Unfoonk speaks on being part of a famous music family with Young Thug, their "Slime Language 2" collaboration "Real," his upcoming new music, and more.
A couple of years ago, Unfoonk was a name that didn't ring very many bells, if any at all. These days, the rising rapper from Atlanta has one of the standout songs on the #1 album in the country.
It has been a long and arduous journey for Unfoonk, Young Thug's biological older brother. The rapper was forced to watch his brother become a globally recognized superstar from behind bars, being sentenced to life in prison before Thug became a household name. Using the childhood nickname given to him by his mother and aunt as his stage name, Unfoonk's path was derailed as he spent eleven years in prison. His brother eventually hooked him up with some of the best lawyers in the country, who managed to successfully get him back in the real world as a free man. Now, he's leveling up as an artist himself, able to finally achieve his own destiny as "Real" continues to skyrocket in popularity.
With more new music on the horizon and an endearing story to tell, Unfoonk is the latest rising star from within the YSL Records system. You can learn more about the rapper through his latest feature with HotNewHipHop's Rise & Grind, answering ten basic questions before jumping into a more personalized Q&A session, which you can check out below.
Stay tuned for a new installment of Rise & Grind every Monday.
I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia in a neighborhood that was rough growing up in but we made it out. Can’t complain.
I love my hood because that’s what made me who I am.
I grew up around Yung Ralph, Gucci Mane, folks like that. It was already into me already.
I'm a Capricorn. We’re intelligent, we’re destined to make it, and we gon make it. I love all Capricorns. They like my twins so we gotta stick together.
Top 5 DOA:
My biggest accomplishment is that I made it home to my family and my daughter.
My daughter’s fifteen years old, she's getting big on me. That’s my baby, my other half. And I just had another baby too. She knows I’m daddy, she knows that I’m here. She’s not dating yet though, she knows to not even play with me like that.
Studio Habits & Essentials:
Everybody likes to drink, smoke, stuff like that. You won't believe this. I like to have me a Dr. Pepper before I get in the booth and rap. That shit hypes me up. I be so hyped up in the booth. Everybody say I’m weird but I gotta have a Dr. Pepper before I get in the booth.
Family, laughter, and happiness are my three studio essentials. As long as we keep that around, studio sessions go perfect.
"Real" with Young Thug:
I'm glad that the song is reaching people, I’m glad that it’s doing what it’s doing because God made a way for me.
I've been made the song, [Thug] heard the song and was like “Hey bro, I like that song, I wanna get on it.” It was already done so we took the second verse off and cut my first verse down. Slime got on there and did his thing. He was like, “This is your next big hit, watch what I tell you.” I didn’t believe him till I dropped it and folks was hitting me like, “This is the f*cking hardest song on the tape right now,” but I’m like, shit all the songs hard so we all going crazy. This song was what mellowed the tape out.
I’m trying to create my own lane. The first song I dropped was “Mob Ties” and that had everybody buzzing like, “Who is this little dude,” but when I dropped that song with me and Slime, that put everybody on point like, “Oh he here to stay, I see.” But wait till what I’m bout to drop this time. I’m going bigger and better every time.
I was just going through something the day I made this song. There was this girl I used to talk to and she kept calling my phone, wanting to lie about a situation. I was like, “I don’t wanna hear all that, I’m in the studio.” She kept blowing up my phone so I put the phone on do not disturb. I just went in the booth and heard the beat and everything just came out so perfect and natural. Whatever I was going through that day, I expressed it in that song that day.
I was young. I remember some of them. My cousin helped me. I remember a little bit... it was like, “premeditated, hit harder than a scavenger,” something like that. I always think of that little part like, "Damn that was so long ago."
I don't remember recording it but I remember writing it.
The crowd loved it. I had people screaming, it really made my day.
I feel like God gave me a second chance. I feel my second wind. I can breathe in the wind now. I love it and I’m seeing it. It’s making me happy. I’m finally doing something I wanna do. I’m inspiring people to do something better than be in the streets. You can overcome the streets because that’s where I was at. I’m giving people hope. I get a text or DM everyday like, “Bro, you done gave people hope.” That’s what touches me when I hear shit like that.
I like to just go home and lay down at the end of the day, close my eyes and think for a minute. Then I pick a movie or TV show until I fall asleep. The next day, I get up, thank God I made it to see another day, and do it all over again.
Everybody calls me weird again for this but my favorite shows right now are "The Flash" and "Arrow." It be hidden messages in there that nobody gets. You just have to watch it and you’ll see what I’m saying. People think I just be watching to be watching, but every TV show, every movie, its a hidden message behind all of it.
I’m about to drop my project. It's called “Second Wind,” I’m about to drop that. It’s coming next month. You don’t got that long either.
I've got big dogs featured on there. Just be looking for some heavy hitters in the game.
What was it like growing up with Young Thug as your younger brother? Did you always know that you both were destined to do something in music?
Yes, most definitely.
Dolly and Doraah also release music. You guys have music in your blood. How many siblings do you have?
I got six sisters and four brothers on my mom’s side.
Is anybody else making music in the family?
No, it’s just me, Dolly, Doraah, and Slime.
Slime's daughter is making music now too!
Oh yeah. Yesssiiirrrski. It runs in the family. She hard. I never seen a child go in there and make a whole song without writing anything down in ten minutes. I was in there when she made it, she was just going off her mind. Without even cussing, so that’s genius for a child to be able to do that. She handles her business.
How many songs do you have in the stash with Young Thug right now?
I got like six. I have my own room and he has his own room but we’re in the same studio. I record so much that me and him don’t even be thinking about that, but when we do get around each other, we're like, “I wanna get on that” or “Bro, let’s do something.” We wanna do something, we’ll just do something. Same thing with Gunna. It’s like, “Okay cool,” and then we go.
Growing up, what were your parents like?
Good, everything was good.
What did you study in school?
I used to love science and social studies. Social studies taught me more. Science taught me a lot about things in the world. When I was locked up, I used to watch the little Animal Planet shows. I never knew trees were alive and had feelings, you just gotta watch it and see. That’s the kind of stuff that makes me wanna know more.
Can you tell me the story of how you got signed to YSL officially?
I got signed to YSL after I dropped “Mob Ties.” When that song hit 2 million views, that’s when I received that little surprise party and contract and they told me to go big, so that’s what I’m doing.
The “Mob Ties” remix made it onto the deluxe version of Slime Language 2 with Future, Young Thug, YTB Trench, 24Heavy on there. How did that remix come about?
Pluto called me like, “Hey bro, I wanna do the remix.” Then Slime jumped on it, then Trench jumped on it, it was cool.
You have an amazing story. You were locked up for eleven years before getting out after your brother hooked you up with the best lawyers he knew. Do you mind speaking about why you were incarcerated?
Just a misunderstanding.
Fair enough. I see you sitting in the Lambo truck that Slime got you for your birthday. How are you going to go to raise the ante for his next birthday?
What can you get a king that has it all, man? Shit, we gotta think of something.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t a rapper?
I don’t know man, I just thank God that I became one. I love doing it. I’m gonna count my blessings every day.
What do you want your legacy to be as an artist?
I want everybody to know me and my story, where I came from, why I’m doing it.