The duality of Los Angeles has been explored in pop culture through many lenses. Someone like Post Malone, for example, released an album called Hollywood’s Bleeding. An album that chronicles Post’s complicated relationship with Los Angeles prior to making the move to Utah, out of all places. Even with the flashing lights and camera, dolled up models and Hidden Hills mansions, there’s a dark side to Hollywood that seemingly pops out when things get comfy. But even so, not everyone is privileged enough to get up and get out when shit goes left.
Los Angeles is far more than a breeding ground of false hope for aspiring actors, models, and musicians. A half an hour drive from Hollywood on the I-110 South will take you to South Los Angeles where things are certainly more real than Hollywood has ever been. Stories from this area have made their way onto the big screen through the authentic voices of Ava Duvernay and John Singleton but the unadulterated raw and unfiltered reality has always been captured by revered wordsmiths like Ice Cube, Ice-T, ScHoolboy Q, and of course, Nipsey Hussle.
Image provided by the label. Photo: Benny Billions
Bino Rideaux is the latest star to emerge from South Central Los Angeles. Initially introduced on No Pressure, a collaborative album with Nipsey Hussle, today marks the release of his major-label debut, Outside which comes out via Def Jam. It comes at a tumultuous time, though. It’s been over a year since the passing of Nipsey Hussle, and a few months since Los Angeles lost Kobe Bryant. Currently, residents of Los Angeles are facing the grave impact of coronavirus, even as the city begins to reopen its economy.
“[I’m] Just a neighborhood n***a out of South Central here to bring you good vibes,” Bino described himself over the phone with HNHH. “[I’m trying to] Make you feel something, whether you going through something or you had a good ass day. Shit, we gonna bring the vibe out in the music.”
Outside is surely an ironic title for a project released in the coronavirus era, especially for a debut album. Performance options have been limited to live streams. Press runs are now held on Zoom conference calls. The very idea of even being physically present around fans became obsolete in the past two months. Bino, though, is a man of the people, regardless of what’s actually going on outside. “The music could be really helpful to people right now. That’s what they need right now,” he explained days before the project’s release.
We recently caught up with Bino Rideaux over the phone to discuss his new album, helping carry Nipsey’s legacy and how fatherhood shaped his hustle.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
HNHH: What’s good? It’s Aron from HotNewHipHop. How you doing, bro?
Bino Rideaux: What’s going on, buddy?
Chilling. How you doing right now?
Man, coolin’, trying to stay out the way.
I feel you. You’re in LA right now?
Yeah, I’m in the city, I’m at home.
You’ve just been quarantined this whole time, I guess?
Yeah, I’ve been laid up in my apartment, but just last week I started stepping outside a little bit.
Honestly, it’s probably healthy just to get some fresh air and what not.
Yeah, like I was going crazy getting stuck in here.
I feel you. You been watching anything on Netflix? You been keeping up with the Last Dance?
Man, I done watched all this shit, that’s the problem. We been locked in so long, I done watched everything in like a week. You catch me on 2K. I’m probably on 2K every day.
Ah, so the video games been keeping your spirits up?
Yeah man, keeps me alive, man.
A lot of people are starting to really take notice of you after you’ve been bubbling in the underground for so long. For anybody who’s unfamiliar with you, who is Bino Rideaux?
Bino Rideaux. Just a neighborhood n***a out of South Central here to bring you good vibes, you know what I’m saying? Make you feel something, whether you going through something or you had a good ass day. Shit, we gonna bring the vibe out in the music.
As somebody from South Central Los Angeles, there’s a real strong lineage of hip hop out there. So who were some of your musical influences growing up?
Aw shit, man. Everybody. I had a broad ear. Like I listened to all types of shit. Of course Nip and Dom [Kennedy], you know what I’m saying? They was like the given. Then you got Kendrick [Lamar]. Everybody that put on for the city, you know. So I came up on Westside Connection and Dogg Pound, Eastsidaz, all that shit. But, I listen to Nas. I listen to Jay-Z. I listen to other genres. I listen to all types of shit bro. I’m just here for the sounds.
What type of music was being played in the house when you were growing up?
Oldies, you know what I’m saying. You’d probably hear some Mary J. Go to my uncle’s room, you’ll probably hear some ‘Pac, some Cube. Uh, great grandparents probably listen to some Sly And The Family Stone, some old crazy shit. Just all types of shit in my household. I grew up in a Louisiana household in Los Angeles though.
With the new project, Outside, talk to me about the significance of that title especially with the strange times that we’re in.
We had a whole other title for the project we were running with, but as the shit kept getting longer and longer — we in the house, we in quarantine — it just fit. And it fit with all of our brand and the vibe of the music. The way the project flows. It’s like outside of my city, you can kind of feel my energy. There’s a few of us out here that make noise. You can feel the energy outside. Or If you go to a party. We kind of the voice in the whole essence of the hood in my city. So, Outside, it really just — I don’t know. It made sense from top to bottom.
Obviously with touring and performance opportunities put on hold for the time being, why did it kind of make it sense to release it at this point rather than wait until you can go the traditional route?
I mean, we thought about it. But we started going back and forth on that subject. We just decided to go through with it, you know what I’m saying? The music could be really helpful to people right now. That’s what they need right now. So rather than punishing them because of the shit that’s going on, just give them the music, and I’m gonna give them a whole ‘nother album later anyway.
So you’ve just dropped the tracklist for the project. What song are you most excited for people to hear?
Um, probably “Mismatch.” A lot of people heard the song. I did a Triller on it and you know what I’m saying people leak shit all the time. That’s the song I made right after I left Def Jam so I was in my bag. Like I was in New York. I just met the labels. And you know, I was just feeling like that n***a. I was in my vibe, so we went straight to the studio. I made that so “Mismatch” is on the project.
You have collaborations with Ty Dolla $ign and Mozzy who’s one of my personal favorites right now. Tell me about those collaborations with those artists and why you chose them for this project.
You know, I got a lot of features or whatever and a lot of them not on this project. I wanted this project to be more intimate if that makes sense. I want this project to be more people who I got a certain type of relationship or certain level of mutual respect, you feel me? So that’s why I really chose these artists, you know what I’m saying? Me and Fredo, we on the same label. I met him when I first went to the label in New York. It was good energy, he’s a good dude. Ty, you know what I’m saying, that’s big bro. He’s been tapped in and kind of you know what I’m saying playing a mentor role. It’s just all people I value to a certain extent, I put them in this project.
No, definitely. Especially since they say your debut is your life’s work up until that point.
Personally, I began taking notice after the No Pressure project with Nipsey Hussle dropped. In retrospect, how does it feel to be part of his musical legacy and what does it mean for him to be part of yours?
Man, you can’t really put it into words. I’m honored to play a role in his story, you feel me? And I wouldn’t have it any other way that he’s the foundation for mine, you feel me? I appreciate it, bro. I embrace it. Because it’s like it’s a heavy title, you know what I’m saying? Also, I’m built for it.
Do you feel like there’s additional pressure on your debut album? Or generally, coming out of the West and under Nipsey’s wing.
Oh, hell yeah. It’s pressure, but it’s bittersweet. It’s the pressure of not disrespecting his legacy, you know what I’m saying? Making the right moves, you know what I’m saying? Everybody’s expecting you to go a certain way now so you gotta carry that chip on your shoulder and kind of, maintain your own sanity, you know what I’m saying? And move forward. But at that same time, Nip is big bro. A lot of people didn’t get to experience and I’m appreciative that I was able to, you feel me?
I remember hearing Roddy Rich talk about being around Nipsey. He explained that the best game and knowledge he got from Nipsey was from watching how he moves and approached the game. What type of game did you learn from him? What do you think the most valuable lesson you got out of your time with him was?
Nipsey just taught me how to be rock solid, you feel me? How to not fold. How to stay consistent and resilient. I learned that from him. Independent, and really going for the gusto. There were no shortcuts, like it was straight up. Yeah, that’s true. He’s not really teaching you. You’re just kind of soaking up natural game. It came off so naturally. So, yeah I learned a lot from bro.
For someone like yourself just getting deeper into the rap game, how do you stay so solid when there are so many snakes moving in the industry around you?
The game gonna test you, you know? That’s something Nipsey taught me early, so I was kind of prepared. When you’re just starting out in this industry, it’s crazy. It’s chaos. Things come from left field. You just gotta kind of stand your ground and that’s the resilience, you know what I’m sayin’? Shit gets ugly way before it gets cute, you know what I’m saying? Shit ain’t just easy. Like a lot of people think it’s gonna be easy, but you just gotta be willing. I feel like if you’re willing, you’re built for it — it’s no pressure. That’s why we really put the No Pressure project out ‘cause of that.
I was skimming through your Instagram page and I know you just had a daughter last year, I believe, so congratulations. I know her name is Victory which I suspect is in homage to Nipsey. How does fatherhood not only change your creative process but your hustle as well?
I feel like when I found out I was finna have a kid, I tapped in, like, I was on a different level, I really locked in. I was already grinding. Shit turned into something else. Like I’m grinding for somebody else now. I don’t know it kind of woke something up inside me, and now I’m here, you feel me? I kind of give her that respect, my daughter. I give my daughter that respect like, I wouldn’t be right here without you.
Definitely. Obviously she’s not even one year old yet, and you’re just about to drop your debut album. When she turns 15 or 16, what do you hope she will take from your music at the end of the day?
It’s funny, she turns one tomorrow. Tomorrow’s her first birthday.
Oh, shit. congratulations!
Thank you. When she’s fifteen — hopefully, by that time, I did my share of shit for the community and I’m where I want to be as far as outside of music, you know what I’m saying? Publicly and in and throughout the community. So I want to teach her just the same shit I learned. As far as we all we got and being solid and being strong. ‘Cause it’s still hell out here, you know what I’m saying? Even if we rich as shit, we still minorities. We still black people. So I want her to really carry the weight of my name, respectfully, and be her own individual at the same time.
You get a lot of people in the West Coast for how you’re representing your hood. How do you feel about the state of West Coast rap right now?
I feel like right now, we’re amongst a wave of artists that’s about to hit us, you know what I’m saying? It’s a lot of new young faces, as far as West Coast music goes. I feel like it’s such good music. It’s a lot of talent over there so I don’t know. The West might be on top for a few years, honestly. The way I shit going, and the shit I’m hearing, it’s looking real good for the West Coast.
Who are some of your favorite artists coming out right now like new West Coast artists?
New West Coast artists I’m fucking with. BlueBucksClan, for sure. OneTake still doing his shit. Even Rucci making noise and we from two different sides of the city. Of course, Roddy going crazy. Like, it’s a lot of music out here. Shoreline. A lot of good music. A lot of good individuals. I’m fucking with it. Might be like the 90s again.
No, for sure. One person I know you have songs with is Drakeo the Ruler. He has a really terrifying legal situation he’s dealing with right now and it’s stirring up concern just because of how the government can easily target a rapper just for lyrics. So just with that in mind, do you ever feel concerned about the things you say in your music and if they might have any implications on you down the line?
I ain’t incriminating myself, you know what I’m saying? I ain’t saying nothing in my music that’s gonna have me fucked up or jammed up. They watch my shit. They play my shit all the time in the county. Whenever I shoot a music video in the hood, they come crash the shoot and break it up, you know what I’m saying? But we ain’t too worried about that we keep it clean, you know what I’m saying? (laughs) We not criminals no more.
Do you think often times the LAPD and local authorities, in general, overlook all the stuff you do for the community?
Yeah. I ain’t heard no praise or nothing. Like the “Bet” video, we tried to do the “Bet” video. I just released the video for “Bet”. We shot that on Slauson and Crenshaw. Kids came out. Fans came out. I brought Tommy The Clown out. That’s a staple in Los Angeles. He brought dancers out. Clowns is dancing, it’s like a carnival in the corner. They came and crashed that. They broke that up. I don’t know — I stay in my line when it comes to that. Just cause I seen so much Nip dealing with that but we know what it is, you know?
Last question, what’s on your bucket list, and what are your goals? Where do you see yourself going in the next five, ten, fifteen, twenty years?
Man, I wanna be like one of them rare cases when n***s go diamond. I wanna go diamond, that’s a bar.
No, definitely. Do you have any last thoughts you want to send the fans?
Man, just stream Outside. that’s it.