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A Conversation With Pontiac’s @YAKTOWNBOYZ248

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YTB Kaine is one of Michigan’s hidden gems. With recent releases like “Vent” and “Some Money,” he shows a kind of versatility that normally isn’t seen until record labels and A&Rs get involved. He’s got something special to pay attention to and he’s on the rise.

4ShoMag talked to him about some of his music and where he’s at right now to paint a picture of where he wants to go.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

What’s the YTB in YTB Kaine stand for? 

YTB stands for Young Thugs Bussin it was Yaktownboyz which represented our city Pontiac aka Yactown, but it got changed for certain reasons. 


How did you get into rap?

I got into rap at the age 13 after listening to Eminem, T.I., DMX, Ruff Ryders & Nas. I loved the art. I started writing poetry and it turned into rhymes. I took rap serious after I lost my brother in 2013.


How important is authenticity to your message? 

Authenticity is important to me because I can’t tell you about somebody else’s life. I want to give my fans and supporters My Story. I want them to feel my pain understand where my aggression comes from when I rap. 


How has being from Detroit shaped your approach to rap? Who are some of your favorite rappers, past and present? 

I’m from Pontiac. Being 20mins from Detroit making a name for myself most people were scared to travel to those open mics, competitions, and performances. I went every night I had a show with my head held high ready. It was times I went on last bit after I performed I got love and things changed. 


How would you describe the Detroit music scene? 

The Detroit music scene popping right now. Their eyes are definitely on Detroit right now. Michigan has been had the wave they are just now making them pay attention. 


When recording a song like “Vent,” how do you decide what works and what’s too personal to include in the track?

When I wrote “Vent” I showed a side of me I was scared to show or express. I didn’t hold anything back like I usually would. I vented to my fans as I would to a shrink. I just figured they’d understand me more without judging me. 


Who are you looking forward to working with and why? 

I’m looking to work with Styles P. That’s my right-hand man favorite rapper. He got 20 years in prison. That’ll definitely make his bid easier. It’s a lot of artists that’s upcoming that’s hot. I just wanna work with other hungry upcoming artists like myself. 


What do you have planned for the rest of 2019?

I dropped a mixtape on June 22 entitled “Vent” and mid-July I’m dropping again “Still A Menace II Society.” My third mixtape, I don’t have a name for yet but that’s done. That’ll come sometime this October. I plan on putting the game in a choke hold. Bring back that old rap the G’s want to hear. 

Interviews

@DJYEMI is the DJ you need to know

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DJ Yemi is a successful DJ who’s come out of West Virginia, a state not known for its musical contributions to the hip-hop scene. He’s seen a lot in this industry, has worked with artists like Travis Scott, Ty Dolla $ign, and more, and has a story to tell as well as offer advice to others who wish to learn the craft.

Check out our exclusive interview with him below.

What’s the music scene like in West Virginia? 
The music scene in West Virginia is very diverse. You have the country roots and then you have the hip hop and pop influence coming in by out of state talent. 

What made you want to break out of it?
Traveling to other states and seeing opportunities made me want to expand.

How would you describe your approach to DJing?
My approach is all about connecting with the crowd. If I can connect with the crowd by making them feel every song and beat I have done my job. 

Who are some inspirations that have helped you craft your performance aesthetic?
No one particular person has given me inspiration. I have just looked at live performances on YouTube and my experiences at my own gigs have helped me grow.

What was the moment that you knew that you could do this professionally?
There were lots of little moments that bubbled into knowing a DJ career was on the horizon. But one was years ago when I got an EDM gig and I was able to change my live set with that concert. I created a set made for the event and did so good they invited me back.

What’s the hardest thing about being a self-taught DJ?
Hardest thing I would say is keeping up with the different sounds of music! So many different genres of music to maintain. You always have to be tapped in what’s making people move on the dance floor.

How do you go about connecting with such big artists?
I often look for an unknown artist with good sound and lyrics. Then, I build a relationship with them regardless of how big they get. Some have gotten to Billboard. The connection always starts at the root. 

How has growing up in the church affected your approach to music?
When in church, the music hits the soul and has more meaning than just anything that you listen to on a daily basis. So when I look for music that strikes my interests, I look for the same feeling. Soulfulness and meaningful lyrics that stand for something.

What’s your favorite DJing story with an artist that you’ve worked with?
Not a story, but one thing I have learned about the great artists is that they put in the work. Late studio nights, perfecting everything from lyrics to the sound

What tips do you have for aspiring DJs?
The tip I always give is consistency! No matter what be consistent! On-time and ready to do a great job at any gig! 

What would be your dream gig?
Don’t have a dream gig but my dream is to be able to continue to work with music and provide for my family! 

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.@MeechTheGoat talks new project, ‘Before Chronicle,’ and what to expect from forthcoming album

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TXYLOR is back with a new project, Before Chronicle. The rapper’s heavy-handed flow is always a joy to check out, so sitting down with him for an updated conversation about his new LP was an opportunity that we had to grab.

Check out our full conversation below.


What’s the idea behind Before Chronicle? That’s one wild cover.

Before Chronicle is kind of like a prologue. It’s just a short teaser before I release my debut album, which will be titled Chronicle. Chronicle is going to be my complete story. It’s going to be me revealing everything. I feel like the best albums contain untold stories, the experiences that made you who you are today, and how you made it all the way through your journey. 

What was the recording process like for this one?

The recording process with this project was actually pretty light. I do all my verses in one take, just like the G.O.A.T. Although, one thing I often have trouble with is adlibs. For some reason, I’m just not as good as everyone else when it comes to those, but I don’t adlib rap as much as I used to. I’m definitely more in my hip-hop bag right now. No offense to the mumble rappers.

“While I’m Here” seems like a song that contemplates mortality. Could you tell me a little bit about it?

You’re absolutely right. I thought Before Chronicle was almost finished before I made “While I’m Here,” but once I sat back and actually replayed the songs I had done, I thought to myself “this ain’t it.” So I scrapped it all and just kept playing While I’m Here. I had that feeling that you get when you’re listening to your favorite artist, or when your discover a new sound that you would have never guessed was for you.

I wanted my whole tape to give me that feeling so I decided to start over with clean hands. Anyways, “While I’m Here” is basically me reflecting on tense relationships I have with my loved ones, including my mother, family members & brothers. Not a very complex meaning behind the song, it’s just love me while I’m here no matter what we are going through right now. Beef or not. 

What’s your definition of success? How do you plan to quantify it?

“Success is defined by one’s self, not someone else.“ Honestly, to me success would be making enough to feed my family for generations. I grew up broke and hungry, all this shit I rap about is real. The goal is to make sure our kids don’t have to grow up the same way we did. I want to be able to buy my son a Benz for his 16th, and put all my people on some money. That’s success. 

You write, perform, mix, and master all of your music. By keeping everything in-house, how does that help or hinder your creative process?

Honestly man, I only learned how to engineer because I didn’t have a car or any money at the time, plus I work a lot better alone. Me and Rico used to record on FL Studio with a sock over the mic, now look at us.

I know that you don’t believe in a cure for a cold heart, but if there was one, what would you say that it is?

If there were a cure for a cold heart, it would have to be love. I feel like love is the only thing that could possibly cure all, but you have to be open to love. It can’t just be one way. Damn I sound like a simp. (laughs)

What’s your favorite song on the project? Why?

“Cousins” is currently my favorite track. I sat on that beat for a few weeks and I knew it was special. I was laying in bed trying to figure out which direction I was gonna go with it and then “Cousins” by J. Cole & Bas started playing in my head and I jumped up and ran to the studio. The shit just came naturally but I was so geeked to tell this story. I wrote it in like 45 minutes and recorded the whole song in 1 take, first take.

What message do you want to give fans with Before Chronicle? 

The message behind this project is just me, if you wanna get to know me, press play. I put everything I had into this. I let my pen and my soul bleed. My album on the way though, I won’t make the people wait too long. 

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Interviews

Illuminati G drops “Everythang” with Polo 2Time$ and tells us about its creation

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Detroit’s Illuminati G is back with “Everythang,” featuring Polo 2Time$, and it’s everything that you could want from someone out of the city doing their thing: hard, tenacious, and a sign that they’re not taking no shit from anyone. In an exclusive interview with 4ShoMag, Illuminati G detailed the song to us as well as what he has coming up.

Check out “Everythang” and our discussion below.

What was the inspiration behind “Everythang?”

Pretty much the same inspiration we used for the whole “Greatest 1-2 Punch” project. We tag team all the beats because 2 heads are better than 1. We had a goal to achieve and I think each song specifically embodied that. When it’s game time, we want everythang. Otherwise what’s the point?

What was the recording process like? 

Ummm basically the day in the studio started off as usual, polo and me smoke a bunch of good weed and the ideas flow. I make like 5 beats then we just go down the inventory & Anytime him or I hear a beat we like, we say “load it up!!” And go in… This was no different, Polo started dropping a few bars and the rest is history!

How does “Everythang” tie into your career journey thus far?

For me being primarily a producer, it’s the first song of mine I attached a visual too. So it’s an important benchmark for me in that aspect because I wanted to make sure the music and visual had the same energy. I’m really picky and Brand Name Visuals brought every idea I had to life. In short, it’s just a taste of what we have in store creatively.

What inspired you to rap? 

My uncle for sure. He started building his studio back in the early 00’s and I’d go over his house and just see everything so professional looking and put together. This is before all the digital stuff so the room was full of studio equipment. He taught me the history, how to structure songs, record, and eventually produce. I was always good at putting words together but having a younger uncle that rapped was just too cool to not to be apart of ,so about 5th grade I started writing raps in a notebook daily. 

How’s the rap scene in Detroit? What changes would you make to it, if any? 

The rap scene in Detroit is…… double sided. One side is rooted in the die hard hip hop community and the other side is still kind of reputation based. If you had or are having a good run in the streets, that could catapult you to a certain level of notoriety. Nothing wrong with that but the monkey see monkey do part  as far as support can get out of hand. It’s almost like you need a co sign or to be affiliated with something already familiar if you aren’t rapping something conscious or lyrical.

Would I change it? No, not for me because it made me find my own wave and in a sense get an appreciation for our own sound. But for the ones coming up, I’d love too. Because sometimes this rap shit changes people. They make up personas to fit in and then start mimicking that in real life which leads to them getting jammed up unintentionally. 

What’s next for you? When can we expect a full-length project? 

Next up is like a 5 or 6 song EP. I actually have a whole bigger project on ice, but the musical climate is so single song based that I don’t wanna drop a big project and the anticipation and roll out  isn’t there and it kinda slides under the radar. On “Greatest 1-2 Punch” each song aside from the intro could stand alone. When I make full bodies of work you might get a little of everything. Singles, in depth songs, experimental, interludes etc. So once the hype kinda catches up I’ll have a big project on the way but until then , just expect something small in the next 8 weeks! And more visuals! 

What do you look to say in your music? 

Be creative and be careful out here… literally. I’m used to being big / little brother, so when I’m learning things that better my life or I feel like there’s something not being said out here I say it.  And if it’s any wisdom I had that could potentially save your life I’m going to rap it… I’m really honest and I like to pass all cheat codes along to those who were unaware before.. the bigger project I have waiting that I referred to above is called “Big Brother”. Everything I do has intent so when you hear it, you’ll pick up on what I’m tryna convey quick.

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