Armani White on his new album, influences, and why Will Smith is 'underrated'

'Everybody I connected with kind of embraced me, so it’s been fun'

In an exclusive interview with Audacy's Mike Adam, up-and-coming rapper Armani White talks about his new album Road to Casablanco, and how his greatest influences lead him to create it.

Listen Now: Armani White at Hard Rock Hotel New York

Remix collaborations with the likes of Ludacris and Busta Rhymes certainly help, as White mentioned that he’s been able to connect with some of his hometown’s best-and-brightest, like Questlove. “Me and Jazzy Jeff we stayed up all night in Abu Dhabi just talking about being from Philly” he said, smiling. “Everybody I connected with kind of embraced me, so it’s been fun.”

Naturally, they couldn’t forget DJ Jazzy Jeff’s partner, 'The Fresh Prince' Will Smith. “What I’m doing with happy hood, that was Will Smith being from Philly but changing the narrative, changing the sound, changing the style” he explained. Although he said Will Smith is vastly underrated in the world of Hip-Hop, White proudly claims Will Smith as one of his “legends.”

“Even just on the male side, a lot of the style and everything, a lot of that came from Philly. It came from Will Smith with 'Fresh Prince' and all that, we grew up watching that, we grew up inspired by that.”

Armani White’s revealed his most recent musical inspiration is Janelle Monáe, who he was too starstruck to approach in person. “She’s got an aura to her, I love Janelle Monáe just like a genuine fan. Even just watching her perform helped me so much with identifying and finding out who I am as a performer. Because she leaves it all on the stage. Ah, I love Janelle Monáe so much bro,” he gushed and laughed at himself.

But the biggest influence of them all will always be his father, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer when White was just nineteen years old. He’s been very candid on the experience, even dedicating his debut album Keep In Touch to keep his father’s memory alive. White reflected on his dad, saying, “I think if anything he’d just really be happy at the fact I’m able to just pick up keep going, and found ways to like, work through my pain and find happiness inside of it.”

Be sure to check out the whole interview with Mike Adam above.

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