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“Skxnnx is here, and it’s going to be hot.” : A Conversation With SKXNNX

SKXNNX (pronounced Skinni), is a hip-hop artist hailing from Cameroon now based in Moscow. From being featured in the esteemed i-D magazine as one of the young creatives in St. Petersburg, Russia, to the success of his XMAS tour spanning from December 25, 2022, to January 5, 2023, SKXNNX’s artistic journey transcends musical boundaries as he models in the Russian fashion scene. His music can be called experimental hip-hop and trap allowing him to deliver his raps on aggressive beats with melodious undertones.

Brian Benjamin caught up with him to discuss his roots, his creative journey, and his new music.

How do you believe your unique background—from Cameroon, moving to Moscow, and embracing fatherhood—contributes to your artistic narrative and influences your music?

SKXNNX: I believe that everything in the universe is interconnected. Our current experiences are the outcome of our previous acts, and we are also influenced, consciously or unconsciously, by our socio-cultural surroundings. Being a father has made me more demanding of myself and my music, as I want to leave a quality artistic legacy for my daughter.

Reflecting on your musical upbringing, what genres would you consider your go-to, and how have they shaped your musical style over the years?

SKXNNX: I have always been influenced by US Rap; therefore, I would say Trap, R&B, and Hip Hop. Over time, I became attached to new genres: emo, rage, and afrobeats. I use all of these sounds intending to create my universe, addressing themes such as love, depression, dreams, wealth, and so on.

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Your journey involves a significant shift from engineering studies in Cameroon to pursuing music and modeling in Russia. 

SKXNNX: I wouldn’t call it a transition because I’ve always had a passion for fashion and music. I used to get ejected from class due to my wardrobe style. To summarise the situation, my parents wanted me to become an engineer, so I agreed with them. After graduating, I informed them that I do not see myself doing this; I have a plan for my future, and all I require is support. Thank God they understood and helped me pursue my aspirations. 

How did your collaboration with Sleym Boone influence your decision to pursue music more earnestly?

SKXNNX: I found in Sleym someone serious and motivated, with only one goal in mind: to succeed in music. We were both students, but he never went to class, preferring to stay at home, get high, and make music. I was skipping class to do the same. Working with Sleym helped me discover my melodic side. The beats he was generating were distinctive, as was the record we released. Our first video clip was funded by his older brother, who at the time produced us; his investment in our artistic development inspired me to go even further on this path.

Having left your mark in both the fashion and music industries, how do you navigate the intersection of these two creative realms, and do you perceive any parallels between them in terms of self-expression?

SKXNNX: Music and fashion are forms of self-expression, which is art. The two are inextricably intertwined, as there is no music without fashion and no fashion without music. Today, the visual aspect is as vital as the audio content in the creative process. You can be the greatest musician in the world, but no one will care about you if you’re not well-dressed. People genuinely care about how an artist dresses.

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Your latest single, “ERA,” signifies a new phase in your artistic journey. Could you delve into the inspiration behind the song and what it represents for you personally and creatively?

SKXNNX: The single “ERA” was recorded in February 2023 in Moscow; after four years in Saint Petersburg, I decided to take a major step forward in my career and relocate to Moscow. This single was inspired by my current state of mind and sends a message to Moscow’s rap scene: “Skxnnx is here, and it’s going to be hot.” It represents a new stage in my process of continuous improvement.

Can you share insights into your songwriting and production process? How do you approach creating a track, and has your methodology evolved throughout your career?

SKXNNX: My creative process has changed significantly over time, to the point where I used to write my lyrics before recording them; days would pass, and I would occasionally lose the creative spark. After acquiring a home studio, my process shifted to a more spontaneous approach. I listen to beats randomly until one resonates with me, then add toplines and freestyles before recording the demo in a professional studio if it shows potential. I enjoy spontaneity because it helps me save time by creating tracks without having to write anything.

As an artist, what challenges have you encountered, and how have you overcome them to push creative boundaries in your music continually?

SKXNNX: Life is full of challenges, and they allow us to surpass ourselves. As an artist, I’ve experienced numerous hurdles in music and fashion. Money was always a difficulty in music; when I arrived in Russia, I barely had enough to pay for a studio session, making artistic evolution difficult. I had to take a break, hustle twice, and create my home studio. As an independent artist, every move is a battle; there is no label to aid you financially or boost you; you must do everything on your own until you blow.

You’ve been featured in i-D Magazine and embarked on a successful Christmas tour. How do these experiences contribute to your growth as an artist, and what impact have they had on your musical style and approach?

SKXNNX: Being featured in i-D magazine as a young creative gave me confidence in my art and the creative process. I then knew that my art had an impact on people. Regarding the tour, it was a bet because I organized everything without the assistance of a sponsor; in the end, it was simply wild. This tour allowed me to identify my target audience; my artistic approach is now tailored to their needs.

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What can fans anticipate from SKXNNX in the coming months? Are there specific themes or messages you plan to explore in your upcoming releases?

SKXNNX: AfroRage is the future, and I’ll let my fans think about it for the next few months.

Looking forward, what are your aspirations and goals as an artist, and how do you envision your impact on the hip-hop/trap scene in the future?

SKXNNX: As an African musician, my objectives are to infuse more of our identity into my music, and my goal is to be the pioneer of a new genre called AfroRage. Let’s move it from the underground to the mainstream.

Listen to his new single, “ERA” Here.

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The iMullar is the voice of emerging African music and the lifestyle that surrounds it, showcasing exceptional talent from all around the globe focused on promoting the most distinctive new artists and original sounds, we are the authority on who is next.