- Words Solly Warner
- Interview Tiffany Calver
- Photography Vicky Grout
- Hair Lace Bandit
- Art Direction Maria Maleh
- Production Nura Abdela
- Art Direction Justin Moore
South London rapper Shaybo is the self-proclaimed “Queen of the South”, breaking through the male-dominated UK drill scene.
Shaybo, born Shayon Brown, is due to become the next queen bee with her unique style, multi-language lyricism, pounding, drawn-out drums and murky synth beats.
Growing up surrounded by male prominent voices in the scene, Shaybo began to look elsewhere for role models. This is where she found Nicki Minaj’s early mixtapes. With playful punchlines and exaggerated pronunciations, you can see how Shaybo has developed her flow alongside inspiration from Nicki’s widely animated and expressive style.
The young rapper was close to leaving music behind in her teens, as her parents encouraged her to explore other avenues. This actually led her to study social work at university. Although she now finds herself trying to tackle the music world, university allowed her to carry out some extremely personal work, helping traumatised children of the Grenfell Tower fire.
From homespun freestyle YouTube videos to a handful of official singles, Shaybo’s debut EP “Queen of the South” was due to launch this year but has been postponed. Although the new launch date is unknown, what we can expect is a record that points to varying sides of the young rapper’s artistry, representing an intertwining of drill, rap and afrobeats.
Notion 88’s guest editor and Radio 1Xtra host, Tiffany Calver, picks Shaybo as one to watch for next year. Learn more about the rising star below.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Look at my phone and check my missed calls. I wake up late, so I’ve always got several missed calls.
Tell us your first musical memory…
Recording in the studio in secondary school. I made a remix to POW.
A song that sums up your life so far?
My track No Worries, but it’s not out yet!
If you were Prime Minister for the day – what would you do?
LOL, if I was Prime Minister, London would be done for. I think I would be a cool Prime Minister though.
What’s your biggest learn from 2020?
Learning myself to be honest. I’m either really nice or I’m ‘Shaybo the Gangsta’. I’m learning to find the middle ground.
You’re stranded on a remote island – you can only have five items. What are they?
My phone, some juice, some trees, chip and a lighter. That’ll be the most relaxing time ever.
Describe yourself using one of your own lyrics…
I’m the sweetest girl but my angers a problem.
How did your parents react when you started making music?
I made my first music video when I was thirteen and they threatened to send me Nigeria! LOL! They are my number one supporters now though.
You can only eat one meal for the rest of your life. What is it?
Chinese – special fried rice spicy
What has been the defining moment of your life so far?
Getting a record deal. It changed my life.
Which song of yours do you think could have gone #1?
If you could curate the line-up for the next Tiffany Calver & Friends, who would you pick?
Teezandos, Chante, Snap Capone, Unknown T and Nafe Smallz.
If you weren’t making music – what would you be doing?
Cats or Dogs?
If you woke up to one million pounds in your bank account – what is the first thing you would do?
Nice my mum, dad and siblings.
If you could win any award what would it be?
Baddest Bitch Of The Year! LOL!
Which of your songs means the most to you and why?
My sister; it’s not out yet but it touches on domestic violence and abuse.
If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?