Local rapper WIN talks new single, Bronx Summer Jam and more

Photo courtesy of The Fox & King

A Bronx musician is taking the stage this weekend as a part of the highly anticipated Bronx Summer Jam.

WIN is a local musician under the Bronx’s homegrown The Fox & King label and the CEO of Buildin Records. Music has been a big part of WIN’s life, starting back with his grandfather.

“My grandfather has been in the music industry for his whole life. He used to open for The Beatles back before they blew up,” said WIN. “I’ve always been in that music studio element, and once I started getting into hip hop as a young, young kid, it was pretty much over after that.”

WIN was no stranger to writing lyrics, having had a strong interest in poetry growing up. He eventually found his sound in the neo-hip hop genre, starting off by freestyling on the streets of the Bronx. 

“One of my really good friends, Marissa, heard me freestyle one time and she was confused. She never heard me rap before. She was like, ‘You do this?’ and I said ‘Yeah,” so she said, ‘Why aren’t you in the studio?'” said WIN. “She said, ‘I wanna be your manager’ and the next week I’m in the studio. From there, I was learning how to make songs because freestyling in the street is a completely different beast than actually going into the studio or making music, learning breath control, and all that stuff.”

WIN released his first mix tape in 2011 and has been making music and performing ever since. Over the years, he has fully fallen in love with the creative process of making music in a studio.

“The recording always starts with [something] like a show. From that point on, I get new ideas on how to make the song breathe and make the record sound really nice,” said WIN. “Then it gives me an opportunity to really perform it out.”

WIN recently dropped a new single “Goodnight,” along with a music video for the song. The rapper says that releasing the song was a three-year journey that began after he started therapy.

“[Therapy] gave me a new way of like processing information and really making music. It felt really good to connect all those things and put it on the record,” said WIN.

WINPhoto courtesy of The Fox & King

Considering that the COVID-19 pandemic took place over the last three years, WIN noted that the isolation helped really get him going on the music-making process and creating this new single. He had to really step his game up on his recording equipment and fashioned his own studio right in his home.

“I was writing this record at the height of COVID. One of the lines I say, ‘Trapped inside the box while the seasons change’ — I was literally in my living room looking out the window and I had this thought to myself, all this time is passing by and I’m stuck in this box,” said WIN. Even though it’s my home, it’s like somewhere where I’m not allowed to leave or go outside, watching the seasons literally changing outside this window is kind of a trippy concept.” 

The single officially dropped online on June 7, to which WIN says the feedback from fans has been immensely positive.

“It’s really good to see how I meant for it to be taken is how people are receiving it because with art, you put it out and you intend for it to be one thing, but people are gonna perceive it a billion different ways,” said WIN. “But you know, with the understanding of self and self-help and self-knowledge, I feel like people are getting that concept from what I’m putting out.”

WIN will be taking the stage again this year at Bronx Summer Jam, a free annual music festival that celebrates all things the Bronx that is taking place on July 15. WIN was a part of the lineup for last year’s festival and is excited to take the stage again.

“It’s really good to come back as an artist again with new material and be able to perform some new stuff to people,” said WIN. “It’s my hometown. Any time I get to perform in the Bronx, it’s a blessing.”

WIN in particular is most looking forward to interacting with the crowd during his Bronx Summer Jam set.

“It’s a give and take with the crowd. So I really enjoy that part of it where it’s just like, I’m coming to perform, I receive a lot of energy from the crowd,” said WIN. “I get to give them my energy. It’s kind of like a conversation back and forth. We get to vibe out while I’m on stage.”

You can keep up with WIN by visiting worldwidewin.nyc. For more information about Bronx Summer Jam, visit bronxsummerjam.com.

Updated at 11:31 a.m. on June 26. This story was updated to reflect the new Bronx Summer Jam date, which was postponed due to weather.