Interview by: @IAMNJERA
It’s rare to find artists today who are invested in their craft and determined to inspire their listeners. Unlike most rappers on a paper chase, Florida-based rapper YB is chasing something much more meaningful. On his new single, “My Shot,” and upcoming album Fire & Desire, YB has a real message for his fans that defines the true meaning of making music.
Ahead of the album, which drops October 9, YB released his single “My Shot,” an upbeat track that highlights the importance of answering to a higher calling and betting on yourself. The single is a great icebreaker for what we can expect to hear on Fire & Desire. The album stands to be a pleasant surprise than what most would expect from Christian rap, but the relatable messages tied into it will draw you in even more.
YB seems to have found the formula to connecting with his audience and getting them to in turn connect with his music. Intertwining religion and vulnerability within his music has allowed YB’s passion to shine through. Far apart from his musical peers, YB is “an artist who is passionate about creating moments through music that inspires and motivates his listeners to be the best version of themselves.”
I had the pleasure of picking YB’s brain, digging deep into his values, artistic muses, and what sets him apart as an artist.
How do vulnerability and religion play a role in your music?
It’s become crucial. We live in a time where we are constantly sold the highlight reel of everything. People only consume the best parts. In return, when they return to reality and they experience life’s ups and downs, they are deeply discouraged because they can feel like they don’t measure up. I want to remind them that the ups and downs are what makes God good, because he’s the constant. I’ve slowly been transitioning to becoming more and more vulnerable in every project, but this latest album I am the most vulnerable I’ve ever been. The goal is not to just release songs, but to connect with people.
In this day and age, the world is becoming much more open-minded when it comes to religion and music. How have you been able to use your style of music to spread the word of God? Have you faced any obstacles in doing so?
I stepped in this sphere of music at the brink of momentum, where things started to change for the CHH (Christian Hip-Hop) culture as a whole. But where I’m from, doing the music I do, is like a foreign language, so I saw that as an opportunity to really own a message and hit the ground running. I haven’t really experienced many obstacles with the music. I present the message of my music as a conversation and not an ultimatum, like it’s this or that. Had I chose another route, and not been genuine in my approach, I could imagine things panning out totally different.
What’s the message behind “My Shot?”
The message of “My Shot” is to be and do you. You look at the landscape of our generation, it’s easier for us to hide behind the wave of the masses and go with the wind. It’s a real challenge to go against the grain and truly pursue the journey of being yourself. Though, that journey of being yourself is going to require you to take the stairs in many scenarios, not only is it necessary, I think it’s crucial for the next generation.
Why’d you choose “My Shot” as the single to promote ahead of the album?
I chose “My Shot” because I felt like my journey to this point has been one of taking the stairs. I could of taken a more familiar route years ago, had a moment of buzz, and then like a mist, everything’s gone. But, you rewind a few years ago, I had a choice to submit to a call that was greater than myself, or stay with a comfortable salary and play it safe. But, I made the decision to go full time music on a mission and truly pursue a calling. With that decision, I had to count the cost, endure setback after setback, pacing back and forth in the bedroom of my wife’s and I apartment battling the doubt of if I made the right decision. Now, you fast- forward a few years, and by the grace of God, things are moving forward. I chose “My Shot,” because that’s not just “my” story, there’s someone else out there who feels called to pursue something greater, and when they feel pressured to fold to the masses, I hope they bet on themselves, and take their shot.
How did you come up with the title Fire & Desire for your upcoming album?
Fire & Desire came from me embracing the “entire” process of doing something worth taking the stairs for. Rapping for 10 years at this point, I approached it with a by any means mindset. When I started making music, I used it as an escape. The pressure I felt growing up as a child fueled my desire to take on the “happy ending” approach to my music early on. Experiencing my reality led me to writing about what I wished life was like. The journey on this album included the mountaintops and the valleys. The parts when the sun was out and things went according to plans but also the times when it rained and it really poured. I think expressing that side of the journey has become more crucial than ever before. I believe we have a generation full of the next greats, but for anything great to truly manifest, we have to understand, it will take us enduring the highs and the lows. We can’t want gold and not experience the furnace. That’s why the album’s titled Fire & Desire. I want this album to be more of a heartbeat to the heart of a boxer than something else you can press play on.
What do you hope people take away from the album?
More than anything, I hope people walk away from the album knowing that no matter what they’re going through or how low the lows are, they’re going to make it through. I hit rock bottom, and God did it for me. He’ll do the same for you.
What is the ultimate goal that you have for your music?
My ultimate goal for music is point people to someone greater than myself, God. When I did regular rap, I would finish my set, and people would meet me after the show and tell me how they loved this song and that song and etc. and eventually they would mention how they’re going through something and they’re losing hope. Or, how things are going left in their life and they’re deeply depressed. I always felt stuck in those moments because I had nothing to truly offer these people. When the music stopped, so did everything else. But, being on a mission in music, I can bring people hope because I know a way maker that actually changed their situation. Music is only a front door for that.
Check out YB’s new single “My Shot” below.