While Wale and Fat Trel are leading the forefront in the Washington D.C. hip-hop scene, Yung Gleesh is up next to blow. The 23-year-old MC got his name recognized from the off-kilter single “Skrong” and his Yung Lean-assisted “Its Sad Boy,” which were highlights of his budding music career. Another odd gem that followed in 2013 was “Lazyness,” produced by Zaytoven, and showed Gleesh had an eccentric appeal. Not many street rappers fall in his lane, and the outlandish style has piqued interest of rap fans looking for another unknown star in the category.

In similar fashion to the crazy output of Gucci Mane, the Cleanside native is focused on creating his own movement without the help of a big co-sign. Although he’s been approached by Gucci’s 1017 Bricksquad, Chief Keef’s GBE, and Fat Trel’s Slutty Boyz, Gleesh has only been associated with each of them at one point in time. He’s never signed a contract because he strongly believes he’ll be your favorite rappers’ favorite rapper soon enough.

Today, XXL is premiering the William Hoopes-directed video for “Gleechie”—a D.C. slang term that sums up hip-hop’s growing fixation with the DMV and its artists cultivating a major buzz. In The Come Up, we sit down with Yung Gleesh to speak about his early influences, meeting Gucci Mane for the first time, and what we can expect next from him in the future. Everything's gleechie.—Eric Diep

XXL: What makes you different from the other D.C. rappers out now?
Yung Gleesh: We all the same because we all act the same. We all from D.C. Our mentality [the same], we don’t act the same. How we think like deep down inside. Like, 'fuck that nigga” and 'fuck that nigga.' It’s all the same. Differently, I just speak my mind. I guess everyone else don’t speak their mind. I guess they 16 and they fufu or something.

Have you been living in D.C. all of your life?
Yeah, I’ve been all around the world and shit, but I always go back home.

Where have you lived elsewhere?
I’ve lived in Germany. I’ve lived in Paris. I’ve lived in Africa. New York. California. Mexico. I’ve been to Atlanta. Shit, everywhere. Australia.

I think I read that your dad was in the army. Is that why you are always traveling?
I was an army brat.

What was the favorite place you lived at?
I ain’t really lived with him too much. I just spent a couple of summers with him. That’s it. Wherever he was at type shit, that’s where I spent when he was in Germany. None of them were really crazy. Not one of them in particular. They are all different experiences and they are all the same shit. It’s all something different every time.

How did you get into rap? What was that moment where you wanted to be a rapper?
Roger Beat. When I first made a song over a Roger beat. I heard of Roger Beat, a producer out of D.C. He was in my band [where] I came up. I already got famous in the city. I’ve been there doing music and shit. GoGo bands and shit. The nigga Roger Beat, he was a keyboard player in our band. I played with Roger and Roger ended up making beats for local rappers in the city. He's fucking around and joking off his high shit. ‘Maybe, you should start rappin’.’ I fucked around and got on there and then he’s like, ‘Shit. That nigga kind of go.’ He was bullshitting after that. I went full throttle with it. I see something and I went with it.

Rodger Beats was the one who encouraged you to do it?
Not necessarily encourage me, but I would never had [done] that if I did. It was on some high shit. It was one some spur of the moment–weed heads. ‘You should fuck around and get on some songs.’ The song really didn’t come about. You know what I mean? I ended up writing a verse. I liked it. I kept writing. I had kidnapped his ass for a week. We sparked endless weed and figured all that out and had him just make beats. I’m just writing. There were pages full in the whole room. I felt like Beethoven and shit.

What was the joint that popped off for you?
Every song built my buzz. First four songs I dropped, I ain’t know what I was doing. I was just dropping shit. Even them joints, it did what it did to get me to the next level. The next joint got me to the next level. Everything got me to the next level. My first joint I dropped was “Dees Boys.” A lot of people who really don’t know about me, don’t know that joint. A lot of people who are hip to me, don’t know about it. A lot of who really is hip to me, hip to that joint. That was my first song. The second was “Get Paid.” That right there I feel like it was realest shit I ever made.

I feel like they get overlooked for one song named “Skrong.” That’s the song that everybody would say that got me to where I am. That’s the joint that everybody love. It’s kind of weird—bittersweet. That’s one of the songs that I fucked with when I first recording. When I was playing it, especially for people like Rodger. I was playing it for Rodger. Everybody’s not trying to hear this shit. ‘Fuck that shit.’ So I turned it off, but it’s like there was no reaction to that shit. Then I dropped the shit on YouTube, everybody’s like “Aw, we love it.” Man, it’s the same shit I’ve been playing. It’s like bittersweet. By the time everybody reaching to it like I thought I would, it was too late. I was already on some new shit.

What were your influencing growing up? What built your style?
Boosie is who got me into rap. He got me into it and then Gucci. When Gucci came out, it was Fugazi you know what I mean? If Boosie’s doing it? It’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, I can listen to this.’ Shorty rapping like this. Everything he talking about that’s how I am feeling. And then Gucci, he come out, he coming out all ignorant. He sounded like he had the flu, he had the cold. Anybody can rap. You know what I mean? This nigga really got expensive shit. This nigga like that. I liked that. He probably rap like that, so I tried my hand in it.

Did you meet Gucci before?
We tried to do some business a minute ago, like last year. Tried to sign me and shit.

How come that didn’t pan out?
It was some other shit. It didn’t have anything to do with me. Gucci wildin’ shit.

What was your impressions when you met him?
Unique. Everybody’s telling you before that Gucci’s crazy. He’s gonna spaz on us. That’s like the inside shit, you know what I mean? People even on the outside think he crazy. Before the ranting and that last little splurge and shit. He was still Trap God and niggas still feared him. But, it was beyond that fear shit. It wasn’t about being scared. I wasn’t scared of him. But, I just thought, ‘Oh, he’ll flip on ya at any second.’ He’d be down there with them and he’ll act like he don’t know you or some shit. That was the shit they was saying.

When he talked about signing me, he was flying [me] down [to Atlanta]. When I get down there, it was good. Everything was gleechie. There was no problems. There really was no problems between me and Gucci. It just was some other shit that happened. And then it was like 'Boom!' We just fell off. He started trying to sign me in December 2012. That’s when he called me down to Atlanta. And then 2013, I’ve been with him, January. At the beginning of the year and shit.

What about your affiliations with Slutty Boyz and GBE? Are they trying to recruit you?
It’s like that with Slutty Boyz. Everybody likes to see what I got. ‘Oh, he got something. He rap about tight shit. Let’s snatch him up.’ I’m just gleechie. I always mention gleechie, you know what I am saying? From day one. Even when I was rocking with Slutty Boyz, I was never a Slutty Boy. It’s hard to explain, let's just put it like this. What’s that shit with No Limit? Or Cash Money? Birdman and Mannie Fresh, they was Big Tymers. But it’s all Cash Money and then you got Wayne and Juvie and Turk and all them. I was rocking with Juvie, Turk and all them. They was Big Tymers. They was a group. They was already they own entity. I was already my own entity. We just together. As far as GBE and Gucci and shit, they was trying to sign me. The Slutty Boyz is more like D.C. artists together. We just rocking together. Gucci and GBE and shit, we was talking about paperwork and all that other shit.

Now, you are focused on being solo.
I can do me. That’s all I need who blessed me with promotions and many things. Just put it like this, all of them looked at me for doing me. Slutty Boyz, GBE, Gucci, all of them caught they eye cause I was doing what I was doing. If I could do that, I could do that for everybody. And Gucci can walk up to me go and know my name and pass me a J. Like, “Gleechie! Gleechie! Oh, yeah, Coach K? You know Coach K? He talk about everything about you. I fuck with you. You know what I am saying?” Gucci walked up to me and Twista walked up to me. And Mac Miller. Rocky walked up to me the other day. Niggas be walking up to me and bumping my shit. They been diggin’ on some lowkey shit. Like nobody know me. We having a 1,000 people in all of Atlanta. It’s not a lot of people, but it’s the right people.

What can we expect next?
I’ve been focused on something, something way bigger than [my last mixtape.] I really don’t want to say. I’m usually a mixtape artist or I might do some video that gets some views or something. On my mixtapes, I drop a lot of songs and my music [is] on mixtapes and shit. I gotta change it up. I gotta do something new. I really strategically placed all my music out there. I might do one on XXL. I might do this joint on WorldStar or shit like that. I might do another one with Noisey. Or I might have Ballout on a song. Everything is a strategic plan. I might have this nigga on a song—[Yung] Lean. Why would you put Lean? He from Sweden or Switzerland. That nigga's got fans I ain’t got. Everything strategic, so this new shit, I got a strategic plan for this shit. I’m about to kill ‘em. I ain’t at my top yet, I’m still just climbing.