Meet SHOTTYUPNEXT, a rising star in New York's R&B scene

Meet SHOTTYUPNEXT, a rising star in New York's R&B scene

Meet SHOTTYUPNEXT, a rising star in New York's R&B scene

The Queens native debuts his latest single, "Vibes Cartel", demonstrating a fresh take on the hot genre.

The Queens native debuts his latest single, "Vibes Cartel", demonstrating a fresh take on the hot genre.

Text: Sam Tracy

New York City. Commotion bustling along miles-long sidewalks, yellow cabs honking, sirens wailing, concrete vibrating with the underground pass of a subway car—the city has a soundtrack to it. And this isn’t said to romanticize it, but to simply state the facts: no other city is as loud, as energetic, as rhythmic as New York. Perhaps this is why the Big Apple has always been a breeding ground for musical prowess. Cropping up from borough to borough, new artists continuously arise in an endless stream of hopefuls, ultimately falling to the wayside of one-hit-wonders or solidifying a name for themselves among the industry’s most noteworthy. 

Queens, the city’s outermost neighborhood, boasts a history intertwined with R&B’s heaviest hitters. We’re talking Run-DMC, 50 Cent, LL Cool J, Salt-N-Pepa—the genre’s greatest contributors with household names to boot. Next to emerge is SHOTTYUPNEXT, the borough’s latest rising star, with a status secured today by new single, “Vibes Cartel”. The downtempo trap beat interlaces lyrics of a rising artist’s ups and downs, the rollercoaster of emotions and necessary stick-to-itiveness. “Been on my worst behavior, I am not here to save you,” his vocals haunt the track, layered to echo amongst the earworm-y harmony.

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The emerging artist unveils his production know-how with this latest addition to his growing catalog of genre-bending and blending singles inspired by his biggest creative inspirations, Jay-Z, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Brent Faiyaz and Drake. “I like listening to people that live their music,” SHOTTY explains. “I always say there’s a Drake song for every emotion and any situation I’m in.”

Having been sent the instrumental by collaborator Vikas Prasad and writing the song in just 15 minutes. Lyric by lyric, he explains how the words poured out, settling in neatly into the crevices of each beat. The initial stages of creating the single flowed effortlessly smooth until it was time to heat the studio. “The recording process itself was tough. I received news that one of my closest friends had passed away the day we were locking in the vocals. I cried in the studio but I knew I had to finish it,” says SHOTTY. “This single means more to me than anything right now.”

The rapper/songwriter/producer/industry jack of all trades’ comeup has been in the works for years, having grown up in a musical environment that cultivated his expertise. “My father played the guitar and was working with Filipino bands named ‘Side A’ that toured stateside. I was always listening to R&B my older sister played on her huge radio in her room,” he reflects. “My first name is João-Paco, named after João Gilberto and Paco De Lucia, two prominent guitarists.” 

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A quick scroll through his expanding discography reflects the diverse sounds that influence his art—an interspersing of old-school R&B elements with flecks of contemporary melodic and lo-fi rap. Hard to put your finger on it, SHOTTY is creating his own category of music, crossing genre borders and blending generational understanding of what qualifies as “R&B”. “The best way I would describe it is as something you would play on a late night drive with the windows down, either when the sun is setting or coming home from a party when the sun is rising.” His tracks, as evidenced by his latest single, are scenic snapshots of a fleeting moment in time. “I’m a true lover boy at heart, so I romanticize every experience in my life and put it in my music. I feel like I’m experiencing more meaningful moments as I’m growing older, and translating them into words is proving less difficult.”

SHOTTY is on a roll, unceasingly delivering on his goals and raising the bar for what he expects from himself. This year, he has big plans—“big” being an understatement. Hinting at a few new exciting projects on the way (“an EP titled Only After 2AM,” for one) he is sketching out his pathway to success. “I plan to end this year being the year everybody knows SHOTTYUPNEXT,” he declares. Single after single, he is on his way to becoming yet another notable name from his native Queens. “I’ve got friends and family that need me. I’m going to bat for them.”

Listen to "Vibes Cartel", out now.

Photographer: Terrell Jarrion
Music Producer: Vikas Prasad Engineer: Andrew Kim,
Mastered By: Dan Millice
Single cover Photography by Johnny Komodo


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