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Up-and-Coming Rapper Celebrity Credits Popular Sound to Time at SCI Forest
(Photo courtesy of PnB Rock)
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, rapper PnB Rock specifically credited his time at the state prison facility located in Marienville with helping him develop the sound that is leading him on a whole new journey.
PnB Rock, who was born Rakim Hasheem Allen, first caught the attention of Atlantic Records with a self-released mixtape titled “RNB 1″ that is based on a style he says he discovered while serving a state prison sentence at SCI Forest.
Rock’s story starts at the intersection of Pastorius and Baynton Streets in Philadelphia, a location that provided him and several of his associates with the “PnB” name.
According to Rock, his interest in music began when he was quite young, influenced by his mother who exposed him and his four brothers to a wide range of music, from rock-and-roll to Motown and classic rap. Realizing that her son showed an aptitude for music, she pushed him to cultivate his talent; nevertheless, Rock told reporters he resisted her encouragement.
His issues with the law also started early on, with instability in his home leading to conflicts at school, and eventually his expulsion from Germantown High School. He spent some time bouncing between alternative school programs, juvenile detention, and other disciplinary programs before he finally dropped out.
After being kicked out of his home and living on the streets for some time, Rock was sentenced to 33 months at SCI Forest at the age of 19 for drug-related crimes. According to Rock, it was his time at the state prison facility in Marienville that really sparked his development as a musician.
“In the penitentiary, you have music all around you,” he said. “People are making beats on keyboards and rapping in circles all day. I was part of that. I’d go into my cell and write music on my own time.”
With radio options limited in Forest County, and his preferred hip-hop not readily available, Rock listened to primarily “Top 40 music,” which began to influence his own musical style, working some of that pop sound into his more 90s influenced R&B style. Soon, the other inmates began to take notice, and the feedback was primarily positive, convincing him to “stick with it.”
It was that distinctive mix of sounds and the music he created while serving his time at SCI Forest that he put on “RNB 1,” the mixtape that led to his discovery and professional career.
In 2017, Rock released his first major-label album, titled “Catch These Vibes” as well as a separate mixtape “GTTM: Going Through the Motions,” which made the Top 10 on Billboard’s US Top R & B/Hip-Hop charts. 2017 also saw Rock matched up with Kodak Black and A Boogie wit da Hoodie for a track titled “Horses,” which was featured on The Fate of the Furious soundtrack.
Rock’s stardom continued to rise in 2018, and he rounded out the year by playing a sold-out show at the recently renovated 3,500-seat Met in Philadelphia on Friday, December 28.
With his introspective lyrics and his unique sound, nurtured under such unexpected circumstances, Rock’s popularity is continuing to grow, and he currently plans to release his sophomore album, titled “TrapStar Turnt PopStar,” in 2019.
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