DG Yola: Ghetto Pop Life

Yola’s initials, DG stands for “Da Great,” and for the 21-year-old rapper, there is no telling him otherwise. The uncompromising A-Town native bum rushed the music scene with his “f**k all haters” mantra on his scorching cut “Ain’t Gonna Let Up.” Building up his own fan base through his mixtape, Really Really in the Streets, which was released through his own Power Hitter Records, Yola proved you are never too young to possess business savvy. As word spread around, Atlantic records took notice and signed him to a deal in 2005.

Now, nearly four years after recording his hit record, “Ain’t Gonna Let Up,” Yola is ready for the April release of his Atlantic debut, Gutta World. Remember you can take Yola out of the gutter, but you cannot take the gutter out of Yola. As an indication, the rapper may seem a little tight-lipped regarding, well – anything. However, DG Yola believes that his music answers all the questions anybody has. Time will tell.

AllHipHop.com: First of, you have an interesting name. Tell me how did the name come about?

DG Yola: I came up with the name along time ago, when I was on the block. People used to always call me “Lil’ Yo,” then when I started rapping I just threw the letters “la” at the end.

AllHipHop.com: You have your own little movement called “Gutta Music,” could you describe the sound and the attitude behind it?

DG Yola: I’m a gutter rapper. I’m from the gutter, man. That’s my whole little thing. I mean, I got good advice and knowledge for the young people coming up about a lot of things that happened to me. But for the people to know what “Gutter Music” is, they will have to listen to it. It’s a listening process to understand it.

AllHipHop.com: You coming out of Atlanta, where Snap and Crunk music pretty much defines the lane where most new artists from the A-Town will come up under. Since you have your own “Gutter Music” what are your feelings on the other two?

DG Yola: I don’t know. Music is music. I don’t dance, you know. The music is alright though.

AllHipHop.com: It was reported that you grew up a homeless teen. How was that experience for you and did you get anything positive from it?

DG Yola: It was a lot of pressure on me. I used to be embarrassed and s**t, because I was in the street a lot. It did help me, because it taught me how to be smart. I learned how to be patient [and] stay out of trouble. Also, it taught me how to save money and things like that.

AllHipHop.com: What was your inspiration behind your song, “Ain’t Gonna Let Up”?

DG Yola: I had pressure, dog. There was a whole bunch of pressure. Everything was going wack at the time and that put me under pressure. So you can say that is what inspired me to write that song.

AllHipHop.com: Did you expect the song to be a hit and blow up so fast?

DG Yola: I had faith in it, you know what I sayin’. I never expected it to blow up to be like that, not at all. I used to do little talent shows and everything like that, so it took time for it to blow up. It was like a four-year process, but I’m here now.

AllHipHop.com: You started your own record label at a very young age. So you have a firm grasp on your own career. How does it feel being so young yet having the ability to control your destiny in the music business?

DG Yola: I don’t need anybody to tell me how to do something I already know how to do, because I have been doing this s**t. When I was young, they always told me I was ahead of my time and that I was “Da Great.” I just had to get the age and the wisdom to do this s**t for real. Shoot, since a young age, all I ever wanted to be was a rapper. This has to work. If not, then I will just go back to the block.

AllHipHop.com: Yola, you did so well as an independent artist with your mixtapes. Why did you decide to sign with a major label?

DG Yola: It wasn’t the fact that I was doing good with the mixtapes, because really, I was f**ked up. I just had a hot as buzz, but I was in a f**ked up predicament still. So it was either that, or sell more [records] in a better situation with Atlantic.

AllHipHop.com: Most new artist don’t get the love straight out the gate, especially when dealing with record labels and fickle Hip-Hop fans. What are you expectations on your debut album?

DG Yola: My expectations are to go platinum; you already know that. It is really all on the people. They have to listen to it and like it. Then I can gain the fans.

AllHipHop.com: Who are some people you have featured on your album?

DG Yola: I have a couple of people like David Banner, T-Pain, Twista and Pretty Ricky, plus some others.

AllHipHop.com: It was rumored that T.I. and Grand Hustle were going to executive produce your album. Is that plan still in the works?

DG Yola: No. I’m just with Atlantic. I mean, I was working with Grand Hustle, but things just didn’t work out right. So now I just have my own label, Power Hitter Records.

AllHipHop.com: What happened? Was there a creative difference between you and Grand Hustle?

DG Yola: Na, I guess it was just bad timing.

AllHipHop.com: So let’s talk about your record label. Do you have any artists already lined up?

DG Yola: Not right now. It is just me. I don’t really recruit artist. As I go, I learn so I might sign some artist in the future.

AllHipHop.com: Do you have any projects in the works before your album is released?

DG Yola: I got that, 7 Grams, mixtape out right now. I got, Really Really In The Streets, that is an old mixtape. So I do have some work out there right now.

AllHipHop.com: Besides “Ain’t Gonna Let Up” is there any songs people who are not familiar with you should check out to understand your movement better?

DG Yola: I want them to get the whole CD, for them, because I like all my music. There is nothing different about this song and nothing different about that song. I just want people to like all of my music.

AllHipHop: Starting out in the rap game at a relatively young age. How long do you want to be rapping?

DG Yola: Shoot, till I’m like 30 or 40. But I ain’t just going to be rapping. I want to get into the movies and all of that before I leave the game.

AllHipHop.com: Tell me about the title of your album. Why did you decide to name it Gutter World?

DG Yola: The album is just really showing the world where I come from and my place of living. How things go in my own little world.

AllHipHop.com: What makes you different from all of the artists coming out of Atlanta?

DG Yola: You already know. I’m “Da Great”!

AllHipHop.com: There is plenty of talent coming out of your hometown. Why do you think so much talent coming from down there?

DG Yola: It is all about how you grow up, dog. It is also on how you were raised. It makes you the person you are. You also have to want it. If you want it bad enough, you are going to get it, no matter where you’re from.

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