“I’m a rookie who sounds like I’ve been in the game for a long time; it’s just the quality of the music I’m making,” declares 17-year-old rapper Y Chibi. The Dallas, Texas native of Nigerian heritage used his 2020 to make a powerful introduction. His Fresh Ayr-produced ‘Pain-Tience‘ mixtape yielded the “Life Is Short” music video as well as melodic-yet-personal tracks like “Two Face” and “Easy To Die”—all achieving strong six figures at streaming.

Y Chibi translates to “heaven-sent,” adding the initial for young. The idea of divinity is something the streetwise rapper carries with him. “I truly feel that I am heaven-sent. Through all of the predicaments that I’ve been in, I always had God with me; He guided me a lot,” shares the rapper. Chibi Okapara and his older brother grew up in North Dallas’ Josey Lane Apartments.

“It was not a good place. There was not much in the way of resources. It was tough on my mama on my dad; it broke them apart.” When Y Chibi was 12, his father left the family and returned to Africa. Two years later, he died, right as Chibi was becoming a man. “Things happened to me early,” he admits. “I had to focus on growing up. I had to grind and challenge myself; I know that my dad would not want me to feel sad. I pushed myself to become a better person and provide for my mama. Music was one of the things that helped me cope.” 

Music was big in Chibi’s apartment. He was raised on Bob Marley, Tupac, and Lil Wayne“Whenever I had time, I wrote music,” he says. Songwriting took precedence after a hip-replacement disrupted the star athlete’s plans for soccer and basketball. Starting freshman year, Chibi began using makeshift studios to record his tracks. Although the sound quality was less than ideal, his early songs caught on fast. “I put snippets on my Instagram, and people were going crazy. I just wanted to succeed and make my mama proud. I knew we were poor—I seen it. So what can I do to provide? Music became something that I realized I was good at.” 

Beginning with reflective single “Street Dreams,” Chibi’s 2021 promises to kick open new doors to the industry. “I feel like every song I do should stand out,” shares the artist who blends wisdom in his writing with a youthful, energetic delivery. “Whenever I reach a ceiling, I try new things to break it.” From out of the gutter, Y Chibi is taking his career to glory.

Catch up with the buzzing young rapper in this exclusive interview, where Y Chibi discusses his drive towards excellence, life in Dallas, and how his faith keeps him strong. Right now and only on Hype Off Life 👊🏾

Growing up in Dallas must’ve been an interesting ride. What has it been like living in such an iconic place?

Dallas is home to me. It was rough growing up here. This is the place that has molded my sound.

At what point did you know you could make an impact through your music?

I never really thought about that, I just wanted to share my experiences through music and hopefully people can relate.

You were raised on a diverse mix of sounds, ranging from Bob Marley to Lil Wayne. How has having an open ear given you an advantage when it comes to making music?

My culture led me to listen to Bob Marley and other different sounds that have increased my range. I love my culture. My parents always played different music.

In what ways has your faith in God helped you overcome the many challenges you’ve face in life?

God means a lot to me. My name Chibi means God is with me or God sent. I thank God for everything that happens in my life.

Making your mom proud and becoming a better person are overarching themes of why you do what you do. Why do you feel personal development is an important part of success?

I mean I gotta keep developing and getting better. My mom always preaches that. if i don’t grow I can never be at my best and what I want one day is to be one of the greats.

Wisdom can be found throughout your music. In what ways have you become wiser over the years?

I learnt a lot of lessons after I lost my pops. Those lesson have certainly made me wiser for sure.

What’s your #1 goal for 2021?

Go hard with my music, give it my all and never let up.

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