Today, Dec. 9, is the 27th birthday of PnB Rock, a Philadelphia-born rapper and singer signed to Atlantic Records, who is known for his melodic, crooning style that has the unique ability to appeal to the streets, while still being able to cross over into the popular mainstream music scene.
Born Rakim Allen, PnB Rock was raised in the Germantown section of uptown Philly. The early part of life for the 2017 XXL Freshman was a direct reflection of his rough surroundings in the City of Brotherly Love. Taking his stage name from Pastorious and Baynton, an intersection in the neighborhood he grew up in, PnB Rock says that sometimes, Philadelphia can feel like a city of “brotherly hate,” but recently, it’s been all love for the “Selfish” artist.
PnB says he discovered his vocal sound and honed his craft while serving a 33-month bid, and when discussing his signature style of music, PnB gives credit to artists like Drake and Ja Rule for being pioneers in introducing more melody to hip-hop’s modern sound. Embracing that particular style, the soulful artist made his initial mark on the game with the success of his RNB (Real N—a Bangs) mixtape series, and signed to Atlantic in 2015 when he was released from prison.
From there, PnB Rock made waves with the release of his hit single, “Selfish,” in 2016, which eventually landed on his 14-track GTTM: Goin Thru The Motions project and earned the crooner his first platinum plaque.
The momentum kept rolling, and PnB was honored to be named as a member of the XXL Freshman class in 2017 alongside nine other up-and-coming artists, including XXXTentacion and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. “I don’t make lists of goals, you feel me? But the Freshman Class was definitely something I wanted to do when I first started doing music, you feel me?” PnB said when talking about making the Freshman cover feature. “For a lot of new artists, the cover is like, their first big cosign in the industry. So, XXL was definitely one of those things I targeted and one of the things I wanted to do for sure.”
At the tail end of 2017, the melodic Philly rapper dropped his debut studio album, Catch These Vibes, a critically acclaimed 18-track project that peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard 200 chart and featured notable appearances from Wiz Khalifa, A Boogie, Ugly God, Smokepurpp and Juicy J, among others.
All of 2018 has seen the rapper/singer expanding his already lucrative brand with a 23-city headlining tour alongside Lil Baby, and the release of singles like “Nowadays” and “ABCD (Friend Zone),” which are said to be featured on his upcoming album Trapstar Turnt Popstar. As a precursor to the anxiously awaited double LP, PnB blessed fans in November with the EP titled, The Throwaways, which features Tee Grizzley, Lil Durk, Asian Doll and more.
Just this past Thursday (Dec. 6), PnB paid homage to fellow 2017 XXL Freshman, XXXTentacion, with a special performance at the slain rapper’s release party for his posthumous album, Skins.
Happy Birthday, PnB Rock!
See Behind-the-Scenes Photos of PnB Rock at 2017 XXL Freshman Shoot