Overcoming challenges of language and establishing himself as an English-speaking rapper in Germany, Yang-Babyâ€™s success has been propelled by seizing opportunities and blending different musical cultures. Having grown as an artist since his international hit “In My Zone,” he has carved out his unique style, known as “chilstarz,” which will be reflected in his upcoming album.
We had the pleasure of interviewing the fast-rising rapper about his new release, “Mercedes Benz,” which is a symbolic representation of relentless pursuit of success and aspirations. Inspired by the incredible story of Karl Benz’s invention, the song celebrates the revolutionary spirit of innovation and excellence. The hip hop artist known for his ability to reinvent himself, sees his own journey mirrored in the life of the automobile industry pioneer. The track also draws from personal experiences, including a car chase incident that sparked the lyrics.
Check out the entire interview below.
First off, congratulations on the release of â€œMercedes Benz.â€ With references to the luxury brand throughout the lyrics, what is the significance of the name in your song, and how does it represent your own relentless pursuit of success and aspirations?
Thank you very much, it’s a pleasure to answer your question, I’ll start at the beginning. Many people are unaware of the incredible story of Karl Benz’s invention and its impact on the lives of billions of people around the world today. As an automotive enthusiast, I discovered that on January 29, 1886, Carl Benz applied for a patent for his “vehicle propelled by a gas engine.” This patent – number 37435 – is considered the birth certificate of the automobile.
That’s why “Mercedes Benz” is not only a revolutionary invention, but also the very definition of success through innovation and excellence. For me, it represents my life: when I think of my career path and my life story, I’ve had to reinvent and adapt myself, for example, English is not my mother tongue. Imagine learning a language by yourself and being able to compose songs that get the crowd moving. That’s artistic ingenuity.
What sparked the idea for this song? Is there a personal connection or a partnership with the company? Can we anticipate any exciting collaborations or surprise signings with them in the future?
In general, I’m a spontaneous person who draws inspiration from everyday life, so the idea for this song was inspired by something that happened a few years ago, when my single “In my Zone” was released in 2016, I’d been invited to a charity festival in Switzerland and afterwards, with some friends, we went to party in a club.
I met a model who offered to continue the party at her place, but it was on the way back that we ran a red light and the police wanted to stop us, as at the time I was driving without a license, aware of my situation and panic-stricken I decided not to stop, after a short chase we managed to outwit the police, which is where I got the inspiration for the line “you can’t catch me when my ride spins.” We’ve kept touch, and we’re currently negotiating a project that could lead to a signing.
The friendship and frequent collaboration between you and Lebig are reflected in your work together. Could you share with us the process behind establishing such a dynamic partnership and how both of you contributed to the creation of this new single?
The relationship between Lebig and I goes way back before we were business partners, we were already friends, we met through the diaspora and came to my concerts when I was at the beginning of my career, after some discussions I offered him to share the stage with me until he became a very important member of the crew.
Working with Lebig on this song was effortless and a lot of fun for me, because he was always the one of us who was responsible for the criticism during the production of our album, and this time it was him who had to take the criticism from us. In fact, before finishing the album, we realized that the Chilstars family was not represented in my album as it should be. That’s why we had the idea together to add Mercedes Benz. Since the album was already finished and I couldn’t collaborate anymore, we first thought about a dubstep rap version before we made the version you hear today.
The international success of “In My Zone” has laid a solid foundation for your career. Reflecting on your journey since then, how do you believe you have grown as an artist?
“In my Zone” has played a vital role in the artistic direction of my career. Sharing the stages with influential artists of the Hip-hop scene, or collaborating with producers from different parts of the globe, allowed me to understand the music industry and to grow professionally. This song also gave me the keys to my artistic universe, by writing it, I took my first steps towards a style specific to myself, this style, I call it “chilstarz.”
In what ways will the upcoming album differentiate itself from your previous releases while maintaining some familiar elements?
That’s quite simple, as I already mentioned above. “In my Zone” has given me the opportunity to discover and develop my style. The songs are unique in their genre but at the same time belong to the same shelf as in the library. The album follows the same principle, when you listen to the tracks you get the feeling that they are different until you get through them and realize that they belong together. This is the Chilstars.
Being born in Libreville, Gabon, to emerging as a rising star in Germany, could you share the challenges you faced and the opportunities that paved the way for your current success?
First challenge was the language. Imagine, you come from a country where French is spoken everywhere and then you come to a country where French is not spoken. You have the choice to rap or sing in German or give up your dream. Nope, I chose English, taught myself et voilÃ .
The second challenge was to establish myself as an English speaking artist on German soil.What was a disadvantage for me in the beginning turned out to be an advantage later, since many American superstars were on tour in Europe and not so many artists could keep up here, I saw an opportunity and took advantage of it. This is how I ended up signing contracts and getting my single Topping the chart at the time.
The third and most difficult challenge was to find my own style. How was I supposed to bring Gabonese, German, and American hip-hop, all together? This is how the Chilstarsfamily was born, the association of several musical cultures and backgrounds. English is the main language but if you pay attention, you will notice that other languages are represented. In the same way, you can also see musical creativity, which is very varied.
Before aspiring to become a musician, you had dreams of pursuing a career in football. Unfortunately, those aspirations were halted by a devastating car accident. In what ways do you believe your life was transformed by that experience, and how has music played a role in your recovery and provided solace as you discovered new dreams?
I don’t believe in coincidence, I’m more of a believer in fate. I think that this experience woke me up and made me better suited to my role. At the time I played football, I had a different attitude towards life, I was from the ghetto, but I was used to doing everything right. I was successful, but if you haven’t experienced a real challenge, you can’t understand life and you can’t take on a greater responsibility. When I had the accident, I had to bury my past and build a new life. In the beginning you are completely devastated, but the strength to get up and keep going makes you the emperor you are today. Music has healed the wound in me and given my heart a new rhythm.
Listen to â€œMercedes Benzâ€ here: