- Words Notion Staff
British rap trailblazer Berna takes us through his musical firsts, from locking off the playground to being starstruck by Young Thug.
Berna’s come a very long way in a short space of time. Since he blew his contemporaries out of the water with his multi-million-viewed Bl@ckbox freestyle, the Newham native’s released a slew of acclaimed singles. Just this week, he added another to his arsenal, dropping “Straight Outta Newham” alongside a clean set of visuals.
To this day, Berna is the youngest wordsmith to bless Charlie Sloth’s legendary freestyle series ‘Fire In The Booth’. Chosen thanks to his distinctive rhyme pattern and memorable punchlines, the video is noted as one of the show’s most underrated, but this has never fazed the artist, who’s hotly tipped as next up in London’s burgeoning rap scene. “Straight Outta Newham” paints a picture of his ends, which juxtaposes a vibrant sample from Roy Ayers Ubiquities’ “Everybody Loves The Sunshine”.
2023 looks set to be Berna’s year, so to celebrate, we spoke with him about his musical firsts, from locking off the playground to being starstruck by Young Thug. Dive in below.
First song you ever made?
The first song I ever made was a song called “Twin Sisters”. I was at a studio for the first time and I was struggling to think of a topic and then my boy said “talk about what you did this week”. I was with some twin girls that week so that’s what I wrote about.
First bar you remember writing?
I did a remix to Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot N*gga” in like year 8. I can’t remember the bars exactly but I had the whole playground spinning that one.
First CD or record you owned?
I’ve never actually bought a CD or record you know! I was a crook, I used to do the limewire thing but maybe the first track I ever downloaded illegally was 50 cent – “Best Friend”.
First time you realised you wanted to be a rapper?
When I had my whole school playing my voice note recording in the playground.
First gig you went to?
M Huncho brought me out as an opening act at his first headline show! It was an amazing moment for me. I will always thank him for giving me that opportunity.
First time you faced an obstacle in your career?
When I had to stop making freestyles and start actually making music. I didn’t know how to so I had to learn very fast.
First instrument you owned?
First time you felt like giving up?
Never! Music is my passion and I never started rapping for any reason but to express myself.
First time you felt starstruck?
2016 at Wireless. Young Thug was performing and it was mental!
First time you ticked off a bucked list goal?
When I hit a million views on my BlackBox.