Everyone wants to be a star, but it takes a certain kind of person to make it happen. Yella Beezy first noticed that he wanted to be a rapper when he was very young, watching a now-legendary rap crew rise to superstardom.

"[I was] just listening to music, wanting to perform in front of crowds, watching Cash Money tapes on TV," he tells XXL. Unlike most kids, Yella dove headfirst into hip-hop, starting to write rhymes at 9 years old. The early pen work lead to a string of projects into his adulthood, with him building a buzz in his hometown of Dallas. His song "That's On Me," a cut from his 2017 mixtape Lite Work, Vol. 2 blew up, with it's accompanying video racking up more than 85 million views to date and breaking into the Billboard Hot 100. Couple this with Yella walking star boxer and friend Errol Spence Jr. to the ring and the future could look no brighter.

Yella Beezy always showed signs that he was willing to put in the work. At 14, he dropped his first mixtape, Mash Mode Overload, followed by Lil Yella Mane at 19 and Lite Work at 22. Taking his time between projects was purposeful.

"When I put out a full-bodied project, they'll actually be more than one song on there that's a hit," he says, explaining his future plans. "So I be tryna focus on shooting the visuals, making sure people deal with the music, instead of just overflooding 'em with bullshit."

Yella makes rap that falls into the ever so-popular "melodic" description, but his flows and downright ability to spit set him apart from everyone else. He approaches the music like a student of rap.

In 2017, he dropped Broke Nights, Rich Days, and his breakthrough and most recent project, Lite Work, Vol. 2, in 2017. Lite Work, Vol. 2 established Yella's place in the modern rap conversation beyond Dallas. This year, he's taken the stage as an opener for the Dallas and Houston stops on Jay-Z and Beyoncé's OTR II tour, only further elevating his status. He also booked a performance on the BET Hip-Hop Awards—an opportunity that almost didn't happen.

"They actually had declined it earlier that day," says Yella. "They said I wasn't gonna be able to perform, then later on that night, they called me about 11 o'clock Dallas time, [like], 'You gonna perform, you gotta get to rehearsals in Miami at 10:30 [a.m. the next day].' We booked the first thang smokin'."

Unfortunately, Yella Beezy was shot in a drive-by in Lewisville, Texas, just days after this interview was conducted. He was shot at more than 12 times, yet he's now in stable condition. Yet despite the sad news, Yella's trajectory seems to be on the rise, with his forthcoming project, Ain't No Goin Back, on the way.

Learn more about Yella Beezy below.

Age: 26

Hometown: Dallas

I grew up listening to: "UGK, Cash Money, No Limit, Geto Boyz, Do Or Die, Kevin Gates, Boosie and Webbie."

My style’s been compared to: "They don't really compare me to nobody. They say I got my own style, but they say I got a Boosie voice—lil squeakiness type shit. They always give me mine. I'm different. But they always say I got a unique voice, a distinctive voice."

My most slept-on song: "'Too Long' [and] 'Sinner's Prayer.' I like 'Sinner's Prayer' 'cause it's been so slept on; I might bring it back to another project. [They probably slept on it] cause it was at the end of the CD."

My standout records to date have been: "That's On Me."

My standout moments to date have been: "It's gotta be the Jay-Z/Beyonce tour or the BET [Hip-Hop Awards], just for the simple fact it's gonna be worldwide televised and millions of people gonna see that.

I’m going to blow up because: "It's a feeling you get, just something that you know."

I’m going to be the next: The next face of the music industry.

Standouts: Lite Work, Vol. 2

"That's On Me"

"Up 1" featuring Lil Baby


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