On the low Cleveland emcee Y.G.K. has released one of my favorite releases of last year in “State of Mind”. Teaming up with Soledad Y.G.K bears all over backbreaking production. I got a chance to sit down with him and talk about the album, growing up in Cleveland and what’s to come this year.
DEHH: For those who don’t know who is Y.G.K?
YGK: I’d describe myself as a old soul really. I’m 23 but I’ve always felt like 10 years older. I’d whether be at home than out and I don’t drink or smoke either so I’m what most might call boring. Little bit of a introvert.
DEHH: As a Cleveland native myself, I always want to know about your upbringing and how it led you to hip-hop.
YGK: Upbringing wise my parents were and still are devout Christians, so it was always alot of gospel like Fred Hammond, Mary Mary and of course Kirk Franklin playing. My folks also didn’t like my area school system too much so I ended up being Homeschooled from the first grade on. Shockingly enough though rock music was what I chose to listen to early on, Rap had came into the picture via poetry around 13 for me. I really took to putting my thoughts down on paper but rapping wasn’t even an idea until I stumbled upon Drake and Wayne during their run, plus Nas played a big part in me actually wanting to write.
DEHH: “State Of Mind” was a pleasant surprise last year, tell me how the idea for the album came about.
YGK: After I dropped my first project Long Overdue in 2015 I felt like i could’ve been more transparent. I Wanted people to feel where I’m coming from anytime I released a song or project because I go about music like therapy. I had already been a couple records deep into the creation process when Kendrick’s To Pimp A Butterfly dropped, but after I heard it it definitely inspired me even more to really do what I felt. The way he went about crafting that album was a real spark for me.
DEHH: Off top one of my favorite parts of the record is the chemistry between yourself and Soledad Brother. How did you two link and how did your relationship with him elevate to the point of doing an entire record together?
YGK: I had found Soledad Brother through some of my late night soundcloud beat hunting lol. I hit em’ up to see about some of his beats and he had already heard some of my music to my surprise. So after hearing a good 2 weeks worth of things he had sent me, I told em we might have to do a project together. My plan was originally just a EP but I was in such a groove with everything he was sending I decided we had to do a whole full length album.
DEHH: Tell me about the importance of specifically choosing one person to produce “State Of Mind”
YGK: One of my goals starting out as a newer artist was to put so much work in and have such a presence sonically that new listeners would say “damn who is this dude and how isn’t he signed?” I want every thing to be cohesive because thats huge I think when starting out. It’d be a shame if the first song someone hears is your worst. With Soledad he just had that sound that I really wanted. And I knew his production would alone be perfect to get what I wanted across.
DEHH: When people are done listening to “State Of Mind” what do you want them to take away from it?
YGK: I know this is clichè as hell but I wanted the takeaway to be chase your dreams no matter what. With me being such a introverted sort of invisible type if dude, people and even myself thought this probably isn’t the cards for me. I feel like if you have a passion for something you should chase it regardless of obstacles even if some of those are your own. You gotta live with the regrets if you don’t.
DEHH: 2018 just started but what can we expect from you this year?
YGK: I definitely have a visual or two I still want to do for the project. I got an EP in the works for sure early this year and I have a joint project coming with the talented homie Blak Bravo who was also featured on State of Mind under his old name Shawn Reyez, we have some records I think people are really gonna vibe with. Other than that just more consistency I’m trying to get better with everything I do.