Exclusives 21 August 2021
Author: Vince

GRM Exclusive: How Shaybo Became The ‘Queen Of The South’

21 August 2021

Shaybo is undoubtedly one of the UK’s finest MCs. Across the board, from freestyles to full tracks, she doesn’t miss a beat and her versatility and skills are unmatched.

A combination of style, flow and unique tone contribute to her standout sound which has drawn fans from across the globe. Harnessing her heritage, the bilingual artist pushes boundaries and fuses the sound of London with her Nigerian heritage.

For those introduced to the rapper’s sound within the last year, her rise may appear swift. However, Shaybo picked up the mic at just 13 years old and has kept her hand in music for the duration. 

Now as she releases her debut mixtape titled Queen Of The South tomorrow (August 20) – a project she says has been 11 years in the making – we take a look at some of the pivotal moments that have shaped, elevated and enhanced her career over the years.

PD.TV Freestyle

A fresh faced young Shaybo delivers an impressive freestyle in Piccadilly circus. Gender doesn’t need a mention when it comes to Shaybo whose lyrical prowess ranks as her as one of the best MCs of the moment.

This has long been the case as can be seen in her early freestyles, as she raps confidently and passionately alongside her male peers, establishing herself as a dominant presence in every freestyle.

Rap City Freestyle

Shaybo has crafted her confidence and attitude over time as well. Even in her younger freestyles you can see the makings of the star she has become. All her freestyles show she is confident, self assured and ready to take on the world.

Early Interviews

Shaybo is known for her blunt and open honesty, both in her lyrical content and her online persona. Though she has grown and developed, you can see her authentic character shines through even in one of her early interviews.

A very young Shaybo  breaks down where her name came from as well as eloquently explaining her position as a fully solo artist where previously she had rapped alongside friends. Announcing herself as a solo artist, again Shaybo’s self-belief is evident even here.

Guess Who’s Back

When Shaybo dropped “Guess Who’s Back” in 2013, it was clear she was reinventing and re-emerging. With a new lower toned delivery closer to the Shaybo we know and love today. Her flows and lyrics also underwent this maturing process, which Is clear to hear in this track. The freestyle gained the MC more visibility as well as converting fans to her sound.

Personal Development

Shaybo stepped away from the mic to pursue her education. Studying social work, because she wanted to be of value to her community . She went on to use these skills by working with survivors of Grenfell who were suffering from the trauma. It was during this time away that she was able to realise that music was her life’s calling.

BL@CKBOX Freestyle

Shaybo’s Blackbox was another defining moment and turning point in her sound. Stepping into her womanhood and cultural influence, she intertwined sexiness with seriousness peppered with bursts of native tongue Yoruba. Putting her stamp on the distinctive sound we now know.

The Deal

Shaybo’s talent also caught the eye of Black Butter, the label responsible for signing artists like J Hus. Shaybo had laid the essential groundwork through her freestyles and life experiences now was entering the next phase of her musical journey.

Daily Duppy

If ever a freestyle signified a rapper’s arrival, it would be Shaybo’s. Another elevation and evolution in her story, the Daily Duppy was equal parts attention grabbing and awe-inducing. Coming for her throne The Queen of the South gave the world a glimpse of what was to come with flawless style and skill.


Last year was definitely going to be the year of Shaybo. With multiple singles and a Daily Duppy under her belt she was poised and prepared for further releases later in the year, with singles like “Dobale” solidifying the sound in the market.

She enlisted “Bella Shmurda” a rising Nigerian star for the remix. This really highlighted Shaybo’s dedication to including her heritage and roots into her music, showing the world exactly who she is and where she is from.

Pandemic Performances

COVID presented a challenge for many of the emerging stars of 2020 with lockdown meaning they couldn’t perform live. Therefore, connecting with that audiences who had grown to love their music during the strange time was out of reach.

However, Shaybo jumped feet first into the world of online performance delivering outstanding stage shows time after time on a variety of platforms. Showcasing her personality, fashion flair and energetic performance style her lockdown performances left fans eagerly awaiting the day they could see his step on the stage in the flesh.

Debut Mixtape

So now we reach the current moment in Shaybo‘s career, the release of her highly anticipated project Queen of the South which drops tomorrow. Given Shaybo’s lengthy time in the music industry and the solid evidence of her building and working on her craft, there is no doubt that Queen of the South will be an astonishing body of work.

This release littered with features, fans will hear Shaybo alongside Jorja Smith, Wale, Dreamdoll and Maile as well as her solo tracks.

Make sure you take it in in full when it arrives tomorrow!