Virginia is home to one of the more unique and organic hip-hop scenes in the country. Giving birth to acts such as Missy Elliot, Pharrell Williams, Timbaland, and Clipse, Virginia has long been known as a place that consistently delivers strong talent.
Young Money Yawn, one of Virginia’s brightest up and coming artists, is looking to add his name to the list of legendary Virginia acts. Coming strong off his smash hit “Gutta Gutta” last year, and a pair of mixtapes to his name, Yawn’s visual for his newest single, “Shout Out To Papi”, featuring Pusha T, is premiering on XXL today. The track is slated to appear on Yawn’s upcoming EP, Hustler’s Testament, dropping in September.
We sat down with both Yawn and Pusha T to talk to them about the Cristopher Schafer of Viz Ink-directed video, how far back their relationship goes, and much more.—Marvin Jules
XXL: So the visual for your latest track, “Shout Out To Papi,” is out. How did the track end up coming together?
Young Money Yawn: I signed with RCA/Kemosabe Records, Dr.Luke’s imprint, earlier this year. “Shout Out To Papi” was the first record the people over at Kemosabe gave me. And what I like with them is that over there they make good music, and they were interested in me. They saw what I was doing with tracks like “Gutta Gutta”, but they told me what they saw in me, told me I could make even bigger records. So they gave me “Shout Out To Papi.” Pusha heard the record already, felt like I was ready, so he got on it and gave it to me.
Pusha T: I think the track was sent to me first by Jacob Casher, he works under Dr. Luke. Crazy hits, Kesha, Maroon 5, Birdman, Weezer. He has a crazy love for hip-hop though. And when I heard it, I was like “Yeah, I’m getting on this. Don’t tell Yawn though!” I think he did though [laughs]. I thought it sounded like Yawn, so I did it. I thought came out good. I really see Yawn produced, and I think this was the first times that he was really produced, getting a song that sounds like him.
That I Love Lucy sample is so dope.
YMY: To be honest, I didn’t even notice the I Love Lucy sample until after it dropped!
How long have you two known each other?
YMY: I’ve known Pusha since 1999, when I was 13 years old. We both from Virginia, i’m from Norfolk, he’s from Virginia Beach. Me and Pusha always been good friends, but we became great friends when everybody we knew ended getting locked up. We were all a part of Re-Up Gang from back in the day, but I wasn’t a rapper back then. Re-Up Gang was more than music, but Pusha and Malice were the music part of Re-Up Gang. But me and Push go way back.
PT: I’ve known Yawn for quite a few years, Yawn was always young and in the mix. Yawn was always the young one in the club with the chains, stuntin. We’ve always been super tight.
What was the inspiration behind the “Shout Out To Papi” video?
Young Money Yawn: With the “Shout Out To Papi” video, everything is genuine. You see mansions, pretty women, you see all of that. And all them pretty women, I fed all of them, fed them all hamburgers. Its just about being real.
Yawn, I did some research into your background, and you have an interesting story; growing in the hood in Norfolk, having a millionaire father who was never in your life, being able to overcome that and attend college. How does your upbringing shape your music?
YMY: A lot times, I don’t get the credit for doing my thing because of my father. After my hit single last year, “Gutta Gutta” dropped, a lot of people started criticizing me saying “He’s a fraud, his daddy got money, he ain’t from the gutta!”, but what people gotta understand is that just because he was in a position to better himself, don’t mean he did that for me and my mom though. Everything I got, I got it myself. I been in jail two times, got shot six times in the process of getting everything myself. I look at myself as a reality rapper. I done sold drugs, I done got shot, I done been to jail. I dropped a project last year called ‘Street Gospel’, I dropped a project earlier this year called ‘Lost Scriptures’ , I look at my music as a Scripture because I spit stuff that people can relate to.
Pusha, to see how Yawn is doing now, how does that make you feel to see another guy from Virginia reppin’ the hometown?
PT: I love it so much because, one of the things about being from Virginia, myself being one of the artists spearheading the movement out in Virginia, paving the way out here, giving people the vision like “Oh I could be out here like that, rapping and being on TV too?” Like, that’s how it was for me. Coming up, I didn’t even know people rapped for real, and like, when Teddy Riley moved to Virginia, I was like, “Yo, there’s Ferraris on Virginia Beach? I’m fucked up.” That was enlightening for me. And that’s when [Clipse] came along. And to see Yawn doing the same thing, I love it. He hustles, and he’s outhustled everybody in a year and a half. And he’s done it the right way. He’s created his own movement, created his own lane. Yawn don’t sound like me. Yawn sound like Yawn. And I love it. It’s all about being a man and standing on your own two, and putting on for the state.
Where do you see Yawn progressing into the scene of the hip-hop game?
PT: I feel like Yawn definitely has a place. Yawn is right now, Yawn is in the streets, and what’s going on in the world, and to me that’s what makes for the best street music. In his lane, I feel like he could definitely be a force. As long as Yawn could be here and keep telling his story, Yawn could definitely be here to stay.