YnGun: Carolina Rap Legend
O.G. from South Carolina that has a well long and storied career in the south as YnGun, without a doubt, is pioneer of the Carolina Hip Hop scene.
A mixture between soulful and crunk, YnGun gives that needed energy to keep one motivated and entertain while dropping knowledge and wisdom in his music with the guidance that anyone listener could use.
Check out the interview as the Carolina legend breaks down his career, working with Pastor Troy, the true story of the beginning of Carolina’s rap scene and much more.
TRS: What was it like growing up in Columbia, South Carolina?
YnGun: A hard grind, it’s like everywhere else just got to protect yourself and watch yourself, and stay prayed up and just slide through.
TRS: How can you compare Columbia to other cities in the Carolina’s?
YnGun: Ain’t no place like here. I been to a lot of places, even though it’s a little town and everybody knows everybody, nowhere reminds me of here.
TRS: Is there anything iconic about South Carolina?
YnGun: One thing is that [South Carolina] is a slave state, this where [slaves] came in at. That’s one thing about it, somebody knows somebody from South Carolina, your great grandmother, your uncle, somebody is from here. That’s one of the things about it, because this is where it all started at, this is where they came in at off the the slave ships, in Charleston [South Carolina].
TRS: How did South Carolina built you, your character and as an artist?
YnGun: With my music man, I speak the truth and everything I ever put out is 100% the truth. Because in this business here you have power to speak to the people all over the world through music, so I always try to put a message out there and let the people know what it is on where I come from and where I stand at, not just as an artist but as an individual by being a man, a father, and a husband.
Just speaking the truth and letting people know what it is, everybody getting money but if you going talk about [the streets] then you are going to talk about the other side like going to prison, getting took from their families, so you going to have to talk about that part too. I just talk about everything about the game that involves around the game, because I done seen some of it all and I try to be the most truthful individual possible.
TRS: Do you feel like that is what is missing in today’s music, talking about the bad part.
YnGun: For me, it seems like with this generation, I started off independent and still independent so coming through different era’s of music, like I was raised when there was 2Pac, Biggie, Snoop, Outlaws, Master P, and the Hot Boys. So, coming from that era to the era of music we’re at now it kind of seems like the wave of music is going backwards. We came up when they was talking about hustling and feeding their family and now it seems more like using drugs. If you’re going to talk about that part of the game, then you need to talk about the whole aspect of the game. Where the music is at right now, its like these kids are talking about, they doing this and that, but they are not telling what can happen by doing this or what can be an outcome.
Everybody rapping now, because when I first started you could count the people who were rappers in the city, now with the internet and streets so flooded there is a thousand rappers in every city and there might not even be 100,000 people living in that city. Everybody is trying to do the game, more power to them, but right now with the internet being where it is at and the music having so big of an impact, right now is the best time to teach what’s going on. To get together as an unit, as a generation, as being black culture, and by making music we can take over the world if we start telling these kids about how we can do this and how we can invest our money. Yea, you might be selling dope but you can open up a barber shop or you can get a car dealership, telling them different shit they can do, invest your money, build up your community and that’s what needs to be done now.
TRS: How did you get started rapping?
YnGun: I started back when I was like 14 years old. I met Pastor Troy back in the day down in Atlanta, and I ended up doing a couple of records with them. That’s when he first came out, like in ’99 with his I Declare War album. I’m from here, Columbia, and he was fucking with a couple of my partners, 48 Roy and 48 Yatti out of Columbia.
So, we had our own group going on and we decided to link up with them and ended going on a couple of tours with Pastor Troy and opening up for him when he first dropped. That is how really ended up getting into the music game, I didn’t know anything about the business then I was just rapping. A young cat, 14 years old and all I know is that I could spit a rap. They put me on and started putting me on different records, we had a lot of records on the radio and we ended up getting a deal with Mad Society, but like I said that street life shit with a lot of people going to jail, studio got built off dope money and the feds came and took everything. I had to start over with my own shit, 100% independent.
TRS: Pioneers of Carolina Rap?
YnGun: It’s a lot of cats, Servin Mic Irvin was one of the biggest artists when I was coming up. You got Lil Ru, he was doing his thing out of Ridgeway, Mr. Flip, a lot of them boys were doing they thing. It was like a whole lot of different people coming up, 48 Roy and 48 Yatti, TD Da Don, Collard Green, it’s whole lot of veterans that been doing this when I first started, so I looked up to a lot of different artists. So, South Carolina there’s a music scene for those who knew about it, because it is like a whole another level and whole another life in the music scene of South Carolina.
TRS: What are some of your biggest accomplishments that you feel that you have achieved?
YnGun: One of the biggest thing for me is the different people I done reached out to with records, I put a lot multiple platinum artists on records and that felt good for me being independent from South Carolina. To be able to do a song with Sean Paul from the Youngbloodz who sold millions of records, being able to do a record with R&B singer and legend Big Bub from the group Today, so for those artists even wanting to do a track with me was a big accomplishment. Also, being on the radio, having radio spins all over the nation, being recognized as one of the most interesting people of South Carolina in 2013, and got nominated for album of the year for my Pioneer album at SEA (Southern Entertainment Awards). It’s a lot of different accolades, but I really don’t like to talk too much about myself I just like to put it out there and keep doing it.
TRS: What are some of your favorite projects and songs you put out?
YnGun: That’s a tough one, I think one of my biggest and best records is My Life with Big Bub (from R&B Group Today). That song was really about the blood, sweat, and tears and the struggle and everything I went through trying to get it together. I dedicated that one for my kids and my family, so that’s like one of my best records, just because of what I was talking about and I put a lot of pain into that record about coming up grinding, being independent, and trying to come up on your own dollar with no machine, no record deal, nothing behind you just your strength of your own name and own money.
TRS: When it is all said and done what do you want have achieved?
YnGun: I just want the world to know that South Carolina has a voice. I jumped into this shit with a gameplan of the south has something to say and show the world that we are here too. That is why always talk about South Carolina in my music and always talk about my home and where I’m from, I always do my videos in South Carolina just to show this how we been, this where we at, this is what we do, this our style, this is how we rock.
TRS: What should the people be looking out for?
YnGun: I just drop a new record called Emotions, I think we are up about 10,000 streams and downloads as of right now, so we getting the numbers up on it. Just independent, staying down, staying consistent, and keeping the music out there. I got another record I’m going to drop this summer called Move Something and the beat made by Jahlil. I got another one called Lil Buddy, something for the streets that’s coming out towards the end of the summer and that’s for the hood, all of the dope boys, and all the people getting money. I got an album coming out in September called 26/20 and I’m putting that together right now.
TRS: Where can they find you at?
YnGun: I’m everywhere man, my name YnGun, I’m everywhere Tidal, Spotfiy, Apple Music, everywhere you can listen to music and download music I’m there, just YnGun, and that stands for Y Nobody Gives U Nothing. Follow me on Instagram at RiversideYnGun, YnGunMusic on Twitter and YnGun on Facebook and Youtube, just follow me and link up with me, check out my music, check out the videos, we have whole lot coming this year.