YK Toon Explains How He Used Hip-Hop To Overcome The System In Louisiana

Shirley Ju

Louisiana has produced dope rappers like Master P., Lil Wayne, Boosie, NBA Youngboy and Kevin Gates. Now YK Toon is next up with his album "I Don't Play."

YK Toon might be one of the realist new rappers to come out of Houma, Louisiana (or the surrounding areas). At only 18 years, he has the streets on lock through both music and just who he is as a person. With a mother who’s lived damn near everywhere on the map, Toon became known in every hood he stopped through.

But the music thing took off in the most organic way possible. Through independent releases, specifically “City Rollin” and “Free Ziggy,” Toon quickly proved why he has the talents to make it in the big leagues. His unique style transcends genres of hip-hop and trap, with melody as he tells stories of real-life experiences through his lyrics.

Most recently, “City Rollin” received a standout remix with a verse from Quando Rondo. Now, he readies his forthcoming tape called I Don’t Play, a spinoff of his debut No Play Zone. AllHipHop caught up with YK Toon to discuss his upbringing, favorite rappers, and his creative process.

AllHipHop: Being from Houma, LA, what were you seeing growing up?

YK Toon: I just know Houma, South of Lafayette. I went to Baker High in Baton Rouge. I got kicked out of school. I did 6 months, came back home for a month, got in trouble again, got juvenile for life. I was 15, f##ked up one time and went back in for 6 months. I was in and out, doing all kinds of s##t. Then I got another charge, which was another thing on my head. I got an ankle bracelet on my leg for about 3 months, I was still living with my grandma.

I kept violating my probations. I got juvenile life on my head. You get juvenile life for a felony, so I f##ked around and kept violating my s##t. Cutting up. I stopped going to school young. The school literally had a sign that said ‘No Jameson’s allowed.’ That’s my last name. Real facts, I’ll call my mama right now. Because I’d just walk out of school. If a teacher made me mad, I’d walk out and walk home.

AllHipHop: Who’s all in your family?

YK Toon: My little brothers, they were in there too. We were all on the same page. He got sent off, he got sent off, he did a little 3 months. We all were just going back and forth.

AllHipHop: Did you guys learn your lesson?

YK Toon: We didn’t learn no lesson man, we were bad. We didn’t worry about going to jail, that was the least thing I worried about. Because I could go sit in jail and sleep in there. It is what it is. You can’t do anything once you’re in there. I learned how to be smarter and how to not get in trouble. If I do something, I know what to do.

AllHipHop: So when did music come in?

YK Toon: I just started rapping last year. I used to rap a lot though. I was always bad though.

AllHipHop: Being only 18, when did you start recording?

YK Toon: Last year. I turned 18 in April, and I made the “City Rollin” song. The audio, dropped it. The first song I dropped, it got 100K views. Then my second song “Free Ziggy” was taking off, that blew me up in the neighborhood at first. Boom, hit another 100K on my page. I’m like “yeah, turn up!”I just posted it on my page, my followers starting going up. Got 10K followers, I thought I was really doing something. I’m dancing around here.

People started hitting me up “can you perform at our party? We’ll pay you.” I was shy and s##t. It was Homecoming time, school was jumping! They wanted me to perform at Homecoming, I’m like “alright, let me come through.” I still got the video, my first one ever. It was crazy. [pulls out phone] Here’s the video, that was me on May 25th, 2019. As a matter of fact, this was when me and my girlfriend started talking. Look, she’s right there in the red. That same day, I got her.

AllHipHop: How’s it being from Baton Rouge? Where YoungBoy and Gates are from.

YK Toon: I heard of them, but I never really went through them. We stayed in my cousin’s in Shellwood. I just moved away, I stayed with my momma. We were just cutting up. I used to live with them, we grew up around each other. As I got older, I started drifting away from them. I moved back with my mom at 16 or 17. I stayed with my grandma. But my mom stayed in Texas, she stayed everywhere. Texas, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, we were just everywhere. I’ve really been in every hood, thugged in every hood. I know n##gas from everywhere. We used to be moving back to back. If my mama didn’t like the house, she’d move.

AllHipHop: What’s the inspiration behind your name?

YK Toon: I used to be funny as hell. I would make you so mad, you’ll just shut down and cry. I used to get on their ass. Everything I said, it’d look exactly like them. You know I got jokes. They’re like “you a cartoon character,” so they called me Toon.

AllHipHop: What about your former name NFL Toon?

YK Toon: NFL stands for Never Forget Loyalty. s##t I used to run people. n##gas used to do some sneak s##t, I’m like “s##t, my loyalty runs deep.” YK stands for You Know Toon.

AllHipHop: What’d it mean to get Quando Rondo on the remix to “City Rollin”?

YK Toon: Fiend [from No Limit] set it up. We were in the studio, he’s like “who do you want on the song?” We just hit them up, dude was down to work with a n##ga quick. Some people are about their money. He goes hard, I like all his music. I used to listen to all his s##t when he first came out.

AllHipHop: Top favorite rappers?

YK Toon: Rapper I like? Lil Baby, DaBaby, MoneyBagg Yo, NBA YoungBoy. I like that old YB, that 38 Baby. I just listen to them when they come on. Damn, people really be going in on weed out here.

AllHipHop: It’s legal! What’s it like back home in Baton Rouge?

YK Toon: You going to jail for this! It’s worse than Texas. You get caught with over 2 grams, that’s 10 years out the bag. That’s everywhere down there. I really want to move to LA, because you guys really got the power. I’d be loaded everyday! I see why Snoop Dogg loves it out here.

AllHipHop: What is it you want fans to get from your story?

YK Toon: S##t. If I can do it, they can do it. It ain’t easy and it’s not cheap. You have to either invest in yourself or get somebody who’s going to believe in you. That’s all it is. I feel like anybody can be famous as long as they have promotion.

AllHipHop: What can we expect from your forthcoming project I Don’t Play?

YK Toon: You heard the title: I don’t play. I don’t play no games. The whole thing is 16 songs.

AllHipHop: Do you like to party?

YK Toon: Yes indeed. I like to smoke. That lean, I’ll do it.

AllHipHop: Does it help your creative process?

YK Toon: When I’m so high, I can rap so good. I never write a song, I just go. I’m high, I’m in the zone. When you come distracting my high, there will be problems.

AllHipHop: How’s it recording out here vs. back home?

YK Toon: The studio is better. They got damn near a million dollars in their studio. We out the trenches, we’re just coming up. Our engineers aren’t like their engineers. They’re smarter down there. They actually pay attention, we just pay attention halfway.

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