(AllHipHop Features) Lazy. Sheltered. Self-absorbed. Millennials have been characterized as the most narcissistic and coddled generation in American history.
But to throw specific tags on every person between the ages of 15 and 35 would be a flagrant case of overgeneralization. Especially when you become familiar with a young multitasker out of the Washington, DC area named DJ Young Music.
Radio personality. Songwriter. Music executive. Those are just a few of the hats Young Music wears on a daily basis. And the Brandywine, Maryland native is only 19 years old.
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His career drive is not just about padding his own résumé. DJYM wants his intensive work ethic to serve as a model for his fellow Millennials.
“Everything I do is to set an example. For me to be 19 and have done all this, it goes to show people: If I did it, you can do it,” Young Music conveys to AllHipHop.com. “You can say, ‘Wow, Young Music did that, so I can also.’”
The self-described “Streetz Representer” has done a lot over the last five years. While still a high schooler, Young Music was splitting his time between making the honor roll and deejaying alongside industry veterans.
At 14, Young Music began touring with R&B legend Ginuwine. The experience provided the novice with the opportunity to get on-the-job training from a platinum-selling performer.
“What I learned from Ginuwine is no matter what the circumstances are, the show must still go on. Anything could happen that day, but you still have to put on the same show you’d put on if anything didn’t happen,” says Young.
Another early mentor was Grammy-nominated producer Kevin “Khao” Cates who Young Music credits as inspiring him to learn how to master the turntables. The budding disc jockey would later be tapped to take part in a tour with Chris Brown, Fetty Wap, Omarion, and Migos.
“[Chris Brown] randomly picked me. I was deejaying and opening up for him. I was killing it. He heard me from backstage and said, ‘I need that kid on tour with me,’” recalls Young Music. “The media portrays a lot of celebrities as the bad guy. But [Brown] put me on, so it goes to show where his heart is. He’s not the bad guy he’s portrayed as.”
Those initial achievements were just forerunners to Young Music cementing his name in history when he became the youngest DJ to join the Superadio Network. The deal expanded the maturing mogul’s reach to over 30 million weekly listeners.
As part of the arrangement, the DYMG Entertainment head hosts a daily one-hour mix show titled Streetz! Slow Lane. Think of it as a modern twist on the soulful “Quiet Storm” format.
“With me having a label, I have R&B artist Shade Jenifer. He had a ballad. But because of how the game is now, people don’t support ballads. It’s hard to get ballads played. I said, ‘What happened to the slow jams?’” asserts Young Music. “With Streetz! Slow Lane, I’m hitting you with all types of stuff back-to-back. The pace of the show moves like a Hip Hop show.”
Even though Young was born in 1996, Streetz! Slow Lane covers vocalists that broke out before his conception all the way to present-day acts. A recent episode went from R. Kelly to Courtlin Jabrae to Diggy Simmons To Brandy.
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As Rhythm & Blues fights its way back into the collective consciousness of the masses, Young Music is willing to be one of the genre’s fiercest advocates. In addition, DYMG’s Shade Jenifer is helping to bring attention to the musical tradition of James Brown, Michael Jackson, and Prince.
The effort is admirable, but Young is not naive to the fact his age group tends to favor the 2010’s era over older classics. The Streetz Representer also recognizes the music game tends to be cyclical, but as a curator, he can’t ignore what’s popular at the moment.
“Today’s new artists ain’t looking up to Jay Z and Nas. There looking up to Drake, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, and Lil Uzi. It’s just a new style, a new wave,” says Young. “A lot of people can’t get used to the new wave. I have a hard time too. The new wave is weird because it’s just beats and people mumbling. At the end of the day, you have to adjust to it.”
With the internet, Millennials’ musical adjustments happen as quickly as it takes to post a tweet. Young Music regularly views that switching of favorites through his work. Even though he is barely two years removed from walking the halls of his high school, Young is still forced to keep up with the latest hot songs that move the under-18 crowd when playing parties for current students.
Whereas at one time smash records were created from a top-down system, fans now have more control over which singles raise above the underground. Again, the DMV delegate makes it clear he has no issue following the will of the people, even if many contemporary sounds may be indistinguishable.
“As of today, it’s hard to recognize a hit, because somebody could mumble on a track and it could be the biggest thing in the world. Coming from a deejay perspective, if everybody else thinks it’s hot, I’m going to go with whatever is trending,” Young explains.
“Pull Up On The Block” featuring iLoveMemphis as well as “Right Here” featuring Frank Benz and Da-Rai are part of DJYM’s own catalog. Plus, he has the Something For The Streets mixtapes.
The next volume in the series is expected to consist of original music from major artists. Young Music describes Something For The Streets as his version of DJ Drama’s famous tapes.
“Something For The Streets is like the new wave of Gangsta Grillz mixtapes. It’s one of those things that really hasn’t been done since Gangsta Grillz mixtapes,” contends Young.
The next several years will see the Live Nation/Scream Nation Mad DJ Of The DMV champion expand his growing entertainment empire to encompass films and non-profit initiatives. Young established the youth-centered Streetz Stop The Violence organization in part as a response to the murder of his friend and up-and-coming DC rapper Douglas “Swipey” Brooks.
Many of Swipey’s DMV comrades sent out condolences on social media, a sign the city’s Hip Hop community is supportive of each other. The 18-year-old rhymer’s death was a big blow to the region especially since it came at a time when DC-Maryland-Virginia rap is making the rest of the country take notice.
DJYM on The District’s talent, “The DMV music scene is the dopest it’s ever been in history. Everybody knows DC for Go-Go, but now DC has some dope rappers.”
Young is looking to help continue that artistic growth in the nation’s capitol. His ultimate goal is about more than just building personal capital.
“This right here is more than money to me. I do this to help other people. That’s success,” says Young Music. “When you have the power to put somebody in a position to change their whole life, that’s success. When you can wake up and press one button and make somebody rich, that’s what I see as success.”
He adds, “I decided to take this thing and change not just music, but change the world. You can only get so far in music. But when you’re changing the world and touching people, it’s a whole different level. It’s something that can’t be taken from you.”
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Read other installments of AllHipHop’s #DMVOnTheMove series here.