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CULTURE | TRUTH | INTELLIGENCE

BB Nobre Dives Deep Into his Music

photo by Marcos "Reggae" Smith

BB Nobre is fire like the Bronx he represents. Focused, vibrant, engaging, he brings everything into his music.

 

BB Nobre makes trap and reggaeton music out of NYC. As a Latin trap artist, he switches gears from heartbreak ballads to sexscapade bangers. In the midst of rhymes in Spanish, BB brings in English metaphors from left field like, “reefer louder than a speaker, bleeding like a bumble bee,” leading into the hook with, “Eat that booty just like groceries.” BB Nobre is fire like the Bronx he represents. Focused, vibrant, engaging, he brings everything into his music.  With blond curls, wild patterned jackets and bold accessories, BB builds in armor to protect him as he enters into beat battles on a global scale.

BB Nobre’s hustle is in Gotham but his heart stays on the island, in DR.

Like many NYers, BB Nobre’s hustle is in Gotham but his heart stays on the island, in DR.  In the first frames of Morir Sin Mi, BB Nobre locks eyes on the camera looking like a young Justin Timberlake, bleached curls bouncing over a kerchief headband, white coils peaking from a pink baseball cap.  He rhymes from a hillside residential neighborhood, view of the beach, a moody sky behind him. BB dances as he spits about love lost, singing to an ex who broke promises. With a few years of development under his belt and 3M views on his latest videos, the 21-year-old Spanish language artist penned a deal with Interscope last month.

BB was born Smaylon Carlos Almonte and he started putting out music under the name BB Bronx. A video of him rapping in 2012 shows a focused artist, mature beyond his years.  He orders the adults behind the camera, “Dale, tiramelo el beat, loco.”  BB Bronx managed the cypher as a literal kid on the streets of his hood, going up against peers along with older, established raperos.  He was unstoppable with his self-professed pretty face and precise lyrics firing off like an assault weapon

Inteligencia: When did you start making music?

 

BB Nobre: I started when I was in middle school. I used to do freestyle battles. Like off the top. I used to battle with everybody.   I was like ten when I really started freestyling. Even in the DR, I used to battle my older brothers because that’s where I get it from. Because they all beatbox and freestyle. So I learned. Everyone was like, gathering together. So I got it from them and then when I came here I was still doing it.   At my school in the Bronx. And then I got signed professionally, when I was twelve or thirteen. Making music, professionally, creating a craft, with Tamo En To.

 

Inteligencia: Your music is in Spanish, have you done songs in English?

 

BB Nobre: I sing in Spanish but I always try to incorporate a little English because my fan base is half-and-half. I might have more Spanish fans but a few words in English, my fans love it. It’s a way for me to keep building it. If I get big I might one day do an album just in English. Mind you, it was hard for me to learn English though. When I first came to New York, that was one of the reasons that I didn’t like being here. At the school that I was going to, there was a whole bunch of people that didn’t know Spanish. And for me to communicate, to do homework, it was so tough. I used to cry. I was like, yo, listen, I understand this is for my future but I feel like it isn’t helping me right now. Growing up in an environment that was so different, the move had a big impact.

 

Inteligencia: What does BB Nobre stand for?

 

BB: Nobre is an acronym for November. I changed my name because of what happened with the death of a kid in the Bronx in 2018 and my name would come up in searches and I started being linked to the tragedy and it got me down. I was depressed. I was like, what does that have to do with me? The Bronx is always in my heart, always. But I changed and the name represents my evolution. Now I’m more mature, my fans and I have grown and evolved together.  Now the work is more serious. I feel like I’m connecting with my fans more all the time.

 

Inteligencia: Have you always had a direct relationship with your fans?

 

BB Nobre: I’ve always been very hyped and energetic but before I used to be very shy.  Every time they used to put a camera on me I used to get shy. People used to see that and that’s what the fans used to get. The shy me. They didn’t know I’ve always been crazy. And then my manager was like, “Listen, you’re going to be able to connect more when you are who you are. They’re going to be able to see who you really are.” Then I was like, damn, maybe I feel like I need to get better with the camera. And then I just started putting up videos on Instagram, like, me being me, chilling. And then the fans commented and it brought us closer.

Inteligencia: What’s the message you like to get out to your fans through your music?

 

BB Nobre: What I’m currently going through. I’m from a big family. I have seven brothers. I’m one of the youngest. So stuff that happens in my personal life, in relationships or on the streets, I try to take those experiences and put them in the most positive light possible. I try to put a message that is positive or energetic for people to have a good time. Some people might connect with songs that talk about love, like Morir Sin Mi, everybody’s been going crazy with it. It’s something that I lived, it’s real. I was like, let me put it out there like how it literally happened. I keep a balance. I have songs that are mine, that happened to me. Real stuff. That I haven’t put out yet. And I have songs that are about turning up, having a good time.

 

Inteligencia: What artists inspire you the most?

 

BB Nobre: I’ve always loved hip hop, Biggie, Tupac, 50 Cent. My favorite artist though is my brother, Blenfree. Aside from my brother, I really like Drake. I’d love to record with Drake. I love Ozuna, Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Farruko. Ozuna is a master. His songs are beautiful. I sing them in the shower (laughs).

 

Inteligencia: Are you from Santo Domingo?

 

BB Nobre: Yes, I’m from Santo Domingo. I’ve played in New York, I’ve played in Santo Domingo.

 

photo by Marcos "Reggae" Smith
Inteligencia: Do you feel like the way you see yourself in the world shifts when you tour? Are you a New Yorker, are you Dominican?

 

BB Nobre: I’m just me. There’s no mask. I’m always me, always. In this industry there are masks. I always keep myself true, that’s what’s important.

 

Inteligencia: When you go back to Santo Domingo to visit, do you find it changed? Or is it like going home?

 

BB Nobre: When I go back I see changes in the city. I feel the changes but the energy is still the same – everyone’s still together, a group comes together on the corner talking, listening to music. That never changes.

 

Inteligencia: Do you feel the same in New York? That fit of community?

 

BB Nobre: Sometimes you find spots where you naturally fit. But it’s also what you do. I’m a person who brings a lot of energy. That creates an environment that attracts people. That’s how I am wherever I am. Sometimes I create the environment that everyone can fit in. I’m on the street dancing with a speaker.  I’m always energetic, I try to transmit that same energy so that people can feel a part of it.

 

Words by Eve Hyman 

 

To Read More INTELIGENCIA stories like this one, go here.