Nice To Meet You
Florida has been a hotbed of talent on the rise in the hip hop community as of late. We’ve recently featured artists like QuESt and Bukkweat Bill from the southeast corner of the country, and this week we take a listen to one more. YS was born and raised in Downtown Orlando, in an area typically referred to as “Black Bottom”, which let’s you know it’s not the greatest section of the city to grow up in.
He started playing drums when he was only 5 years old, creating a spark within himself to make music. He also learned how to play the trumpet and violin when he got older. When he was 10, he vowed he'd become a rapper, after he had perfected his rhymes over the cassette recorder with his older family members. Before long, he was distributing his own mixtapes that he recorded in his bedroom closet slash studio.
From there, his path strays from the typical hip hop story. YS focused on his education, attending college to run track and get his business degree, which he successfully achieved. While focusing on his schoolwork and athletic schedule, he still managed to find time to record music, relaying tracks back and forth to his producer (we'll get to him a little later) via e-mail, never losing sight of the goal he set for himself all those years ago.
When we asked him what his focus is going forward, he simply said, "I know a lot of people pay attention to image and other things of that nature, but my biggest motivation when it comes to music, is the music. Good music is the motive."
Style & Influence
He prides himself in being a storyteller, but also wants to make party music. When we asked who influenced him as an artist coming up, he quickly rattled off a list for us. "My biggest influences growing up were Outkast, Tupac, TI, Young Jeezy, Timbo, Missy Elliot, and Stevie Wonder. Nobody could tell a story like Stevie, in my opinion. You couldn't find me without a CD walkman and Lil Wayne's 500 Degreez jamming. Lil Wayne helped fuel my hunger to be an MC, he's a genius."
In listening to his music, you'll hear a flow reminiscent of Travi$ Scott , a clear trap-influenced style, but with more lyrical prowess and thought-out storylines. You can hear what we mean on "King of the Jungle", which we featured on the site a few months ago.
Networking & Collaborations
YS works mostly with producer Jeremiah Rivers, who he met as a freshman in high school, before bonding over music and becoming fast friends. Rivers is the son of former NBA player and current Clippers coach Doc Rivers, and while YS was off getting his degree, Rivers was chasing his dream as well, playing basketball at Georgetown University. The two kept in touch throughout, never stopping their work together, always plotting the next move in their music careers.
We asked YS which producers and artists, if any, he looked forward to one day working with. "I'd love to work with producers like Pharrell, Rick Rubin, Timbo, and Travis Scott. As far as artists, I'd say Lil Wayne, Jeezy, Curren$y, The Black Keys, James Blake, and Moxie."
You can hear a track he collaborated with artist iE on, the Jeremiah Rivers-produced "Devil", below.
It makes sense he's like to work with the likes of Pharrell and Timbo, as he tends to hop on snare and clap heavy beats with underlying keys. They're instrumentals that are uptempo enough to be played in the whip or the club, but he doesn't drown in them, elevating his delivery enough to tell his story.
YS told us, "the type of production I usually go for is something unique with a grandiose sound. Say for instance, a mix of hip hop and dubstep, or something similar to a movie score. I love heavy bass lines and hard kicks, and changing the beat up throughout the song to add depth."
If you couldn't already tell, there isn't a ton of music to listen to out there yet for YS. His highly anticipated new album Streets Of Rage comes out later this fall, and he's only officially released four songs. But from what we've been able to hear, it's next level, and the album should bring more of the same. One of the highlights for sure is "High With Me", which you can hear below. We asked YS what people should expect from the project and he told us, "people should expect a totally new sound, everything on there is authentic. It's full of party songs as well as songs for your hangover the next morning!"