Together as the Young Gunz, Chris and Neef have made music that dominates the airwaves. Early in their twenties, the duo continues make singles intended for all ages, while upholding a street connection and ties to State Property. After Cant Stop, Wont Stop, and Friday Night, the men have a lot to live up to. But with another strong radio joint and a revolutionarily made record, perhaps its a little feat.
The duo spoke to AllHipHop.com about some of the personnel changes in their management, the unique way that Brothers From Another was made, the social responsibility they feel for the audience, as well as a tempered discussion on State Property rumors. As always, AllHipHop got the Roc on blast!
AllHipHop.com: Mays coming around the corner, and already you guys are back with a follow-up. Tell me how this album is different from the last.
Young Chris: Its a step up. We got the boy Jay backin us in the office, crazy, holdin it down president style. The album is called Brothers From Another. We got Daz [Dillinger] on there, we got Slim from 112 is on the second single a Luther Vandross sample again [which] Chad West [produced]. We got Foxy, Bleek.
Neef: We got Jay!
Young Chris: We do have Jay on there. We got a few features on there. But as far as producers, we got our in-house guy, Chad West did like six joints. We got Boola. We got Red Spyder.
Young Chris: Swizz did the first single, Set it Off, plus another.
Neef: We shooting the video for that on [April 4th].
AllHipHop.com: I dont know how satisfied you were with the debut. In Philly, quite obviously everybody seemed to be.
Neef: We made a stamp in the game, nahmean?
AllHipHop.com: So, having that solid foundation. How careful were you to force artistic evolution?
Young Chris: We just been on tour. We recorded most of this album on the Jay-Z & Friends and The Best of Both Worlds tour. We was just in different cities talkin about whats going on in our day-to-day life.
AllHipHop.com: So thats what created the guest-list from all over the country?
Young Chris: Right, like Daz joint, the West Coast joint, its crazy. We really catered to [them .] We get a lot of love out there, down there in the Bay area too. We had to do what we had to do to sell these records.
AllHipHop.com: In recent times, Tough Luv was one of the most musical mainstream records. Just Blaze really came with it, and set the tone for a unique sound. Underground DJs were playing the record. Without Just, will that style carry-over?
Neef: For sure! We always come with our sounds. We come with that crack. Look at the Set it Off joint: we switch up flows on every verse twelve bars just to keep em comin back so they wont get tired.
AllHipHop.com: You mentioned Jay. Now a lot of competition is going on in house, Bleeks coming, Beans is doing his thing. Do you look at all these records from the former Roc as a good thing?
Young Chris: Yeah, no doubt.
Neef: Us and Bleek, we on the promo tour together right now. We always stand together. Aint really no competition.
AllHipHop.com: A month ago, we had received conflicting comments on the status of State Property from everybody. What can you both say?
Young Chris: You know, uh, I aint talked to Beans myself personally. So I cant really speak on what they talkin bout until I talk to him. I know how I feel about him. He know how we feel about him. As far as what people sayin and the rumors in the air right now, I try to block it out as much as possible. Hes still alright with me everything cool. Its just we went where we feel comfortable at. Before we met Beans, we met Jay and Dame and them and everybody else at Roc-A-Fella before we got down with State Property, so it aint like Beans brought us up and got us signed he did it for Freeway and couple others, but he aint bring us up. He cant look at us like that.
AllHipHop.com: But if yall are cool with him, why havent you spoken to him?
Young Chris: Beans been in, right now! I got family my brother been in, right now. I got family been locked up for years that I aint talked to, aint write letters to we dont write letters, girls do that. I can give you some money to put on your books, or make sure your kids are cool or whateva, but when you keep gettin the wire comin back to us. You just said something about [Beanies mother saying State Property is no longer], but when I see his cousin, I get different s**t.
Neef: Til I see Beans, I dont know whats going on.
AllHipHop.com: Everybodys got a different financial and emotional investment
Young Chris: F**k all them emotional mf**kas! I dont know whats going on.
AllHipHop.com: Besides the music, whats going on in life right now? Where are your interests?
Neef: The real estate business.
Young Chris: Houses. Everybody needs a place to stay.
AllHipHop.com: So you guys still around the way then, or what?
Young Chris: We moved out moms. But we still in the hood.
Neef: Yupp, moved out moms and lil sisters they out the hood, going to new schools and all that. But we still play around in the hood.
AllHipHop.com: We interviewed O and Sparks last month, but those pieces were conducted separately. I never see you guys packaged or seen apart in any way. Whats the glue that holds you together?
Young Chris: We came in together. Before rappin, I met Neef in middle school. Thats how I started rappin he got me rappin. It aint like we was put together as a group.
Neef: You see what happens to people who put together. Thats why timell tell everything.
Young Chris: Exactly, we was together before we came in, so thats how it end. And like the album says, we are really brothers from another. His family is my family.
Neef: Tough love is the motto we go by. Aint no correction in punishment.
AllHipHop.com: You guys make a lot of drug references in your music. Thats nothing new. But having mentioned community and your involvement in your family, what sort of responsibility do you take in getting these messages across?
Neef: Nah, thats album cuts. We still make good music for the people.
Young Chris: Mainstream, we aint givin them none of the street life.
AllHipHop.com: But most people know that Young Gunz are seeded in the streets, and do dirt.
Young Chris: Yeah, no doubt! We give it to em on the album.
AllHipHop.com: So when you choose a single, you arent strictly looking for the banger, you look for appropriate mainstream content as well?
Young Chris: Exactly!
Neef: You dont want to blur the whole video.
Young Chris: We got fans from eight to 80. Kids love our music. Old people bob to our music, we got to have it right.
AllHipHop.com: Jay wont give verses to all of his artists. For this record, his verse is at an even bigger commodity. So, to have that achievement seemingly never be an issue, what are you guys doing right?
Neef: You talkin about the Never Take Me Alive record, he just called us and told us he got a big alley-oop for us. Around the time, we had lost a close homie. He had knew what we was going through. He had two verses. He gave us the first. And after we went in and did ours, he did the last. Same with this. This is an old joint we hadnt put out. We just put some new verses on there and kept his old s**t.
AllHipHop.com: Since the great Dame Jay division, do you feel that you have more room to breathe now?
Young Chris: S**t, we had room to yeah, yeah, yeah!
Neef: We always had room to breathe, but I see what you sayin, being as though Beans with Dame, it was like a State Property thang, and they looked at us as under Beans from the time.
Young Chris: Thats why we came out how we came out, with nobody on our singles, so we can let you know its us me and Neef.
AllHipHop.com: Whats the biggest change youve felt from that transition though?
Young Chris: Right now, we the priority right now. How that feel, being the priority. Yesterday I did a photo shoot. Im here doing this now. We dont get no time to sleep. Theres always more work. We feel good doing it though, cause at the end of the day, its gonna bring that paper in and take care of our families.
Neef: It dont feel different though. Wasnt nobody [but us] workin on Tough Luv album either.
Young Chris: We still doing it by ourselves. But you know we got Jay comin in the studio, making sure everything right. Last album, I aint gonna front, he wasnt really involved with it like that cause he was still an artist, he had things to do. This album, we did on the road with him. When we came home, we was signed to him. He was still walkin through every song with us.
AllHipHop.com: Was it better for you not to have social distractions, or people in the studio with you this time, since you were on the road?
Young Chris: It was different. Some nights when they go to the afterparties, me and Neef would go to the hotel ourselves with Chad West and knock stuff out. Some nights we all together. If we wanna zone out, well zone out. We aint have to record around nobody. We just do us.
Young Chris: Not spending no recording cost money was the biggest advantage.
AllHipHop.com: So you were recording on the bus?
Young Chris: On the buses! Or in the hotel room. We got a G40 computer. We record wherever we go.
AllHipHop.com: This will one of the largest albums to utilize that technology in Hip-Hop. Thats groundbreaking in itself.
Neef: Whoever thought of that, thank you.