When you think of LA, you think of Nipsey, YG, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube... the list goes on. When you think or Watts, you think of 03 Greedo — and then there’s Bno. The “James Harden” rapper hopes to become one of the biggest rappers to come out the city, with full confidence his music will do numbers.
Making it out the mud and overcoming adversity are just two of the many life hustles Bno deals with on a daily basis. On top of losing his parents, he has two beautiful daughters to support on top of himself. This is what he calls the “ghetto dream,” and music is all he knows.
AllHipHop: For those who don’t know, who is Bno?
Bno: s##t, I grew up in Watts. I got 2 daughters. I lost my momma and my daddy when I was just hitting my 20’s. Both of them died a year and a half apart, even less than that I think. My daughter was actually born on my birthday, 5 days before my momma passed away.
AllHipHop: How did they pass?
Bno: My momma got hit by a car, it was a hit and run. My daddy had cancer. s##t I went to Locke, probably the worst school in LA. I went to Gompers. Of course, I grew up in a gang environment. Since elementary school, that’s all we knew. It was all about gangs. I had a gun pointed in my face before I even hit middle school, a shotgun pulled on me in front of everyone. I made it out though, that’s why my project’s called Beating All Odds. A lot of my friends are dead or in jail. Me, I’m still around. Still moving.
AllHipHop: How did you find music?
Bno: I started music when I was in high school. The reason I do it is for therapeutic reasons. Because without music, s##t I’ll go insane. All the stuff I done been through, everything I done seen. It’s better to express it with words than to express it with anger. I love to do music because it helps me express myself. All the anger I feel, it helps me get that out.
AllHipHop: Talk about the reality of life growing up in Watts. How were you able to get by?
Bno: Hustling every day. Every day is hustle. Grinding every day, hustling every day. Gunshots were basically routine from where I was from. I thought it was normal. I done seen people die in front of me. Just staying consistent and living each day like it’s my last basically. I survive by hustling and always keeping a positive attitude.
AllHipHop: Did you have any type of trauma after getting shot at?
Bno: A million times man. As soon as we saw that car, we already knew what was about to happen. I remember one day walking home from middle school, we saw a little pickup car coming by and we already knew what was going to happen. I done been shot at before, the bullet came 2 inches away from — it actually hit a wallet. The bullet hit the wallet instead of hitting us.
I done been shot at before, like I shoulda been dead. Even the day I had the shotgun pulled in my face when I was a kid, I wasn’t even in middle school yet. I was just going to middle school that day. The guy pulled the shotgun in my face, he ain’t give a damn that I was 11, 12 13. He didn’t care about none of that, he just saw somebody he didn’t recognize. Also with the police too, you gotta deal with them too.
AllHipHop: Talk about “Battlefield” being a tribute to Nipsey.
Bno: Because I lost so many people... I done lost so many people to stupid stuff. When the thing happened with Nipsey, I remember I was right around the corner. We got a call, the people were like “y’all heard what happened to Nipsey?” We were like “nah.” They’re like “you still over there on 40?” Or whatever street he was on. I’m like “yeah, we still over here.”
There was a bird outside, so we didn’t really know what happened with Nipsey. And then everybody started going on social media and we started seeing it was Nipsey. I took it like it was family. Because what Nipsey meant to me personally, he was my inspiration. I’m like “man when my project get right, I’ma send it to Nipsey.”
It wasn’t even because of his music, it was more because of his effect on what he did for people who weren’t on. I got a friend I grew up with, with All Flavor No Grease. Before they got known to where they was, Nipsey was messing with them. He didn’t have to do that. He was messing with artists when they were underground and nobody knew who they was. Nipsey was still messing with them because Nipsey felt they vibe. He was LA.
AllHipHop: Did you know Nip?
Bno: I met him once but I didn’t know him know him. He was bigger than Pac to me in my opinion, because he represents us. He represents LA. When he died, I felt like one of my close friends died.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let us know?
Bno: Make sure you get that album Beating All Odds, 13 of the hottest songs you’ll ever hear. You gotta hear it yourself, I’m telling you it’s the hottest thing to come out of LA fasho.