Life is short, so you've gotta cherish opportunities to start anew. Oakland rapper AllBlack was afforded the chance for a new beginning after getting his start on the streets in the world of pimping. A night of being hype man for his friend 100s (now known as Kossiko) opened new doors.

"My homeboys got me into making music," the 26-year-old artist tells XXL. "With me running the streets, my homeboy took me to the studio." His latest project, November's 2 Minute Drills, show that the switch up was worthwhile. AllBlack linked up with hot-producer-of-the-moment Kenny Beats on the project—every track they recorded over the course of two months (including the singles "Blitz" and "John Madden 2") made it onto the raucous seven-track EP. Not unlike the process for Key and Kenny Beats' 777 album, AllBlack and Kenny hunkered down and worked off of each other's energy.

"He came thru with some slappin' ass shit, some saucy shit he never did before," AllBlack says of Kenny Beats, adding that he's been tightening his own creative process. "I'm taking my time with producers, sitting down with them and finding the right beat."

AllBlack always had an interest in music, but never really thought it would become his path. As a preteen, he'd freestyle battle with his brother to pass the time. "We used to do two-bar roasts," he remembers. Those off-the-top raps laid the foundation. By his friends' urging, AllBlack began taking music seriously as he got older, dropping his first project, No Shame, in 2015. The project gained him local attention; he followed it up with No Shame 2 in 2016 and the dark KimSon EP in 2017. Earlier this year, AllBlack dropped Outcalls, a complete, polished work that has continued to raise his profile in Oakland and beyond.

With 2 Minute Drills still being fresh, AllBlack has more in store, including hitting the road for a West Coast run very soon. "This gonna be my first tour, they told me I wasn’t gonna be able to go on tour until 2021," he says of doubters. But don't get it confused—AllBlack isn't focused on silencing haters. "I'm just grateful," he says. "My whole style is Oakland. I wanna represent the right way."

Learn more about AllBlack on the latest installment of XXL's The Break.

Age: 26

Hometown: Oakland

I grew up listening to: "E-40, 3XKrazy, a lot of 'Pac. A lot of hometown shit. A lot of '90s R&B, Xscape, 702, Usher."

My style’s been compared to: "Tupac and DMX. I really don’t hear it. But they stay saying that. I appreciate it, because I respect 'Pac all the way around the board."

My standout records to date have been: "'Canadian Goose,' 'Penny and Shaq,' 'AllWhite,' 'Road Run,' and '07 Lynch.'"

What’s your most slept-on song: "'We Straight.' I used to get very angry about that song. I hope the song would give the same energy it gave me. Get out of that sorrow, Debbie Downer."

My standout moment to date has been: "With G-Eazy, performing in front of 20,000 people. I broke down cryin' like a baby. I came out there with the earpiece and I couldn't hear nothing. It was a call and response, everybody lookin' like Stone Cold Steve Austin was comin' out."

Most people don’t know: "I need my people around me to make my day [otherwise] I would really lose my mind. Being alone takes a toll on me. I panic."

I’m going to blow up because: "I don’t know—I just know I'm gonna be at peace and we gonna be great."

I’m going to be the next: "I'm going to be the next Black man to make sure that everyone around me experiences peace and greatness."

Follow AllBlack on SoundCloud and Instagram.


"Canadian Goose"

"07 Lynch" featuring DaBoii

"John Madden 2"

2 Minute Drills

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