“Yung Berg”

 |  June 7, 2007

By Kevin L. Clark


       Being young is certainly a gift and a curse. You have the energy to do anything your heart desires, but the public gives you its fair chance of troubles. For 21 year-old, Yung Berg, the Chi-Town rapper is gaining increasing spins off of his single “Sexy Lady.”

       The rapper, who got his start with DMX’s Bloodline Records, built up his weight with writing songs and being a hype man for DTP’s Shawnna. Through all the learning experiences, the young gunner has applied his wherewithal to the rap business and on the strength of “Sexy Lady,” was signed to Epic Records.


      Crackspace chops it up with the upstart from Chicago as he talks about his humble beginnings, how military school affected his life and explains why there are a lot of Barbie Dolls in rap today.


HHC: You signed on as a hype man for Shawnna – what did you learn about the business that has helped you with your career now?


YB: I’ve known Shawnna my whole life. I was originally signed to Bloodline Records. I grew up in there. I had seen the ins and outs of the business from working with them. But last year, I was her [Shawnna] hype man and “Getting Some Head,” was poppin’ on the charts, on the radio and all that. From working with them, I learned how to really rock a show. And that’s what we did… we rocked it for 6-8 weeks. Later on, I came out to California met up with management and we started cooking up my first single.


HHC: Also, you kind of bounced around when it came to labels. Being signed to Bloodline Records – what was the hardest thing to accept by being with a struggling label?


YB: Honestly, I wasn’t there when they were struggling. I was their first artist signed. X was still burning up hot, so it was all love over there. I was taken care of. But I know what it is to be unsigned and struggling. That shit is absolutely terrible.


HHC: So, from that position of knowing what not to do – how did you get to this stage in your career?


YB: I kept God first and I always knew that I was talented. I was always goal-driven. Everyone else didn’t understand what I was trying to do. Not my family, not anyone, so that’s why I named the album Look What You Made Me. The album holds all of the struggle and hard times in my life and it turned into this. My crew and I, the Young Bosses, are going to ride this out. Because without any struggle, there can be no progress.


HHC: The music business is a shady beast, anyways, so amidst weak album sales – if the album doesn’t do the numbers, what’s the next plan?


YB: That’s not even an option. I’ve already combated that. My single is doing incredible. The video just dropped. It’s MTV Jam of the Week. We’re dropping the remix with Rich Boy and Jim Jones. It’ll be the newest summer anthem. The album should be in stores around August 28th – early September. I have so much star power on the album, even if you didn’t like me, you’d buy it. I show love to the ladies on this one. I got Eve, Fabolous, Twista, Jim Jones, Rich Boy, DJ Khaled, Collie Buddz and the list goes on – Ray J… Shawnna. It’s damn near like a Diddy album. It’s an epic event which is why I signed to Epic Records. Not to mention, we produced our whole album. For a minute, during my struggle, I was just like… upset with people misrepresenting young artists. There’s a lot of microwave music that’s out nowadays. I’m tired of a lot that. But I feel like guys like Juelz Santana and Lil’ Wayne are really spitting! But I don’t think a lot of these younger guys are really writing. They’re like a Barbie doll… they look good, but they’re not good for you.


HHC: How does you military school training help discipline you as a recording artist?


YB: Military school forced me to remain focused and utilize my surroundings. I had no television, no radio, nothing. I was cut off from a lot of things. I didn’t even know that 9/11 happened. It forced me to hone my craft without any tracks. I didn’t even know that Nas and Jay were beefing. So, I learned that you could grind and work without having anything to distract you.


HHC: It’s key to be versatile in this business. Aside from just being a rapper – what other hats do you wear?


YB: I am an exec. I run my own label through Epic. I’m president and CEO. After me, I have Junior who sings on “Sexy Lady,” Hundred Grand, Tony Loco and Cap One. JFK and Rob Holliday are the producers. The three of us are the founders of this whole situation. We’re the triangle offense that holds it down for the whole time.


HHC: Your single is making a nice climb into people iPods and all that. How can you cultivate a success when record companies are having a hard time promoting?


YB: Basically, I didn’t get signed. We put out “Sexy Lady” ourselves and due to it getting burn, we got signed off of that. We’re priority. There are no acts at Epic, so we’re first on their list, you know? When there’s no other artists to worry about I think that that’s a perfect opportunity to create success.


HHC: Have you musical influences ever affected certain business decision?


YB: I have been around Jay and X since I was a kid. They influenced me heavily. Everything that they learned and done has trickled down; the way Jay inspires dudes is crazy. But none of what they do sounds like what I do. My album is totally conceptual. I have live instrumentation. So, the public may think it’ll be one thing, but it’s really another. It’s going to be crazy to see. It’s going to be a doozy!


HHC: How do you measure the caliber of an ill MC?


YB: An ill MC to me is someone who’s about spitting. I’m not going to say that I’m the illest MC, but I’m the greatest artist that’s ever hit the stage. I’ve been conditioned for this. I’m a young Muhammad Ali in this game. I’m just trying to get it. A lot of artists aren’t entertaining. It’s just a record that they drop. I’m going to set the new standard. I’m going to kill ‘em in the studio, on the press, just by saying, “Look what you made me!” To all these rappers who’ve went to the movies, I’m saying that I’m there, too. There’s no way that I’m not going to explore every option of this business.


HHC: With fans listening more to hooks and catchy beats – how do you stand out within a crowd of other talented artists?


YB: I’m about opening myself up to people. Barbershops are going to be arguing about what I’m doing. It is going to be something real serious. A lot of cats got some nice hooks and nice beats, people say that about “Sexy Lady.” But that’s an uncontrollable record. If you think about the process of creating the record, we did it in the backyard. We literally took it the radio station and it blew up. It wasn’t like I was trying to make my first single and everything was forced. We did that shit in 30 minutes! When you get the album, you’re going to realize what’s going on with me.


HHC: What’s next for you, Yung?


YB: Branding the Young Bosses, period! I’m trying to do everything from movies to film to product placement; everything to brand and break any artist that I’m working with. That equals getting money.

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