This year I was unable to attend the festivities of SXSW, but I heard all about it. Young Scolla, Wiz & Bun B all gave memorable performances and the “Put The A in Austin” showcase was the shit! But there was one name that kept being mentioned with all the SXSW talk, YP. I never like being outta the loop, so I had to do my research. Conclusion: I like this guy, being a Chicago native, YP is another mark on my laundry list of reasons why the Midwest is next to blow. I recently caught up with the young phenom to get a deeper understanding of the east-side standout.
YP, whats behind the name?
Well when I first started I took the name Young Prince and I remember there was a guy from Chicago that ended up droppin with the same name. After that someone called me YP and it jus stuck with me.
Your music has a very realistic, almost dark tone to it. How did being raised in Chicago affect your subject matter?
This city and the experiences we go through are my means of motivation. I feel as though the topics I discuss are EXTREMELY real here. My city was on CNN multiple times due to the crime and poverty. It’s nothing to brag on but it’s something that definitely should have a light shined on it. These are the things we go through. These are the things we see on a daily basis here. It’s much more than the bright lights and skyline have shown people.
Describe your style in 3 words
Real, Emotional, Relateable
Who are your musical influences?
You always have the GREATS Jay-Z, Nas and those guys but I feel as though I was influenced by Chicago artists more than anything. We all grew up listening to pioneers like Twista, Crucial Conflict, Common, Ye, and then you have Bump J and the GoonSquad and where I’m from in Chicago, to say they had a heavy influence is an understatement.
Your music is a pretty stark contrast from what Chicago is known for, how did you find a home in Chicago’s music scene? Was it hard? Were you easily accepted?
I started with just trying to get my name out there the best way possible. I don’t think it’s hard because I was always taught you get what you put into something. So if you dedicate yourself to your craft and go as hard as possible then you should see some type of result whether it’s negative or positive. If you keep pushing, eventually you will knock that door down. I don’t really worry with being accepted because at the end of the day these are my expressions. I want you to buy into me not me trying to please the world. I would never get anywhere thinking like that. I would forever be trying to please an audience. I don’t believe you should have to do that.
Speak on the album Classified: Whats behind the title? What roll did Fakeshore Drive play?
Well I named it CLASSIFIED after the section in the newspaper. When you look in the classified section you can find basically ANYTHING. I just wanted to show versatility. FakeShoreDrive played a real key role. Andrew believed in my vision and was behind me from the jump. He did whatever he could to help promote it and get the word out to as many people as possible. He is owed a great deal for that!!!
You had a couple of great features on the album, most notable was “Words of Wisdom” with Mikkey Halsted. Its a great song! How did the collaboration occur?
Thank you!! Well it turns out Mikkey had been watching what I was doing. There was this interview I did at a local college radio station and he came up there. We spoke there and exchanged info. Also, he is good friends with my manager which made it a smoother situation. I told him I respected him as an artist. From then on it just happened. Mikkey really looks out for me. It’s personal with him and me. I look to him for advice on more than just music.
Do you have any special things you do to get ready for a studio session?
Nothing in particular. I just like to have a clear mind and know what I’m goin in for. I didn’t come in the game as a person that just goes to the studio and kicks it. I’m all for work. Time is money.
Whats the biggest hurdle you’ve faced so far?
The biggest hurdle I’ve faced is patience. I have to understand that good things come to those who wait. To me, that’s easier said than done. I’m learning as the days go by that things don’t always happen when you want them to but just be prepared for when they do.
Whats your biggest accomplishment?
So far my biggest accomplishment was a co-sign from Q-tip recently. He just did an interview where they asked him about up and coming artists and he spoke my name and said I was nice. That was HUGE to me.
Follow YP on Twitter: @YP27
check out his site http://yp27.com