Are you still in school?
The Backpack Kid: Yeah. I’m in 11th grade. I’m about to graduate. It’s almost here. Just 11th and 12th and I’m out.
AllHipHop: How are your peers?
The Backpack Kid: I have a small circle. I try to keep it small ‘cause there’s a lot of clout chasers out there.
AllHipHop: Do your teachers even know?
The Backpack Kid: Some of them do, some of them don’t. Some are really old, some are not.
AllHipHop: Talk about being from Atlanta and how that plays into your life and your career.
The Backpack Kid: There’s a lot of dancers there, I dance. There’s a lot of rappers there, I make music. It’s just the culture is very big in Atlanta.
AllHipHop: At what point did you realize this music thing was foreal?
The Backpack Kid: When I came out with my first song “Flossin,” it's almost at 10M views. I mean, it’s been working so far.
AllHipHop: Did you always wanna rap?
The Backpack Kid: Oh yeah, I’ve been wanting to rap for a minute. I just started getting into it recently.
AllHipHop: Who are some of your biggest influences?
The Backpack Kid: Probably Lil Yachty. He’s my favorite rapper. I’ve always listened to him since the beginning.
AllHipHop: I saw you post that dance video with Lil Yachty, Baby, Gunna, Uzi, Pump. They you’re Top 5?
The Backpack Kid: Uzi, I like Uzi a lot. Pump is pretty cool too. Yatchy’s my favorite. I like Lil Baby a lot. Gunna, I like Gunna too. I like all those rappers in that post, but I only dance to their top hits.
AllHipHop: So Yachty’s your favorite favorite?
The Backpack Kid: Yeah, I’ve met him a few times. We’re pretty much friends at this point. At Agenda in Long Beach, he brought me out on stage while he was performing.
AllHipHop: Have you guys made music?
The Backpack Kid: Not yet. His producer friend Burberry Perry, I’m starting to work with him now. Maybe us three will combine to make a song? You never know.
AllHipHop: You released SwagPack Kid last year. What was the creative process and how long did it take you?
The Backpack Kid: That was over a year. Over a year for four songs. We were planning five or six, but it ended up just being four. ‘Cause quality over quantity, for sure.
AllHipHop: What did you want fans to get from it?
The Backpack Kid: I just wanted them to chill with the music, vibe to it, enjoy it just as much as I do.
AllHipHop: Talk about shooting the video for “Drip on Boat.”
The Backpack Kid: That was fun! Because Napoleon Dynamite is a classic movie. Everyone’s seen Napoleon
AllHipHop: Didn’t it come out before your time?
The Backpack Kid: Yeah, I’ve seen it though. There's all these classical movies that everyone can see. I look a lot like him, so we kind of based that movie around it.
AllHipHop: Yung Baby Tate is the homie. Talk about linking with her.
The Backpack Kid: Yung Baby Tate, she's on one of the songs in the EP, “Too Young.” Check that one out for sure. She makes a lot of music. She's in Atlanta. We just started linking after that.
AllHipHop: I saw you post with 21 Savage. Talk about linking with him.
The Backpack Kid: That was for his video shoot for “Bank Account” a few months back. We took a photo then and with all this going around that he’s about to get deported, I’m like “nah.” So I’m putting in my share and showing support.
AllHipHop: Did he ask you to be in the video?
The Backpack Kid: Yes.
AllHipHop: You’re only 17, what is your take on the music industry?
The Backpack Kid: The music industry changes really fast. One day it's gonna be this, the next day it's gonna be that. You just gotta keep up.
AllHipHop: What are some goals for yourself at this point in your career?
The Backpack Kid: My biggest goal in music would probably be to make a song with Yachty. That would be my biggest goal so far.
AllHipHop: I feel like that’s obtainable.
The Backpack Kid: I hope so.
AllHipHop: Are you looking at labels? What's the situation?
The Backpack Kid: Yeah, we’ve had meetings with plenty of labels. We’re just waiting to get signed at this point. We’re independent right now.
AllHipHop: What is it that you're looking for?
The Backpack Kid: A good deal. [laughs] Not a bad one.
AllHipHop: Are you and Fortnite cool?
The Backpack Kid: I play Fortnite, but regarding the lawsuit, I can’t talk much about that.
AllHipHop: What's a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
The Backpack Kid: I wake up, might go to a few interviews or meetings, network a little bit. Maybe go to a party here and there, then 1 or 2 am go to bed.
AllHipHop: What time do you wake up?
The Backpack Kid: Depends on what we’re doing the next day. Could be 6 am or it could be 2pm.
AllHipHop: Are you tired? You’re young, so you’re ready.
The Backpack Kid: Yeah, I'm just kind of chilling. I don't really let the tiredness get to me. Naps. Naps are really important.
AllHipHop: Best encounter you’ve had with a fan?
The Backpack Kid: I was walking around the Grove and there was this one girl getting ice cream. She was like “oh my God, you’re my favorite person ever. Can I get a photo with you?” I was like “sure of course,” then we took a photo. I think it made her day and it also made mine.
AllHipHop: How old was she?
The Backpack Kid: She was 11, 12.
AllHipHop: I was gonna ask you the most played artist on your phone, but I’m guessing it’s Lil Yachty.
The Backpack Kid: Let me go to my Spotify playlist real quick. Just because he’s my favorite artist doesn't necessarily mean I play him more than everybody else. [scrolls phone] I do listen to a lot of Yachty though. I have a lot of NBA YoungBoy, Lil Baby, Lil Mosey, I really like Lil Mosey. Trippie Redd, I like Trippie Redd. Lil Tjay. I have a little bit of Uzi too, but I do think I have mostly Yachty.
AllHipHop: What's your favorite Yachty song?
The Backpack Kid: You don't gotta put me on the spot like that. [laughs] I love so many of his songs, that's why he’s my favorite rapper. Maybe “One Night” because it's a classic. That was his first ever song to really really blow up, I’ve liked it ever since I’ve heard it.
AllHipHop: I like “Count Me In” on his last project, that song slaps.
The Backpack Kid: Yachty always be slapping.
AllHipHop: Is he your biggest influence?
The Backpack Kid: For sure. His producer Perry too cause they have that sound that I like, that happy good vibey sound. Working with Perry, I can definitely bring that out of me into music.
AllHipHop: Aside from the music, do you feel like Yachty has an influence on people and culture?
The Backpack Kid: Yeah for sure because he doesn't smoke. A lot of rappers smoke and he doesn't. He’s being unique and not following the crowd.