Young Buck Interview (by A to the L)
As part of G-Unit, Young Buck’s name has risen to the point where he is now ready to drop his first solo joint. Led by the blazing ‘Let Me In’ single, “Straight Outta Cashville” drops at the end of August, and as part of his promotion for the album, the Nashville, TN resident spoke exclusively to Altrap.com.
Your new album drops next month. Tell me a little bit about the album – who’s producing tracks, guests etc.
YB: “Straight Outta Cashville” is the title – I got the concept from NWA’s old joint “Straight Outta Compton”… you know, cos through that album them dudes established themselves and told you where they was from, what they was about… and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do with my album. And so, I felt that there wasn’t no better name than “Straight Outta Cashville”. As far as the album itself, you probably gonna get more of a Southern type feel to this than you will with any other G-Unit record… I got people like Lil Flip, David Banner, T.I. and Ludacris, Stat Quo… as well as Snoop Dogg and the whole DPG family, and of course the whole G-Unit family – its a real star-studded album.
What’s the significance of changing Nashville to Cashville – is it just a reference to Young Buck getting paid, or are you trying to make it a little deeper than that?
YB: Well you know when you speak about Nashville Tennessee, the first thing to come to anybody’s mind is country music. But when you actually come out here, you realise that the Hiphop scene overshadows all that. Its kinda like a shield that’s put there for any artist that’s coming up and trying to do they thing… you know, as if a brand is stamped on my city. So me putting a twist on it like this leave you thinking, “Hold on… Cashville? There’s money right here.. .its going down, its poppin’ off.” And so you look a little bit closer and realise it ain’t all country music down here – the shit that’s going down in places like LA and New York city is also going on down here. So that’s just my little way to quickly shine a light on my station, and get you interested in what’s the deal down here.
How long did it take to record, and when was it recorded?
YB: It really didn’t take that long. It really wasn’t no pressure at all. I been recording on this album since last year on the Roc The Mic tour, and that’s also when we were recording the G-Unit “Beg For Mercy” joint. Everytime that we wasn’t in there recording on the G-Unit record, I would get in there and work on my solo album… so when it came time for me to sit down and focus on putting the solo stuff out there, I already had like 30 or 40 songs done. So it was really just a case of me listening to the stuff I’d already done, and picking out the shit that matched up with the new shit I was working on… that meant there was no pressure on me. I wasn’t walking round like, “Yo I gotta get me a hit”.. more like “Damn, I got too MANY hits.”
So y’all jumping in and out of each project at the same time from the G-Unit album, to your stuff, to the Banks solo?
YB: Yeah, yeah. Banks was doing his stuff when he had the chance too. Matter of fact, he probably had the same amount of tracks sitting waiting for him when he sat down to plan his solo record. You gotta understand the work ethic around here, man – its crazy. I think when you got guys like 50 Cent, Eminem, and Dr Dre in the middle of your circle, the success that come along with them is so crazy, that as a solo artist you wanna be able to stand up too… so we all work hard, me and Banks when it come to that.
You and Banks have your albums dropping within a month of each other. Did you feel a kind of rivalry during recording to make sure your stuff was tighter than Lloyd’s?
YB: I never did, man. I really wouldn’t give a damn if we dropped on the same day. My whole thing is we a family… we like brothers… and there’s never been a time when we haven’t been together. Even when 50’s solo stuff first came out, you saw Banks and you saw Buck. You didn’t see Yayo cos he was incarcerated. And now even on Banks’ album you see Young Buck, and on my album you see Lloyd Banks. What grounds that Banks will cover as far as promotionand things of that nature… its a totally different route to mine, cos he’s on the East Coast and I’m from the Dirty South… so for me to be able to jump on his spots and ride the waves, I’ma be hitting spots that I might not be hitting on my own promotional tour, and the same goes for Banks when he be riding my waves. So it works out good.
Do you think your role as a member of the G-Unit will change at all, with Tony Yayo’s release?
YB: Its not even a role thing – I think a lotta people thing that me and Yayo have prior beef or that we don’t know each other but… me and Yayo and 50 and Banks be knowing each other way before any of all this success starting jumpin’ off. If anything, it make me feel good to know that the homie is home… As far as roles and all that play, I think we naturally build our own bridges in the directions we wanna go individually with our careers, but as one – we always gonna be G-Unit, you know?
The whole Dirty South feel in Hiphop has really only blown up big time in the last 2 years : when you first came up to NY to work with G-Unit, did you have any problems “fitting in” musically?
YB: I never had a problem fitting in, because I just felt that a lotta people wanted to see exactly what I was bringing to the table. I think the South is more respected around our slangs, you know? People running round talking about “right thurr” and “over hurr” and people shouting “OK” and “yeeeeah” the way Lil Jon be saying it… and so I feel that the way that we speak and phrase things is really whats bring us a lotta respect throughout the world. Then when you add the lyrical side, and put it with the slang – that’s what you get from Young Buck. So for me to bring that up to the East coast and the West coast, and to the rest of the world, its something brand new, and I think that’s what got people paying a little bit of attention to Young Buck.
Which style of music do you personally prefer rhyming on?
YB: I don’t give a fuck. Give me any track that’s bangin’ – it really don’t matter if its from New York, West coast, Dirty South… none of that means nothing as long as the track bump, you know? Honestly when we in the studio working on material, we get a cd with no name on it… and if it happen to be a Dr Dre or Pharrell beat, or a Red Spyda beat, or a beat from somebody that you don’t know or we don’t know then that’s who we roll with. Its more about the music, than the name.
Some folks may not be aware that you almost signed with Cash Money, and that you were down with Juvenile. Now that Juve is back on Cash Money and he’s just released that UTP record, do you ever think sometimes about how things would have ended up if your career had gone in that direction?
YB: I honestly don’t think I would be rocking Juve through his movement right now. Even if I wasn’t with G-Unit, I don’t think I’d be rocking with the whole Cash Money UTP movement right now. I’d probably be out there trying to a solo myself. Back then I’d got to the point where I’d been spending so much time out on the road… like about a year and half… and there really wasn’t nothing looking like it was taking off with my career. I mean though I was around Juve and them, I never actually signed with them. All the times you seen me in the past with Cash Money and Juve, it was all by natural street affiliation – I never signed any contract ever up until this G-Unit one.
You’ve been all over the world touring to promote the 50 and G-Unit albums – what’s the reception been like in other countries?
YB: Its crazy, man. Its exciting to watch the music breaking language and culture barriers, man. Like, we in Japan, and we on stage and we fucking singing ‘In The Club’, and they know every fucking word, and can rap every word… and then you get off the stage and you trying to holla at all them girls and you like “Shorty, whats up?” and she’s like “chong chong chong chong”… she don’t know nothing. But she can turn around and tell you
50 and the whole G-Unit really made an impact even before officially dropping by swamping the industry with mixtapes. How do you feel the mixtape industry has contributed to your success?
YB: Aww man, I think the whole mixtape industry has played a huge part in my success… and I never knew how important this whole thing was until I got around 50, you know? In the South, I think we more or less move with the independent labels – more cats try to come out on independent labels as opposed to mixtapes as a way to be heard. You know, we’ll go and get us 10 tracks of unheard beats and make a cd and sell it for 10 dollars, instead of rapping over 10 heard already-platinum beats and trying to get heard that way. So in that respect, the system was new and different to me, and to jump on that mixtape circuit, and to see it grow for me, and watch the exposure grow… cos you know on the East coast if you don’t have no presence you ain’t gonna sell. People want a reference to who you are and what you doing… and to be part of that was cool to me.
All the big DJs want the exclusive cuts and freestyles – do you ever feel under pressure to come with some fresh rhymes for mixtapes while you’re working on an album? How do you decide what to let go and what to keep for the official release?
YB: It ain’t nothing to me, man. A freestyle is just natural – its something I do on on the spot, and if you hear a freestyle from me its coming off the top. None of this is hard for me… this whole coming up with verses and stuff ain’t nothing – I really don’t be walking around with no rhyme book… none of that.
Let’s talk a little about beef in Hiphop. In the last few years, lots of people have taken shots at 50 (and by extension G-Unit) for a lot of different reasons. What’s the deal with all the issues y’all have had with Ja-Rule, Joe Budden, The Source etc : have they all been squashed or are they still ongoing?
YB: Well I think you only as good as your last record… and right now we standing tall as far as putting out quality material that people can understand and that speaks on our situations. As far as the beef – there’s always gonna be a disliking… until there’s a confrontation… so up until then – who knows? So I wouldn’t say that the beef is gone or whatever… its more like it just ain’t happened yet.
And what happened at Summerjam during 50’s set – people have said that the crowd turned on him a little – is that what really went down?
YB: I wouldn’t say that the crowd turned on us. There was a group of dudes next to the stage who was from the hood around 50’s way… and we decided to give em a little something cos they looked like they was hurting a little bit… so we went over there and tossed a little money over there to em. And instead of grabbing the money they decided to act up a little and throw some little chairs around and shit… but it really ain’t nothing – it was just a typical G-Unit show, you know?
So sum it up – Straight Outta Cashville – why should we cop it?
YB: Easy, man. I’m gonna try to let people know that they got somebody here that really ain’t scared to speak on things. I got one foot in and one foot out, homie – I’ve had success in this here rap game, and I’m blessed to be able to do that… but I’m from the streets, and my life is still in these streets. At the end of the day when I finish talking to A to the L, I gotta go out in the streets to get to wherever I gotta go, so I gotta be able to walk through that too. So its important that I keep a true voice to speak for them, you know? I am still there – I’m not one of these cats that done got on and moved his self away from there. I’m one of them dudes that’s not scared to let you know how I feel about real shit… and you know, if Bush don’t come up out of his office this year we might not get another chance. None of us’ll be rapping. I’m not scared to say “Fuck the feds”, and “Fuck the police for always pulling us over for nothing”, and name a few people too. I feel that if you got people who feel that they’re true fans of you, then when they listen to your material you gotta give them something that they can identify theyselves with, and if you come from any part of the hood, or you got any kind of realness about you, then you can identify with me. Boom – there it is.
Thanks again to Young Buck for taking part, and for Ravid at Interscope for setting this up.