Love and War
Spinnin' (feat. Sugarhill Ddot)
BBG Steppaa has never had a plan B. “I just always knew,” he says. “I never wanted to do nothing else. I was gonna make music work some way.” Over the past year, with his explosive anthems and distinct style, the 16-year-old Newark rapper has become the face of New Jersey’s burgeoning drill scene. Since releasing his first song in 2021 and becoming a rap staple in his city, he hasn’t taken his foot off the pedal—and he won’t stop until he becomes a household name.
“Spinnin’,” a recent teamup with buzzing Harlem rapper Sugarhill DDot, is a perfect encapsulation of the sort of aggressive style that has made BBG Steppaa one of the most exciting names in drill. Over a haunting violin melody and skittering percussion, the rappers trade verses about their muscle in the streets—but the song, which recently surpassed one million views on YouTube, also serves as a reminder of the everyday dangers lurking around every corner in their respective neighborhoods. As BBG Steppaa asks at the end of his verse, “Why is you scared if you up in these streets?”
Growing up in Newark’s South Ward, Steppaa always had his mind on music. When he was younger, he listened to Mindless Behavior—the teen band that scored multiple hits in the early 2010s—and watched the series Empire, which he says inspired him to pursue a music career. After a teacher at his school brought him to a local studio, he recorded his first song at the age of 10. But as he got older, his dreams of stardom came face to face with the harsh realities of his neighborhood. “I fell into the streets a little bit,” he says. “Started beefing with a lot of people. You can’t be a regular kid no more.” Shortly after releasing his first music video, for the song “Ona B,” BBG Steppaa got arrested for gun possession and was kicked out of school. He turned all of his focus toward rap, with the aim of getting his mother and himself out of their current situation. “I just got tired of being broke,” he says. “I just wanted to make a way.”
The path soon opened up for him after the release of “Catch Up,” a collaboration with fast-rising Harlem rapper DD Osama. The menacing track catapulted BBG Steppaa into budding fame and cemented him as next-up in Jersey, something that can come with its share of pitfalls. “It’s real rare for somebody from Jersey to take off,” he says. “You get a little buzz around the city and then, next thing you know, you’re nobody again, cycles of that shit. Whatever you’re saying in your music, you gotta be able to stand on that.”
With that in mind, BBG Steppaa is moving forward at a rapid pace. Though life has been speeding a mile a minute for him, he says he plans on going back to finish his high school degree. As he prepares to release his debut album, he’s been recording songs that expand his sound beyond drill. Still, even with all of his success over the past year, he’s far from satisfied. “I just wanna be way bigger than I am now,” he says. “I wanna take it to the next level.”