Joe Young Talks “Keep Me Alive” featuring CeeLo Green
For someone who doesn’t take rap too seriously, Joe Young is pretty damn good at it. Born and raised in Germany, he states, “I’m not really a rapper, I just like to rap. I’m more of a businessman, rapping is more like therapy. I’m not really worried about rap money, I’m good.”
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s worked damn near all the industry elites, including DMX, Rick Ross, The Game, Wiz Khalifa, Max B, Snoop Dogg, Tyga, 6ix9ine, Dave East, Method Man, Tony Yayo, Styles P… the list goes on.
Young was first mentored by the legendary Inspectah Deck of Wu-Tang Clan, before he fell under the wings of Ghostface Killah. He’s also designs their clothes for Wu Wear, which he’s a partner in. When it comes to businesses, he’s passionate about his tech company called 3rdspacecommunications, which might be the solution for the near future.
Now, Young releases his brand new single and visual for “Keep Me Alive,” enlisting CeeLo Green. AllHipHop caught up with Young via Instagram Live who had just woken up in Germany. Read below as we discuss the early days around Wu-Tang,
AllHipHop: You were born and raised in Germany, what was a young Joe Young like?
Joe Young: I was ambitious, I was the kid at the store who always grabbed the CD out of the box to see who I could write emails to. In younger years, I’ve always had this hustle and grind about me. I’m a regular guy man, nothing too crazy. I had a big family, have a lot of brothers and sisters. I always had ambition when I was young.
AllHipHop: At what point did music become real for you?
Joe Young: At 13 or 14, me and my brother had a little thing going on. I said “yo I’ll design the clothes and you rap.” He said “okay I’ma rap.” Coming up, we started rapping.
AllHipHop: I know Ghostface Killah was a mentor for you, when did you guys first cross paths?
Joe Young: First I crossed paths with Inspectah Deck, that’s my real mentor. The first single I’ve ever been on was with Inspectah Deck. Me and Ghost, I can't even put my finger on the year. We met mad years back and started working together right away. Everything fell into place right there.
AllHipHop: How did you start working together?
Joe Young: I was a party promoter in '06, so I booked Inspectah Deck for a show. One thing led to another, we ended up at the studio and made a record. We did a single, I got a deal with Sony off that single. The rest is history man.
AllHipHop: What are some things that both of them taught you?
Joe Young: They taught me to stay patient and don't force anything. Stay ready and be cautious. Keep a sharp pen.
AllHipHop: Back then, did you think Wu-Tang would explode into what they've become today?
Joe Young: I don't even think they really knew themselves. When they came out, I was young. I liked the music. Nobody thought it’s going to be the way it was because it’s an unorthodox sound, with the whole Shaolin theme. Nobody knew how big they’d be.
AllHipHop: Talk about designing clothes for Wu Wear, that’s super down.
Joe Young: When something’s meant for you to do, it's going to happen along the way. I started back in the day when I was young so I always had the ambition to do that. Not knowingly, I always trimmed myself in that direction. One day, it happened.
AllHipHop: Do you have a passion for fashion?
Joe Young: I do, of course. I have a passion for anything that I grew up liking, that's what I did it. I started at a young age around 14 or 15, having my first design. Having the first people checking out.
AllHipHop: Let's get into your new single "Keep Me Alive" featuring Cee-Lo Green. How did that come about?
Joe Young: I was working with somebody on the West Coast, being creative and this song came together. He called me one day and said "yo I'm in a session right now, you tryna do a song with Cee-Lo Green?” I said “sure, why not?” They were at the studio already, I said “put it together and send it over.” I did the clearance, I did my verses and the rest is history. I work in a direction and that's the outcome.
AllHipHop: The record speaks to the current times, what was your intention?
Joe Young: It’s organic. At the end of the day, if you look at the signs of the time, you already know what to do without even thinking about doing it. I went in that direction anyways.
AllHipHop: How was working with Cool & Dre?
Joe Young: I was over here in Germany, it happened through email thing. I shot a video a few months before with Snoop, it fell into pocket. I was working with this guy, I can't mention his name because he did some outrageous s##t. I don't deal with him anymore. He gave it to me because he couldn't do anything with it, so I took it upon myself.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from the video?
Joe Young: I can't really give up too much, but it's going to be a nice video. It's well put together, it’s dope.
AllHipHop: What's the racial climate in Germany right now?
Joe Young: In Germany, you can still accept it. Out here, it's not really what it is in the US because we're not stupid like that. It's regular to me, I always grew up like this. Of course, it's a lot more things happening right now. If you've been black all your life, you're used to it.
AllHipHop: What's your faith in God like?
Joe Young: That's the only thing that counts to me. You’re a miracle, I'm a miracle. So at the end of the day, we're a whole bunch of energy. That's like Avatar. I'm a very spiritual person. We have a word for it, we call it God. Other people call it Allah, other people call it Buddha. The higher the energy we're connected to, it's everlasting.
AllHipHop: How are you able to stay positive during these times?
Joe Young: What's happening right now is not here to affect your real spirit, your real self. All of this s##t is fake.
AllHipHop: What’s the premise of your tech company 3rdspacecommunications?
Joe Young: We're creating a software for school systems for art, entertainment, and sports. This is my real job. This rap thing is a hobby. We have a lot of prominent people who believe in our idea of the new future, that everything will happen on a virtual level through Oculus. The second wave of Corona is about to hit so we try to make it easier for the people to stay at home. They have ghost games with no audience, we'll take these soccer games and put it on Oculus so people with the glasses can feel like they're in the stadium watching the real game. It's crazy.
AllHipHop: How did you get so good at tech?
Joe Young: I'm not really good at tech, I hired the right people for what I want to do. I'm not the guy at the computer, I have 120 people working for me. I'm not doing everything myself, I have a team.
AllHipHop: What other businesses do you have?
Joe Young: I'm co-owner of the Wu Wear brand in Europe. I'm the co-owner of Skull Society, another fashion brand. I have this tech company. We have a crypto company. We're doing movies, we're doing audiobooks. We're doing a lot of things. We got our own industry, we got our own things to build. We got our own crypto. We got our own payment system like Paypal, but it's called PayPortal. We do different things man, I’m not worried about this rap stuff.
AllHipHop: Do you have any goals for yourself at this point?
Joe Young: My only goal at this point in time is not to lose my mind.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let us know?
Joe Young: We have a single out "Keep Me Alive,” it's doing pretty good. It's close to a million streams after 2 days, we're dropping a video soon. We're working on new records man, new music. We got some big names on some songs. Check out Undefeated, that's my EP with my homie from Turkey. Massaka. We're featuring Tyga, Snoop Dogg, 6ix9ine, Gucci Mane.
AllHipHop: I saw that, how'd you get all of those people?
Joe Young: It happens like that for me. I know how to work. It's a job, either you're good at a job or you're not good at the job.