The Break Presents: Ye Ali
From the middle of of the country, a new talent is beginning to make a name for himself. Indiana-bred, L.A.-based singer-rapper Ye Ali is gaining some major traction for effortlessly infusing trap and R&B, making music to vibe to or turn up in a party with friends.
The self-proclaimed Traphouse Jodeci has steadily been releasing top quality work for the last six months, working with the likes of Kirko Bangz, Lil Durk, Bizzy Crook and Jazz Cartier, to name a few. One of his most recent offerings, "Fiji Dasani," finds him riding solo, crafting a jam perfect for the bedroom as he requests a threesome (as long as the girls "don't put it on Snapchat").
This year, things are looking very bright for the rising star. "2016 I’m working on a project and a few other stuff for Freddie Gibbs, K Camp, Kirko Bangz, PJ, so a lot of special interest projects. I’m really excited with working with those artists," Ye Ali tells XXL during a trip to New York City.
Since his breakout song "Ring 4x" earlier this year, things have been taking off for Ye Ali. Now the sky is the limit for the Midwest native. Here's why you need to pay attention to his movement.
Name: Ye Ali
Reppin: Hammond, Ind.
I grew up listening to: "I grew up in a Muslim household so I didn’t hear my first rap album until I was 17. I bought Ludcris’ Word of Mouf. I had to go back and buy it because I had liked some of the songs I heard so I needed to listen to it. I grew up listening to a lot of R&B like Static Major, Ginuwine, Silk, R. Kelly, Jodeci, [Lil] Wayne, Sade, Anita Baker. Wayne was like the only rapper I was in love with. Wayne was in a different mode. When I discovered him, it was probably Tha Carter II so I was kind of late.
"I had to go back and listen to everything else. I was like, this dude might be the best rapper on the planet. But I was still an R&B head, old school stuff, Ready for the World, Public Announcement, back when R. Kelly was bald and in a group, a lot of people forget about that. That when I was first really rocking with music. Then Static Major, God rest the dead, he’s my favorite artist. That’s why I got the braids; he’s like my favorite artist period.
"I was always in band, choir, but I didn’t really appreciate the arts until maybe college. Then I didn’t pursue music in college, It was business and sports marketing. But I got into some legal trouble then my dad was like you might want to pursue music because you’re going to have a hard time getting a job right now. I was in a tough situation. I got kicked out of school, I went to jail, and it turned my life upside. I had a job lined up, lost the job, everything kind of crumbled. 2012, so I just took music serious as hell since then.
"First time I was in the studio was, I’m in a fraternity, and so in the process into becoming a member, they made me sing. I just started freestylin’. They made me rap to like 10 beats for like three more hours. I always been good like, I used to talk a lot of shit, I used to roast people, so I was good with just coming at you with everything. Offensive, funny, I was just witty. So I went to the studio and after that I found this dude name Joby White, he was a local rapper at the time in college and so I was like give me some studio time and he let me record myself. He was like, 'I'ma leave for a couple of hours, have fun, you know how to do it?' I was like, 'Yeah, I know how to record and cut.' So he let me just play with some beats and just go in. So that was my first time and then I had no direction. It was my first time in the studio and was juts trying stuff. Yea, back in Bloomington."
My style has been compared to: "Traphouse Jodeci, edgy, honest, intimate, those are the three adjectives that I would use to describe it."
Something people don’t know about me: "I wanted to be an engineer so for a great part of my life I built robots and spaceships. I was into a lot of robotics and electronics and I thought I was going tot go to engineering school. But, definitely didn’t."
Standout record or moment to date: "Definitely, 'Ring' and I would say 'Late Night Flex.' 'Late Night Flex' was the first time people saw me in a video. It was just like a fun time. Nobody knew we were doing a video at the time so that why it looks like we’re having a regular party. 'Ring' is definitely my personal favorite. It was the first song that I made that I quit my job. The next day I made that in five, 10 minutes. Sap sent me the beat, I sent him voice notes back, not even in the studio, voice notes. He said this is a hit and we went to the studio and that’s history pretty much. I knew that was going to be the one. So many people come up to me like, 'Bro I always heard your songs but your name never clicked.' I asked them what did it, and it's usually 'Ring.' That song is usually everybody intro to me and they go back and listen to 'Thigh Kisser' and 'Trust Me Freestyle' and 'Tingz' things like that."
My goal in hip-hop is: "My goal is in music is to make great music and inspire people. I think we get so lost in validation. We forget that these total strangers from all over the world that happened to like our music is like all that matters. Seeing Kanye get so mad about the Grammys and I get it but as long as your people love it, your fans are buying the album and the tours, that’s really it. We seek validation for people who are so far removed from the culture. It really doesn’t hold much validation when it comes down to it. I think just making sure that I keep making music for myself and for people who would love it too. I think it so important to just stay true to the music. You can take away everything else and still have music. You can take away music then you don’t have everything else. Like you can understand the foundation, which you’re building your music off of."
I’m the next: "Big thing, next big thing; I think not just in the realm of music but pop culture period. I kept myself hidden purposely for so long. Purposely didn’t travel, purposely didn’t work with a lot of people, purposely didn’t post a lot of pictures until the last six months when I was ready for everybody to see so. With that there’s going to be a lot of things I’m going to get involved in; print, modeling, production, songwriting behind the scenes, as well as merchandise and stuff like that. I actually got into the game through making clothes. That was my way in before people know I made music. I made clothes, hats and shit so that really opened people’s eyes. I think next in general is a pretty broad term to describe what I’m heading to. If the landscape of music changed tomorrow I would be in a great position as opposed to thinking this is my only time. Only I knew how to time it perfectly. I’m a very strategic person."
Standout: "Ring 4x"
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