At age 15, Yung Berg burst on the scene making all the sexy ladies swoon with those green eyes. Signed to DMX’s Bloodline records, Yung Berg’s first single “Sexy Lady” led to a deal with Epic Records for the release of 2008’s Look What You Made Me, which he co-produced. In addition to spawning the gold hit, “The Business”, the album’s centerpiece became “Sexy Can I” the platinum smash co-written with Ray J. Made famous for his rapping, and infamous for cumbersome rumors and headlines, he has long since been a force behind the music as a songwriter and producer. Though seemingly adolescent in age, Berg’s pen game has cemented him a place among some of the biggest and best names in the business. Among his most notable writing credits are Tamar Braxton’s 2013 hit “The One”, King Louie’s “My Hoes Do Drugs” (Featuring Juicy J and Pusha T), Lil Wayne’s “John” (Featuring Rick Ross) and T-Pain’s “Bitches Link Up” as well as titanic tracks from young upstarts such as Driicky Graham’s breakout “Snapbacks and Tattoos”. A proven hit maker, Yung Berg is all grown up now and has a lot to say and he’s using every artist possible to express himself. Berg took a little time out to talk to AllHipHop.com about his passion for crafting songs.
AllHipHop.com: People know you as a rapper so to see the list of R&B songs you’ve written is surprising. Is it hard for people to wrap their brains around you as an R&B songwriter?
Yung Berg: I think that I was so young, I’m 26 now, when my 1st album came out 5 years ago and I wasn’t aware of how I wanted to be seen if I was more seasoned I would’ve been doing interviews with AllHipHop.com and telling you guys if you like my album and you check out the song “The Business” or if you like the song “Sexy Lady” then you would see I wrote all the R&B parts for all of that if you look at my album, Trey Songz is on my album, Lloyd is on my album, Amerie is on there and I wrote all the R&B parts that they sang as well, so I think that I didn’t really get across to the masses that I was actually the writer and producer of my songs I think that when people seen me I was just a cute lil dude with green eyes and it seemed like ok maybe some A&R just gave this guy these records and he added some rap in the middle or something which was totally not the case. I was crafting records myself. I think my first song writing placement was when I wrote the hook to the title track of Eve’s Evolution album when I was like 16, so I’ve been doing this for awhile.
AllHipHop.com: What does a 16 year old know about writing love songs?
Yung Berg: I would credit that to my mom being the best multi-tasker in the world. While she would be driving me to school, talking on the phone, smoking a cigarette, and smacking my brother in the back of the head, she would be singing Anita Baker and playing all these older records that resonated with me on a different level. I didn’t know it at the time but I think it kinda bled into my life the melodies and things of that nature and I just fell in love with melodies from there.
AllHipHop.com: You’ve worked with such a wide array of artists how do you differentiate when you’re writing for a Lil Wayne vs. Tamar Braxton?
Yung Berg: The way I work is I go into the studio and I get f*#ked up and I write songs. So that particular day I went to the studio with a partner of mine and on that particular record I wanted to do it over again because I felt like the “Juicy” drums every 4-5 years become relevant again, whether its Keyshia Cole or Biggie or whomever, so I already had it in my head that I wanted to bring that back so we created the music and once we got to the studio we just filled it in and I didn’t know it was gonna be Tamar’s song to be honest, we just did it.
AllHipHop.com: Has there been anyone who doubted your ability when you walked in the studio whose mind you had to change?
Yung Berg: I think I have the opportunity to do that everyday when I just go to work with different people because their misconceptions or people not having the full information on who I am as a writer and a producer as well so I think I overcome those odds everyday and at the same time I welcome that as well because it gives me a chance to win people over because it makes them say I had a totally different perception of you, you’re nothing like Media Takeout or Worldstar portrays.
AllHipHop.com: In today’s musical climate of twerk it music versus the days of Marvin Gaye how do you keep a song sexy and romantic as a songwriter? And do you feel that any of your stuff has been disrespectful?
Yung Berg: I’m a lover. I love women up and down, so with the content it just varies. I’m also human so sometimes I might go in the studio and tell you my hoes do drugs and then the next day I might feel like I’m in love and I want to write a song like the Tamar Braxton song. I don’t think people give me due credit because I’ve also helped break artists with my songs like if you look at one of the biggest songs last year was “Snap Backs and Tatoos and I produced and co-wrote that record and no one knows that, but nobody knew Driickey Graham was before that he was just a kid who was hanging out with me and we made that record and it took off, same with Kid Ink.
AllHipHop.com: Being from Chicago, how do you feel about your homeboy Kanye West and his Yeezus album?
Yung Berg: I think Kanye is very artistic and when you’re dealing with people that are artistic they’re gonna be scrutinized and they’re gonna be taken literal but I don’t think Kanye thinks he’s Jesus or anything like that I think he has a clear distinction of who God is but I also think you can’t put any limitations on art. A lot of people might view it like he’s being an asshole or whatever but at the end of the day its art and he’s taking nothing and making it into something. That’s the beauty of what we do, you’re able to go to the studio and not have any idea of what you’re gonna do and then watch something grow right in front of your eyes from a thought or an idea into a full fledged project so at the end of the day I just think Kanye is doing Kanye and that shouldn’t shock anyone.
AllHipHop.com: Which of your records surprised you the most?
Yung Berg: Honestly there’s this song I gave to T-Pain that I went in to just do a rap hook over and it turned into a record that’s going crazy in Miami right now. When I wrote the song I was being a f*#kin creep because I was on instagram and its these girls called Taz’s angels and I love them and I never met them before but they’re so bad and I would just look at their pics and be like these girls need a song and their slogan was bad bitches link up so, me being who I am, I was like what other way can I get on their radar so they can know me and know how much I like them so I made a song called “Bad Bitches Link Up” and I played it for T-Pain and Trey Songz jumps on it and Juicy J jumps on it an now its their little anthem and they go crazy to it every night.
AllHipHop.com: Do you feel like an underdog?
Yung Berg: I would say yea to a certain extent, but that would be selfish and me not thinking about all of the blessings that God has done for me like I don’t even think people realize like “Sexy Can I” that was 6 ½ million, “John” for Rick Ross and Lil Wayne that was 3 ½ million, “Sexy Lady” platinum, “The Business” platinum. Every song I’ve ever been affiliated with was either gold or platinum, so maybe an underdog in perception, but I’ve done great for myself in the music business so I can’t complain.