Young By Name Not By Years: An Interview with Yung Nate
Yung Nate is one of the most passionate artists I have come across as of late. His range is impeccable, from songs about ‘butchering’ up the haters, to songs about making love to his lady (in graphic detail) he doesn’t hold anything back. Even just sitting down and talking to this young man, you can feel him. As he speaks about his dreams, his fears and his inspiration his eyes and words are so filled with his emotions you might think he is about to tear up. He just wants to be listened to, and at this point people hear him but they’re not really listening, at least not yet.
Nesha: Where does all this emotion and passion come from that you have in all your songs?
Yung Nate: I’m basically someone that puts my all into everything that I do. Whatever I do you could expect me to give every last bit of it. I played basketball for a little bit of my life so that’s all I did was play basketball. Now, I’m at a point where I’m making music so this is what I’m doing. I’m putting my all into it and I’m going to settle for nothing less than the best. I’m not going to be the [dude] that’s [just] aight or whatever then that’s not what I should have been doing.
I’m very ambitious. Sort of like you.
Nesha: How long have you been rapping?
Yung Nate: I’ve been rapping since eleventh grade, so for five years. Officially, I layed down my first track in twelfth grade. That’s when I started taking this seriously.
Nesha: What happened to make you start taking your music seriously?
Yung Nate: It took someone trying to take my life. I was on a path doing dumb [stuff] like hustling and shit and I just realized it was time for a change.
Nesha: Hustling like selling drugs?
Yung Nate: Like anything. I’m basically a hustler. To this day I still hustle. I hustle with words. I hustle with anything. I’m about my money but it took me hustling the wrong things to realize that I’m smarter than this. I’m smarter than somebody who is going to be stuck in the streets or whatever. So, I had to find an outlet to put my energy into. So, basically it came as music. Just being around [dudes that do it]. I got introduced to Charles [Hamilton] at FDA high school. He saw something in me and so I started out making the beats, I used to be a producer.
Nesha: How would you describe your style?
Yung Nate: My style is rebellious. I’m rebelling against the industry. Demevolist that’s my team, that’s my nation, we call ourselves Nu-Hop. Fuck the bullshit, can’t nobody tell me what I am. Can’t nobody tell me Nate is a rapper. Yes I rap but as far as saying all I do is rap, nah. I might get on a track and not even feel like rapping. I might feel like singing or something like that.
Nesha: I never heard any song with you singing on it.
Yug Nate: I sing on songs. If somebody is like yo Nate I need a hook Imma dead go in there and harmonize.
Nesha: Can you sing?
Yung Nate: No, I cant sing. Not professionally but you give me some melodine, some auto tune some reverb and I’ll sound like Luther, I lie to you not.
Nesha: Could you make me a singer?
Yung Nate: I could make you a singer. They could make this conversation a song. They got that melodine shit. A majority of the people out can’t sing.
Nesha: How did you learn all of this stuff?
Yung Nate: I learned production and engineering before I even started recording my self. It was part of the program. You don’t just go out and do something, I like to learn everything about it. I want to basically know the details. I don’t move until I know what I’m stepping into. So, I basically learned everything I needed to know about pro tools. Then I stepped onto the other side of the mic once I built up my confidence enough that I knew how to make myself sound good. I began to think that I could actually start doing this. So then I started writing my songs and what not and started recording my songs.
Nesha: Do you remember your first song?
Yung Nate: My first song was “In the City” and I tried to do the whole damn song by myself. The verses were retarded but when I got to the hook, everybody in the studio started laughing. I was repeating the same thing over and over again for like 16 bars. So Chuck ran into the booth like ‘yo Nate what the fuck is you doing!? You gotta do this. You gotta make something catchy.’ And I was there like yo b, aint nothing catchier than me repeating the same thing. So Chuck came in and Chuck did the hook for me. So its like just sitting back and watching him do it and watching older people in Demevolist do it I kind of grasp my style on how to create a song. And it was over me writing songs that I learned how to incorporate myself in the music because a lot of people don’t know how to bring themselves in the music.
Nesha: Do you feel like people in the industry are gimmicks and create an image that’s not them?
Yung Nate: I don’t give a fuck about a gimmick. It’s when you dead ass like don’t say anything over a record I don’t know who you are. If you could introduce a gimmick to me and dead run with that gimmick. Like Chuck has the Sonic the Hedgehog and he dead runs with that shit. He incorporated the hedgehog shit into his music. Rick Ross and Jeezy have the hustling shit. And they incorporate that into their music. So I fucks with that. I don’t fucks with somebody that I’ve known forever but I still don’t know. Like I’ve heard of Fabolous forever but I still don’t know who Fabolous the person is. I’ve heard of Lupe, but I still don’t know who Lupe the person is.
Nesha: How are you going to ensure people know who you are?
Yung Nate: I spit about me, I spit about nothing but myself. Say today I’m having a conversation with you, I could go make a song about this conversation. That’s what I do. I talk about nothing but shit that happens to me. I’ve never been to the moon, so you’re not going to hear me talk about going to the moon. My music is basically my autobiography.
Nesha: But you have songs about butchering up people.
Yung Nate: If you really truly listen to me then you understand I’m talking about some real shit. In that shit I said I aint looking for beef I aint got the time. I’m basically speaking to hip hop. That was the first time people heard me on a large scale and I figure I would start it off like that. For real, I’m not here to beef with nobody. I’ve been in the hospital plenty of times I’ve sent [dudes] to the hospital. I’m not trying to go there over no damn music. [Dudes] feel like they want to come see me my [dude] come see me, we not going to talk about this on no record. So I figured I start off like that. But then the rest of the shit on ‘Butcherman’ was just like that’s why I keep [dudes] with me that I aint got a prob.
Nesha: You talk a lot about sex and those songs are crazy to me!
Yung Nate: It’s not crazy but I go into details. I listen to like BIG, and what BIG did was, if BIG ever told you a story he was so detailed in that story that you understood everything. Like if shorty had freckles on her face, he would talk about her freckles not on some punch line shit but some describing her features to a tee describing her day to a tee. “I had a t-bone steak, cheese eggs, and Welchers grape” that’s a party song but he’s still describing what just went on. So if I’m ever telling a story that’s how Imma do it. Imma be wild detailed. If I’m telling a story about sex Imma be wild detailed about how I have sex. I listen to Pac and what I got out of Pac was never being at a lost for words and make every single word means something. Every single word that he said meant something. If I’m going to take the time to write down these words and speak them to you and rap them our again then I’m going to make sure that you hear every single word, that you feel every single word. So a lot of people say Nate we hear you and we listen to you and feel your emotion, they say I’m a very emotional artist. So that’s the reason why, I’m going to give you my heart and my soul. I listen to HOV because I know how to talk money I was born a hustler I’m going to die a hustler. So, I get that from HOV. I know how to talk money.
Nesha: So how does Charles Hamilton’s deal situation affect you?
Yung Nate: To me, it puts me on a higher platou. People look like aight B Imma be next up Imma be next up. I’m getting exposure now that I may not have gotten before. People might look at it like Chuck changed after the deal. No Chucks the same, just with money. We still the same, we still [dudes], that’s still Charles to me. He’s still an asshole sometimes, he’s still a dick head, he still makes dumb decisions. I still do the same dumb shit. Shit hasn’t changed but [dudes] just got cars and a house now. We don’t have to want anything and it’s a blessing.
Nesha: How would you explain that situation. Are you considered signed?
Yung Nate: My situation is Yung Nate is unsigned. Yung Nate is the hottest unsigned act alive.
Nesha: I thought Demeveolist was a label though.
Yung Nate: Demevolist is a label and I’m a Demevolist artist.
Nesha: So are you looking to be signed by a label?
Yung Nate: Yea.
Nesha: I know you and Charles Hamilton are close and you two went through a lot together. So, were you homeless as well?
Yung Nate: My mother didn’t understand what I was doing. I dropped out of school, I was just all music. It wasn’t until the ball got rolling until she finally understood. But my girl at the time I moved into her house. I stayed with my grandmother for a little while, she couldn’t stand me there I had to leave.
Nesha: So how do you feel now with everything turned around?
Yung Nate: I went from homeless to broke.
Nesha: Do you even think about it? Do you even know how to describe how you feel about it?
Yung Nate: I feel like I’m nowhere near where I want to be.
Nesha: Where do you want to be?
Yung Nate: I honestly can’t answer that question but right now I want to make it in this music thing and its just proving to myself that I could do it and showing that I didn’t waste years of my life. Whatever I do its going to be with music.
Nesha: How do you feel about the state of music?
Yung Nate: Hip Hop is looking for somebody to just come along. I go to these shows all the time and the first thing they say is “we’re saving hip hop” or hip hop lives. And then they get up and do the same bull shit everybody else been doing. And if they don’t get up and do what everyone else is doing they do a song that’s an ode to hip hop and I respect that but you aint going to save hip hop on that shit, black people didn’t escape slavery by talking about the old slaves or talking about how it used to be back in Africa. They ended slavery by the underground railroad, by abolitionists and stuff like that. You gotta move forward. Hip hop just needs someone to move the fuck forward. It hasn’t evolved its still in the same circle, the same shit, the same people on the top of the game. Somebody need to push them [dudes] off. Just have somebody speak. Honestly I fucked with Lil Wayne for a minute, but this new shit I don’t know if it’s the drugs and shit he not speaking anymore. He says the same shit every single time that’s stupid to me.
Nesha: Would you compare yourself to any artist that’s out now?
Yung Nate: Depending on what you hear from me on that particular time. This week I might be making hood shit, next week I’ll be making trap music, next week I’ll be making chick shit.
Nesha: So you wouldn’t compare yourself to one person or a couple people combined?
Yung Nate: You could listen to me and tell I listen to a lot of people. Like when it comes to hooks you are going to say Nate is on his 50 shit or Nate is on his Max B shit. I might want to be spaced out on a track and I might take some shit from Outkast. I might be on my smooth shit so I can take some shit from LL. I’m just going to try stuff I’m young so I got time to bump my head I go time for people to say yo that’s wack Nate don’t do that and I can come back harder the next time. That’s the problem with these old [dudes] pushing they age back because what happens is if the game gets oversaturated with a bunch of young [dudes] coming out and they bump they heads a lot, its over from them. But back in the day, if I was a young [dude] I came out with some wack shit I could counter that with some hotter shit and you would fuck with me. But if I’m 30 and I’m saying I’m 24 in one magazine and in the other magazine I say that I’m 23 I can’t do that. Shit gets fucked up.
Nesha: Is there something that inspires you?
Yung Nate: With life, I’m inspired by a lot. I’m inspired by my cousin Vince. I remember getting my ass whipped in the park. I was in the projects and getting my ass whipped over fighting over basketball. I was young fighting these big ass [dudes]. And Vince is not no bigger than me but he is older than me and he fought like four [dudes]. And it just so happen that I lost Vince right before I went to college. Every rhyme that I write is inspired by him. I’m inspired by him every single day. It’s a lot of shit. I’m inspired by life.
Nesha: What is it about life though?
In music I’m inspired by my peers I want to be the voice or at least the spark plug that leads my nation that leads the youth into just saying yo we’re tired of this shit. Every change that’s ever happened in the world has not happened by the old people it happened by the young kids, the teenagers. It happens with us because we’re not used to our conditions. And for some reason it seems like the young people are getting complacent. Yea we elected Obama but if it wasn’t for Obama to come along we would have rocked out with whoever they would have put up. But Obama just happened to come so lets do this Obama shit but then what? We got Obama in there now but what are we going to do as far as people. Like young people say yo Obama get in office I can do whatever the fuck I want. Obama get in office that just mean that shit is harder. You going to get your ass whopped if you try to do something now. They going to put the black people under a microscope now. But anyway, I’m inspired by the youth. I’m inspired by you.
Nesha: What are your goals for 2009?
Yung Nate: 2009 I want a deal. I’m not settling for less than 500,000 dollars I want that to be my advance. I want a nice little bit of money to sit on because I’m tired of doing this shit for free. Yea the love is good but I’m still broke, I’m no where near whereI want to be. I got this project called 200nate. Its like my demo to the world. The first time people will ever hear me. I want to have my first completed album sort of project which is called Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. It was this girls idea to split it up and make two cd’s because I have so much music I’m trying to put out so its like why not. When it comes to Nate, you heard my music before you ever heard of me. For Chuck it was the opposite, you saw his face before you ever heard his music. So I’m pretty much grabbing people. People are gravitating toward me in the exact opposite way. A lot of people think I’m ten feet tall and shit like that because I talk like a giant. I guess I disappoint some people. I don’t even know why girls like me, I don’t find myself attractive at all.
Nesha: Do you talk to a lot of girls?
Yung Nate: No, I don’t trust a lot of people. That’s another one of my fears. Dying alone. I want a family and I fear dying alone. A lot of girls don’t understand me. They don’t understand what I do. They don’t understand why I can’t be there. They really think Imma go to a show and have the groupie girls all over me and [stuff] like that. I’m not that type of dude. I might straight zone out I might have a couple drinks or what not but I’m about my business. After I leave when I’m off the stage I’m out of that place. I might chop it up with people after that sign a couple autographs but past that I’m out of there. I don’t have time to chase the groupies or whatever I want to sit comfortably and then Imma start having fun. It would take someone that understands my life to honestly be with me.
Nesha: What’s your biggest fear?
Yung Nate: My fear is to be forgotten. And for people to feel like oh Nate had potential but he aint do nothing with it. Nate could have did this but he aint do nothing with it. I could put my mind to anything and dead just do that shit. If I decided that I wanted to be a champ text message sender I would sit there and learn how to send them shits the fastest.
Take a listen to one of my favorite tracks by Yung Nate. It features ShowTufli and Charles Hamilton. It’s called “She Got That.”
You can hear more of Yung Nate on the latest Demevolist mixtape available for download HERE.