Young C on Inspiration, Growing in Faith, and Music Creation Process
Young C is an up and coming artist from Riverside, California. The last two years have been quite a fruitful one for him. He’s dropped numerous visuals and singles as well as a full-length album and an EP. We met up last week to talk about where he’s been and where God’s taking him.
Let’s start off with how you began. How did you get into rap?
I grew up listening to hip hop. My dad named me after KRS One. I was a huge fan of his. I’m from the west coast so I listened to a lot of Tupac, Snoop, Dre… a lot of those rappers growing up. But it was the east coast rappers that were always my favorite. I was a big Jay Z fan, big Biggie fan. I grew up where if you say that to people they aren’t happy about it. You can’t be from the west coast and like those type of artists.
It was mainly the soulfulness and the sample based typed music that was the best. When I was in high school my favorite artist was Kanye. I was a huge Kanye fan. His overall art from production to lyricism. Everything that he stood for I was behind.
I grew up in the church. My grandma had me in church all the time. I was always familiar with the church but growing up in it you feel forced to be there pretty much. So I wasn’t learning anything. By the time I got into high school, I didn’t really care about going. I didn’t go because I didn’t have my own relationship with God. I wanted to figure it out on my own and got saved in 2010. Then I committed to a church and I still go there currently.
I was in church but recording secular music and knew I couldn’t go the same way I was going. Trying to get closer to God and do secular music wasn’t gonna work out. But as I started growing musically, I started building different relationships, and I started gaining interest from labels.
In 2015 I was offered a contract by Universal. I was about to sign that contract, but there was something that was keeping me away from being at peace with it. It wasn’t like the deal was bad, it wasn’t like I could do more without the deal. It was more of like the spiritual side of things. I knew that if I took that deal I would have lost myself. So I try to get to understanding what God was saying and I was like, “Look God I know that this is a great opportunity for me as far as financially because I have kids. It could set us all up at least for this time. But I’m gonna give it all up.” So I started everything over bro, and I’m a Christian artist now and I’m completely unashamed about that choice and this is where we are.
Listen to Young C Below:
Was Vitamin C your first CHH album?
Yes. The crazy part is that I had three versions of Vitamin C. Vitamin C was supposed to be my first release on Universal. It was a whole different album, but when I made the choice to be a Christian artist and gave up everything I kept the name but I released that.
You said you’ve got an east coast influence. It’s crazy to me because your flows are pretty west coast, your beats are east coast with the Kanye stuff going and that gospel sound in the background. Was that your goal to fuse it all together like that?
That wasn’t the goal. I never go into creating a project with a certain sound or focus in mind. It’s mainly about who I am at the time and what I’m feeling. The way Vitamin C came together was that it was a bunch of music that came together that I had already recorded. Different people tell me that it sounds more west coast than east coast, so I tend to get different opinions about it.
You just released This is For The Wait at the beginning of the year, and you’re still putting out some singles and visuals here and there. You’re preparing to drop something else soon?
Yeah the plan is to release another single this next week I think and that will be the last single before the new project.
I’ve also noticed you linking up with some other rappers lately. You were on a Bazooka Remix recently. Can you talk about linking up with other CHH artists?
A lot of these people I have a real brotherhood with. The more I grow in the CHH community the more I find these relationships. I don’t want to do music with them first, I want to build a fellowship. The more I focus on music I know that the least part of this walk is the music. I never want to get lost in and focus on the music or business side of things too much.
The Brand New Remix with Bazooka worked out because I was supposed to be on his album. It didn’t happen because we were both in the studio recording our albums at the same time so our schedules didn’t sync up. He hit me up and asked me to do the remix though. He had a deadline for it and I didn’t know if I’d make that deadline. The day before he gave me that deadline I got my verse in. That’s my brother there. I really wanted to be part of what he has going on. I really believe in his vision. There are not many CHH artists that I really work with. It’s tough. But I support a lot of them.
Right now as you’re writing and crafting this new project are there any themes you’re pulling from?
I know that most of this new album was focused on the last few years. Since I’ve dropped Vitamin C, my relationship with Christ has grown. When you’re a new believer you’re on fire for God. You desire to know Him more, you desire to draw closer to Him. After a certain point that newness wears off and you have to continue to force yourself to stay in the word, force yourself to stay in fellowship and keep going.
So a lot of these topics I’m talking about are still like the struggles of knowing I’ve made a decision to walk this walk while knowing a deal was on the table and choosing to not go back to that lifestyle. It’s about knowing that God’s got something for me. Whatever God is doing that I don’t see right now is bigger than what I see right now. It’s a lot of crying out to God and trying to get his understanding. Not leaning on my own understanding. You’ll hear a lot of those topics. We’re living in a time where suicide happens at a high rate. I’ve struggled with those thoughts. It’s a lot of personal stuff.
Are you going to stay with the church choir beats?
Yeah, the goal is to even start adding that to my shows. I had a show last Saturday in Arizona and I had a band with me. It wasn’t the first time I’ve had a band, but it was the first time the band was just for me. The next goal is to get a choir just to bring that gospel feel mixed with hip hop. That’s my pocket right there, I love that. You’ll definitely hear a lot of that.
Alright so because it’s 9/11 today I have to ask, do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001?
I was in junior high when this happened. I didn’t see anything about it until I got out of school. My mom was watching TV and I remember seeing the CNN headlines but I didn’t know what was going on. Ended up looking at the TV and seeing the planes hitting the building. I remembered my family and the people around me that day grieving and very emotional about it. I remember how much of a hard time that was. To see how that can affect the whole world was a big deal.
Even though I didn’t really understand it, I knew something big had happened. It made me heavy. You know how the bible speaks about you’re supposed to mourn when your brothers mourn. It was one of those moments where I naturally related to that. Because everyone else hurt, I hurt. There was nothing else I could really do at that time, but now I realize you never know what can happen. We see these shootings almost every week now. It’s been crazy.
Speaking of that there was a show that I did out in California a few weeks ago. This was at Bazooka’s release party. I was getting ready to perform, there was one act that was before mine. Everyone is enjoying themselves, and then out of nowhere, I see everybody hit the floor. So I’m thinking the artist said something about hitting the floor or something. The next thing I know though, I see everyone rushing to the back door yelling “duck, duck!” What happened was there was a shooting in the parking lot of the venue we were in. They shut the whole show down.
No one was hurt but it was just that thought of you never know what could happen. Nothing happened to anybody who was a part of that event. Just knowing there were kids around who were scared and crying. I relate that back to 9/11 how no one expects things like this. It’s not a time where we can just tell people something and they just believe it. It’s a time where we all got to come together and take a stand against stuff like this.
I’d say my favorite thing about listening to your music is how infused with the gospel your lyrics are. For me it’s likened to what Ambassador and Cross Movement could do back in the day. You’re throwing out scripture but you’re dope so people want to hear it. What is your process with that? How do you get into that mindset?
I’ve got to spend a lot of alone time in the word. I know you can be in the word but it’s different from being alone in the word. That has something to do with it. It’s hard to do that because the more God continues to open up opportunities my time is limited. So I still have to find the most important thing creatively is alone time with God. I hear what he wants to say to me through scripture. That’s the only way I can continue to be effective musically. I believe I could always do music, but if it’s not scripture oriented it will never do anything.
I’ve known people involved in CHH who have told me to not use so much scripture. Because I guess there’s something corny about doing that. I get offended by those comments. If you’re any support of me in any way you know that my music is built off of that. That’s where it starts for me. I find the scripture or I meditate on the scripture and that’s how I approach a song. They have to be scripturally oriented or they won’t be a song. There have been songs that I’ve spent hours on, and then when it’s complete I listen back and then delete it. I’m very tough on that. I have to have the gospel in my music.
I’m also just now recalling that like a year ago there was a MMA fighter who walked to the ring to one of your songs.
Yeah, Lorenz Larkin. He’s from Riverside, I’m from Riverside. The song is from before I was CHH. I did this song called “Hometown Kid” about me growing up in Riverside and the certain areas in Riverside. The song was about the love I have for that area. I don’t know him personally, so I’m not sure how he got ahold of that song. I’m sure we have mutual friends but that was his entrance music for awhile. That was a blessing.
I just hope that more and more people get their ears on your music so you can continue to keep doing what you’re doing. That you would just be able to lean into the ability that God has given you and the platform that He’s given you. I really hope the best for your music and your ministry.
Thank you, brother. I appreciate your support. You were the first support I had. When I first started I was like, “Man these guys right here really support what I do.” You’re responsible for what keeps me encouraged. You guys keep me going and at the same time, you keep me humble. For someone to support me the way you guys do is a big deal. I don’t take that lightly so I thank you, guys. I really love what you do.