The Break Presents: Ambjaay
One of the most important keys to success for creatives is having a willingness to experiment. Ambjaay, at just 19 years old, dropped his Spanglish track "Uno" and watched it turn into a viral sensation. When the song was released in February, there wasn't anything else out there like it—a rap song that seamlessly blends maracas right alongside the bounce from L.A.'s jerk era. Ambjaay's style is dexterous and clever, but really more focused on having fun. He's happy to be here and judging by his momentum, so are plenty of listeners.
What's most interesting about Ambjaay is how quickly he's found success. He started rapping just two years ago, motivated to do by his brother, who is a producer. Becoming a rapper once he graduated from high school, Ambjaay has made his time count, dropping songs like 2018's "Shit Talker," which had some local success. His Valentine's Day 2019 tape, It Cost To Live Like This, changed everything. The project included both "Uno" (its recent video has been viewed more than 12 million times) and "Choppa Go Blocka Blocka," which is also starting to pick up steam. Once "Uno" went viral through the social media app TikTok and a dance video on Instagram, everything changed, gradually pushing the song until it reached far past Lost Angeles.
Looking ahead, the Columbia Records artist has his follow-up project, It Cost To Live Like This 2, coming soon. He's since been while spurring excitement by teasing new tracks on Instagram. While being fully aware and thankful for the success of "Uno," the Cali youngster hasn't taken time off; he knows that now is the time to strike.
Get to know Ambjaay in this week's edition of XXL's The Break.
Hometown: Watts, Calif.
I grew up listening to: "A lot of oldies. My momma was on Mary J. Blige, Michael Jackson, Al Green, things like that. I was on Timbaland, too. I didn't really have [a favorite rapper] at the time, but I could say Lil Wayne. Tha Carter, Tha Carter II."
My style’s been compared to: "I get a lot of West Coast artists, the main West Coast artists that's popping."
My standout records to date have been: "You already know 'Uno,' 'Choppa Go Block Blocka,' but after my new EP come next, man! Hopefully if I get big features on there It Cost To Live Like This 2 will blow up."
My most slept-on song is: "This song 'Facts,' because they don't really understand when I'm speaking, I spoke it into existence. Things that go on in life and what happens to you when you come up. The hate be real, people don't wanna see you win."
My standout moments to date have been: "I'm not gonna lie to you—when Drake followed me [on Instagram]. Slim Jxmmi had called me the other day [at] the BET Awards. I could say that, Bet Awards/BET Experience."
Most people don’t know: "I'm humble and I'm blessed and I really came from nothing. Young'uns my age really give up they dreams. It's hard to make it, man."
I’m going to blow up because: "I ain't gon' say I knew I was gon' blow up, but I knew ["Uno"] was gon' blow up because it's catchy, it's just a fun song. Soon as you hear it, you gon' start laughing. You not really gonna take it seriously. It's gonna make you wanna dance. It's like Lil Nas X—you wouldn't expect him to do a song like that."
I’m going to be the next: "The next young nigga on [the] XXL [Freshman cover]! Gotta speak it into existence! I need that, XXL!"
"Choppa Go Blocka Blocka"
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