Likybo rode a wave in 2020. His 2017 track “Kraazy” caught fire on TikTok at the start of the year, after already cementing itself as his most popular song. The Oakland, CA native learned first-hand the power of the internet when he became the subject of a meme as well. Subsequently, Likybo made his Billboard chart debut as an “Emerging Artist,” and “Kraazy” broke 60 million streams on Spotify alone. A look back at his project-heavy discography exemplifies his work ethic, and shows us why Billboard was right in catching his name through the airwaves.
In September, Likybo collaborated with North Carolina powerhouse Toosii on “Stunna.” This month, he followed with another single in “Outside,” marking his ninth song released in 2020. The next twelve months will be different, though. By surrounding himself with inspiration and mending some past relationships, Likybo is hoping to orchestrate a rebrand. I caught up with him to discuss this year’s kraazy-ness and what to expect moving forward.
Why has 2020 been such a pivotal year in your career?
I got to see what everything had to offer. [“Kraazy”] blew and I met with labels. I’ve seen the music scene for what it really is now.
What about “Kraazy” popularized it on TikTok?
To be honest, I think the [Jodeci] sample made it blow. When I swagged it, I made it old school but coming with a new swag. Not a lot of people my age had heard the original.
Do you think you’ll utilize more samples moving forward?
Yeah. To be honest, that’s really me. I started getting out of the samples when I found out how hard it really is to clear them. The artist — not the producer — is responsible.
I get the sense people misunderstand the way you move in the industry.
When I first started rapping I did burn a couple bridges. It wasn’t anything crazy, I was just learning. Later on, people spoke on my name. There are two sides to every story — really three — my side, your side, and the truth. People weren’t really hearing my side.
Can a burned bridge can be reconstructed?
A lot of things I’m going through are because of how I was when I was first rapping. Now I approach situations way differently. I feel like it can be fixed if you give me the opportunity to fix it! If you tap in with the person the bridge was burned with.
I’ve tapped in with a lot of people I rubbed the wrong way throughout my career and just apologized to them. I was just a young artist coming up and I was hot-headed so I apologize for that. People fuck with me for that.
Are you tired of the meme?
Nah, the meme’s cool. Its just another thing with my face on it. At least you know my face, so now when I come with whatever else I got you’ve already seen my face somewhere. I’ll run into people and after we talk a little bit they’ll recognize me from the meme.
Where do you get inspiration from on a day to day basis?
I’ve got a son. That right there is enough. When people DM me like “your music helped me” or “I look up to you” that’s inspiration enough. A lot of people don’t have confidence. I wanted people to see that if you’re confident you can be anything you want to be. This world is here. It’s everything. Whatever you wanna be you can be it. My inspiration is inspiring others for real.
What qualities do you look for in people you surround yourself with?
I want to surround myself with people that wanna find their purpose in life, wanna get further in life. A lot of people try to kick it all day every day and get high. I wanna be with those that are pushing for something better, trying to make it on their own time. I wanna be around go-getters not lazy people.
What’s your pet peeve?
I hate when people are like “drop this”… and its already out. Or “when you gonna do this” and I already did it. It makes me feel like they aren’t actually fans. I also can’t stand when people are like “Yo! I’m your #1 fan,” then I’m like “Aw, appreciate you. What’s your favorite song” … “Kraazy.”
Outside of music, I hate when people smack when they eat.
What are your hopes for 2021?
In 2021, I’m hoping I get the credit I deserve. I also want to start writing for people, shopping my shit, letting other people do the songs, while I’ll just be behind the scenes. In 2021, I hope I blow. I feel like this shit’s gonna come. When it does, be ready.