More Than Music
Yung Berg looks familiar, but he’s yet to be recognized. To let fans tell it, hits like “Sexy Lady” and “Sexy Can I” weren’t really Berg’s records, but Junior’s and Ray J’s, respectively. Not only did YB produce the tracks, he also penned all the R&B parts on both singles. Writing assignments for Ciara via producer Tricky Stewart could possibly result in more smashes, but chart toppers are the least of Berg’s worries these days. The Chicagoan now finds himself in an all too familiar place: on a mission to introduce the man behind the music. XXLMag.com recently caught up with the self-proclaimed “Young Boss” to touch on his brief feud with Bow Wow, his singing debut and his jewelry game, among other things.
We’re sitting here and you’re making me laugh every two minutes. I had no clue you were funny. Why don't people know that about Berg?
I don’t know. The fucking label, dawg. My team wasn’t right. Now I feel like I got it better, but the label had to understand. They just went into “Sexy Lady.” They didn’t buy into who Berg is as a person. So now that the label knows, I feel like we’re gonna be able to do it, especially with the release date being in August. There’s still enough time for people to grow with me and give me time. It’ll be like, “I fuck with Berg.” Not the music. The music will just be a byproduct.
Rappers are usually put in categories, but you haven’t yet. Where do you think you fit?
I’m the truth. I’m the shit. I don’t know anybody that’s 22-years-old that’s producing and writing music at the capacity that I’m doing it right now, especially real music. Like, Soulja Boy…he can say he wrote that song [“Crank That”] and produced it, but did he produce that shit? That shit sounds like four spoon banging on a table with a fucking 808 and a clap behind it. I just feel like I’m doing that. I’m more like a Faboulous. I make big records, but I can still spit it with the best when I get on my songs with Lil 'Wayne or I get on my songs with Fab and things of that nature, you know?
You just mentioned Soulja Boy, you had a situation with Bow Wow and earlier you said your album got pushed back like Flo Rida’s hair line. What’s with all the name dropping? You have something to get off your chest?
It ain’t a whole lot to get off my chest. It’s just that I’m real and I speak my mind. There’s no censorship going on with me. When I spoke upon the Bow Wow situation, it was me speaking my mind. I’m not hating on Bow Wow. When I was with DMX, he was with Jermaine [Dupri]. He was poppin! I was trying to pop. My shit never happened. It was always that rivalry in me because I wanted that lane. I wanted that money. I wanted to look back, be 22 and have them millions that he got right now. But it didn’t work out that way. And then, it’s not even that. I just want the paper.
Who did you work with on this new mixtape you have out?
The mixtape is out right now. I did one way back in the day with Clinton Sparks that was floating around. Now I just did one with Green Lantern and The Empire. It’s out right now, Young Boss Or Die: Vol.1. Lil’ Wayne’s on two songs on the mixtape. Me, Jazze Pha, Jody Breeze, Pleasure P from Pretty Ricky, Fabolous is on there, me and Ray J got a new song that nobody’s heard that’s on there. It’s countless features. It’s just showing people I can spit it with the spitters. But in the same token, my album is gonna be filled with big records 'cause at the end of the day, I’m not gonna alienate my core fan base, which is bitches, period.
You mentioned that you wrote “Sexy Lady” and “Sexy Can I,” how long have you been writing R&B records?
It happened when I first started messing with Junior. We used to toy around. I used to try to do R&B, but I never really got confident in myself until T-Pain and The Dream came out. I notice these niggas ain’t doing nothing but rapping with melodies. Once I got the blueprint around it, I just took off with that shit. Then “Sexy Lady” came. Now “The Business,” working with Ciara, my working with Dream and Tricky[Stewart]. It’s gonna be big.
How did you link up with Ciara?
I didn’t really link up with Ciara. Tricky’s an executive producer on her project or whatever. And, ya’ll know Tricky did “Umbrella” and all that stuff. Tricky’s from Chicago, but me and Tricky actually met through my mixer on my records, 'cause he mixes all of The Dream and Tricky’s stuff. My mixer was talking about, “Yo, Berg is crazy,” so we finally linked up and we getting to the money right now.
You used the Auto-Tune on a song off your album. Why?
I’m not gonna front. I’m not Chris Brown. I can’t sing like that. Pain might feel like he’s the best singer, but if he was honest, he’d be like, “I’m not the best singer. I was a rapper and I found this fucking instrument and I can sing good enough to where it doesn’t sound like shit.” But you’re not gonna catch me on “American Idol” next week...
Pain said artists need to ask for his permission to use Auto-Tune, did you ask for it?
What’s crazy about it with the whole permission thing is I had a record called “One Call Away” that I did and put the voice coder on it. This is before everybody started going nutty with it. I went to see T-Pain, 'cause I was on the Scream Tour with him…. And I went on his bus and was like, “I want you to get on this record. I was playing the record and he kinda flipped. He was like, “Damn, dawg! You sound kinda like me on this shit a little bit.” I was like, “I need you to do it.” The record never really worked out, but he was like you got my permission to do anything with that shit.
You have this song called, “Manager.” I remember Twista saying, “Let me be your manager” on “Overnight Celebrity,” has it become a Chicago term or something?
I got it from there. To be honest with you, I’m so “Entourage.” I feel like I am the black “Entourage.” I feel like I am the black Vincent [Chase]. I’m just in love with that show and I just felt that was a concept record that we could expand on. I just need 20% of you. If we gonna go together, we gotta grow together. So you give me 20% and I’ma take you to the next level where you need to be.
I saw you at Spotlight Live a few weeks back and I saw one of your chains pop. What went wrong there?
I mean, I had on five chains on when I perform. You see how energetic I am when I perform, so my shit popped.
[Manager cuts in and says, “Tell him about the new shit.”]
My new shit I’m debuting. It’s gon’ be in “The Business” video. It’s gonna make headlines, bigger than Rick Ross’ face piece and all that shit. This is when swag is at an all-time high. When you have an album release and your chain has a release date. I can’t even talk about my chain until “The Business” video when you see it. It has a release date, May 5th. You’ll see it.
You had five chains, but one in particular popped. Did you go back to the designer to confront him about the chain poppin'?
Nah! You gotta see the chains. They’re like the skateboards. The reason it popped is because the skateboards are kinda like dog tags. So it’s one chain holding the weight of motherfuckin’ five pounds on a skateboard and I’m jumpin’ up and down. I ain’t mad at Jason. Shout out to Jason out in Beverly Hills that made all my jewelry. He’s the boss, man. He do Lil Jon’s shit. He do Missy’s shit. He do Michael Jackson pieces, LeBron James pieces, so he’s the man.
Yung Berg’s official debut, Look What You Made Me, is scheduled to hit stores in August.