Only one artist has three options on Undisputed, the brand new compilation of rising expertise from Def Jam, and he occurs to be in highschool.

Bernard Jabs, of Tifton, GA, is 17 years previous however he's already cracked the 100,00zero streaming mark a number of instances on SoundCloud. He opened for Pusha T on The Daytona Tour Part 2. He's dwelling the dream he's had since he was a baby.

“I knew all this was going to occur, as a result of I deliberate all of it out,” he tells Billboard. “Since I used to be 5, I’ve at all times wished to be a rapper. So I labored on my craft continually. I knew I needed to make one thing out of this and there’s nonetheless extra to do.”

For Coldhearted — his debut solo EP, which launched on Friday (March 15) — Jabs drops bars about belief points and self-confidence, however nonetheless makes time for the occasional flex. Drawing on a rocky previous relationship, Coldhearted is a welcoming introduction to considered one of Def Jam's latest and brightest MCs.

Billboard spoke with Bernard Jabs about his debut EP, signing with Def Jam, balancing his senior yr of highschool with the music business and touring with Pusha T. Check out the dialog beneath.

On the opener for Coldhearted, “Stupid,” you examine your self to Eazy E in 1986 and Jim Jones in 2006. What’s your favourite period of hip-hop?

Probably the ‘Stay Fly” period. Wayne was on his Dipset shit and the mixtapes had been loopy. Everyone had their very own fashion and was simply going silly. That actually molded me — that period actually made me wish to rap. There wasn't a rapper in that point that wasn't cool. If you had successful or music that was simply bumping, you had been good in my eyes.

How do you are feeling about this present period?

I like it. This is my second-favorite period as a result of I'm in it, you realize what I'm saying? I can't be bitter about it. I take heed to all these new guys. I'm a child, nonetheless in highschool, so I can’t keep away from it. While I'm eager about my very own music, I'm listening to the whole lot else, too. If I don't like one thing, I'm going to say I don't prefer it. But the whole lot is an inspiration on the finish of the day.

How are you balancing your final yr of highschool with the music business?

I'm a senior and solely taking two lessons at my highschool proper now, [two] 45-minute blocks. I get to high school at like eight:00 AM and I depart by like 9:30 AM, so it’s actually not an issue for me. My academics are fairly cool, so if I’ve to make a journey I can simply miss faculty. I doubled up final yr as a result of I knew this could occur. I didn't wish to must make amends for my teachers.

Did you ever really feel like dropping out to give attention to the music?

Hell no. My momma wasn't having that. She was not having that shit in any respect. I needed to work on my music all all through highschool. There was no manner round it. It was both work on my music in highschool or work on it in faculty.

What went by your thoughts if you signed with Def Jam? What do you assume the label was lacking that you can convey?

I used to be actually simply saying how cool it was to have the ability to try this. I wasn't actually eager about it too massive like, 'oh my God! It's Def Jam!' I knew this could fall into place. As far as what I'm bringing, it’s one thing new as a result of Def Jam already has a Justin Bieber, a Rihanna, G.O.O.D. Music, Kanye West. But no one is basically breaking. There's no younger children or younger cat, you realize what I imply?

There's no one bringing that new power over there at Def Jam and I really feel like if anyone ought to try this, or have the flexibility to do this, it's me. They have the connects and basis. There are legends over there.

Seems like they’re cashing in on you since you could have three completely different placements on Undisputed.

You dig? Uh huh, yessir!

How does it really feel to have probably the most options on Undisputed?

It was actually simply work to me. On the following venture, I'm making an attempt to have extra as a result of that's how I’m going and get it. I actually love making music with anyone. Everybody that was in there I used to be able to work with. If I didn't get on a music with all people in there I rattling certain requested to be. [Laughs.] I wasn't taking part in.

How did the recording course of for Coldhearted examine to Undisputed?

It's just about the identical factor. Every time I'm within the studio, I'm impressed. If I'm within the automobile on the best way to the studio and nothing occurs that day, however I'm within the studio, I'm going to provide you with one thing. Just the power and the vibes within the studio at all times has me tuned into the songs that I'm going to make.

[But] after I was engaged on Undisputed, I needed to provide you with one thing fast as a result of the opposite artists had been developing with stuff fast and I couldn't seem like I used to be slowing down. It was type of a contest. But after I document on my own, I'm in my very own zone.

How essential is it to attach along with your followers, like if you shared snippets from Coldhearted?

I understand how to work the web. The web will not be a tough factor to get. This reception that I'm getting on the web is what I needs to be getting if I'm doing my job proper. If you don't join along with your followers, how would your music get out? You have the SoundCloud web page, posting shit on there, hoping you get 100 or extra performs? No, it’s important to discuss to individuals, and I believe that's how one can inform if any individual is impressed or not. You must be constructed for social media, too. Anybody can name my shit trash; you simply must eat that.

You obtained a optimistic reception after your opening set for Pusha T at Terminal 5 and possibly made some new followers. What was it like getting that reception? What gems did you’re taking away from Push?

Yeah, man, I used to be dwelling in it. In a scenario like that, you actually have to provide. If you don’t produce, the gang received’t fuck with you. But it did imply lots to me to see them react to me the best way they did. Pusha is aware of how one can rap, and I understand how to rap. If the gang didn't just like the music, I knew they'd respect me off the pure artwork of rapping I used to be exhibiting. I knew in the event that they didn't like one factor they'll like the opposite.

One gem I took away from Pusha was understanding you don't have to leap round within the crowd to get individuals's consideration. I fuck together with his stage design and lighting, shit like that. I really feel like he executes the whole lot nicely. Pusha is a legend, man. That was an expertise.

With such a fiery begin to your profession, what's going by your thoughts proper now?

That I nonetheless must go to high school right now and the entire week after. But what's going by my thoughts is doing what I’ve to do in school, to return house and hold making music. I'm going to advertise the tape as I ought to on-line and get these streams up. I obtained to construct the workforce and take over Georgia earlier than I graduate. I'm again to the drafting board and placing a timeline on all this as a result of it has to occur this yr. I do know it’ll occur this yr.