Chicago is a city buzzing with many talented rappers, and one of the them on the come-up is YP. YP was signed to Universal Republic this past year, and has a few projects in the works, so if you're unfamiliar with him, you will be very familiar soon (reading our interview will also help!). YP talked to HNHH about his new deal, hooking up with Jim Jones, meeting Nas & Q-Tip, and the two mixtapes he's currently working on, No Doz & Sleepwalking. Read the interview below.

YP: Hey, what's up how you doin'?

HotNewHipHop.Com: Good man, how you doin'?

YP: Just really got to recording pretty much a couple of hours ago.

HNHH: Cool, cool. So, for a little introduction for HNHH, some of our viewers may not be familiar with you, so tell us about yourself, what's your story?

YP: I'm from Chicago, the East Side man, I just rep' real hip-hop, my influences are those I really respect, that's all. I just been grindin' forever, so thank God Universal finally cut me a check, so [I can move] me, my mom and my dad out the hood.

HNHH: Okay, and YP how did you get your name, what does the YP stand for?

YP: It stands for “Your Problem.” Um, when I first started rapping in 2007, I went out by the name of “Young Prince” and I just felt that was real corny so I abbreviated it to YP, and it just derived it's own name, “Your Problem,” you know. So I kinda like, adapted that, maybe six months into it.

HNHH: Cool, at the same time, I see the number “27,” it's on your website, and your Twitter, is there any significance for that?

YP: Yeah, that's my birthday, February 27th. When I first got on Twitter I ain't one of those long names, you know, to be tellin' people. So I kinda tried YP that was Yellow Pages but now I that I'm signed we gotta tell the Yellow Pages I need that [Laughs]. But, the only thing that had worked was my birthday, 27, so I just used it, it just kinda like, stuck with me, it's on the website, it's like a way people can Google me.

HNHH: Yeah, yeah. Let's talk about your single “Gettin' Money,” with Jim Jones, which was pretty big, how did you hook up with him?

YP: Jimmy? Uh, Jimmy, actually like a mutual friend hooked us up when he came to Chicago one time for a party. And it so happened that we had just partied so hard, he was like, 'man I really rock with you, let's get in the studio after the party,' so it was like 3 in the morning, 4 in the morning, when we cut that record. He came to the studio, he had gave me his number and I texted him where it was at, and he arrived there like right before I did and we knocked it out.

HNHH: Wow, cool.

YP: Yeah, he's a real proffessional dude, like I rocked him with a long way. When I started courting labels and stuff, when I started going to New York a little bit, he was always one of the first people to hit me up. He's a real stand-up guy man, that's my homie, you know what I'm sayin', I rock with him.

HNHH: And talking about Nas, what's the story behind Nas telling you you're dope, how did you guys meet?

YP: Yeah, Nas told me I'm dope, that was like the dopest shit. It was like the first time I came out to L.A., I came out to chop it up with No I.D. in like October or Novemeber. It was right when Common was droppin' “So Sweet,” he was droppin' the video for that. And I had met No I.D. in the club and he ended up havin' me come to the studio. He had came to me, 'don't you know Q-Tip?' so I said 'yeah,'and then he came to me, uh, he had me follow him, and he threw me in this room and closed the door and all of sudden it was Q-Tip and Nas there. And Q-Tip was like 'yeah man, you know, I heard you're movin' around, I heard people are lookin' at you,' basically congratulatin' me, he's a real big bro, and he asked me the craziest question he was like 'yeah man don't you know Nas?' And I'm like, 'no, I don't know Nas, but who doesn't know who Nas is,' you know? And I was sayin' that Nas was tappin' me on the back, he was like, 'man, you know I heard your stuff man, you're real dope, and Tip said you're the future in hip-hop man, and I believe him,' and that was so much motivation I think I made 50 songs since then.

HNHH: Yeah, actually, that was my next question about your affiliation with Q-Tip, that's a cool story, man.

YP: Q-Tip's the big homie, like, I always hit him with a progress report, let him know what I'm doin'.

HNHH: I read you were heavily influenced by New York rap, what do you think of today's New York rap scene?

YP: I think it's dope. You know, I rock with a lot of New York rappers, my homie Grams, I rock with the ASAP movement, I rock with French Montana, I rock with Smoke DZA. It's a movement out there in New York, I just think they need to continue with the grind it'll catch on. But it's a lot of dope quality material coming from there. I always live with by good music gunna travel, you know. I just think that they, you know, need to continue to work together. But you know, right now, I'm screamin' Chicago!

HNHH: And recently signing a deal with Universal Republic, how's life been since that, has anything changed?

YP: Aint thing changed but the change baby! Everything's been cool, you know, my whole thing is, I'm more than appreciative of the situation and I thank God everyday, but my whole thing is not to dwell in the moment, you know. Til then it's a constant grind, I wake up every mornin' tryna record a song and finish writing verses to another song, you know what I'm sayin'. Like I can't sit down, I gotta continue to go even harder, that's just how I look at it. I got a little bit of satisfaction [knowing that] my mom is straight for a second, you know what I'm sayin', but other than that, I want her straight for life, and I want my kids' kids' kids straight for life. I'm four feet away from the booth right now.

HNHH: You're in the studio all times. So being in the studio, what are you currently working on, what's next?

YP: What's next? I got two mixtapes. Sleepwalking is dropping May 23rd with DJ Sean Mac from Chicago, and then I got No Doz coming the second week of July with DJ Timbuck2 and Green Lantern and I hear y'all got the exclusive on that. Sleepwalking is dope, it's a bunch of freestyles, a couple industry beats, I don't really like doin' that, that much; it's a couple industry beats, and couple features I've done, that I feel are very strong features. No Doz is all original beats though, like me and Don Cannon have been workin', me and Mario Wianans have been workin', me and Excel from Chicago, me and LT from Chicago, and uh, Lokey, it's just a crazy amount of production on it, all original though. Anyone that follows me knows that when I put out a full-fledged project, it's basically like an album, you know, and I just label it 'street album,' or whatever you wanna call it.

HNHH: Yeah, yeah. Can you tell us anything about the features?

YP: Uh, No Doz may not have that many features, it may have some singers on it, like I got K. Fox on it, I may have BJ Chicago Kid on it. It may have one feature on it I'm kinda holding back, I don't really wanna announce it yet. That one just got solidifed, actually, uh, 24 hours ago. So we good on that, I just can't really talk about it yet, I want it to just come out and people will go nuts. No Doz, really no features. Sleepwalking I have King Louie, I have Lil Durk on a song, I have Sly Polaroid on a song, I'm on a track with Fatzmack and Boss Woo, I kept it really Chicago. Except for the song I did with Asher Roth, it's actually on his mixtape as well. It's with Asher Roth, ASAP Twelvy and Chip Tha Ripper, it's called “Bastermating,” I'm throwin' that on there, as well, so people can hear what went down on that tape.

[Asher Roth- "Bastermating" Feat. ASAP Twelvy, Chip Tha Ripper & YP]

HNHH: You described yourself as a “sneakerhead” in “Kick Game,” anything about your shoe collection you wanna share?

YP: I'm for real wit it, man. If you listen to “Kick Game,” I say I remember when the 17 Low's came in Lightening, who remembers that? That was the first Jordan they put in a bag, they put 'em in a bag like the Louis sneakers almost, you know. My kick game is insane. I rock Mikes before they come out, you know what I'm sayin', where I'm from if you rock 'em on the release date you aight, if you rock 'em after the release date you might not be that cool, you know what I'm sayin'. So you gotta have them like two-three weeks before they drop, and they gotta be crazy, they gotta be stupid fresh. See, I'm the sneakerhead that--I rock mine, when I get 'em, no matter how much they cost, or how early I had them, I rock them, might even hoop in them, I might even play ball in them, anything can happen in my sneakers. I might run from the police or some shit, hop some fences, it's crazy.

HNHH: Anything else you wanna add, where can people check your music?

YP: Definitely, definitely. Check me out Twitter @YP27, Facebook, my website, has got every video, every mixtape, all the content's on there. And subscribe to my youtube channel, itsyp27. Real easy.

HNHH: Alright, just to finish up, Vinyl vs. Digital

YP: Vinyl, I like the crisp sound.

HNHH: Studio vs. Tour

YP: Uh, oh shit, touring, 'cause you can put a studio on a tour bus.

HNHH: High tops vs. Low tops

YP: Air force 1's low tops. Mike high tops.

HNHH: Illmatic vs. Reasonable Doubt

YP: Shiiit. Reasonable Doubt. Politics as usual. I love Nas though.

HNHH: Coke vs. Pepsi

YP: I don't drink pop. I drink juice or water.