“I Have to Go Hard, It’s Mandatory:” An Interview with Bravo the Bagchaser

Will Schube speaks to the 19-year-old South Los Angeles rapper about being motivated to succeed by his brother's prison bid and his burgeoning hometown stardom.
By    May 19, 2020

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Amongst the numerous young rappers populating LA’s always growing scene, a 19-year-old Mexican-American kid who grew up between the Valley and South LA perhaps stands tallest. Bravo the Bagchaser is unabashedly in the game to rack up checks and put some respect on his family’s name (and that of his community), but his easy-flowing brags of teenage game and street hustles unfurl so effortlessly, he already presents himself as a vet with a couple mil to his name. Discovered by our good friend Rosecrans Vic, Bravo has been bubbling for a few years, but really came into his own with the just-released Born 2 Win. The title may seem like hyperbole, but just look at the cover. Baby Bravo is laced in gold, bathing in hundreds and taking a swig from a big bottle of booze. Self-fulfilling prophecies are born from hard work and good luck, but shit, Bravo the Bagchaser was born to win.

With co-signs and features from AzChike and Fenix Flexin, Bravo is well established amongst the rap hierarchy in LA. He’s featured on a remix of Drakeo the Ruler’s “Pippi Longstockin” with 1TakeJay, and one gets the feeling that Drakeo doesn’t fuck around with his features. If Bravo didn’t bring the heat, he would have been cut. In fact, Drakeo had this to say about the rising star: “Bravo, I’d heard he was good, but I wasn’t about to throw the n**** on the song until I heard him rap, and when I did, I was like damn, actually the shit is real cool.” That’s the gold standard in LA rap. Drakeo’s co-sign is the word from on high, even when he’s behind bars. When I ask Bravo if he’s sick of being the youngest kid in the room, he laughed. “I’m only 19. I like rubbing it in.” — Will Schube

How have you liked the reaction to the new album so far?

Bravo the Bagchaser: They’re responding how I thought they would, they love this shit. I like the response.

When did you begin getting this record together, and getting all the songs together? How long has it been in the process for?

Bravo the Bagchaser: I’d say about 3 or 4 months, but I had to take some songs out and put some songs in. There were some songs that I recorded two weeks before dropping the album, that eventually went on the album.

For two straight years now, you’ve been on the rise. What has that been like for you?

Bravo the Bagchaser: I’ve been trying to get used to it, all this fame shit. It’s new to me. I’m still moving the same, still doing all the same shit, it’s just different now because people are calling my name and shit.

Are you at the point now where you’re sick of people pointing out how young you are?

Bravo the Bagchaser: Hell no, I like embracing my age. I got hot that I turned 19 because I’m doing better than some of these people who say they’re rappers, with a deal.

Where does the drive to be one of the best come from? There are people that are 30 years old who are still figuring it out. Is it your family?

Bravo the Bagchaser: My brother. I didn’t take this shit seriously for a long time. I used to just be rapping or whatever, but when my brother got locked up, that’s when I was like, “I have to go hard. It’s mandatory.”

You got locked up a few times too growing up. How did that change you and the way you approached life and music?

Bravo the Bagchaser: It put me more towards music, because I’d be bored in my cell; wouldn’t have shit to do, just banging on the wall and I would start rapping. It puts me more towards music because before that, I wasn’t even on the music tip like I am now.

Where in LA did you grow up?

Bravo the Bagchaser: In South LA. I went to 24 Street Elementary School for a little bit, and then came back to the Valley, right off of Adams. I also stayed where my mom was at, on San Vincente Boulevard as a little kid. I went back and forth because my mom and pops weren’t together, so it would be time over here and time over there.

Was it tough for you growing up, splitting time between your mom and your dad?

Bravo the Bagchaser: It was, but I made it through.

What was your relationship with your brother like? Did you look up to him?

Bravo the Bagchaser: We looked up to each other. Me and my brother, we ain’t have our pops around, so we had to do that for each other.

How does him being locked up push you in your music?

Bravo the Bagchaser: I talk to him every day. The shit’s wack; I can’t see him because of my record. I can’t visit him, so I can’t see him until he gets out. I do this shit for him. I would’ve stopped rapping, I wouldn’t have even started taking this shit seriously if I didn’t have to, when he got locked up.

Now that you’ve found a lot of success, and you’re starting to get money, how do you keep people away who have come back around and try to get on your coattails now that you’ve made it?

Bravo the Bagchaser: Fuck ‘em. People don’t try to come at me like that.

What’s it like being embraced by some of the big dudes in LA, like the AZ crew, and even Drakeo has a quote about you. What’s it like being embraced by those dudes in LA?

Bravo the Bagchaser: It’s dope. I fuck with the whole LA wave. Before I even started popping as a rapper, I had to listen to music too. I used to listen to all that shit, so it’s crazy that I’m popping in the city.

You got to hop on a Drakeo remix too.

Bravo the Bagchaser: Nah, that’s fire. Free Drakeo, free the Stinc Team for sure.

With this new record, what’s something that you wanted to do that you’ve never done before on an album?

Bravo the Bagchaser: I just want people to know that I’ve been doing everything independently. You don’t have to find a deal to get popping, you really don’t. Some people do it for money and shit like that, but thank God I’ve been able to find my ways, break this shit out, get my way out of this thing. A lot of artists don’t get their way.

Do you have any mentors that have shown you the ropes, or have you figured this out all on your own?

Bravo the Bagchaser: Hell yeah, big mentoring. Shout out Rosecrans Vic.

Yeah, he’s the best, huh?

Bravo the Bagchaser: He did my first interview, and it wasn’t like, “Oh yeah, this is just an interview.” We’re solid. He comes through to my sessions. With the album, I was like, “Oh shit” and started realizing I’ve got to drop this. So, Vic started helping me out, and I didn’t even have to ask him. He’s just real like that. He’s the only person that’s been a mentor to me.

Do you have many friends from your childhood, or are you mostly now just focused on music every step of the way?

Bravo the Bagchaser: It’s just family. I don’t really have friends, my friends are my family. I’ve got a few, but not like that. Shit got tricky over the years. In pain, motherfuckers thought I wouldn’t be shit. Now look at me.

Is that what pushes you as well, is it to prove everyone that doubted you wrong?

Bravo the Bagchaser: For sure. It feels good too.

What’s up next for you? What’s your goal for the rest of the year?

Bravo the Bagchaser: Drop some of these videos, drop the album, and probably start working on a new project. As far as right now, I’m chilling. I’m letting all of this sink in. I’m going to see how they’re reacting to the album and the videos, and that’s what it is.

Do you have a favorite song on the record?

Bravo the Bagchaser: Yeah, “Too Many Problems.” That’s my favorite song.

What about it?

Bravo the Bagchaser: It was a whole new thing to me. I used auto-tune on it, I started singing, and they love it. It’s one of the songs that’s doing a lot of numbers. I like listening to it on my own time too, it’s one of my favorite songs.

When did you first start rapping? How old were you?

Bravo the Bagchaser: Probably in my early teens. Me and my brother would just play around with it, growing up around here everybody does it. Everybody’s tried it. But I started to take it seriously when I was 16.

You came up so quickly. What was that adjustment period like? You just started rapping, and all of a sudden, you have songs that are popping off. Did you expect that was going to happen as quickly as it did?

Bravo the Bagchaser: I expected it to be bigger, but I’m grateful for the fanbase I’ve got and the funds I’ve got going on. I’m still working on getting bigger; I’m trying to go mainstream.

Do you see yourself fitting in with any crew in LA?

Bravo the Bagchaser: I’m on my own. That’s how it’s been, that’s how it’s going to be. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, I’m not going to change anything.

Why do you think people have gravitated towards you as a rapper? What is it about your style, what is it about your bars that people dig?

Bravo the Bagchaser: I feel like it’s because I’m young, because I’m Mexican, they feel like I’ve got the image. I’m tatted up. People feel my music, I don’t say bullshit. If you hear my music, I’m really talking to the streets. At my shows, they’re heartfelt.

You mentioned being Mexican growing up in LA. Did you have any favorite Mexican rappers growing up? Did you model yourself after anyone?

Bravo the Bagchaser: I didn’t really have any Mexican rappers that I really liked. I just grew up on a lot of Too $hort, Nipsey, all of that.

Do you feel a desire to represent the Mexican community in Los Angeles?

Bravo the Bagchaser: In my music, I don’t throw it around like that, but I’m trying to put on for the Mexicans. People know what’s up. As far as that being the only thing I put up, that’s not what I’m trying to do.

What do you hope people listening to the album take away from your tape and understand about you as a rapper?

Bravo the Bagchaser: You hear how far I came, where I started. You hear the progression, the features going crazy. I feel like everything’s looking better. I feel like they should pick up that, “Yo, he’s making something out of himself. He really started from nothing.”

Do you ever give yourself time to reflect on where you started from and where you’re at now?

Bravo the Bagchaser: I definitely do. I have people that remind me all the time. That’s something I do think about, and I keep elevating from here.

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