Bernard Jabs is Here for the Long Haul: The GA Rapper Talks About Inking A Deal With Def Jam & More
Updated: Oct 14, 2019
Bernard Jabs is destined for greatness -- he’ll be the first one to tell you. Just months removed from graduating high school, the 18-year-old Tifton, GA native has seen success that many of his peers could only dream of.
In the past year alone, he has inked a deal with Def Jam, toured alongside Pusha-T, released his major-label debut Coldhearted, and made two of his first big purchases: a brand-new cherry red BMW and a diamond-studded chain with a signature bee pendant. Jabs has been catapulted into Internet stardom largely in part due to his boisterous confidence and his undeniable charisma on tracks, but he remains poised and laser-focused. This is only the beginning for him. He’s still got a lot of work to do.
We recently got the chance to catch up with Bernard about his love for Lil Wayne, signing to Def Jam, his recording process, his plans for the future, an upcoming project slated for 2020, and much more.
When did you start making music? What was the first song you made?
I was 13 when I really started making music and putting it out, but I was like five when I wrote my first rap. It went, 'Hop up out the shower, I gotta get clean. My swag is so mean, it's always looking right. I'm fresh everyday, I'm fresh all night. Put a price on the tag, tell me what it's looking like.' I wrote that shit to the "You're A Jerk" Beat.
One of your big influences was [Lil] Wayne. What was the first Wayne song you heard?
First Wayne song I heard was "Stuntin' Like My Daddy" on BET. That ni--a just looked cool so I was like, 'I gotta learn all about this ni--a.'
Favorite song or project by him?
My favorite song by him is "Sky's the Limit," but my favorite project by him is Tha Carter III of course. That album changed my life. That [album] really changed a lot of sh-t for me. [My favorite song on the album is] "Let the Beat Build."
Can you tell me little bit about growing up in Tifton, GA?
You got a school, a movie theatre, you got a mall with like four stores. Sh-t it ain't nothing to do here. I just found something to do.
What kinds of things do you plan to bring back to Tifton, once you really get up there?
Fun,'cause it ain't fun out here. I wanna do something—have concerts out here so people can have something to go to. Like an 'OVO Fest' type thing. I would have a festival.
You just signed to Def Jam. What attracted you to them as a label?
They seemed cool, and fu-ked with what I had going on.
Did you have any offers from other labels?
Yeah, but Def Jam was talking the most sense.
How'd it feel working with the new artists? I know y'all put a compilation album out?
It was cool 'cause before then I never really worked with artists, period. It was easy 'cause when you get a lot of creative people in the same space, it's always going to be a good result no matter who it is. So that's what it was.
You've been working with an artist named Iann Dior a lot lately. How did that connection come about?
I pulled up at Taz Taylor [from Internet Money] crib back in March, and he told me to go make a song with Iann. So we went down there and the first song we made was "Molly."
That song is going up. How many views does it have right now?
Shit, it got like 4 million views on Youtube, and 20 million [plays] on Spotify. That all I know right now.
Have you heard yourself on the radio yet?
Hell yeah. "Sticks" was on the radio in Georgia, and "Molly" was on Sirius XM.
Was that surreal for you?
To be honest, I never heard them I just saw people posting that it was on the radio.
Do you think you've made it as an artist yet? Do you think you are famous?
Hell no. I think if you know you know, but when I got plaques on the wall, I got more ice, I got way more respect as a musician. When ni--as picking up the phone, that's when I made it.
You have several go-to producers, Nick Mira and Sidepce to name a couple. What's the process of choosing a beat like for you?
I look for it to catch me right when I play it. I can tell if a beat bad just by listening to the first few seconds of it. I can tell if it's a hit, or if I want to work with it, you know, all of that just off top. If it's not none of that, I'ma turn that b-tch off and go to the next one.
You think you will explore different genres one day?
Of course, of course, of course. 'Cause I think music nowadays, it's no genres. The rappers are singing, the R&B singers are rapping. Like everybody switch roles and be artists instead of being put in a box. I'm definitely going to do that one day.
You've made a couple of big purchases this year. What do those purchases mean to you? How did you feel?
I felt so good when I finally got my car, man. I felt so f-cking good. It was cash. Because I remember before, I was driving an old beamer and the AC didn't work, or the radio. I had to pick my sisters up from school everyday and that sh-t was hot as hell. I couldn't get my vibe. You can't have fun with no AC and no radio.
You already know about the chain. That was some southern shit. I just needed the chain to feel good. [laughs] I'm tryna get a grill. I want a grill.
What does the bee insect symbolize for you?
Bees are like the most important living things on earth. You need bees, and my name Bernard, B. One thing I notice people do with my name, they spell it wrong. Instead of putting a 'r' they just put B-nard. So, ni--as can call me 'B' too.
You have a crazy work ethic. What motivated you to not get complacent?
Just waking up everyday knowing where you wanna be in life, and knowing you gotta do shit to get there. Basically, just working everyday you know where you wanna be so you work towards it. You can't stop. That's my approach.
Can you talk a little bit about your experience touring with Pusha-T?
That was a good experience. To get in front of crowds. That was my first tour and the crowd was an older crowd, but when I went with Iann, that was fire. That was really fire. Every night it was lit. I stage-dived every night. The energy was there. I love touring, I can do that year-round. I can tell I'ma be one of those touring artists.
How do you feel about having a recognizable name and being known on the internet?
That sh-t make me smile. I smiled when you said that. It feels good because it just shows that what I'm working towards is paying off, you know? I'll know I'm famous when I can't go outside no more.
Any projects in the works we should know about?
Yeah, I'm working on a project right now called "As Long As You Know." It's going to be so different from Coldhearted. Coldhearted music was outdated. It was sh-t that I made in the past and it just came out this year. What I noticed about the music industry is you work hard the year before so that you can reap the benefits of it a year later, then you just keep working. My next project is going to be 10 times better than Coldhearted.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Still rapping, or do you plan on venturing into new fields?
I wanna do acting, modeling. In 10 years I'll be 28, I'll still be doing music. I love it, but way more accolades under my belt. I want a continuous number-one albums, and plaques. That's what I want. Other than that keep the bullsh-t.
Watch the music video for Bernard's infectious new single "Wasabi" below, and be on the lookout for more from the rising star in the coming months.