Bodega Bamz: “After getting introduced to rap when I was in about seventh grade, I went to high school. I saw that battling was popular. This was when battle rapping was big. It wasn’t posterized yet, it was still in the streets so the essence was still there. I saw that it was just a popular thing to do.
“It just started off as a hobby, just to get my name and face out there. Especially in high school, I’d seen how the girls was drawn to it. I’d seen how people react if it was good. So I was like, 'Let me take a shot at this.' That was the birth of me starting rapping; I started off battling. I had written poetry when I was younger but I started writing music from that day.
Ohla jokes on me because I was a really, really bad rapper. I wasn’t good at all. We’re from New York—lyricism is the key in New York rap so that was a big thing growing up.
“I remember being in class and battling one of my classmates and actually rapping Biggie’s rhymes from Life After Death. He had no idea. And I was jacking Eminem’s Slim Shady LP rhymes; niggas in the hood didn’t really fuck with Eminem but I did.
“Even to this day, Ohla jokes on me because I was a really, really bad rapper. I wasn’t good at all. We’re from New York—lyricism is the key in New York rap so that was a big thing growing up. You had to be nice, you couldn’t be some wack nigga. Nowadays it’s kind of accepted—you don’t have to rap, you could have just have a lifestyle. But when we were coming up, they ain’t give a fuck about how you look. You had to show niggas you were nice.
“I gradually became better because people were doubting me. People weren’t giving me opportunities. There was no one showing me love. I went through a lot of stages, I even changed my name three times. The more better I wanted to become. When the pressure is on, I love that type of environment. I feel like I move best when there’s pressure.”