Red Bull Sound Select artist Twelve’Len made his debut at 3 Days In Miami on a recent Friday night (Feb 24) in his hometown. His mellow yet mildly energetic performance kept the crowd at bay as they also anticipated sets from other New Orleans’ Pell and the DMV’s Goldlink. With his top co-signer Yes Julz hosting the show, Twelve’Len felt truly comfortable performing multiple songs off his recent project Fri(end)s and more.
“It’s still new and fresh to me,” Twelve’Len says about his new situation with Red Bull Sound Select. “They picked me up through and what’s great is the whole community of Red Bull, the whole music community of Red Bull itself. “
There aren’t a lot of artists like Twelve’Len in the new generation of hip-hop and R&B, especially in an era when DJ Khaled, Zoey Dollaz, and Kodak Black are running the mainstream airwaves. While most rising artists from the 305 throw bars over bass-filled, nuanced instrumentals, Twelve doesn’t rely on trap beats meant for the clubs or even an aggressive stage presence to hold his fans’ attention. He simply goes up to the mic and connects with the crowd by being himself.
“There’s no science to soul music at all,” Twelve’Len says about his overall sound. “I want people to come up to me and be like ‘What is that? Is it rap?’ Man it’s whatever you want to call it. As long as you click play on it and its encouraging and influencing you to actually feel some type of way, then I’m doing what I need to be doing.”
The Carol City native came up with the influences of seasoned rappers like Rick Ross affecting every rising rapper in his neighborhood — namely Denzel Curry, Nell, and Yung Simmie. However, his personal influences that have greatly impacted his sound are Al Green and Marvin Gaye. Once he saw his friends start to own their lanes, Twelve felt the need to pursue a rare sound that will reach fans of various genres of music. Twelve’Len, which derives from his grandfather’s first name (Len) and nickname (Twelve), has been developing his own blend of soft rock, hip-hop and R&B he calls “rock & soul.”
With the backing of Coach K, who has been credited for helping ATL phenoms Gucci Mane, Migos, Lil Yachty and Jeezy, Twelve has been able to expand his unique approach to music. Songs like “Star Dust” off his Fri(end)s mixtape and his most recent release “Sixteen” are beginning to reach more ears outside of Miami’s indie scene.
Before his set, VIBE spoke to the rising star about his work with Red Bull Sound Select, his most recent project Fri(end)s, and more.