Guest Star: "I Started Rappin' Because Somebody Dissed Me"

Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013 12:45AM

Written by J. Bachelor & Cyrus Langhorne

[After an eventful, star-studded South by Southwest adventure this month, SOHH's highlighting urban music's rising stars from the annual festival and letting them reflect on their journey from a regional buzz to national acclaim. In this exclusive series, we're connecting with artists who "Started From the Bottom." Today, West Coast rhymer YG details his gritty grind as a West Coast phenomenon.]

What sort of grind does it take to go from the local scene to a national forefront?

It takes a consistent grind. Hard work and dedication. Every day type sh*t. I started rappin' because somebody dissed me. I made a diss song back and I just kept goin'. But before that, I was always listening to music. People started walkin' around school singin' my little songs and sh*t, I was like, "What the f*ck?!" I kept makin' music and it got played at local house parties. It kept gettin' bigger and bigger. How I got to where I'm at is me not waiting on nobody.

Tell us about your rise and particularly what performing at an event like this means to you.

You're basically just touching new fans that are brought out there by all types of people. The SXSW crowd was like a whole bunch of hipsters, to me. That's what I got from it. And then they got urban venues, but it's mostly like hipsters and sh*t. So you gonna touch that crowd of people that you wouldn't touch on your own tour. South by Southwest is really about networking, too. There's artists, clothing lines and all type of sh*t out there. So if you're networking it's the place to be. I connected with Snoop, but we already had a relationship, so we was just choppin' it up. I was f*ckin' with T.I. out there and I was f*ckin' with ASAP Ferg, but those are people that I already got relationships with.

Tell us about your first major artist cosign.

Snoop Dogg was a major cosign. Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent, he got up on that "Toot it or Boot It" remix. Those are my first two major cosigns.

Since Warren G's "Regulate...G Funk Era" gave Def Jam/Rush Associated Labels a much needed hit in 1994, arriving just as reports of the label's insolvency surfaced, the New York-based powerhouse has largely steered clear of West Coast rap, hewing almost exclusively to East Coast and Southern artists like Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah and Method Man, as well as Young Jeezy. But as the legendary imprint prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary, the label has returned to the Southland, inking a deal with Compton's Y.G., a rapper loosely affiliated with the jerkin' movement, and one who has amassed an impressive regional following sans radio or commercial backing.

Check out YG's "You Broke" featuring Nipsey Hussle:

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