This article previously appeared on Audiomack World.
It’s not just what Caribbean artist Prince Swanny says that slowly nettles under the skin. It’s how each of his syllables rides out over the beat. He bends sound to his will. If his music were an orchestra, he’d be both the instrumentalist and conductor, delivering a seamless flow that makes hit records like “Catch 22” sound so easy on the ears. Swanny takes pride in the joyful vibrations that have dominated the Trinidadian music scene for decades: “Trinidad is the land of steelpan and it’s where Soca really came from,” he tells Audiomack world.
As the TriniBad pioneer, Prince Swanny’s charting a new path for artists on the twin islands. Neither entirely dancehall nor rap, this sound and culture blends the former’s reggae-derived uptempo rhythms with the latter’s self-assured punctuation. It’s a blueprint that sees Caribbean life through an interrogative lens: “Mi beg Jah fi guide me / cah mi know nuff of them nuh like it / when ghetto youts get up and ah fight it / the system design fi / trick we ghettos youts in wi mindset / from small mi mumma tell me ah poison,” Swanny sings on “Resume.”
Trinidad’s melodic percussion reverberates within the artist’s delivery on his new album Swanology, released October 14. Swanny mixes romance with the harsh realities of success. “Mentally, spiritually, and physically, I’m going through a lot. But I believe people should hear my story because for a long time I’ve been quiet,” he explains. “No Looking Back” plays in that vein. Over Trini Baby’s pulsating beat, the artist reveals an irreparable loss of trust: “Try drown mi in dirty water, but mi know how fi swim.” Despite this weighty burden of stardom, Swanny’s unbreakable spirit prevails.
On TriniBad… It’s slight rap, slight dancehall. It’s expressing what’s really going on in Trinidad. It’s for these youts living in rough environments. Instead of doing the wrong stuff, they could express how they’re feeling in music and words. For me, it expresses what I’m going through. Let’s be real: the world we live in right now is going down a wrong road and it’s up to [us] as leaders to bring it back on the right path.
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On being himself… I never really wanted to be like nobody. There’s an upcoming artist called Byron Messia on my label. When I hear this guy spitting, it’s a different energy. The world don’t even know about him yet. But really and truly, God makes everybody different, so I wouldn’t say I want to be like this person or do what they do… And even if someone says, “I wanna be like Prince Swanny,” I will tell them the same thing: Don’t limit yourself. You could be more than Prince Swanny because Prince Swanny is still working on himself.
On trust… Whether it be a relationship, friendship, or family, trust is a very important thing. “No Looking Back” is the perfect story of what’s going on in my life right now, with all the negative energy and the hate coming towards Swanny. Trusting the wrong person could get you killed or caught up. So you gotta know who you’re putting your trust in and what your vibes are telling you. I have been through so much at a young age that I feel like trust is the main key in life right now to survive.
On freestyling “No Looking Back”… Trini Baby sent me some beats, then I went to the studio, freestyled, and changed up some words. I sent her back a demo the next day. Here’s the thing, I had certain friends switch up on me for no reason. So freestyling “No Looking Back” was based on what was going on. It’s me questioning myself. It was off real energy, no real writing or nothing.
On his inner sweet boy… I express some deep feelings in “Step By Step.” Some people might watch me and see a rough version, others might see me as soft. Everybody has their perspective, right? But life is chess moves, you have to sit down and make your best move. You shouldn’t just rush. Think about what the bad or good outcome could be; whether it be relationships, friendships, or any -ship, take it “Step By Step.”
By Kaeshelle Rianne for Audiomack