Sometimes an artist's influences tell you very little about the music they make. In the case of binki, they say a lot. He says his idols are Childish Gambino, Tyler, The Creator, Will Smith, and Jamie Foxx. The North Carolina-raised, Brooklyn-based artist doesn't mind being referred to as a "rapper," but his ambition goes way beyond that. With just two songs out—"Marco" and "Wiggle"—he's already showing a colorful, funky, and seriously musical range.
Up until he was 18 years old, binki never considered himself a musician. He was pursuing acting and mostly listening to hip-hop, but his discovery of music both old and new sparked something in him. A girl he had a crush on introduced him to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, and a Jimi Hendrix documentary inspired him to take guitar classes. On top of that, he was soaking in the sounds of more modern acts like King Krule, Steve Lacy, and Kevin Abstract.
"I had always been a big fan of music, but it never occurred to me to do it," binki explains. "I don't know why. It's weird thinking back... I was studying theater and I always identified as an actor. Even after [my friend Sam and I] started making music, it was always a secondary passion. We made a few songs, then I stopped to focus on acting. The summer of 2018 I decided I wanted to take it seriously."
With his first two songs, binki is joining the new class of young artists without boundaries. It's all still raw (binki says he's realized that the first take of a song is almost always the best) but a song like "Marco" hints at an artist who knows exactly what he wants to make. Even though it's impossible to neatly label it as rap, rock, pop, or whatever else, it makes perfect sense in 2019. His next single "Seasick" is coming September 5.