FEATURE: Young Chris:Back To Basics
If you rewind back to 2001, Hip-hop seemed unstoppable. The music was great, sales were up and beefs were brewing. At the top of the heap was Jay-Z and Dame Dash’s Roc-A-Fella crew and amidst the likes of Hov, Memphis Bleek and Beanie Sigel, stood Young Chris. As one half of the Young Gunz and part of Beans’ State Property outfit, Chris enjoyed success with the 2003 single “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop;” but never quite capitalized on his potential. After the infamous Roc-A-Fella split, the Young Gunz released their second effort (Brothers From Another) in 2005, but the effort didn’t quite meet the group’s expectations. With the future of the Roc still up in the air, and the music industry going through tumultuous changes, Young Chris has reignited his buzz through the internet via his Youngcblog.com website. Since committing himself to the online grind, Chris has released a myriad of freestyles and mixtapes including his 30 Verses, 30 Days series. After being apart of one of the biggest crews in Hip-hop history, the self-proclaimed Youngest in Charge is out to make a new name for himself. – Rob Markman
XXL: Damn Chris, you’re hitting the net like a brand new artist. What’s your motivation?
Young Chris: I got a whole different respect for the game. My second opportunity it could’ve literally ruined us—me and Neef as a group, by taking a hit. A lot of artists don’t understand that and I’m just now coming up from under that rock since ’05. I’ve been releasing records since ’05 and they’re just starting to pick up on it. I’m just seeing the results now. That’s part of my motivation right there and of course my daughter. It’s time to get up out of here; I wanna be more than an artist at the end of the day. It’s about quality and quantity, I gotta go in, I gotta deliver. I gotta out do ‘em all.
XXL: How do you explain the poor performance of the last Young Gunz album?
YC: The second one the label—well I take a little fault in it myself, but the machine ain’t work it for what it was and we took a hit.
XXL: You blame yourself too? Well what could have ya’ll done differently?
YC: Well the internet been around when we dropped Brothers From Another and the way I’m going hard now, I could’ve been going this hard back then as well. Basically we relied on the machine a whole lot instead of us taking it upon ourselves. That’s why I’m grinding the way I’m grinding today.
XXL: What’s Neef up to these days?
YC: He good, he’s great! He just dropped a mixtape called Forever Do Me. Of course he’s on this 30 Days, 30 Verses mixtape [that I’m dropping]. I’m running a campaign right now on my blog, Youngcblog.com, 30 Days, 30 Verses and at the end of the month I’m gonna give them the entire songs [on a mixtape]. I’m doing this thing from the bottom, without no help. It’s kinda tough, it ain’t sweet.
XXL: Seems like a fresh start for you.
YC: Yup, I feel like a brand new artist. It’s a whole new start; they don’t respect the past. I gotta show ‘em that I can do it all over and that I still got it lyrically and that I can still give ‘em hits. I gotta show and prove, it’s tough getting from under that rock, in January it’s gonna be four years. It’s past due!
XXL: Do you have a new deal in place? Where are you signed?
YC: Right now, it’s still the same deal with Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam. I’m in the process of getting off of Def Jam and leaving that deal. May the best man win and once I get out of there I’m gonna try to create a bidding war. I’m gonna continue to go hard. I want these labels excited when I’m ready to go. I don’t wanna just tell ‘em about my past, I wanna show ‘em what I can do. Numbers don’t lie.
XXL: Most artists get bitter when things aren’t going so well at their label, but you don’t seem to have any chips on your shoulder.
YC: Nah. I’ve been down with [Roc-A-Fella] since I was 15. Jay is my man personally, ya’ll don’t ever gotta question that relationship right there. As far as Def Jam, once Jay and Dame split, it was a whole new building. Up until this day I don’t really know nobody in the building, I only know about three people that I can name. Just, basically no one’s paying attention to me. I’ve been sitting for years and my life’s passing by. I gotta feed my family. Everybody got problems and it’s a million artists on the label so it ain’t nothin’ personal. It got to the point like, “If ya’ll ain’t gonna do nothing with me, then you might as well let me go.”There’s no beef or bad blood.
XXL: A lot of former Def Jam and Roc-A-Fella artists have taken shots at Jay, why is that?
YC: A lot of it is bitterness. That’s one thing that I learned from Jay, I learned not to be bitter in this game. You don’t wanna have bad blood with nobody; you just gotta ride it out. You’re not winning by going against that man, no way in the world. What’s the point of that? You just gotta move on and create a situation for yourself. That’s my man, don’t get it twisted, I love him, but at the end of the day I’m trying to brand Chris.
XXL: Wassup with State Property?
YC: Everybody good. Right now we got good catalog, we got a good stash ready to go. It’s just a matter of everybody getting their solo projects and then coming back together. Everybody is still tight. There is no personal beef or none of that. Everybody just taking care of their families and then when it’s time we’ll be back ready to do it again.
XXL: So what’s the future for Young Chris?
YC: I just wanna get the best situation for me and my family. One day I wanna be an exec myself, a mogul. I don’t wanna make music forever, I wanna make forever music!