A true-chain smoker will light one cigarette off of another, it prevents from having to use matches or a lighter. Perhaps thats what Atlantic/Grand Hustle Records considered when they piggybacked Young Dros Best Thang Smokin off of TIs highly successful album, King.
After three years of making powerful appearances on albums from T.I., P$C, and DJ Drama mixtapes, Dro hopes to show the world what Atlanta locals have known for some time. The 27 year old is not concerned with a perceived late entry to the game, but rather, he’s using the scar tissue from his former street life to provide wisdom where most youngsters cant. From his days as a Kriss-Kross fan to his presence in the company of killers, Young Dro appears to represent all sides of Atlanta. Lean your shoulders as Grand Hustles newest star talks about the streets of Bankhead, competition, and his unique sense of humor.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think that the appearances on TIs King helped promote this album for you? People are already throwing around Album of the Year claims
Young Dro: My appearances on his album? Naw not really. I think it helps, but I aint puttin it all on that.
AllHipHop.com: Certainly, youve got one of the hotter singles out with Shoulder Lean. I just didnt know if going into all that, you felt you had some added push
Young Dro: Yeah, it did. I would say so very much so. It did play a part of my role in the game today. I would say so.
AllHipHop.com: Last year was all about College Park. Already, 2006 seems to be Bankheads year, within Atlanta. For those that dont know, I wanted to educate some of our readers who may not know about what distinguishes Bankhead from the rest of the sections
Young Dro: Bankhead is where Im born from, and theres a lot of real cats that came from there like Kilos and the Hard Boys back in the day. Its the roughest side of Atlanta, as far as the streets go. Theres more projects over there. We got more rats and roaches and all that good s**t over there. Where Im from, when I first opened my eyes as a baby, all I saw was Bankhead.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think that street element has created its unique quality in the music from Bankhead?
Young Dro: I think all parts of Atlanta do. Thats just where I was born, [but not] where I spent all my time. Im came from the southwest [part of the city] where Goodie Mob and them are from. Im a southwest cat. I spent parts of my life on every side that really just had the realest stars in it Collipark [College Park] and all that. Thats where a lot of my friends are from. It aint really just bout Bankhead this, Bankhead that. Atlanta is bigger than Bankhead.
AllHipHop.com: So many artists today on the verge of their debut are 21, 22 years old. Youre 27. Do you feel any additional pressure to hit the ground running, or do you think that you might have more wisdom than most?
Young Dro: I know I can bring to the record what other cats cant. Age really aint make no difference. Theres a lot of artists out there thats successful with age, you know?
AllHipHop.com: We all know youve been in the streets for a minute, but how long have you been rapping?
Young Dro: Professionally, since bout 2000.
AllHipHop.com: Warner Brothers has Bohagon. Bad Boy had Yung Joc. Atlantic/Grand Hustle has you. It seems like the majors are all competing with each other in the way of new artists from Atlanta. Do you think that competition exists among the artists?
Young Dro: Nah, I dont think so. Everybody wants to sell records, and everybody gonna say what they got to say, but I dont think if they compete, theyll sell. Nobody sayin nothin bout competin. I dont know how everybody else is lookin at it, but I damn sure am not competin. Ima sell my records, cause thats what I want to do. Im not competing against nobody.
AllHipHop.com: You were shot in the stomach, and could not laugh in the healing process. Do you think that affected your sense of humor at the time or today?
Young Dro: I was able to laugh, but it hurt like a mothaf**ka, and I really just had to stop laughin. It didnt affect my sense of humor. It just I feel funny. That was the [problem]. I was makin my damn self laugh. [laughs] That s**t hurt like hell too, cause I stayed sayin funny s**t that was funnier than myself. It really just made me try harder to heal up so I could get my laughs in.
AllHipHop.com: Did it affect the way you moved?
Young Dro: Um yeah, there was a lot of changes a bunch of changes. Like, my stomach is all tore up right now. It wouldnt have been like this if they hadnt shot me. [I have] a ton of stitches and s**t. I used to be ashamed of the s**t, but then I broke out of that s**t, and started wearin no shirt.
AllHipHop.com: Do the girls dig scars?
Young Dro: I really didnt even care.
AllHipHop.com: TI said Young Dro is comfortable around killers. What does that quote mean exactly? I know it seems obvious, but elaborate
Young Dro: I mean, when we were comin up, thats who was around with the same kinda attitude, the same sense of humor, the same dreams. You could take me to the execs office, and I can sit in, and Im comfortable around killers too.
AllHipHop.com: Weve all been in those intimidating situations. When youre in that situation, do you just go about it boldly or be your same old self?
Young Dro: If youre around somebody that you fear, be normal. I wouldnt suggest that you fear nobody though. I wouldnt be cool just tellin you that you should fear this guy here and this is how you should act around him. Me, I wouldnt suggest that you fear that guy. I would suggest that you be yourself. Dont worry about the next man dont fear him. Fear God, I guess.
AllHipHop.com: Everybody is wylin out to Shoulder Lean. When TI came out, he started with fun, club-minded songs. Then he took it to other levels with depth on the album. Is that something were gonna see from you too?
Young Dro: Man, [on my album] we talkin bout the past really, what we saw. I took em to church. We talk about schoolin all kind of positive things. We talk about the negative too. The albumll weigh itself out. I talk about past relationships Ive been in, I share em with the people.
AllHipHop.com: With the time you have between now and September, could you throw one of those deeper issues in as a single?
Young Dro: That, I would be into. Every song I write, I write it as a single. Instead of just making follow-ups, every song can be televised.
AllHipHop.com: What was the first show you ever want to as a rap fan?
Young Dro: My homeboy, Chris Smith [Daddy Mack of Kris Kross]. Thats one of my best friends.
AllHipHop.com: Word? Whats he up to these days?
Young Dro: Still chillin, still right around the corner from me.
AllHipHop.com: What was your first rap performance like?
Young Dro: I performed in town at the Bankhead Bounce. That s**t was fun as a mothaf**ka.
AllHipHop.com: Whats your plan for the day the album drops? Atlanta? New York?
Young Dro: The day the album drops, I wanna be in the mix. I am gonna be doing things to promote the album, but wherever it is, itll be a hell of a day.
AllHipHop.com: What do you wanna do to get it just right between now and then?
Young Dro: I got Day Two of this Gangsta Grillz mixtape comin. Im gonna give em something for radio, if they can catch that. But Im gonna give em Day Two to assure em. I already got the ammo for it.