About PnB Rock
The title of PnB Rock’s 2019 album, TrapStar Turnt PopStar, doubled as a kind of mission statement. Yes, he can do the trap thing: the edge, the aggression, the bars. But he can finesse it, too—a balance between the street-oriented slant of rap and the mainstream appeal of contemporary R&B. It’s a delicate line: Drake walks it; Tory Lanez too. But more try than succeed. And it’s not just the music, either, but also the ethic, the approach: PnB will always, on some level, belong to the street. “Not the hood, on the block, stand on the corner, but like, I still slide through,” he told Apple Music in 2019. “You might see me at the Rite-Aid or something. You know what I’m saying?” Born Rakim Hasheem Allen in 1991, Rock took his name from the intersection of Pastorius and Baynton Streets in Philadelphia, where he grew up. After shaping his sound on a handful of mixtapes, he made the jump to a major label with 2017’s GTTM: Goin Thru the Motions, whose standouts—“Selfish” and “Misunderstood,” in particular—were a seamless combination of melody and muscle. By TrapStar Turnt PopStar, he’d embraced the blend as a calling card, holding ground with guests like Lil Durk and XXXTentacion as comfortably as with Diplo and A Boogie wit da Hoodie—a testament to his ear, but also a reflection of how integrated rap and R&B have become.
BORNDecember 9, 1991