Interview By Paul Meara
Releasing his latest album Kidnapped late last month and even seeing a top 15 placement on Billboard’s Emerging Artists Chart with “Raw,” Wara From The NBHD has been getting notice recently. Pretty good for a kid who claims he never wanted to be a rapper.
The Atlanta native enjoys keeping a low profile and his music is perfect if you’re in the mood for more reflective neighborhood-type vibes, or “NBHD” as he would style it. XXL recently featured Wara From The NBHD in our “15 Atlanta Rappers You Should Know” list and we’ve decided to go more in-depth to talk about his start in hip-hop music, something that almost never happened.
Name: Jawara Barnett
Hometown: Atlanta, GA via Brooklyn, NY
I grew up listening to: I came up under my brother who was into like Raekwon, Wu-Tang and all them. Nas was big during that time. It wasn’t until I came to Atlanta, because I’m from Brooklyn, that’s when I was exposed to more like Ludacris and like Outkast, the big heavy-hitters like Jermaine Dupri in Atlanta. Back then all I really knew was what I really saw on TV and what he was playing and who was hot at the time.
Most people don’t know I: I never wanted to be a rapper. I grew up into basketball pretty heavy and my whole dream was to be in the NBA and one of the main reasons I didn’t want to be a rapper was because I just didn’t see anything out of that. All I was listening to was hip-hop music but I had no interest in it at all.
My dad is a musician and was a musician so music has been in my life since forever and there was always times when my dad tried to get me to pick up the guitar. It just wasn’t anything I saw interest in just because what I was seeing on the TV was so farfetched to me and not something I was into. All the kids I was growing up with, none of us really even had goals or really knew what we wanted to do. I was one of the only kids with a father figure and a brother in my house. All of my friends didn’t really have fathers or brothers.
All of a sudden it just hit me that music is for me when I turned about 21 because I started taking interest in it due to the fact that I just decided to rap one day and it just felt like the thing to do but it was definitely something that I never saw myself doing growing up.
My style’s been compared to: A lot of people compare me to Jay Z. I think because of my slow flow and that I’m actually from Brooklyn. I think it’s more just because people don’t know what to compare me to. I feel that I’m an artist that’s kind of like an enigma in a sense because nobody knows what I can do with my music or where I’m going with it so it’s kind of just a stereotypical thing to say, “Oh he’s like a Jay Z” for instance. I don’t think anybody knows how to box me in so that’s always the comparison I get.
My standout records and/or moments to date have been: My standout records to date, actually a few days ago we dropped a record off my new album called “Raw” and it actually hit Billboard’s Emerging Artists’ Top 10 and it was actually on the Billboard charts and all that doing its thing so that might just be my biggest song to date.
In the past I had a mixtape called The Ill Street Blues and I dropped a song called “Belly.” That was pretty big for me because that song actually drew attention to like people in the Fader and that’s kind of how I got on the Fader Fort. I would say besides those two, it would probably be “Beige,” which is another song off of Kidnapped. That was a pretty big record for me when I dropped it.
My goal in Hip-Hop is: My main goal in hip-hop is to bring back the art form of it all. I’m a person that’s strictly into details about everything from the cover art to the song titles to album titles to everything that’s based around the project and I feel like nowadays most artists not only put out music to put it out but it’s more so just about the money now and I think it’s not really about the whole art of it all.
I feel like I’m one of those people who’s trying to bring back the whole essence of that making people feel like they can go back out again to get albums. When I was little and purchasing albums I was so into the artwork ‘cause I used to draw and I’m a really detail-driven person. One of my goals is to get people back to wanting to buy the whole package in its entirety. Not just the artist but the whole album and everything about the album.
I’m gonna be the next: I’m going to be the next biggest rapper/producer of my time.
Also check out: “Squeal (Peel Off)”
And: “98 Rocafella”